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What Credit Score Is Needed To Buy A New Car

Should I Waste Time And Money To Boost My Credit Score

What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a Car

This is the hard part. Its impossible to say whether you should take the time to build your credit or take the leap with the current rates and terms an auto lender will give you.

Again, we fix in on that 660 FICO score rating for a reason. Its seen as the benchmark number that classifies an individual as an above average borrower. As such, you should wait till you can get your FICO Auto Score 8 number a little above 660. If you rely on a different credit rating mode, you might want to make a buffer and shoot for a 680 to 700 score range instead.

How Much Of Your Paycheck Should Go Towards Your Car Payment

If you dont want to worry about eating out or going to see that movie that caught your eye, and you also want to put away money to invest, many experts recommend only 10%.

Thats rightonly 10%.

Now, for most Americans, thats not a lot to spend on a car at all, but its a safe amount. But, consider that the average income in the U.S. is only $52,000 a year, and it becomes apparent people need to be more frugal especially in this economy.

How Your Credit Score Can Impact Your Car Loan

Your credit ratings strength will dictate your likeliness of approval for the loan and influence the interest premium you pay. Low borrowing status will net you some of the worst rates and terms, as the car loan industry is not federally regulated with maximum rates. Instead, the lender is in charge of determining your interest rate, and this comes down to assessing the purchase and the borrowers credit file.

The lender will assess factors like your credit availability, any past delinquencies, and how recently you applied for other credit lines. The auto lending company could also ask about your job history, income, and other variables. Most of this will influence whether you get approved in the first place and the maximum you can borrow. You do not need a particular credit score for car loan approval, but having a higher score will make your loan more affordable.

While there is no such thing as a minimum credit score for a car loan, its important to mention that you can still get rejected for having a low credit score. This is even more likely when dealing with big-name players, like Capital One Auto Finance.

If your credit rating is horrid, fix it before applying or find an auto lender that accommodates bad credit borrowers. There are some services with as high as 99% approval for bad credit applicants, so there is a good chance you will find a lender.

Comparing Interest Rates by FICO Score

FICO Score:
$452 $2,141

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How Does Your Credit Score Affect Your Auto Loan Rates

Depending on what credit score you have, youll fall into a credit category ranging from deep subprime to super prime . As you climb up in these categories, you can be granted better interest rates and loan terms.

Lets look at an example. Currently, the interest rate for a new auto loan for someone with a deep subprime credit score is 13.97 percent. In comparison, someone with a super prime credit score can expect an interest rate of 3.24 percent for a new car. If both of these people take out a seven-year car loan on an $18,000 car, the deep subprime lender will pay $10,310 in interest over the life of their loan. However, the super prime consumer will pay only $2,142. In this scenario, having a bad credit score costs the individual more than 4.5 times in interest.

Tips For Improving Credit

What credit score do you need to buy a car?

Here are some simple steps to get you started.

  • Check your report for mistakes. After ordering your credit report, review the information for any mistakes that could be lowering your score and contact the reporting service to have the information corrected.
  • Pay your bills on timealways. Lenders want to know that youll pay back what youve borrowed, so showing that you can make on-time payments will help your creditworthiness. Even if youve already missed payments, making consistent payments from now on will help your score recover over time.
  • Pay off your small accounts. Do you have any accounts with small balances? Its best to pay those off if you have multiple accounts, because credit bureaus may dock your score for having too many accounts with outstanding balances.**
  • Be strategic about applying for new loans or credit cards. Your credit score may be dinged if the average age of your accounts is too young or you carry high balances. However, if you have almost no credit history, it may be wise to open a credit card now so you can start building a history of timely payments. Navy Federals nRewards® Secured card earns rewards while building your credit.
  • Use Navy Federals Mission: Credit Confidence Dashboard to see tips and resources to build, rebuild or manage credit. Use our tools to:

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    Do Your Homework Before You Car Shop

    Once your credit score is where you need to be, you’ll want to take a look at your

    Experian recommends running your credit report three months before you plan on buying a car, in case there is anything that is requiring attention. offers one free report a year from the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.

    The reason it’s important to look at your credit report in addition to your score is because there could be items on the report that don’t belong to you.

    These items could either be fraudulent or they could be mistakes, but either way you should be aware of them so you can resolve the issue.

    Anytime you find an error on your credit report, file that error to the reporting agency. They can clear up your report for you and then you’ll be in a position to enter into new loans showing only accurate information on your report.

    Be Willing To Pay A Higher Interest Rate

    If you have poor credit, lenders see you as a riskier applicant. You may be able to get a car loan, but you’ll likely pay a much higher interest rate than someone with good or excellent credit will.

