Auto Financing For Bad Credit in 2021

Do you need to finance the purchase of a new vehicle for your work, family, or personal use? Do you need to apply for refinancing to get out of the crushing commitments of your current loan? If you have bad credit, this might be easier said than done.

The good news is that there are many lenders and dealers that specialize in auto financing for bad credit. Here, you’ll find some of the best options to help you today.

This review will cover:

  • Our methodology
  • Reviews of the top auto financing companies for bad credit
  • How bad credit auto loans work
  • A buyer’s guide for browsing financing offers
  • Auto financing FAQs
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Top 7 Auto Financing For Bad Credit in 2021

1. Auto Credit Express

With over 1,000 dealers, Auto Credit Express has one of the largest bad credit dealer networks in the US. No matter if you fall under habitual or situational bad credit, bankruptcy, or any other bad credit, you should be able to find a loan that works for you. Full Review

  • Get quotes from 1,000+ dealers
  • Quick and easy application process
  • Low qualification requirements
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With over 1,000 dealers, Auto Credit Express has one of the largest bad credit dealer networks in the US. No matter if you fall under habitual or situational bad credit, bankruptcy, or any other bad credit, you should be able to find a loan that works for you. Full Review

Requirements

4.8/5

Fees

4.9/5

Interest Rates

4/5

Customer Service

4.5/5

2. CarsDirect

CarsDirect is one of the go-to services for everything related to buying and selling cars. No matter what your credit condition is, you can apply for a loan from their huge database of dealers as well as shop for your new vehicle directly from their website. Full Review

  • Apply for any type of credit-challenged loan
  • Filter cars by loan eligibility
  • Quick and simple application process
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CarsDirect is one of the go-to services for everything related to buying and selling cars. No matter what your credit condition is, you can apply for a loan from their huge database of dealers as well as shop for your new vehicle directly from their website. Full Review

Requirements

4.8/5

Fees

4.9/5

Interest Rates

4.6/5

Customer Service

5/5

3. MyAutoloan

MyAutoloan has one of the best track records of providing a positive experience to customers in every credit range, including those looking for a bad credit loan or those who have recently filed for bankruptcy. Get up to 4 quotes in a matter of minutes and use your loan immediately once it’s approved. Full Review

  • Very low-income requirements
  • Highly positive customer feedback
  • Usually issues loans within 24 hours
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MyAutoloan has one of the best track records of providing a positive experience to customers in every credit range, including those looking for a bad credit loan or those who have recently filed for bankruptcy. Get up to 4 quotes in a matter of minutes and use your loan immediately once it’s approved. Full Review

Requirements

4/5

Fees

4.8/5

Interest Rates

4.6/5

Customer Service

4.8/5

4. DriveTime

DriveTime specializes in providing a loan for those with no credit history or questionable credit scores. Look for your dream car and reserve it for up to 7 days while you get the paperwork sorted. Meanwhile, you’ll be supported by DriveTime’s highly responsive customer agents. Full Review

  • No minimum income requirement
  • Reserve a car for up to 7 days
  • Highly positive customer feedback
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DriveTime specializes in providing a loan for those with no credit history or questionable credit scores. Look for your dream car and reserve it for up to 7 days while you get the paperwork sorted. Meanwhile, you’ll be supported by DriveTime’s highly responsive customer agents. Full Review

Requirements

4.8/5

Fees

4.9/5

Interest Rates

4.5/5

Customer Service

5/5

5. Carvana

Carvana is an exceptionally modern auto buying/selling and financing platform. They provide financing solutions to anyone, with low application requirements. Carvana is a one-stop-shop for purchasing and financing vehicles with guarantees backing up their vehicles and services. Full Review

  • Very low minimum income requirement
  • Money-back and mileage guarantee
  • Directly provides financing + buying/selling vehicles
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Carvana is an exceptionally modern auto buying/selling and financing platform. They provide financing solutions to anyone, with low application requirements. Carvana is a one-stop-shop for purchasing and financing vehicles with guarantees backing up their vehicles and services. Full Review

Requirements

4/5

Fees

5/5

Interest Rates

4.8/5

Customer Service

4.8/5

6. RefiJet

If you’ve been struggling under the terms of your current auto loan, RefiJet might be the ideal solution. Refinancing via RefiJet can lead to massive reductions in your monthly payment and you might even qualify for a payment holiday for a bit of breathing room. Full Review

