auto

Can I get a car-title loan for extra cash?

Tara Baukus MelloDear Driving for Dollars,
I need some money and my credit isn't great, so the bank won't give me a loan. I own my car and I was wondering if I can pawn the car title to get a loan?
-- Cheryl

Dear Cheryl,
Some states allow car title loans, and a simple Internet search for "car title loan" will give you a list of companies that specialize in this service. However, just because you can pawn your car title doesn't mean you should. Understand that if you do this, you are putting up your car as collateral and you must meet the terms of the loan or you could face fines and even repossession.

Be aware that typically a car title loan has a fairly short term associated with the "no credit check" loan that is often advertised. Once the term is up, the loan is then rolled over to a new loan with usually a much higher interest rate. In addition, there are sometimes balloon payments due at the end of the initial introductory loan that are required in order to roll the loan over into a longer term.

In short, pawning your car title is often a slippery slope that can result in even more financial heartache. If you decide to proceed, read the loan paperwork very carefully and make sure you fully understand the loan terms before you move forward.

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If you have a car question, email it to us at Driving for Dollars. Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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