What Credit Score Is Needed To Buy A Car

What is the lowest credit score to buy a carIf you’re looking into buying a car one of the first things you need to look into is your credit score. “What score do I need to buy a car?”, “Is my score high enough?” are the thoughts that run through many of our heads.

There’s a common misconception about credit ratings – nowadays they don’t determine whether or not you get approved for a loan. There’s hundreds of lenders who sell debt to people with low ratings, and even offer guaranteed approval.

This doesn’t mean your financial rating doesn’t matter… More than the price of the car, your financial rating will have a huge impact on the loan terms you get. It’s incredible how much an intangible number can impact your financial situation

If you have a good rating, you will get a low interest rate, but if you have a bad rating, you will get a very high interest rate and end up paying thousands of dollars above the price of the car.

When you finance a car, your loan comes with an interest rate. This interest rate determines the amount of money ABOVE the price of the car that you will be paying. The way most loans work is that you are lent a sum of money, of which you have to make payments to every month. Each month, part of your payment will go towards paying off your principal (the amount of your loan) and another portion will go towards paying interest.

The interest rate you pay is called an APR – Annual Percentage Rate. For cars, these rates usually vary between 2%-8% and sometimes even more. If you get a $30,000 loan at a 5% APR (30,000 x 0.05) you pay 1,500 a year just on interest. Now, if your rate is 1%, you would be paying $3,000 a year. Huge difference.

That’s why it’s important to note that being “approved” for a loan isn’t necessarily something to be celebrated on it’s own. The terms are very important, and your financial rating is the largest determinant of the terms you get.

What’s a good credit rating to buy a car?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer to that question. There’s a few different reporting agencies, including TransUnion, Experian, VantageScore, and FICO. Each of these reports scores differently. Most people’s ratings fall somewhere between 300 and 850. Those numbers may lead you to think that 600 is a good rating, but it’s actually not.

What is the lowest credit score to buy a carExcellent – 800+

A score of 800 or above means that you have an excellent credit rating, and will qualify for the best loan terms – including high debt limits and low interest rates.

Any score within the above range is a good score. People with a rating within this range will qualify for competitive loan terms.

Scores within this range are within the median of ratings. If you’re within this range, you should get fair loan terms.

Ratings within this range are below the average and are considered “fair”. If you fall within this range, you may be denied by many creditors, and receive less than ideal loan terms from lenders who do approve you.

A rating in or under the 500’s isn’t great. If you fall within this range, you may be denied by many lenders, and be given very bad loan terms by the ones who do approve you. You can expect to see APR rates at least 3% higher than the market average.

If your rating is anything below good, you should take a lot of consideration into your decision to finance a car. Remember that it is a huge financial commitment, and that you will have to make payments on that car for years. Even you’re financially able to make the payments now, if you don’t know where you’ll be 3 years from now, it may not be a good idea to get a loan.

Ratings aren’t there just to haunt you and make your life difficult – they actually mean something. They determine the probability you have of being able to pay off debt, and the probability of you going bankrupt.

If your rating is very low, you may want to focus on building and repairing it before you begin looking for a car. Working on repairing your score for one year could have an enormous effect on the terms you get. Even a 0.5% difference in APR rate could mean thousands of dollars in savings.

Repairing your score may feel impossible, but it’s not! It’s like a diet, you won’t see results from one day to another, but if you’re committed, you will see steady improvement. Here are a few things you can do to increase your credit score to buy a car:

You should know more than just what your score is, you need to study your report. Find out why your score is what it is. Do you carry a lot of debt? Have you made late payments? Do you max or get close to maxing your credit cards? There’s a lot that goes into your rating, so find out what’s bringing your score down, and focus on that! You can check your credit score for free on sites like Credit Karma.

Mistakes do happen. It’s possible that your credit report has errors. Once you’ve studied your report, you should be able to find any errors present. If you do find errors, you can dispute them through the reporting agencies.

Now that you’ve checked your report and disputed any mistakes on your account, it’s time to begin the repairing process.

One of the first things you should do to repair your score (and before considering buying more debt) is reduce any existing debt. Make a list of all of the accounts you owe money on, and then devise a payment plan. Paying all of your debt off immediately may not be feasible, so make a payment schedule and stick to it.

