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Autotrader Listings vs. U.S. News Listings

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Autotrader

Autotrader.com (our partner here at KBB) is a comprehensive site for consumers seeking to buy and sell cars, SUVs, and other motor vehicles. In the past years, it seems that every day a new competitor pops up, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to see what each has to offer. Here we take a look at Autotrader.com vs. U.S. News.

Autotrader History and Background

Auto Trader first launched in 1992 in print, showing ads for cars. This print version lasted ceased publishing in 2017. Autotrader.com, with much more comprehensive tools, reviews, and vehicle history reports, started in 1997.

With the stated goal of being “your ultimate solution for buying and selling new, certified, and used cars,” Autotrader.com offers a number of benefits. It boasts the largest selection of vehicle inventory from dealers and private sellers; a comprehensive selection of buying and selling tips; research and comparison tools, including reviews, photos, and videos; vehicle pricing, including seller specials and dealer discounts; safety information and vehicle history reports; and even help with finance, insurance, and warranty programs. We at KBB.com provide pricing information in our partnership with Autotrader.

Autotrader.com lets shoppers research and compare cars by body type, mileage, price, and other criteria. In terms of numbers, Autotrader has more than 3 million vehicle listings from 40,000 dealers and 250,000 private owners, with more than 14 million buyers per month.

One unique feature on Autotrader.com is “Dealer Home Services” which allows shoppers to search for only those new or used cars where the dealership offers a video walkaround, at-home test drive, and vehicle delivery. This is particularly useful for people who are not keen on visiting dealer showrooms.

U.S. News History and Background

Unlike many of the other sites, we have looked at here, which are exclusively about buying and selling cars, U.S. News and World Report is a news service, but similar to a daily newspaper, it has a car-buying section.

U.S. News started way back in 1933 as a news magazine, the company founder David Lawrence later starting World Report in 1946. The two magazines eventually merged into one in 1948, and then switched over to Web-based content in 2010. U.S. News also publishes things such as its college ranking lists.

Autotrader listings for Car Buyers

Autotrader.com allows buyers to search for new cars by everything from make to style, price, location, and even more.

Each new car listing includes information provided by the seller, including the vehicle’s VIN (vehicle identification number) and often the dealer stock number.

What you will see on Autotrader.com

At the top of the page, you are allowed to search by make, model, or style. An “Advanced search” button allows you to broaden your search terms, with such things as location, condition, and style.

Next, you come to a  page that shows an example of a car and a dealership, with the MSRP. It also includes information on the dealership and KBB’s dealer rating. Boxes appear with Dealer Home Services options, such as whether a video walkaround or at-home test drive is available. You also have the option to expand the search radius from your home.

Once you click on a particular car, the mileage, engine, transmission, mpg, exterior, and interior colors, and the VIN are included, including seller comments. Lower down the page is listed warranty information.

Below that is pricing information provided by us here at KBB.com. This includes the MSRP and how it relates to what we believe the fair market range is for the vehicle. We update this information frequently as it changes depending on things like season (convertibles are more popular in the summer) and desirability or popularity of a particular new car.

If you need to finance the vehicle, below this is the “Calculate Payment” tool where you can plug in the number of months and down payment and (if relevant) the trade-in value of your current vehicle. It will then tell you your monthly payment and what the APR is.

Contacting a seller through Autotrader

At the top of the is an e-mail click that says “confirm availability” if you like the car.

Then there are a number of ways to contact the dealership, including a private message with your name, e-mail, and (optionally) phone number. Or you can send an e-mail and ask questions about the car.

U.S. News listings for Car Buyers

The Web site appears like most online news sites, with a number of tabs at the top, including Cars. The cars page is then divided into New Cars, Used Cars, Car Rankings, Cars for Sale, Advice, Best Car Deals, and Sell Your Car. Below is a tab for either Reviews of Cars for Sale where pull-down menus allow you to input make, model, and year. Below that are a number of different rankings and U.S. News Award Winners.