  • Customer-approved refinancing savings
  • Prequalification only requires a soft credit check
  • Two-month payment holiday
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If you’ve been struggling under the terms of your current auto loan, RefiJet might be the ideal solution. Refinancing via RefiJet can lead to massive reductions in your monthly payment and you might even qualify for a payment holiday for a bit of breathing room. Full Review

Requirements

4.8/5

Fees

4.5/5

Interest Rates

5/5

Customer Service

4.5/5

7. RateGenius

RateGenius is an auto refinancing expert with a focus on helping customers maximize savings by refinancing their existing vehicle loans. If you have substandard credit, it’s an excellent option for affordable and generous loan terms. Full Review

  • Excellent rates and savings compared to competitors
  • Relatively easy-going vehicle requirements
  • Availability of longer-term loans
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RateGenius is an auto refinancing expert with a focus on helping customers maximize savings by refinancing their existing vehicle loans. If you have substandard credit, it’s an excellent option for affordable and generous loan terms. Full Review

Requirements

4.8/5

Fees

4/5

Interest Rates

4.5/5

Customer Service

5/5

Our Methodology

Applying for an auto loan is always an individual process. That said, there are certain common markers that separate reliable bad credit auto loans dealerships from unreliable ones. We developed this methodology to specifically identify the top providers:

Interest rates

Whenever you consider any type of credit or loan, interest rates are of the utmost importance because they significantly impact your monthly repayments. What is a good subprime interest rate depends largely on your exact credit score, the vehicle price, and your risk profile but we looked at lenders with a reputation for issuing loans with attractive rates.

Credit score requirements

Your credit score is usually the determining factor in whether you’ll be approved for any type of financing. Even among bad credit lenders, there are limits to what risk certain providers are willing to take. Some will only issue loans to non or subprime bad credit buyers which will also qualify for the best bad credit auto loan rates, while others will go all the way down to deep subprime scores.

Pre-qualification process

We looked at how easy and quick it is to submit the initial application and start to get some quotes back.

Credit check performed by lenders

Lenders can either perform a “hard” or “soft” credit check. Hard inquiries refer to when checking your credit score plays a major role in the approval and may affect your credit score further. Soft inquiries can be performed by you or the creditor and because they aren’t necessarily conducted by credit bureaus, they also don’t affect your credit score. Lenders that conduct a hard credit check are typically stricter and less likely to approve a loan than the latter.

Refinancing options

Different lenders may either specialize in new loans for new vehicle purchases or in refinancing existing loans. Not all financiers offer both services. They may also have different terms that apply to these two different types of financing.

Prepayment fees and penalties

Prepayments are a great way to lower your monthly commitments as well as shorten your amortization period. However, not all lenders are very receptive towards them and may impose limitations or even penalties. Even financing options with the best auto loan rates might have the worst fees and penalties.

Funding options

Some auto loan platforms directly provide financing while others work with a network of lending partners and just distribute their quotes to applicants. There are also different types of loans, such as 0-down, no-cosigner, etc. We considered the options available with each company.

Customer reviews

Especially when working with something as sensitive and consumer-facing as auto financing, it’s important to look at past customers’ experience. We looked at reviews from consumer review sites and customer feedback to get a sense of the levels of customer satisfaction.

Detailed Reviews

Auto Credit Express
Auto Credit Express

Best For A Variety Of Dealers/Quotes

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  • Quick and easy application process
  • Get quotes from 1,000+ dealers
  • Low qualification requirements
  • Works with all types of credit

Auto Credit Express was founded in 1999. They claim to work with the largest network of providers for bad credit auto loans in the US with over 1,177 dealers and to have helped over 1.8 million people buy cars with bad credit. Auto Credit Express has also been a BBB accredited business since 2004 with an A+ rating.

The minimum requirement to apply for Auto Credit Express is that you’re 18 years or older and earn at least $1,500 – $2,000 a month for a 6-month period. Signing up is a very straightforward process. You simply complete a 4-step application with your personal and financial details. Auto Credit Express will then send you a confirmation email with possible loans in a matter of minutes. However, the total process of getting the funds may take a few days.