It’s amazing how much a late or missed payment can affect your rating. If you have a long history of late payments, the best thing you can do is begin paying your bills on time, and continue doing so.

If you have a credit card, you should be aware of the way your spending habits impact your credit rating. Do you have a maximum amount of credit per month? You shouldn’t be spending anything close to that amount on your cards. If you need to, do so, but don’t use your credit card for every purchase just to get “points” or accrue rewards.

If your number is low because you have no history, then you may want to consider getting a small loan to build your payment history. If you’re considering buying a car, then you could get a lower priced vehicle, put down a large down payment, and make monthly payments on your loan. Don’t buy an expensive car if you have a low credit score. 10% interest on $20,000 is A LOT more than $10 interest on $5,000. It’s advisable to take out a small loan until you have a higher credit score, and then take out a larger loan.

If you’re wondering what financial number you need to buy a car, you now know that there’s no minimum number needed, but you need to have a good credit score to receive good loan terms.

Taking out a loan is a huge commitment, so you should never rush into it. Make sure you carefully consider your financial situation and the impact that the loan will have on your lifestyle. Better safe than sorry ;).


What Is a Good Credit Score for a Car Loan

Should you decide to make a large purchase, a bad credit score could become a massive obstacle and often a deal-breaker. With the current market, it would be very challenging to get a mortgage loan with credit scores under 600 (the range being 300-850). However, things are a little different for auto loans.

Rich Hyde, the COO of Prestige Financial Services, stated: “There is no minimum credit score to get a loan. Various lenders offer different chances and use various factors for evaluation.”

These factors include things such as your debt-to-payment and debt-to-income ratios, prior payment experiences, and employment history. The type of car you want to finance and down payment size are also considered. The overall loan cost will depend on the loan term and monthly car payment amounts. With smart calculations, even bad credit score could get approved.

What is the lowest credit score to buy a car

Image credit: Todd Lappin / Flickr

Over the recent years, there has been an increase in low credit scores being approved for auto financing. According to Experian, the average credit score for new vehicle loans was 711 in the 4 th quarter of 2015 and 712 a year prior. The average has been steadily decreasing for the past 6 years. Another fact is that people who are purchasing used vehicles often go with a lower credit score, compared to those who are buying new models. The exact number has decreased from 659 to 649 over the past few years.

Melinda Zabritski, Experian Automotive’s senior director of automotive financing stated that “more and more consumers with low scores are able to get approved for auto loans. The market has practically converted back to the pre-recession status.”

What is the lowest credit score to buy a car

Image credit: Images Money / Flickr

There are various types of auto lenders on the market, and each one targets a different credit tier. But the real issue is not just getting approved, but finding a loan that is affordable and within your budget. The lower your credit score, the higher your interest rates will be. Zabritski suggested having a score of at least 700: “it opens many doors, and you will be more likely to get offers. If your score is higher than 720, you will often get the best offers available.”

What is the lowest credit score to buy a car

Image credit: Richard Wadd / Flickr

Many credit scoring models allow shopping around for the perfect auto loan and count multiple inquiries that happen in a short period of time as a single hard inquiry on your credit report (having several hard inquiries on your report can harm your score). Prior to searching for a vehicle, look at your credit score and imagine what it may look like to a lender going through your application. There are sites that can keep you updated on your credit score. If you find your credit score is low, they can also help you determine a plan for increasing it.

When you’re ready to take the next step and apply for an auto loan, be sure to take your time and compare different offers to find the best one for you. And if you already have an experience of applying, share the wisdom in the comments below!

[Featured image credit: Nicholas Erwin / Flickr, used under BY NC ND, image cropped]


What credit score is needed to buy a car?

What is the lowest credit score to buy a car

We all know what a good credit score means in terms of getting a mortgage or in this case buying a car.

The better the credit score you have, the better the interest rate will be on the loan you get for your new car purchase.

Buying a car soon? Check your credit first!

See your credit scores and reports from all 3 bureaus.

However, where does it stop with these kinds of savings?

Do we really need a 800 credit score to have the best possible solution in buying anything?

If that were so, none of us would be driving anything, and public transportation would bloom.

Sure, having an excellent credit score is always a good thing, but what if you simply don’t have it?

