Knowing your credit score is crucial if you need an auto loan. Otherwise, you could fall victim to “rate-padding,” a shady tactic described by an industry insider in Confessions of an Auto Finance Manager: “If I sensed that [the applicants] were uninformed about their credit score, I knew I could offer them, say, two points over [the fair interest rate] and they would agree to it.”
Don’t let this happen to you. You could end up overpaying significantly for your new car or truck.
How to Find Auto Loan Rates Based on Credit Score:
Monitoring for Credit Inaccuracies and Identity Theft
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for inaccuracies to show up on your credit history. These can range from minor details to glaring “credit stigmas” such as bankruptcy, lawsuits, and repossessions. These items can not only raise your interest rates or disqualify you from loans altogether, they also look pretty bad to others who review your credit such as potential landlords, employers, and insurance companies.
The good news is that credit bureaus are required to investigate these within 30 days if you make a request, and most of the time you can get them permanently erased from your history. Additionally, a credit monitoring service such as CreditReport.com will alert you when there are changes made to your credit report, so you can begin the process of rectifying credit inaccuracies or identity thefts before they can wreak too much damage on your financial well-being.
Minimum Credit Scores for Car Loans
Some auto loan lenders do have hard minimums when it comes to credit approval, but few of them ever state or publish what the minimum credit score for their auto loans are. That said, we can give you some general guidelines.
To qualify for exclusive deals like 0% financing, you typically need a credit score of 740 or higher (aka Super Prime). That said, a Prime score of 680 to 739 will typically net you great interest rates on a good credit auto loan. With this kind of score a dealer will often “spot” you — let you take delivery of your new vehicle before your credit application even comes back from the lender as approved. Basically, they know you won’t have a problem.
Scores of 619 or lower are classified as Subprime, and will require an auto loan for bad credit. Poor credit auto loan rates are significantly higher, and your lender may require that the loan is secured, meaning that the vehicle you purchase is used as collateral in the event you cannot make your payments.
However, even 600 credit score auto loans and lower can be approved. We work with many lenders and finance companies who specialize in getting car loans for people with poor credit.