It used to be that poor or bad credit scores meant there was absolutely no chance of getting financing for a car.
In today’s economy, it’s not difficult to get into debt and then find you have difficulty paying those debts back. Creditors are recognizing that bad payment habits in the past are not necessarily indicative of how an individual will make payments on a new loan, and have started programs that allow individuals with less than perfect credit to obtain a bad credit auto loan.
If you are employed and have had the same job with steady income for at least a year, your chances are pretty good that you will be able to obtain a bad credit auto loan of some kind. You should bring your most recent W-2 with you when car shopping, or at least a few pay stubs as proof of your income. You may require a co-signer or collateral, or a down payment, but it is unlikely that you will be denied for bad credit car loan programs.
If you are ready to get a new or used car with financing, but have a less than perfect credit history, you may still be eligible for a bad credit car loan.
Before you start car shopping, however, there are a few steps you should take to improve your chances of being approved for a bad credit loan.
Your first step is to see how bad the damage really is.
Often times people are convinced their credit scores are low and they must have countless late payments and non payments on their credit reports, but when the credit report is obtained the individual finds their credit better than they thought! Before jumping to conclusions about the severity of your credit situation, obtain a copy of your credit report from one of the major credit bureaus. (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian).
Changes to The Fair Credit Reporting Act in 2003 made it a law that consumers would be entitled to one free copy of their credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus once every twelve months. Obtain your credit report and verify that all of the information on it is correct. Sometimes there will be accounts that you no longer have, or maybe even accounts that you never had! Take the time to correct any discrepancies on the report as they are likely to improve your credit score. Then, determine the most problematic accounts on your credit report and make it your first priority to start repairing those accounts by sending additional payments or making sure not to send a late payment to them.
Once you know what your credit score actually is, and have a copy of your credit history report, you will see how the lenders will view you.
With a poor credit history, you are unlikely to get a lenders best rate, but it is still possible to obtain financing in most cases because the car you purchase becomes collateral. If you don’t keep up with your payments, the lender knows they can take the car back. In some cases, you may be able to further secure your bad credit auto loan with additional collateral. If you own a home, or perhaps another vehicle- you may be able to use those items as collateral and increase your chances of obtaining a bad credit car loan.
When you go shopping for cars, bring the credit reports you obtained from each of the credit bureaus with you.
Try to get the car dealership to use those reports rather than running a new credit report when it comes time to talk about financing. Remember, also, that the dealership financing is not the only option. You can use the internet to shop around for other bad credit loan options, and can find companies and programs that are specific for people with less than perfect credit.