Reasons for this are plenty.

Some of them are not our own fault, some of them could and should be improved, but the point here is that getting a good deal on a loan for buying a car is not something we should dismiss in our minds just because we don’t have an excellent credit score.

Do you need a good credit score for car loan?

What is the lowest credit score to buy a car

As we mentioned before, if you have an average credit score, there won’t be any problem for you to get a loan for a new car.

However, the question here is not whether you can get the loan, rather than what kind of loan are we speaking of.

A credit score with an average of 650 points and lower is often the hand brake for many in thinking about getting a loan for a new car.

What’s the minimum credit score for an auto loan?

The minimum credit score to get an auto loan is not really specified by any regulation.

Sure, if you’re score is extremely damaged, you might have problems getting a loan altogether.

But if you’re in a situation like that, you might not even be thinking of getting a car in the first place.

Positive thinking can get you a long way.

Having a mindset that sees a credit score of 700 as the minimum for an auto loan is often the best way of avoiding high and unnecessary interests and can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Improve you credit score before getting a loan

With this in mind, we would suggest that the best way of getting a good auto loan deal is trying to improve your credit score first.

Even a small bump in your credit score rating can get you a long way in terms of getting a better deal when buying a car. Inform yourself about the possibilities of improving your credit score. If you need to, wait 6 or 12 months to see your credit score improve and then start looking for an auto loan.

However, if you simply can’t wait and need to buy a car regardless of your current credit score, you should still inform yourself about all the different loans you can get with your current credit score range.

There are a lot of nuances and differences in auto loans, and knowing some of them can get you a long way in saving money, regardless of the credit score you have.


What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a Car?

What is the lowest credit score to buy a car

November 13th, 2014

What is the lowest credit score to buy a car

One of the top mistakes people make when buying a new car, or refinancing an auto loan, is not checking their credit score before they go car shopping. In fact, most people wait until they find the car they want; then they have the dealer check their credit.

Don#8217;t be like most people.

Shopping this way puts you in a bad position, because it allows car dealership and financing companies to perhaps charge you a higher rate than you deserve. When buying a car, one of the first things you should do is check your credit report and score. If you already know what your score is, you#8217;ll know what credit grade or financing tier you belong in and what interest rate you should be offered. Checking in advance also allows you to fix any mistakes on your credit report before you hit the showroom. You can then be confident of being approved for your financing and can concentrate on getting the best deal on your vehicle purchase.

There are three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. These bureaus gather information on your credit payment history, which forms the basis of your credit report. The report they compile includes your current address and past addresses; the amount of debt you carry, what kind of debt it is, the lenders#8217; names, and your debt payment history, how often credit report inquiries are made and your history of liens and bankruptcies.

Each bureau takes your credit report information and uses it to score your credit. Your credit score is a number between 300 and 850, with 850 being the best credit score and 300 the worst. Lenders use your credit score as a general indicator of your creditworthiness, so if your credit score is low, you will probably be charged higher interest rates. Generally speaking those with credit scores under 550 will likely want to improve their credit before they apply for a loan.

There are several factors that affect your credit score, including what types of credit you have, how much debt you carry and your payment history. Keep in mind that the best rates on your auto loan go to people with higher credit scores, so do what you can to improve yours before you buy a car.

You can see your credit score for free and get suggestions on how to improve it through LendingTree#8217;s MoneyCenter. MoneyCenter lets you track your score over time (at no cost to you) and monitor your progress as you improve your money habits. You can request a free credit report annually from any of the three major credit bureaus. That means that you can check your credit report every four months without paying a fee.

Mistakes can happen, especially for people with similar names or Social Security numbers. Sometimes accounts that you closed still show as open, or accounts that aren#8217;t even yours appear on your credit report. That#8217;s why it#8217;s important to check your credit before you start the car buying process. Not doing so can increase your interest rate, making you pay more money for your car.

If there is an error on your credit report that could negatively impact your credit score, you want to have plenty of time to contact the bureaus and get the error corrected. All you need to do to correct an error is write the credit bureau, and explain which information is inaccurate. The credit agency must investigate the items in question, usually within 30 days. Then you#8217;ll get written confirmation of the corrections.

