Yes, lenders have auto loans for people with no credit, but getting one is not guaranteed. It will depend on the lenderâs flexibility, the down payment you can afford, and the kind of car you want to buy. It may even depend on how you ask.
Phil Reed, senior consumer advice editor for the consumer auto site Edmunds has some good advice on how to get a car loan with no credit. He says a surprising number of people simply walk into a dealership and say, âHi, I have no credit, and I want to buy a car.â He doesnât recommend this approach. Instead, he offers these five tips for people who need a no-credit car loan.
1. Get Pre-Approved
If you have no credit or a thin credit profile, you should try to get preapproved for a loan before heading to the dealership. This will let you compare rates with any loan the dealer may offer. It may also give you a bargaining chip when negotiating the final deal.
If you have a relationship with a bank or credit union, you should start looking for financing there. Reed recommends making an appointment to meet with your bankâs loan officer in person.
âMake a case for yourself,â he says. That means bringing your pay stubs and bank account records with you. You should also check your credit reports, if they exist, and credit scores. You want to know as much about your credit profile as a lender would. If you donât know your credit score, donât worryâyou can check your credit score for free every month on Credit.com.
If you canât get a loan from your financial institution, you may be able to find a no-credit auto loan online. Just make sure itâs from a reputable lender. Credit.com can also help you find auto loan offers from trustworthy lending institutions.
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2. Negotiate a Good Price
A dealership could beat the offer you get from your bank or credit union. However, if you know youâre already approved for a loan, you can focus on comparing rates and prices instead of worrying about financing.
Reed says that itâs important to be wary. You donât want to feel so indebted to the dealer for âgivingâ you a loan that you fail to negotiate the price of the car. And if the dealerâs financing isnât better than the bankâs, at least you still have an approval in your pocket.
Having a good down payment or trade-in can also help your case. A trade-in would reduce the amount youâll need to borrow, and a larger down payment would show the lender some commitment on your part. Edmunds recommends putting at least 10% down on a used car, so start saving now.
3. Choose the Right Car
Be sure the car youâre buying is affordable for you, even if itâs not the car youâd choose if you had more money and better credit. âIf you have no credit, itâs not the time to get your dream car,â Reed says. âYou have to choose the right car and the right amount [to borrow].â
You want reliable transportation you can afford. Making regular, on-time payments wonât just pay down your load, it will also build your credit, so donât get a loan that requires higher payments than you can comfortably make.
Sites like Kelley Blue Book, Cars.com, and Edmunds can help you find information on the cars that match your budget. When youâre at the car dealership, remember your budget and donât spring for optional add-ons you donât really need.
4. Donât Let Interest Rates Scare You Off
Reed cautions that when you get a loan with no credit, the interest rates youâre offered may seem appallingly high, but thatâs part of the cost of having no credit history.
When you donât have a credit score, lenders canât assess how big of a risk theyâre taking by giving you a loan. To protect the money theyâre lending, they will likely treat you as a high-risk borrower, which means the loan will have a higher interest rate.
As you make payments, youâll establish a pattern of reliably paying back money. Over time, you can improve your interest rate by refinancing. Reed says that, according to a dealership employee, a customer once lowered his interest rate from 13% to 2% in two yearsâ time by improving his credit and refinancing.
5. Give Yourself Some Credit, Not a Cosigner
Reed advises against cosigningâa process that involves checking someone elseâs credit and using that score to qualify for a loan. It might get you a lower rate and help you get approved, but Reed says that if you bite the bullet and pay a higher interest rate rather than get a cosigner, youâll have the opportunity to build credit.
In addition, having a cosigner will tie that personâs credit to yours, and the way you repay your car loan will influence their credit. Reed says if youâre going to do it, do it only as a last resort, and make sure the cosigner is a relative.
Bottom line, though, as Reed explains, âItâs asking a lot.â Itâs better to finance the car yourself, pay on time, and build your credit. That way, the next time you need a loan, you wonât have to worry about whether youâll qualify.
Good credit doesnât just help you get reliable transportation: good credit can make a huge difference in improving your financial security and the peace of mind that comes with it. Start tracking your credit for free today at Credit.com. Your new car will get you moving around town, but your new credit score will get you moving up in the world.