Do you know how to buy a car with bad credit?
Every day, shoppers buy vehicles with as little as $495 to their name or with no down payment required. However, if you’re a shopper with subprime or deep subprime credit, the chances of buying a car with no down payment are slim. Unless you can find some buy here pay here car lots in your area. The reason pay here dealerships are so important for individuals with bad credit is because most regular car dealerships and their lenders will require “at least 10 percent down payment, or $1,000, whichever is greater”. But at a pay here dealer you actually pay the dealership back the loan so they can decide on your payment options themselves. This is why knowing how to find a car with bad credit is so important.
The good news is that loans are available for buyers in most credit situations. The trick is that the car dealers auto financing staff must know how to access them. Do you have less than stellar credit? Downright bad credit? Here are some tips to help you get a loan, even if your credit has seen better days.
Before Applying for the Loan
This is the time to be realistic about your credit, learn your score and map out your car budget before you start the pre-approval process.
But first, some encouragement: Even if you have bad credit, you still get a car loan. You will, however, pay a higher interest rate than will people with better credit. According to a recent report, 28 percent of new-car buyers and 54 percent of used-car buyers had credit scores below 660. Customers with scores above 660 are generally considered to have good or great credit.
Borrowers with scores below 660 are seen as more of a credit risk, and can be grouped into one of three categories, based on score:
- Nonprime: Borrowers with scores between 601 and 660
- Subprime: Borrowers with scores between 501 and 600
- Deep subprime: Borrowers with scores below 500
On average, subprime and deep subprime buyers make up 32 percent of used car loans, and a bit more than 10 percent of new-car loans.
Average pre-owned car buyers with a nonprime credit score receive an annual interest rate of 9.29 percent for their auto loans, according to the Experian report. A subprime buyer gets an average interest rate of 15.72 percent. Deep subprime buyers have an average interest rate of 21 percent on their purchases.
Know Exactly How Much You Can Afford
Back to being realistic about your situation, and what you can afford: If you’re on a tight monthly budget, buying a vehicle from a bad credit used car dealership is the best way to go, even when factoring in the lower interest rates offered on new cars. The average new-car loan among the nonprime, subprime and deep subprime credit groups on average was $27,159 compared to $16,333 for used.
Here’s how those numbers work out in real life for a 60-month loan amount of $16,333, using the average interest rate received by each group of borrowers with scores below 660.
- Non prime: 9.29 percent for 60 months = $341 per month
- Subprime: 15.72 percent = $394 per month
- Deep subprime: 21 percent = $441 per month
It’s clear that if you’re a deep subprime borrower looking for a $300 monthly payment, a loan amount of $16,000 won’t work. If you have your heart set on buying a car in that range, you’ll either need to save up enough of a down payment to get your loan amount down to about $11,000 (which, at 21 percent interest, amounts to a monthly payment of about $299) or look for a less expensive car. Understanding this before you start the shopping process will do more than help you save time: It will also save you the frustration of looking at cars that don’t fit your budget.
If you don’t know your score or are unsure about your overall credit standing, Credit Karma a free website is a great place to start. Some online credit monitoring companies charge a fee (usually about $10) to access your credit score. And increasingly, credit card companies such as Capital One are providing cardholders with free monthly reports of their scores. Without knowing your score, it is difficult to estimate your interest rate, and in turn, your new payment.
The score you receive online likely will not match the score you’ll receive when they run the report at a dealership. However, you’ll have a firm idea of where you land in the credit spectrum. With that, you can start planning accordingly.
Once you have your score and an approximate expected annual percentage rate for the loan, you can use an auto loan calculator to determine how much you can afford for a auto payment.
Come Up With A Plan To Start Saving Money
The more money (or trade equity) the buyer brings to the table, the better the chances of a favorable approval. This shows the bank that the borrower is serious and committed to maintaining a loan current.
For a guide ongettingtanng a auto loan with little or no credit works, watch the following video and read the information that follows.
Applying for the Auto Loan
Head to a dealership, get directions or apply online. Every quality car dealership should have a process in place to get prime and subprime loans approved and a close working relationship with some lenders. Solid used car dealers are proficient in auto lending and regularly work with upwards of 15 lenders.
They should know which lender will be most likely to approve your loan, based on your specific situation. Just as all buyers don’t have the same credit challenges, not all lenders have the same requirements. The auto dealers finance specialists might need to place a buyer with a recent bankruptcy with a different bank than a buyer who has a low score because of a recent divorce. They know where to send an application for a loan, and it is the difference between a shopper getting approved or not.
All used vehicle dealerships “Buy Here Pay Here” (BHPH) programs will allow each dealer to collect payments through a finance company with relaxed approval criteria’s. The BHPH program reports your payment history to a credit bureau(s). The BHPH also helps you to repair and increase your credit score, if payments are made on time.
Choosing the Right Vehicle For You
It helps to understand that lenders do not view all cars with the same selling price the same way. Imagine two $12,000 vehicles: The first is a 3-year-old economy car with 36,000 miles and the other is a 10-year-old sports car with 120,000 miles. Although both cars have the same selling price, a lender may approve a loan on one vehicle and not the other. A subprime lender is more likely to approve the newer car with fewer miles.
Lenders use a complicated formula when deciding which cars to finance and the criteria can vary among banks. The vehicle’s age, mileage and the buyer’s credit history all play a role in what will be approved. So if you’re approved for financing, you may have to pick a car that gets a lender’s OK, and it might not be the one you had your eye on. Prepare to be flexible. Also, that high interest rate you’re going to pay may sting, but remember that for many buyers who are rebuilding credit, it’s temporary.
Generally, if somebody has made good payments for 18 months, assuming the customer hasn’t created new credit problems, then there may be an opportunity to get a lower interest rate.
Your options could be trading in the car after you’ve established a good payment history and buying a different car with a lower interest rate. Or, once your credit is on a better footing, you could refinance the loan at a lower rate with a different lender.
After You Are Approved For The Car Loan
Make your payments on time. When possible, consider making additional, or larger, payments on your loan. Those additional payments will look good on your credit report, make you look good in the eyes of the lender and save you money in interest while you have the loan. It will also help you to trade-in or refinance your car on better terms in the future.
If you run into trouble and can’t afford to pay for the loan, tell the lender immediately. Some lenders will allow you to make small payments for a selected amount of time. If the situation is dire, a bank may even allow a buyer to miss a payment or two while things get better.
Keep communications going with the lender, let the lender know what the circumstances are and lenders will generally work with the customers through temporary problems. Also let us know so we can contact the lender and explain your situation or we might, in some cases, buy the car from you and pay off your loan.
For more information on how to find new or used cars, trucks and Suv’s and the dealerships to buy them at, take some time and read the following related articles.