If you discover that your credit report is accurate, but your credit score is low, you may want to try to improve it. It may take several months to improve your credit score by paying down your debt and paying all your bills on time. If waiting isn#8217;t an option, there are auto loans for bad credit available. In some cases you can be connected directly with a used car dealership that specializes in helping you rebuild your credit with your auto loan.


What is the Minimum Credit Score to Lease a Car?

Even with poor credit.

It is difficult to determine the minimum credit score needed in order to lease a car. There are a lot of factors in play, including the leasing company you're applying with, so there is no way to put a specific number on it.

That being said, there are a few things we can state with confidence. To start, the most enticing lease offers, those you see and hear about in advertisements, are reserved for people with the best credit scores. These leases usually require credit scores of over 700, as these applicants will fall into the prime or super prime credit tiers.

Lenders begin to classify applicants in the subprime credit tier when their ratings drop below around 620 or 600. More flexible lenders may still be willing to let these people lease on a case-by-case basis. However, the terms of the lease will be less ideal. Your chances of qualifying for any low-interest or no down payment lease contracts are very slim.

Finally, if your credit score is below 600, this is when it will become next to impossible to lease a car.

So, to sum up, there is no minimum credit score needed to lease a car because of all of the factors involved. In some cases, it's possible for somebody with a credit score below 600 to be approved. In others, certain lenders will not be willing to approve these people. But, in order to qualify for the lowest lease rates and best terms, it's clear you'll want a credit score in the prime or super prime range (above 700).

But if your credit isn't perfect and you still want to lease a car, there are a few things you need to keep in mind as you search for a lease contract.

Tips to Qualify to Lease a Car with Less Than Perfect Credit

Most people lease a car only for the period of time they are using it. Although you do not own the vehicle when the contract is up, lessees usually experience lower monthly payments, a shorter contract, less maintenance worries, and a chance to boost their credit.

But if you have imperfect credit, leasing may not be your best option. That's because not only will you have a more difficult time getting approved, you also won't be able to qualify for the best interest rate and you'll be required to provide a security deposit. Additionally, you may also be required to make a down payment.

There are some things you can do to put yourself in a better position to get approved for a lease with a lower credit score.

  • Check your credit beforehand - Leasing is done in tiers. Applicants with better credit scores will qualify for higher tiers and get better rates. But you can save yourself any surprises at the dealership by checking your credit reports and scores beforehand. Then you can get an idea of where you stand and address any glaring issues with your credit if you choose to. You can also dispute any mistakes you may find on your credit reports.
  • Know your budget and be realistic with your vehicle options - Understand that a lower credit score will mean you won't qualify for the best lease offers. Expect to pay a higher interest rate and keep that in mind with your budget. Also, you will want to make sure that any vehicles you are considering keep you well within your budget. It will be easier to get approved for a vehicle with lower monthly payments that you can comfortably afford.
  • Prepare a security deposit and, potentially, a down payment - If you have bad credit, you will almost always be asked to pay a security deposit AND the first month's payment upfront. Additionally, it is possible that you will also be required to make a down payment. A down payment reduces the cap cost of the lease, which will lower your monthly payment amount and increase your approval chances.
  • Shop around - Leases today are largely controlled by the captive finance arm of the auto manufacturer. For example, Toyota Financial Services does most of the leases for Toyota vehicles through their franchised dealerships. The point being: each will have different requirements. So, it's in your best interest to call up several dealerships in your area and ask about the likelihood of somebody with your credit score to be approved for a lease. Try to obtain several quotes to narrow down your options.

While it will be more difficult to qualify for a lease with a lower credit score, it's not impossible. Following these tips can certainly improve your chances of getting approved.

And if all else fails, you may have to get a co-signer or you may be forced to postpone leasing until you have improved your credit score to the point where you can qualify.

Or, you could reconsider your plans and opt for a bad credit auto loan instead of a lease. Generally speaking, leasing is more difficult to qualify for than a subprime loan for a new or used car.

At CarsDirect, we help people dealing with credit issues find a dealership in their area that will do whatever they can to get them approved for auto financing. We make it easier and faster for people with less than perfect credit to get their next car. You can be next if you start by filling out our simple 1-Step Auto Loan Application.