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Dangers of Long Repayment Periods

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Understand the costs and risks of choosing a long repayment period. "A longer loan term will be tempting because it means a lower monthly payment, but that also means a higher total cost overall because you will be paying interest longer," warned Joni Creamean, an FDIC Senior Consumer Affairs Specialist. For example, a $25,000 loan at a seven percent interest rate for three years will cost $772 a month. Stretching the term to five years will drop the monthly payment to $495 but will increase the total cost of the loan by about $2,000. Creamean offered another reason to be cautious with a repayment term of five years or more: The aging vehicle's resale value may fall below what you owe on the loan if the terms are spread out too long. "In the later years of the loan, you'll still be making payments on what is an older vehicle that may have a lot of repair and maintenance costs," she said. "And if you decide to sell your car, you may have to come up with extra cash out of your own pocket just to pay off the old loan."