Can I get a car loan with bad credit?*
It’s a common question, and a look at some figures provides useful context when you need an answer.
Nearly one third of Americans have bad credit, amounting to some 68 million consumers, according to Experian, a national credit bureau.
With that in mind, you may not be surprised to learn there are many lenders that will consider car loans for people with bad credit. Each applicant’s position is different, however, and whether you can get an auto loan yourself will depend on your own set of circumstances.
But now you know you may have options, let’s explore them.
How to get a car loan with bad credit
Banks, credit unions, finance companies and dealerships are all popular options for consumers seeking subprime auto loans. Financing is also available to many people at “buy here, pay here dealerships,” where a monthly payment is made directly to the auto dealer, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) cautions that interest rates on such loans can be higher than those of other lenders.
Rather than addressing financing for your next vehicle when you’re already at the dealership, consider getting preapproved from a lender like RoadLoans before you go.
Preapproved cars loans for people with bad credit may help the auto-buying process in a number of ways. You can compare terms between lenders, shop for a vehicle like a cash buyer once approved, and concentrate on negotiating the best price for your car when you’re at the dealership.
But before you apply, check your credit. The CFPB encourages consumers to check their credit reports for errors or inaccuracies that might limit their access to credit and the best possible auto loan rates.
Plan ahead, too, says the bureau, by budgeting what you can afford. RoadLoans’ auto loan calculators, which estimate total loan amount and monthly payments, may help with this. These calculators are also designed to help you see what effect a down payment or trade-in amount, loan terms and interest rates may have upon a potential loan, and what you’ll pay in total. For example, a longer loan term may lower the monthly payment, but you might pay more for the vehicle over the life of the loan when interest charges are taken in to account.
Applying for subprime auto loans with RoadLoans
We believe car loans for people with bad credit should be simple and hassle-free. RoadLoans accepts applications from consumers with all types of credit, and offers the same streamlined financing process to approved applicants regardless of credit score.
As an online, direct-to-consumer lender, our short, secure application form can be completed in a few minutes, and we provide instant decisions. Approved applicants receive multiple offers for their unique car-buying needs, and our approvals are valid for 30 days, with no obligation to activate the loan offer. We accept loan applications to purchase vehicles from dealerships and from private parties.
When you fill out the application, you’ll notice there’s an option to add a co-applicant. A cosigner, such as a creditworthy family member or friend, who enters into an auto loan contract is obliged to pay back the loan, including any missed payments or the full loan amount, if the borrower fails to do so.
If you’re applying for a car loan with a bad credit history, a cosigner may help you qualify and even lower the interest rate. “If your credit history is limited or needs improvement, and you have a low credit score (or no credit score), a cosigner with good or excellent credit could significantly lower your interest rate,” says the CFPB.
Where can I buy a car with bad credit?
If your application is approved, download and print the loan packet and take it with you to the dealership to shop. Your loan documents include recommended auto dealers near you. Alternatively, use our dealer locator to find another within our network of 14,000 dealerships nationwide. These dealerships offer high quality cars for both good and bad credit customers, with an inventory of vehicles meeting our standards for age and mileage, as well as our financing requirements.
Once you’ve selected a vehicle within the terms of your loan approval and settled the price, the dealer will work with RoadLoans to finalize the deal.
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* “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.