« Back to more Point of View stories

There’s a Better Way to Buy a Car

Many people are anxious about the prospect of buying a car, but if you like to plan ahead like Ozzie Lumpkin III, there’s a simple option to minimize the hassle.

If reviewing auto loan choices leaves you feeling frustrated, you’re not alone.

A 2015 survey by Autotrader shows 72 percent of consumers prefer to review and complete paperwork online in the auto financing process.

Ozzie Lumpkin III is one of those consumers.

“While it’s fun to look at new cars, it can be a hassle to obtain the financing and do all the paperwork. You always think, ‘there’s got to be a better way.’”

In fact, there may be.

As an assistant branch manager at PNC’s Millcreek Marketplace branch in Erie, Pa., Lumpkin was familiar with PNC’s Check Ready auto financing program but had never personally used it.

He did his research on what he could afford and the kind of car he wanted. He looked at 20 to 30 cars online, visited dealerships, narrowed it to two that fit his needs and test drove them.

He finally chose a new car that, as he put it, “had all the bells and whistles,” including an entertainment center, navigation system and heated power seats.

Step one done.

Next he had to obtain financing, which he initially feared would be onerous, but Check Ready made it easy.

He applied in person at a PNC branch by providing some simple personal and financial information, such as how he would use the check, whether he would trade in another vehicle and how much he planned to finance. Then he went home to have breakfast.

Within an hour, the branch manager called to say he had been approved for a Check Ready auto loan. Lumpkin picked up a check he could use to buy a car, along with details on monthly payment rates for different sales prices, and returned to the car dealership.

Having a check in hand made me confident that I could have the car I wanted when I left, but I also had leverage because the dealer knew I was serious.

“I ended up paying less than I expected because I was ready to act,” he said.

Lumpkin negotiated a price with the dealer that fit within his budget, endorsed the check to the dealer, signed paperwork and drove away.

The entire process – applying for Check Ready, receiving approval, negotiating a deal and signing paperwork – took less than two hours, and Lumpkin left the dealership with the new car of his dreams.

Lumpkin and his new car

Planners Rejoice

Lumpkin’s research and planning made Check Ready an ideal option for him, but Chris Dervan, product manager for PNC auto lending, points out that Check Ready isn’t necessarily for everyone.

Dervan offers six ways to identify whether Check Ready is a good fit for your auto-buying style:

  • You are a planner
  • You research options ahead of time
  • You read reviews
  • You test drive several cars, potentially at different dealerships
  • You narrow your options before going to the dealership
  • You will purchase a car from a licensed U.S. dealership, not an individual

If you agree with most of these statements, including the last one, Dervan says Check Ready could help make your car buying experience go more smoothly.

“These customers want the comfort of knowing they can walk into a dealership fully prepared and with financing in hand,” he said.

However, other customers find dealer financing the easiest route because they don’t necessarily have a lot of time to look at cars in advance or don’t immediately need to purchase a car.  PNC offers financing to meet those customers’ needs through relationships with thousands of automotive dealers.

Lumpkin is among a growing number of PNC customers who turn to Check Ready to streamline the process of buying a new vehicle by securing financing before heading to a dealership. According to Dervan, usage of Check Ready has doubled in the last 18 months.


Learn more about how to simplify the car-buying process with a PNC Check Ready Auto Loan »

Ozzie Lumpkin III
Ozzie Lumpkin III landed a deal on his perfect car by having a check in-hand when visiting a dealership

Looking for a Bargain?

Auto manufacturers and dealers want to close out the year on a high note, which can translate into good deals for customers in November and December. 

PNC Point of View
Real People. Real Perspective. Real Insights.
Read more POV Stories »