One somewhat unusual feature about the U.S. News site is that there are tabs at the top of the Cars page for New Cars, Used Cars, and redundantly, Cars for Sale. Each has its own slightly different pull-down, with the options under New Cars including Research Cars, Best Price Program, and Car Deals This Month.

The Used Cars tab is similar, with Used Cars for Sale, Used Car Deals This Month, and also a tab for Certified Pre-Owned. The Cars for Sale tab is more basic, with the only options being New, Used, and Certified Pre-Owned.

New Cars for Sale on U.S. News

Once you click on the New Cars for Sale tab, it brings you to a nationwide page where you can search by your zip code. But the page is already populated with all the cars for sale all over the country, with such things as where the car is, what kind of offers, photos, and a Check Availability tab.

A bar along the left side of the page allows you to narrow your search by a number of filters, including distance from your zip code, make and model, condition (new or used), year, color, features offered, and price. A basic search of simply make and model yields several cars with photos, general location of the dealer, and mpg of the car. Once you click through, the page includes the car’s VIN, an estimated monthly payment, and basic vehicle specs.

Listings also include whether a dealer offers Buy From Home, whereby a dealership provides home delivery, including paperwork. This appeals to people not wanting to set foot in a dealership.

Contacting a seller through U.S. News

One way where U.S. News differs from other sites is it doesn’t offer direct contact information for the dealer, although it does show the dealership name. Buyers are encouraged to provide their name, phone number, and e-mail and then there is a button to click for Check Availability. The MSRP of the car is listed but with a line through it, and something called Best Price Program Price. Once you contact a dealer, they will provide you with their best offer on the car.

Used Cars on Autotrader.com

Autotrader features used car listings from both dealers and private parties. The search options are similar to those for new cars and include such parameters as year, make, price, style, location, color, etc.

One key difference is that you can filter used cars by vehicle history (number of owners, any accidents) and mileage. Many listings also include a link to a free Carfax report.

Each listing includes information from the seller, features, and general model information such as reviews, where applicable. Information about the original warranty is also available, as well as KBB’s Fair Market value.

Similar to the new car listings, the used listings also offer a variety of ways to contact the seller, such as e-mail, chat, and of course, a phone number.

Certified Pre-Owned

Some of the used cars are known as CPO (certified pre-owned) cars. CPO programs are run by the manufacturers and available at dealerships. A CPO car is one with low mileage that has been thoroughly inspected and includes a warranty from the manufacturer.

More Search Choices

Even beyond the conventional new and used car listings, Autotrader provides different classes of search on other pages. At the bottom of the home page, there are options to find classic and exotic cars, motorcycles, or even RVs. One category that may be handy for certain buyers is a special search for those with bad credit.  After all, everyone deserves a chance.

Used Cars on U.S. News

The Used Cars page on U.S. News is not terribly different from the New Cars page. Basic listings include where the dealership is, the price, and the mileage of the car. Prices are listed, with a colored tab below them indicating whether U.S. News deems it a High Price, Good Deal, Great Deal, or Excellent Deal.

Once you click through to a car, the listing is similar to those for a new car, with a couple of exceptions being a listed price, the mileage, and an option to request a Carfax report.

Certified Pre-Owned on U.S. News

Certified Pre-Owned cars on U.S. News are just like other used car listings. This information notes the car’s mileage, if a free Carfax report is available, price and estimate of the monthly payment, and whether the dealership offers Buy from Home.

Autotrader.com Listings for Sellers

Since Autotrader.com exists to help not only buyers but also sellers, Autotrader offers a few different choices for private-party sellers. Listings are on a pricing scale, with a basic ad going for $25, a featured ad costing $50, and a premium ad going for $90. Due to Autotrader’s partnership with us at KBB.com, any Autotrader posting also appears here.

