Bad credit auto loans with reasonable interest rates can be difficult to find. While it may be hard to secure an auto loan with poor credit, it’s not impossible. Many auto lenders specialize in providing auto loans for bad credit drivers.
In this review, we’ll list several auto loan providers that offer loans for drivers with low credit, no credit, and bankruptcies. We’ll also provide tips for how to apply for a loan when you have bad credit and how to improve your credit score. While the lowest rates with the best auto loan providers may not be available to those with poor credit, a low credit score doesn’t mean a reasonable car loan is impossible to find.
In this article:
- Can I Get A Bad Credit Auto Loan?
- 17 Auto Loans For Bad Credit Drivers
- Applying For A Bad Credit Auto Loan
- Tips For Improving Your Credit Score
- Compare Lenders To Find A Bad Credit Auto Loan
- FAQ: Bad Credit Auto Loans
Can I Get A Bad Credit Auto Loan?
You can find bad credit auto loans from a variety of legitimate lenders on the market today. Some of these lenders have minimum credit score requirements, while others do not. However, you will need to show some form of regular income. Most bad credit auto loans require you to make at least $18,000 per year.
That said, it may be difficult to find a bad credit car loan with a low interest rate if your credit score is under 600. When you look for auto financing, seek out lenders that offer prequalification. Prequalification allows you to see interest rate offers without the loan company performing a hard credit check. A hard credit check can further hurt your credit score.
Be prepared to face higher interest rates if you have poor credit. However, you can reduce the amount of interest you will pay on a bad credit auto loan if you place a bigger down payment or choose a shorter loan payoff period.
How Much More Do You Pay For A Bad Credit Auto Loan?
Having a low credit score will make the loan more expensive in the long run. Let's say you take out a $15,000 loan to pay for a new car. You'll pay more than $15,000 by the time the loan is over.
How much more depends on the interest rate. According to Experian's State of the Automotive Finance Market report, the average interest rate for borrowers with very poor credit is 14.59 percent in 2021. These borrowers have credit scores between 300 and 500.
If you borrow $15,000 and pay an interest rate of 14.59 percent on a 60-month loan, you'd end up paying $21,218 in total. That means you paid $6,218 in interest, which is over a third of the value of the loan.
- Borrow: $15,000
- Interest rate: 14.59%
- Pay over 60 months: $21,218
Now, if you were able to improve your score above 500, you might find rates around 11.03 percent. Those few points make a big difference, and you'd pay almost $2,000 less when all is said and done.
- Borrow: $15,000
- Interest rate: 11.03%
- Pay over 60 months: $19,582
17 Auto Loans For Bad Credit Drivers
The list below names 17 auto loan providers that offer loans to drivers with bankruptcies and/or poor FICO credit scores. Several of the companies listed below even specialize in bad credit auto loans. Which lender will work best for you depends on your specific circumstances, but this list is a good place to begin your search.
Don’t hesitate to submit loan applications to companies that allow you to prequalify without a hard credit check. You should only agree to a hard inquiry once you plan to accept the loan offer (and after comparing prequalification offers). That said, if you end up submitting multiple full credit applications within a 30 day period, the credit bureaus will usually count them as a single inquiry.
|Auto Loan Provider|| |
Minimum Credit Score Required
Minimum Annual Income Required
|Prestige Financial||No minimum credit||$27,000|
|Vroom||No minimum credit||$18,000|
|Auto Credit Express||No minimum credit||$18,000|
|Capital One||No minimum credit||$18,000|
|Carvana||No minimum credit||$10,000|
|RoadLoans||No minimum credit||$21,600|
|New Roads||No minimum credit||Not specified|
|Credit Acceptance Corp||No minimum credit||Not specified|
|Drivetime||No minimum credit||Not specified|
|Carmax||No minimum credit||Not specified|
|CarZing||No minimum credit||Not specified|
|Byrider||No minimum credit||Not specified|
Auto Credit Express
Loan amount: Varies by lender
Best For: A range of buyers with good, fair, or bad credit
Car financing types: Purchase loans, refinancing loans, bad credit lease options
Auto Credit Express is a bit different from most other lenders on our list. That's because it isn't a lender. It works with hundreds of local lenders and dealers across the country to connect buyers with opportunities that work for them.
Auto Credit Express can help subprime buyers find loans that have low down payment requirements, which makes it a bit easier to get into a new vehicle. Lenders in the network can also work with people who have had a bankruptcy to help them get back on the road.
Loan amount: $1,000 to $85,000
Best For: Car buying process
Car financing types: Purchase loans of Carvana vehicles only
If you've found a vehicle you love through Carvana, you can complete the credit application and financing process at the same place. Carvana doesn't specify a minimum credit score, but it does require you to make at least $10,000 per year. Be aware that Carvana doesn't allow cosigners on its loans.
Another thing that makes Carvana a good option is that you can get a prequalification offer without hurting your credit. Carvana's prequalification is good for 45 days, which gives you a good amount of time to shop around.