If you prefer, you can also start the application process over the phone. Auto Credit Express can be contacted via phone or email and their business hours are from 08:30 a.m. to 05:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Because of its wide network of car dealerships for bad credit, Auto Credit Express can consider just about anyone for a loan. As a result, possible interest rates can range anywhere from around 3% to 30%. You can also apply for an auto lease, bankruptcy loan, trade-ins, or other types of special financing.

Although generally positive, Auto Credit Express does get a share of negative reviews as well. However, most of these are about the fact that Auto Credit Express only acts as a middleman between the lenders and the bad credit buyers.

CarsDirect
CarsDirect

Best For Its Vehicle Catalog

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  • Apply for any type of credit-challenged loan
  • Quick and simple application process
  • Filter cars by loan eligibility
  • Don’t issue loans directly

CarsDirect is one of the first websites that comes to mind when you think about buying or selling cars. However, you can also use the platform to look for and compare car financing options for bad credit, even if you’re got bad credit. They’ve been in the business since 1998 and have helped over 1.3 million customers get auto loans.

CarsDirect also makes use of a wide network of dealers and auto loan providers. Like other similar companies, this means you get the benefit of being able to pick the best choice from a wide range of options. However, you won’t be dealing with CarsDirect to complete the loan and receive financing.

As buying and selling cars are their top priority, there are other benefits of working with CarsDirect. For one, they have a huge catalog of old and new vehicles to browse that you can even filter based on your loan terms. Secondly, they can also ship new cars to their new owners in under 2 days if you buy one.

 

It also means you can apply for a wide variety of car loans for bad credit score holders for varying purposes. For example, no-signer, 0% down, bankruptcy, or no credit history loans. You can easily apply via the website with a short 4-step process.

Unfortunately, CarsDirect’s customer support is generally limited to office hours with only the option to contact them via email.

MyAutoloan
MyAutoloan

Best For Low-Income Buyers

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  • Limited to 4 quotes per application
  • Usually issues loans within 24 hours
  • Highly positive customer feedback
  • Very low-income requirements

MyAutoloan is part of the Horizon Digital Finance family which has been operating in the financing business since 2004. Their aim is to put consumers in control of the entire auto financing process. This lending marketplace covers everything, including research, financing, and buying a vehicle. As such, they provide some handy tools and calculators that you can use to help determine the likely terms of a loan you could get via their website.

Through a straightforward 4-step process, you can get up to 4 quotes from MyAutoloan’s partner lenders. If you have a good credit score, you can look forward to loans with an interest rate as low as $2.24%. However, with a poor credit score, you are more likely to get something in the range of 12% – 21% which is slightly high.

That said, MyAutoloan is one of the most trusted bad credit auto loan companies with the best customer reviews. They have been BBB accredited since 2003 with an A+ rating. On Trustpilot, they have an excellent score of 4.3 from 675 reviews.

MyAutoloan can be contacted via phone or an email form, though they prefer the latter. Customers seem to have mostly positive interactions with the staff.

In terms of requirements, you have to earn at least $18,000 a year for refinancing, and $21,000 for purchasing a vehicle. The vehicle purchase price must be at least $5,000 (refinancing) or $8,000 (purchasing). Although your options might be more limited, they still have plenty of potential car financing options for bad credit buyers, more specifically those with a FICO score of 575 and above.

DriveTime
DriveTime

Best For After-Purchase Support

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  • No minimum income requirement
  • Quick, 2-step verification process
  • Highly positive customer feedback
  • Reserve a car for up to 7 days

Established as recently as 2017, DriveTime is one of the newest competitors in the bad credit auto loan industry. However, they have already established a superb reputation for themselves. DriveTime operates a network of 126 nationwide partners to provide car finance for individuals with bad credit history. While it’s not the largest network, it’s still above average.

DriveTime also shines in terms of customer support. They’re available via email or the phone and are relatively active on social media as well. They are also one of the most highly rated auto loan companies on sites like Trustpilot, ConsumerAffairs, and BBB with an average consumer rating of 4+. They are also BBB accredited with an A+ rating.

DriveTime allows you to hold your ideal car for up to 7 days while you finalize your financing and make up your mind. However, you get an instant credit decision after completing the application form so that you can proceed ASAP, knowing what your financing options are. The application process is also one of the quickest and easiest and as close as you’ll get to a bad credit auto loan with instant approval.

