You may have seen advertising for “guaranteed auto loans” and “guaranteed auto loan dealerships” while shopping for car financing, especially if you have poor credit.* It sounds appealing, but you might want to ask yourself how a company can offer a guarantee without knowing your individual credit and financial situation, or what type of vehicle you want to buy.
At RoadLoans, we don’t claim to offer guaranteed auto loans, but we can give you some tips on how likely you may be to get approved and, if so, what kind of interest rate you will get.
You may also like to know that we accept applications from consumers with a broad range of credit, and give approved applicants flexible financing options so they can choose the right vehicle with the right terms for their circumstances.
Here are those tips on applying for an auto loan.
Your credit history counts
Credit score is generally one of the most important factors for lenders considering an auto loan application. A credit score is based on a consumer’s credit history, which includes things like how many lines of credit they have open and whether they pay their bills on time. People with higher scores are more likely to get approved, and with better interest rates, than people with lower scores and bad credit. But don’t worry if you find yourself with bad or no credit history – there are millions of Americans in a similar situation and many lenders that will accept their applications for auto loans.
Whatever your credit, one way you may give your score a lift is to check your reports for errors and dispute any you find. You can request a free copy of your credit report from each of the major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, once every 12 months. If you find an error, contact the bureau and the company that supplied the information to put it right.
Be realistic about a vehicle
Your financial circumstances will have an effect not only on whether you can get approved for a car loan but, if so, the loan amount and other terms. Use auto finance calculators to budget and better understand what you may be able to afford as a monthly payment and total loan amount. Considering the relative prices of new and used cars could be useful, too.
A down payment helps
Making a down payment on a car may not lead to a guaranteed auto loan approval but it will show the lender tangible commitment to a potential financing contract. Money down can also reduce the amount you need to borrow, and so may improve any loan terms you receive. Many experts recommend putting down 20 percent. If that’s not feasible, a smaller amount will likely still help.
Consider a co-applicant or cosigner
Applying with a co-applicant, effectively a co-borrower with equal rights to the vehicle and responsibilities for the loan, is another approach that often improves the odds of an approval.
Some lenders also accept applications from cosigners, who guarantee to meet any missed payments or repay the full loan amount if needed, but who don’t have rights to the vehicle. This approach will typically strengthen an application, too.
Get a loan decision in minutes
The idea of a guaranteed auto loan can seem like a golden ticket to your next vehicle purchase, but you may want to shop around to consider all the potential financing options available to you. When you’ve decided on a lender or lenders to apply with, understanding how to strengthen your application will put you in an even better position.
As an online lender, RoadLoans offers a simple application that takes just minutes to complete, and instant decisions. If approved, you can shop the same day at the preferred auto dealership noted in the loan packet, already knowing the terms of your financing. We have years of experience lending to customers who are unsure if they can get a loan, and helping them buy a new or used car with confidence.
Apply for a car loan online.
* “Bad” or “poor” credit generally is considered a FICO score around 600 and below by sources including the Consumer Federation of America and National Credit Reporting Association (reported by the Associated Press), Bankrate.com, Credit.com, Investopedia, NerdWallet.com and others. The Congressional Budget Office identifies a FICO score of 620 as the “cutoff” for prime loans. FICO scores are not the sole factor in lending decisions by RoadLoans.com and Santander Consumer USA.