It’s easy to end up with a bad credit score. All it takes is one misguided decision or a patch of rough luck to send your credit score tumbling. It’s so common, in fact, that more than 20 percent of Americans in 2017 had a “deep subprime credit score” defined as 600 or below. Once scores reach this level, life gets a lot more difficult.
A great example is trying to buy a car. New and used vehicles are both expensive, requiring most drivers to take out an auto loan. Drivers with bad credit scores, no credit scores, or a bankruptcy on their record are often denied financing immediately. Without a way to pay for the vehicle, those drivers are left without transportation.
Luckily, traditional financing is not the only option. So, called second-chance auto loans are for people who have bad credit but are eager to restore their reputation as responsible borrowers. Select lenders are willing to take a chance on drivers with low credit ratings even if their score is deep subprime and below.
Even if you can get a loan with bad credit, you can also do a lot to boost your score before you apply. It doesn’t have to be perfect to get approved, but the higher it is the more offers you will get at better rates. Follow these tips to get the best second-chance auto loan possible:
Look for Mistakes on Your Credit Report
It’s possible your credit looks worse than it actually is. Errors happen on credit reports all the time that lower your score through no fault of your own.
For instance, if someone has a name similar to your own, details from their credit report may have made it onto yours. There could also be accounts wrongly listed as delinquent or with the wrong credit limit attached.
Take some time to carefully review your credit report for any errors, omissions, and inconsistencies. If you find any, there are ways to clear up the errors and recalculate your score.
Consider Payment Options
With financing options like after-bankruptcy car loans almost anyone can get the money they need to purchase a vehicle. But you still need to buy a vehicle that fits into your budget. Use a payment calculator to explore how much you can afford monthly and overall. You should also consider putting more money down upfront – it could help lower your interest rates and monthly payments.
Have Someone Cosign with You
You credit looks a lot better if someone with a higher score agrees to co-sign with you. That person agrees to take on missed payments or the entire balance of the loan if you are unable to keep paying. Lenders face a lot less risk this way, so they are more willing to offer auto loans to people with bad credit. Be sure that both parties fully understand what is involved with a co-signing agreement before committing to a loan together.
Build Up Your Credit
If you don’t need to purchase a vehicle immediately, take some time to build your credit back up. It probably takes less time than you think to add points to your score. Some simple ways to do that include paying down your debt, paying all bills on time, and working out agreements with creditors. If you don’t have the time to work on your credit, be sure to consider all your loan options carefully. Every lender uses different standards to evaluate your credit worthiness, so some offers will be better than others.
Your credit score doesn’t determine whether you get the vehicle you need – You do. Spend some time looking over your credit and finances. Then start exploring all the second-chance auto loan options available to you and any driver with less-than-perfect credit.