Financing A Car With Less-Than-Ideal Credit: What You Need To Know

If you have less-than-ideal credit, it's likely that you'll also have a harder time getting approved for financing. This is especially true if you're looking to buy a vehicle. You may receive rejections when applying for vehicle financing, or you may be offered financing with high interest rates and other unfavorable loan terms. Fortunately, if you're looking to finance your next car purchase with bruises on your credit, there are some options available to you.

Double-Check Your Report

Start by ordering a copy of your credit report, which you can do for free by contacting any of the three major credit-reporting bureaus in the United States (Experian, Equifax, or Transunion). Carefully comb through your credit report and check for any errors, as these are more common than you might think. If there is an error on your report, contact the reporting bureau to let them know, providing proof of the error. Getting that cleared up before you apply for financing could make a big difference, as resolution of errors on your report can significantly boost your score.

Consider a Co-Signer

If you have a family member or trusted friend who would be willing to sign onto your loan as a co-signer, this can also be a great way to get approved for a car loan with much better borrowing terms. Because your co-signer assumes partial responsibility for the loan, you'll enjoy lower interest rates--assuming your co-signer's credit score is in good shape.

Opt for a Larger Down Payment

Sometimes, saving up for a larger down payment is a great option for those looking to get financing on a car. The larger down payment you're able to save up, the less you'll need to get approved for financing. As a result, you'll have a better chance of getting approved. You'll also have less to pay off, so you'll spend less on interest and potentially be able to pay your loan back sooner (which will boost your credit).

Try Buy-Here-Pay-Here Financing

If all else fails, try buying from a dealership that specializes in bad credit auto loans. Buy-here-pay-here dealerships are a common example; these dealerships offer their own private financing on their own terms, rather than using a third-party bank or financial institution. They also tend to be much more lenient on their approval terms, so you may have an easier time getting approved than you would with a traditional bank loan. Speak with a local dealership for more financing info.