How to Get the Payoff for a Car

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If you have a car loan and you want to pay that loan off early, you may be able to do so without incurring a penalty. But paying off an auto loan by tallying the number of payments you have left and sending a check off with your payment stubs may not pay off your car. Instead, there is a way you can find out how much you owe on your car in order to make one final payment.


Locate your vehicle purchase agreement. When you purchased your car, you signed a contract known as a vehicle purchase agreement that outlines how much you are financing, your interest rate, length of the loan and your total payments. Find that agreement as the information contained inside will help you prepare to pay off your auto loan early.

Review your vehicle purchase agreement. Examine your vehicle purchase agreement to locate terminology, such as prepayment penalties, early termination penalty or other restrictions. These penalties do not mean that you cannot pay your car off early, rather they often suggest that you will not receive a refund on your interest or you might be charged an early termination fee. Just keep these things in mind when you contact your lender.

Contact your lender. Your vehicle purchase agreement should contain a phone number for your lender's loan department. Locate that phone number, speak with a loan representative, and ask what your loan payoff would be if you paid the loan off today. That amount will include the remaining balance on your auto loan, plus fees. Depending how your car loan was written, you may be entitled to a partial refund on interest charges for paying off your car early. Send a check for the total amount, if you are ready to pay off your car.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are not ready to pay your loan off immediately, your lender may give you the pay off amount for a date in the near future. In any case, contact your lender for an updated pay off amount when you are certain you want to end your vehicle purchase agreement.
  • Your lender has a lien on your vehicle until it is paid off. Make sure that an updated title is returned to you and that only your name is listed with no evidence of a lien.

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