You may think that bad credit history or a poor credit score would prevent you from qualifying from a car loan. Even if your credit score is 500 or lower, you still have multiple financing and loan options if you’re looking to purchase a car. Here are four steps to securing a loan and buying a car, even with bad credit:
1. Check your credit history: If you have poor credit history or you aren’t sure what your credit score is, be sure to pull your credit report online before submitting car loan application. Examining your credit report will help you better understand what types of car loans and interest rates you may qualify for. You can view your free credit report from the three major consumer credit reporting companies once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com. Try to reconcile any delinquent accounts or accounts in collections that you find on your credit report before applying for an auto loan. By clearing up these outstanding loans, you could improve your credit score, even in the short term.
2. Secure financing from your bank: Your bank is the best place to start when applying for a car loan. As a loyal bank customer, you may be more likely to qualify for financing (or even a better interest rate) than if you approached another lender. Your bank may consider other factors beyond your credit history, including your financial history with the bank and the types of accounts you have open.
3. Shop around for a car loan: Regardless of your credit history, it’s always a smart idea to shop around for the best loan terms and interest rates before walking into a dealership to purchase a car. Car dealers take a cut from financing that they secure for a customer. Financing through a dealership will likely cost you more than going straight to the bank or the lender yourself; ideally, you should secure a car loan before you walk into the car dealership.
4. Consider other ways to buy a car: Finally, if your credit score is preventing you from qualifying for a car loan with a reasonable interest rate, consider forgoing a loan altogether. You may want to consider buying a used car at a discounted price instead of buying a new vehicle or saving up for the purchase overtime and paying with cash.