Capital One Auto Refinance
Loan amount: $4,000 and above
Best For: Refinance and prequalification
Car financing types: New and used purchase loans, refinancing loans
If you want a large bank experience, it can't hurt to check out Capital One Auto Refinance (and it can't hurt your credit score, either). Capital One offers prequalification for both purchase loans and refinancing loans.
Capital One doesn't have a credit score requirement. However, it requires you to make at least $1,500 or $1,800 per month depending on your credit. If you are prequalified, you can get a loan at one of Capital One's 12,000 participating dealerships.
Applying For A Bad Credit Auto Loan
Applying for auto financing used to take place primarily in banks or at the car dealership. Today, most companies have online applications, making it easy to request and compare several auto loans at a time. You can also use a service like AutoCreditExpress.com, which lets you see personalized loan offers from multiple lenders at once. However, it’s still a good idea to apply for your auto loan at your local bank or credit union in addition to searching online.
Look for companies that offer a preapproval process that does not require a hard credit check. What this means is that you will self-report your FICO score and income information to the lender. You will then be made a provisional auto loan offer. This is not an official offer, and your terms may not be finalized until after a hard credit check. Do not submit to a hard credit check unless you are fairly confident you will accept the loan offer. You want to limit the number of hard credit checks as much as possible.
While applying, you will likely need to supply potential lenders with information such as:
- Personal details like your name, address, age, and Social Security number
- Gross annual income information
- Vehicle information like model, age, mileage, and vehicle identification number (VIN)
Before you finalize your auto loan, you may also be required to supply copies of your:
- Driver’s license
- Recent pay stubs
- Personal references
Finding The Best Interest Rate With A Bad Credit Auto Loan
Your credit score is the most important factor that determines your auto loan interest rate. The tables below show the average auto loan rates by credit score for new and used car purchases, according to the 2021 Experian State of the Auto Finance Market report.
|Credit Score||Average New Vehicle APR||Average Used Vehicle APR|
|781 to 850||2.34%||3.66 %|
|661 to 780||3.48%||5.49%|
|601 to 660||6.61%||10.49%|
|501 to 600||11.03%||17.11%|
|300 to 500||14.59%||20.58%|
As you can see from the table above, auto loan interest rates increase steeply for borrowers with credit scores of 660 and below. You will also notice that interest rates for new car purchases tend to be lower than those for used car purchases. However, if money is tight, you may still save more by purchasing a used car, though you will pay a higher interest rate.
The best way to get a lower interest rate if you have poor credit is to add a cosigner with good credit to your loan. A cosigner is someone who accepts responsibility for the loan and will be on the hook with collections if you miss any payments.
While it may not lower your interest rate, placing a larger down payment or opting for a higher monthly payment can help you save money on a bad credit auto loan. A shorter loan term may also reduce overall costs. The more quickly you pay off your auto loan, the less interest you will ultimately accumulate.
Tips For Improving Your Credit Score
A good credit score is vital to saving money and has benefits beyond a low interest rate on your auto loan. In several states, your credit history may also be used to determine your auto insurance premium. If you have bad credit, you should work to improve it as soon as possible. However, raising your credit score cannot be accomplished overnight.
Some ways to improve your credit score include:
- Open a credit card: Don’t let your credit balance get too high, and pay off your bill in full each month. This shows lenders that you are dependable and can be trusted to make your loan payments.
- Increase your credit limits: The amount of credit you’re using affects your score. For example, if you had a credit card with a limit of $1,000 and had a balance of $500, you’d be using 50 percent of your credit. However, if you asked your bank to increase your limit to $2,000, you’d only be using 25 percent of your credit. This can raise your score.
- Debt consolidation: Try to consolidate your debts into one place with the lowest interest rates possible.
- Pay down existing debt: This will save you money in the long run and help your credit score.
- Wait: Certain negative factors will fall off your report after a number of years. Hard credit checks stop affecting your score after two years. Late payments, collections, and bankruptcies fall off your report after seven years.
- Credit monitoring: Many of the major credit bureaus, such as Experian, Transunion, and Equifax, offer credit monitoring and tools for improving your credit. Take advantage of these programs.
- Check your report: Request a copy of your own credit report and look for errors or outstanding debts you may have forgotten about.
If you initially take out a bad credit auto loan but later improve your credit score, be sure to consider auto loan refinancing. This involves taking a new loan with better interest rates to pay off the existing loan. You may want to refinance your auto loan after your credit score moves above 660 and 780.
Compare Lenders To Find A Bad Credit Auto Loan
At the end of the day, there are a variety of lenders that work with bad credit borrowers. That's why it's a good idea to work with a comparison service or get multiple prequalification offers to see what's available to you.
Disclaimer: Our research team aims to keep this information accurate and up to date, but you'll get the most recent information from financial institutions. Rates and terms vary according to applicant and market conditions. We do not offer warranties for any loan products or services discussed on the site, and we recommend you read through a financial institution’s terms and conditions carefully when making a decision on a loan product.