BY MICHAEL KEENAN
TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
You might be worried that you won’t be able to get a car loan with a bad credit score — which is 579 or lower, according to FICO. But options for bad credit auto financing are available.
If you decide not to buy new, shop around to find the best used-car loan rates — a small change in rates can make a difference on an average monthly car payment. In addition, talk to lenders about your credit score.
If you can show that your score is low because of something like a sudden illness or divorce — rather than a history of poor financial decisions — they might consider you a more favorable credit risk.
Explore getting a car loan with one of these seven lenders or companies that match you with loans.
Once you know how to get a car loan with bad credit, you’ll be on the road in no time.
Auto Credit Express
Auto Credit Express doesn’t actually make loans; rather, it matches you with dealers and lenders across the country. Once you know which dealers will work with you, you can find a car that fits your budget.
Auto Credit Express doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement or maximum loan amount — it determines those factors individually. In general, however, you must earn at least $1,500 in gross income per month from full-time employment or a guaranteed fixed income like Social Security payments.
MyAutoloan.com uses your application information to search for appropriate lenders in its database. Before you commit, you can take advantage of the company’s interest rate estimator to find your range of rates, which depends on the car you’re buying, your credit score and where you live.
To apply, you must live in the contiguous 48 states and have a minimum monthly income of $1,800 and no open bankruptcies. In addition, the car you buy can’t have more than 100,000 miles on it and must not be more than eight years old. Last, you are required to borrow or refinance at least $8,000.
RoadLoans issues loans for car financing and refinancing. You can apply online before you go to the dealership and you’ll get a decision within 30 seconds, according to the company.
When you receive a decision, it includes information about any restrictions on the car you can purchase. If you get a better offer elsewhere, you have the option to go with that lender.
LightStream’s car financing terms range from 24 to 84 months and your interest rate depends on your credit score and the amount you’re borrowing.
Loans range from as little as $5,000 up to $100,000, and you might qualify for no down payment.
In addition, you won’t pay any fees or prepayment penalties on a LightStream loan.
Consumers with all types of credit can apply at CarFinance.com, which offers loan terms of up to 72 months. The maximum you can borrow depends on your income and the type of car you want to buy.
If you apply during business hours, you can expect a response within 30 minutes. If you’re declined, you’ll be told why. CarFinance.com also offers guaranteed auto protection insurance — which you can add to your loan amount — that covers the amount your loan exceeds the value of your car.
SpringboardAuto.com advertises loans from $7,000 to $45,000 for people with less-than-perfect credit. You can apply online within 60 seconds and receive an instant decision without affecting your credit score.
The company also allows you to refinance an existing car loan at a lower interest rate. To apply, you need to provide your full name, address, income information and details on the car you’re looking to purchase or refinance.
Capital One enables you to search more than 12,000 dealers to find a car and get real-time APR and monthly payment information. To prequalify, you must choose a car that is 10 years old or newer, with fewer than 120,000 miles.
To get a loan you need to have $1,500 or $1,800 in monthly income — the amount depends on your credit — and you can finance between $4,000 and $40,000 for up to 72 months. Your prequalification from Capital One is good for 30 days, so you have time to shop around.
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