There is no minimum income limit, although you still have to receive some type of income to apply. As an all-in-one service, you can also search for cars on the DriveTime website. At the time of writing, they had over 10,000 vehicles for sale. You can find a suitable car, and then immediately check whether you can get approved for it.

Carvana
Carvana

Best Buy Here Pay Here Service

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  • Very low minimum income requirement
  • Money-back and mileage guarantee
  • Directly provides financing + buying/selling vehicles
  • 45-day preapproval period

Unlike most companies on this list, Carvana is a direct provider of financing as well as a buy here, pay here dealer. This has the advantage of dealing with a single company from beginning to end, something Carvana claims results in direct savings to you, the consumer. Browse for the perfect vehicle, apply for financing, purchase it, arrange to pick up/deliver, and resolve after-sales issues, all with Carvana.

The only downside is that you’ll be limited to only one company for a quote and you’ll have to choose a vehicle from its stock.

Carvana takes the quality of their cars and the consumer’s peace of mind seriously. All cars come with a 100 day/4,189 miles guarantee as well as a 7-day money-back guarantee which is almost unheard of elsewhere. And, to speed up the process and remove pitfalls, you can get pre-approval up to 45 days in advance. Carvana’s APR ranges anywhere from 3% to 30%, but individuals with below-average credit should expect a rate of around 18% which is pretty steep.

Carvana was started in 2012 and has been BBB accredited since 2015 with an A+ rating. It generally gets positive reviews on most consumer websites. In terms of customer support, they are one of the few companies that offer live chat as well as phone and email support.

Carvana has a very low minimum income requirement of only 4,000 a year, basically making it an auto loan for bad credit with guaranteed approval. There are also no hard limits on the value of the vehicle you can apply to get financing for. The 3-step application process is one of the quickest and easiest along with DriveTime’s.

RefiJet
RefiJet

Best For Refinancing With Bad Credit

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  • Customer-approved refinancing savings
  • Two-month payment holiday
  • Prequalification only requires a soft credit check
  • Limited short-term loan options

As the name suggests, RefiJet is one of our picks for the best auto refinance for bad credit solutions. They also run attractive special offers with which bad credit buyers don’t have to service their loan for the first two months.

 

RefiJet only launched in 2016, making them the youngest contender on this list. Starting out as a nationwide provider, they have already grown significantly in four years.

 

RefiJet also allows for longer terms of up to 84 months which is near the maximum term you’ll see anywhere. Unlike many other refinancers, RefiJet will consider almost anyone with bad credit, allowing them to also lower their payments, interest, and improving their credit rating once again. RefiJet claims to be able to help car owners lower their monthly commitments by up to $150, providing some of the best auto loan rates in the business when it comes to refinancing.

RefiJet is rated extremely highly on sites like ConsumerAdvice and other review websites. Only their BBB consumer rating is relatively low, although they are accredited with an A- rating. In terms of support, you can reach out via email or the phone while they also seem to actively address complaints on consumer platforms.

RateGenius
RateGenius

Best For Low-To-Medium Credit Score Refinancing

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  • Relatively easy-going vehicle requirements
  • Availability of longer-term loans
  • Excellent rates and savings compared to competitors
  • Optional gap insurance provided

RateGenius is another option as one of the best auto refinance for bad credit lenders nationwide. The company has been in business since 1999 and currently works with over 150 lenders nationwide in the US. They have facilitated over 378,000 loans and claim to save customers as much as $83/month on servicing their loans.

Like most middleman financers, RateGenius works by taking your application and using it to find suitable quotes from their partner lenders. Although RateGenius also caters to customers with lower credit scores, they are still somewhat selective. Although you could still qualify with a credit score of around 500 (the upper-end of “Poor”), you are unlikely to get a loan with a score as low as 300-400.

On their own site, over 1,000 reviews have given them a rating of 4.9. The absence of any negative reviews is slightly suspicious, however, ratings elsewhere are also mostly positive. RateGenius has been BBB accredited from day 1 and has an excellent A rating as well as a 4.53 consumer rating.

RateGenius can be reached via the phone or email and they provide a ton of handy information on the website. That said, there are some complaints surrounding how promptly and directly support deals with customer issues.