Each listing includes the ability to display photos as well. Basic comes with three photos, featured gets 20, and a Premium ad includes 30. There is also the option to add 10 more photos to any package for an additional $20.

Sellers also get a counter to see how successful their ad has been and how many people have clicked on it.

Seller Options

Sellers can include a vehicle history report, which costs $15 with a basic or featured listing but comes with a Premium ad. Another $15 option is Spotlight Ad status, which bumps the ad up on the search results page from time to time. This is free with Premium.

Premium ads also get a Supercharger listing, which makes the ad stand out in search results. This costs $10 with a Basic or Featured ad.

KBB Instant Cash Offer

Yet another advantage to Autotrader’s partnership with us at KBB.com is that a seller has the option of participating in the Kelley Blue Book instant cash offer, which gives the seller to get a cash or trade-in offer fro KBB at participating dealers. This eliminates a lot of the hassle of selling a car, which includes scams or even damage to one’s property.

U.S. News Information for Sellers

At the top on the far right side of the Cars page on U.S. News is a tab for Sell Your Car. That page is a point-by-point advice article about how to sell your car, including calculating a price, preparing it for sale, and advertising it, with information on how to arrange a dealer trade-in. U.S. News does not provide any method for selling a car through the site or contacting a dealership unless you’re trading in your car as part of a purchase.

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Bad Credit

Martin Lewis issues guidance on using credit cards to build ratings – best deals | Personal Finance | Finance

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Martin Lewis regularly urges savers to use caution when utilising debt themed products but at the same time, he acknowledges the need for a decent credit rating to get by financially. Today, the Money Saving Expert was questioned by viewer Miranda on how one can build their credit rating in difficult circumstances.

“What I’d then like you to do is go and do £50 a month of normal spending on it, things you’d buy anyway.

“[Then] Make sure you pay the card off in full every month, preferably by direct debit so you’re never missing it because the interest rate is hideous.

“That way you won’t pay any interest.

“You do that for a year, you’ll start to build that credit history, showing them you’re a good credit citizen.

“Then you’ll be able to move into the sort of more normal credit card range.

“So, bizarrely, to get credit you need credit. What credit will you get? Bad credit, go get the bad credit just make sure it doesn’t cost you.”

Consumers of all kinds may not have the best options at the moment as recent analysis from moneyfacts.co.uk revealed.

In mid-November, they detailed that a number of high street banks have cut the perks and interest on a number of their current account deals.

On top of this, the Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank made credit interest cuts of up to 0.5 percent.

Rachel Springall, a Finance Expert at moneyfacts.co.uk commented on the few options consumers and savers currently have available: “Clearly, it is vital consumers decide carefully if now is the time to switch, but if they wait too long, they may well miss out on a free cash switching perk.

“At present, providers will be assessing how they can sustain any lucrative offers in light of the pandemic.

“With this in mind, we could well see more changes in the months to come and if this does indeed occur, consumers would be wise to review whether their account is still worth keeping.”



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Should you use a balance transfer to pay off debt?

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Should you use a balance transfer to pay off debt?
Image source: Getty Images.


A balance transfer might be the solution if you have debts and want to gain control over your finances. But whether a balance transfer is right for you will depend on a number of factors.

Things to consider before using a balance transfer

The size of your debt

If you want to apply for a balance transfer credit card, be aware that most providers will allow you to transfer up to 90% of your credit limit.

Your credit limit will be dependent on your own personal circumstances, including your salary, your credit history and your residential status (homeowner or renter).

Be realistic about your debt. For example, if you earn £25,000 per year and you have a debt of more than £15,000, a balance transfer might not be cheapest way to pay the debt.

The time taken to pay the debt

The main advantage of a balance transfer credit card is that many offer an interest-free period on the balance. So, if you can pay off your balance in that period, you won’t accrue any further interest charges.

However, these periods typically range from 18 to 24 months, so if you think you will need more time to pay the debt, you may need to factor in additional interest charges when the interest-free period ends.

