Blaze Check is the lightning-fast car-buying solution available now to HTFFFCU members.
The concept behind Blaze Check is not new in the financial market. It has been offered by lenders for a few years now under different trade names, and it has been growing in popularity ever since. The HTFFFCU management team has observed the trend for a while and ultimately decided to follow suit. Since June 2017, members can avail of it at their credit union. Why is this product so important? We spoke with Torrance Harris, AVP of Lending at HTFFFCU, to tell us what the fuss has been all about.
Why is Blaze Check called the lightning-fast solution to buying a car? What’s so fast about it?
Blaze Check is a blank check pre-approved up to a certain amount. It makes your car shopping experience much smoother because it works as if you are handing over the cash. The sale can be made on the spot without going back and forth with your financial institution or accepting less favorable loan terms offered by the dealership. In fact, having Blaze Check ready means that you have the upper hand when negotiating the price with the dealership.
How would that work?
Let’s say you are told the car you want to buy costs $40,000. Since you have a blank check in your hand, you can use it to your advantage and say that you will buy the car for $37,000. You are prepared to hand the check right there and then. The salespeople do not have to deal with your credit union. The check is ready to be cashed. It is not easy for dealerships to walk away from such an offer.
So I can buy the car faster once I have Blaze Check. How do I obtain the check in the first place?
The process is the same as with applying for a car loan. You can apply in person, over the phone or online. If you get pre-approved, a loan officer will contact you and explain the process of using Blaze Check.
Do I have to make a lightning-fast decision about the type of car I am going to buy?
No (smiling). Your check is valid for 60 days from the date it has been issued.
And what happens if I do not purchase within 60 days?
Nothing. The check expires.
Can I buy any car with Blaze Check?
You can buy any car up to the amount you get pre-approved for but not higher than $60,000.
What if I want to buy a car that’s more expensive than that?
We can finance any car for you up to the amount you get pre-approved. The only difference is that you will not be able to use Blaze Check for that loan. If you are set on a luxury vehicle above $60,000, our regular car loan procedures will apply. The dealership sends us the purchase order once you make your decision. In this case, you are using Blaze Check as your pre-approval letter.
So is the value of the car the only condition why I would not use Blaze Check?
There are some other terms and conditions associated with using Blaze Check. If you are planning to look for a car outside of Texas, you will not be able to use Blaze Check. Also, you should know that it can be used only at franchised dealerships backed by major manufacturers and at CarMax and Texas Direct Auto. Moreover, if you are shopping for a pre-owned vehicle, the maximum age for a car purchased with Blaze Check is seven years from the current year while the maximum mileage is 75,000 miles.
If you find yourself looking at a car that doesn’t qualify for purchase with Blaze Check, you can still use that check as a preapproval letter. In both scenarios, having Blaze Check with you is going to help. So keep it in mind when shopping for your next vehicle.
Torrance Harris is the AVP of Lending at HTFFFCU where he oversees the lending department. He is in charge of training, coaching, staff and product development, all to enhance the HTFFFCU member experience.
He is also a diehard UNC Tar Heel fan, and - as he openly admits - this interview was tough for him to do as he is ecstatic from the Tar Heels winning it all last year.