Regardless, most customers seem to have actually saved a significant amount of money by financing via RateGenius, making them one of the top auto financing dealers for people with bad credit.

How To Finance a Car with Bad Credit?

No decision to take auto loan financing for bad credit should be taken lightly. The following tips will help you prepare for the application process and make everything go much smoother. In short, it’s crucial that you understand your own financial situation and capabilities, what you want/can afford, and that you’re willing to shop around and negotiate. You can also try fixing your credit score if you’re not in too big of a hurry.

Understand your credit score

Yes, even with a bad credit financier, your credit score will still be assessed when reviewing your application. The lower your credit score, the higher interest rate, down payment, etc. you might get. A credit score that’s too low might disqualify you even from some bad credit lenders. Also, keep in mind that a hard credit check may affect your scores further.

Prepare for the downpayment

It’s rare to find bad credit car loans with zero down payment, but not impossible. A typical down payment is around 10% of the vehicle value. Try to save up for the downpayment ahead of time to improve your chances of getting a loan.

Research and compare

Most Auto finance options on this list take your application and gather suitable quotes from a nationwide network of dealers/lenders. Others process your application and offer financing directly themselves. In any case, be sure to research as many sources as possible so you have the best chance of finding the ideal quote.

Find a willing cosigner

To manage the extra risk associated with bad credit loans, lenders usually require the bad credit buyer to have a cosigner. The cosigner will need to repay the loan should you become unable to do so and should be in good financial standing.

Search for the right car

It’s not only about finding a good auto loan for bad credit, but also the right car. Finding the ideal vehicle beforehand can help you prepare for the loan. Also, check whether the site you are applying from allows you to use the loan at a dealer of your choice, only from one of their partner dealers, or only from their own stock of vehicles.

Negotiate for the best terms

A quote isn’t necessarily set in stone. You can discuss financing further with the lender to hopefully qualify for even better terms. Or, you can try negotiating a higher down payment for lower interest rates and monthly payments (or vice versa) as well as adjusting the loan period.

Benefits of Financing Via Car Dealerships

The usual way to get financing is to approach the bank for a loan and then to shop around for a vehicle at a car dealer’s. However, there is also the option to apply for financing directly from dealerships that accept bad credit. This type of auto financing has a number of benefits:

Nationwide interest rate options

Individual dealers that offer auto financing for bad credit typically work with a nationwide network of approved lenders. Via the dealership, you can get access to a huge variety of quotes from different sources. On the other hand, a bank or other institution may only give you one quote of their own.

Smoother purchasing process

Because you are receiving financing and purchasing your vehicle from the same company, it can save a lot of time and hassle. You can immediately browse which vehicles are available according to your loan or vice versa. There also isn’t the same red tape and cross-communication between the dealer and the financier.

Better chance of getting approved

Although there is nothing like guaranteed auto financing for bad credit offered by a car dealership, dealers are typically more willing to work with individuals with poor or subprime credit. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll receive a more attractive loan, but you do have a better chance of getting approved in the first place. You generally also have more room for negotiation and dealers are more flexible, thanks to the fact that they work with so many lenders.

Start building up your credit

If you can diligently service your dealer-approved loan, you’ll immediately start seeing an increase in your credit score. As it’s easier to get, it might be the best way to start digging yourself out of a credit hole if you’re having trouble getting financing elsewhere.

Low/promotional interest rates

Dealers may on occasion run promotions with lower APR rates. This is especially helpful to bad credit borrowers who already qualify for higher interest rates. Some dealers may even run no money down car loans with bad credit promotions.

Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose Auto Loan Lenders For Bad Credit

Purpose of the Loan

First of all, the two main options that are available are new or used vehicle auto financing for bad credit or refinancing for bad credit. For the latter, you usually want to try and repackage your existing loan for lower monthly installments or better interest.

Not all companies offer both types of financing, so make sure you pick a company that has the type you are looking for and that specializes in it. A specialist will likely be able to give you more options as well as better deals for that specific type of financing.

When seeking new car purchase financing for bad credit, you also need to consider whether you want to buy a new or an old vehicle. Pre-owned vehicles are usually easier to get financing for, partly because they are generally less expensive.

Services Offered

Auto financing companies can vary widely in the services that they offer. Some simply act as a middleman, taking in consumer applications and then collating viable quotes from their network of partner lenders and dealers. Others are lenders themselves and offer you quotes from their own packages.