Whether or not a balance transfer is the right debt payment solution will depend on your personal circumstances. Check our balance transfer calculator if you want to work out how much a balance transfer could save you in interest payments.

Your credit score

The advantage of a good credit score cannot be underestimated in this situation.

When applying for a balance transfer credit card, the company will check your credit score. Based on this score, they could refuse your application.

Even if you are accepted, if you have a bad credit score they could reduce your credit limit. Ultimately, this will determine the benefit of a balance transfer as a suitable debt payment solution.

If you think your credit score might be a problem, it’s worth checking with the credit reference agencies before applying. That way you can avoid any nasty surprises.

There are three main consumer credit reference agencies in the UK. They are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion (Noodle).

Alternative solutions to balance transfers

You could still use a balance transfer even if the size of your debt is bigger than the credit limit.

Transferring part of the debt would enable you to benefit from any interest-free period, where applicable.

Alternatively, if you have multiple debts, you could consolidate all of your debts so that you can make a single regular payment. If necessary, you could do this using an unsecured personal loan over a period longer than 24 months.

Take home

Look at your own personal circumstances with a critical eye. Remember that you need to factor in living expenses when thinking about how long it will take you to pay off your debt.

Balance transfers are a useful method for debt repayment, but be aware that credit cards are an expensive way to borrow money. Take full advantage of any 0% deals wherever possible. Check out our list of the best 0% credit cards.


Some offers on MyWalletHero are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.




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Turn credit declines into a win-win | 2020-11-20

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The pandemic has left millions of people needing credit at a time when lending standards are tightening. The result is a lose-lose situation—the consumer gets a bad credit decline experience and the credit union misses out on a lending opportunity. How can this be turned into a win-win?

The case for coaching

Let’s start by deconstructing the credit decline process: The consumer is first encouraged to apply. The application process can be invasive, requiring significant time commitment and thoughtful inputs from the applicant.

After all that, many consumers are declined with a form letter with little to no advice on actions the applicant can take to improve their credit strength. It is no wonder that credit declines receive a poor Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 50 or often much worse.

On the flip side, forward-looking credit unions provide post-decline credit advice. This is a compelling opportunity for several reasons:

  • Improved customer satisfaction. One financial institution learned that simply offering personalized coaching, regardless of whether or not consumers used it, increased their customer satisfaction by double digits.
  • Future lending opportunities. Post-decline financial coaching can position members for borrowing needs even beyond the product for which they were initially declined.
  • Increased trust. Quality financial advice helps build trust. A J.D. Power study noted that, of the 58% of customers who desire advice from financial institutions, only 12% receive it. When consumers do receive helpful advice, more than 90% report a high level of trust in their financial institution.

Provide cost-effective, high-quality advice

AI-powered virtual coaching tools can help credit unions turn declines into opportunities. Such coaches can deliver step-by-step guidance and personalized advice experiences. The added benefit is easy and consistent compliance, enabled by automation.

AI-based solutions are even more powerful when they follow coaching best practices:

  • Bite-sized simplicity. Advice is most effective when it is reinforced with small action steps to gradually nurture members without overwhelming them. This approach helps the member build momentum and confidence.
  • Plain language. Deliver advice in friendly, jargon-free language.
  • Behavioral nudges. Best-practice nudges help customers make progress on their action plan. These nudges emulate a human coach, providing motivational reminders and celebrating progress.
  • Gamification. A digital coach can infuse fun into the financial wellness journey with challenges and rewards like contests, badges, and gifts.

Virtual financial coaching, starting with reversing credit declines, represents a huge market opportunity for credit unions. To help credit unions tap into that opportunity, eGain, an award-winning AI and digital engagement pioneer, and GreenPath, a leading financial wellness nonprofit, have partnered to create the industry’s first virtual financial coach. To learn more, visit egain.com.

EVAN SIEGEL is vice president of financial services AI at eGain.

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