- To get a car loan with bad credit, start by saving a down payment, checking your credit score, and budgeting.
- Then search for loans and choose an offer. Anyone buying a car with bad credit should consider saving more for a down payment or consider finding a co-signer.
- Buying a car with poor credit will cost more in interest, so it may be worth the wait and work to increase your credit score if possible.
- See Business Insider’s Choices For The Best Auto Loans »
To buy a car with bad credit it could mean that you will spend a little more to borrow.
The steps will be largely the same – you’ll still want to research your loan and compare offers, and get your car the same. But, with bad credit, getting a car loan will cost you more because banks will charge higher interest rates to lend you. In general, people with good credit scores between 661 and 780 see interest rates about 3% lower than those with scores between 601 and 660, because Business Insider Tanza Loudenback Reports. To combat this, you might want to consider waiting to buy to improve your credit, save a larger down payment, or find a co-signer.
Here are the seven steps to take to get an auto loan, even with less than perfect credit.
1. Save a large down payment
To get auto credit with bad credit, start by saving a down payment. Generally, a 20% deposit is recommended for the purchase of a car. But to buy a car with poor credit, the more down payment you have, the better.
Making a large down payment can help you get approved for your loan more easily. The down payment helps reduce the amount you owe against the value of the car, also known as the loan-to-value ratio. The more you can save for a down payment, the less risky banks will see your purchase.
2. Check your credit – and improve it if you have the time.
Your credit score is like a lender’s version of a GPA. This is a three-digit score that is between 300 and 850 and examines your history of borrowing, paying, and applying for credit. Long before you need a loan (if you can manage it) check your credit score to find out exactly where your score falls. You will need to know this to buy loans because many lenders have minimum credit score requirements. There are many ways to check your score for free online.
Your score will fall into one of five categories, according to FICO:
- Very poor: less than 579
- Fair: between 580 and 669
- Good: between 670 and 739
- Very good: between 740 and 799
- Exceptional: above 800
If you have time, you may consider rescheduling your purchase until increase your credit score. To start, check your credit report for errors, dispute any error you find and pay off other debt from loans and credit cards.
3. Find out how much you can afford to spend each month on paying for your car.
Find a budget that works for you every month. Take a look at what you’ve spent over the past few months and list all of your recurring monthly expenses, including debt repayment, housing costs, and other bills and expenses. Then decide how much you want to save for other goals, like retirement or a down payment. Subtract the total amount of your expenses and savings from your income and you will have an idea of how much you have left each month. Next, find a car that you can afford with the money you have.
Remember, if you have bad credit, you will likely have a higher monthly payment thanks to the interest. The average interest rate for a used car buyer with subprime credit, or scores between 501 and 600, was 16.89% in the third quarter of 2019, according to Experiential. The less you need to borrow, the less interest you will have to pay, so finding an affordable vehicle is a good way to cut costs.
4. If necessary, find someone to co-sign for you.
If you’re looking to buy a car with poor credit or a slim credit history, you’ve probably considered adding a co-signer. A co-signer is someone who is also on the loan and will be required to make payments if you stop paying. Usually people ask relatives or relatives to co-sign.
Having a co-signer could significantly reduce the amount you will need to pay in interest and make approval easier. But this is a big risk for the other person: any missed payment will also have an impact on their credit, and taking out that loan could affect the ability of the co-signer to qualify for another loan. However, it is possible to optionally delete a co-signer via refinancing once you have improved your credit score.
5. Shop around for loans
You’ll want to shop around for your loan and look for the loan with the lowest interest rate and the best monthly payment for your budget. Once you start applying for auto loans, you will have two weeks to apply for as many as you want and have them appear as investigation on your credit report.
To start shopping for your car loan, consider these options:
- Local credit unions: Credit unions are member-owned banking hunches and generally offer lower interest rates on loans. They often have membership requirements, such as employment in a certain company or residence in a certain region.
- Banks with which you are already in contact: If you have savings or checking accounts at a bank that offers loans, it may be worth checking with them.
- Online lenders: There are many lenders online to try if you are looking for a car loan, and you may find that they offer competitive rates.
6. Explore dealer financing as a last resort
If you have poor credit, it may be worth avoiding “buy here, pay here” dealers. While the allure of secured financing may sound attractive, the reality is that high interest rates often mean high default rates.
According to data collected by the National Independent Auto Dealers Association, more than a third of these loans (35.5%) ended in default in 2018, further damaging credit. Make it a last resort.
7. Choose a loan for which you have been approved and accept the offer.
Once you’ve found a loan that’s right for you, accept this offer. Typically, the bank will either send you a blank check to fill out after you complete a transaction or arrange financing directly with the dealership. Then you will have your car.
8. Make payments on time and take the opportunity to increase your score
It is important to view this car loan as an opportunity: it gives you a valuable chance to increase your credit score by making your payments in full and on time.
Setting up automatic payments, where you allow your lender to take a monthly payment from your bank account, might be a good way to do this. Then there is no chance that you will forget to make a payment. In addition, some lenders will offer discounts for setting up automatic payment.
As you build your payment history and your credit score starts to rise, it should get easier. to refinance your car loan or obtain other credits in the future.