The third type of company offers complete buy here pay here services. They have their own catalog of vehicles and may either offer in-house financing or loans from partner lenders.

In many ways, it’s preferable to use a service that offers everything in-house. That’s because you have a single point of contact that streamlines and simplifies the entire process. You can also hold them responsible if something is wrong with the car, and some offer after-sales support and guarantees.

However, you may get better auto financing rates for bad credit with specialist lenders. The same goes when it comes to the other aspects of buying a car.

What You Can Afford and When You Can Start Paying

Different lenders have different minimum/maximum values and requirements for loans. A lender may require that the vehicle costs at least $10,000 or that you put down a minimum down payment (especially for bad credit loans).

With that in mind, it’s best to start the processing knowing what your financial capabilities are. Even when talking about auto financing for people with bad credit, there can be many different levels of bad credit or financial situations. You should also do some research to see what the average repayment would look like for the vehicle you are considering.

Can You Get a Cosigner?

Car loans with bad credit and no cosigner aren’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but having a cosigner is a minimum requirement with a significant number of lenders. Even if you get a loan without a cosigner, you’ll probably have to make a more substantial down payment or get a worse interest rate.

It’s preferable that your cosigner has a good credit rating and is financially stable. It’s unlikely that a lender will be satisfied with a cosigner that also has bad credit as getting money from your cosigner is the last resort if you default on your payment.

Regardless a cosigner can help you qualify for the top-rated auto loans for bad credit.

Get Multiple Quotes and Don’t Get Discouraged

If you have subprime credit, it may be harder to secure financing, even through a bad credit lender. It may be extra challenging to find a loan that’s suitable and worth it, depending on your financial situation.

However, the best online auto loans for bad credit providers like these make it easy to get a wide variety of quotes from different lenders. This will drastically improve your chances of finding the perfect financing solution. If you’re lucky, you could also snag a deal with low, promotional interest rates, 0% down payments, etc.

You shouldn’t give up after your first rejection, and, you also shouldn’t accept the first approval you get. To get the best auto loans for bad credit in your exact situation requires some research and dedication.

Best Car Dealerships For Bad Credit At A Glance

Auto Credit Express: Best for a variety of dealers/quotes
CarsDirect: Best for its vehicle catalog
MyAutoloan: Best for low-income bad credit buyers
DriveTime: Best for after-purchase support
Carvana: Best buy here pay here service
RefiJet: Best for refinancing with bad credit
RateGenius: Best for low-to-medium credit score refinancing

Key Takeouts

Those looking for auto financing for bad credit should definitely consider getting financing directly from a dealership. Doing so comes with a number of benefits that are particularly helpful for those without the boost that a good credit score provides:

  • Get quotes from a nationwide network of lenders
  • Flexible and negotiable loan terms
  • A simpler and hassle-free purchase and financing process
  • Occasional promotional rates and discounts

By browsing car dealerships for bad credit specifically, you’ll broaden your opportunities and purchase a car on terms that suit your budget. There are also a variety of dealer financing options with different specializations and services. The providers we reviewed in our article should give you a solid platform to begin your search for the ideal auto loan.

FAQ

What is the best auto financing for bad credit?

This depends on what the purpose of your purchase is. For example, you can improve the terms of an existing loan via refinancing. Or, you can purchase a new vehicle with a new loan. To really find the best deal, you’ll need to shop around and get as many quotes as possible.

Can I get a car loan with a 500 credit score?

Yes! You are unlikely to find a dealer that’s willing to consider a loan with a credit score lower than 400. However, 500 is still acceptable for a large number of lenders, although you will probably have to make do with higher interest/downpayments/shorter terms.

How can I get approved for a car loan with bad credit?

There are a number of ways you can improve your chances of getting a loan with bad credit. One is to find a cosigner with good credit to guarantee your loan. The other is to save up some money first to make a larger down payment. Shopping for used cars instead of new ones can also boost your chances.

What credit score do you need for 0% car financing?

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you will get a 0% interest rate with bad credit. For a 0% loan, you’ll need at least a “Good” or “Very Good” FICO score of 700 to 800. However, you may qualify for other types of auto financing for bad credit, such as 0% downpayment.