    For example, the average interest rate for prime borrowers purchasing new cars was 4.21% in 2020. For nonprime borrowers, the rate was 7.14%, while for deep subprime borrowers, it was 13.97%.

    That higher rate can add substantially to your total loan cost. For example, if you financed $37,000 with a four-year loan at 4.21% interest, you’d have an $839 monthly payment and would pay $3,268 in total interest.

    But if you financed that same amount and only qualified for a four-year loan at 13.97% interest, your payment would jump to $1,011 per month. And youd pay $11,505 in total interesta difference of $8,237.

    The Better Your Credit Score, the Lower Your Interest Rate

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    How Do My Credit Scores Affect My Car Loan

    Your credit scores can affect your ability to get a car loan and the interest rate and terms you may be offered.

    Before you begin car loan shopping, its generally a good idea to check your credit scores and understand how they can influence the terms you get from auto lenders for a new- or used-car loan. This is also an opportunity to check your credit reports for errors, which could bring your credit scores down.

    Use A Secured Credit Card

    Average Credit Score to Buy a Car in YOUR State (New vs. Used)

    Using credit cards to build up a reliable payment history is one of the easiest ways to build your credit score. The problem is, if you have poor credit, it can be difficult to be approved for a credit card in the first place.

    Thats where secured credit cards come in. They are designed to help riskier borrowers prove themselves and build credit. The catch is youll have to provide a cash security deposit that your card issuer will take if you dont pay your bills.

    If that doesn’t sound like a good deal, a few and instead focus on your income and spending based on your bank history. That way you can start building your credit without putting up collateral.

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    If You Know Your Credit Score

    If youve already received your credit score and are ready to find a local dealer to help you with your next vehicle purchase, wants to help. Simply select the credit score closest to yours below to view used cars and payment options.

    If your credit score is less than 625, we recommend that you request an auto loan before shopping online for a used car. Our network of dealers has the lending resources to help people in many challenging credit situations.

    Why Is Buying A Brand New Car A Bad Idea

    Theres a very fine line between depreciating assets, and when it comes to new cars, they start out appreciating, but slowly diminish as they age and have their value diminish. In used cars, depreciation is very pronounced, especially after you drive the vehicle off the lot for the Official name for this is the new car hit.

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    Check For Errors On Your Credit Report

    Its currently estimated that one in five Americans has an error on their credit report. So thats roughly 42 million people possibly suffering from a bad credit score who shouldnt be.

    If you do see an error, dont delay. Begin acting immediately to get it corrected. You will want to dispute the error by writing a dispute letter to each credit bureau reporting it. If you can, provide any evidence to support your argument. Do not email or call. Its best to do it in writing.

    After receiving your letter, the credit bureaus have thirty days to review your case. If they dont do so within this time frame, they must remove the item from your credit report. You should also receive an updated copy of your report and score. By getting negative items removed, it should improve your credit score.

    How Does Your Credit Score Impact Your Loan Costs

    Guide: How To Boost Your Credit Score Before Buying a New Car

    Your auto loan credit score has a big impact on how much you pay for a loan. Take a look at this chart of the average car loan interest rate by credit score for the second quarter of 2022, according to Experian:

    Average APR for new cars Average APR for used cars
    Super prime 2.34%
    Deep subprime 14.59% 20.58%

    The difference between 20.58% and 3.66% might not seem that huge at first, but lets look at how that affects how much interest you pay over the life of the loan. If you buy a car for $25,000, make a $5,000 down payment and pay it off over five years, youll pay $1,916 in interest by the time that car is paid off with good credit.

    However, with bad credit, youll end up paying a staggering $12,181 in interest by the time you paid it offover half as much as the car itself costs.

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    Which Credit Score Is Used For Car Loans

    Credit-scoring models from FICO and VantageScore are most commonly used for auto loans, but lenders may also use the industry-specific FICO® Auto Scores.

    With the FICO Auto Scores, FICO first calculates your base scores your traditional FICO scores then adjusts the calculation based on specific auto risks. These scores help lenders determine the likelihood youll make your auto loan payments on time. FICO Auto Scores range from 250 to 900 points.

    What Credit Score Do You Need To Buy A Car

    In some cases, you may be able to get a car loan with a credit score as low as 500. This would be considered a subprime loan and likely requires a very high-interest rate . Youre more likely to get a more reasonable rate with a minimum credit score of 660 when applying for a car loan.

    To understand why, heres an example looking at two borrowers who need a loan for the same amount but at different interest rates.

    Lets say these two people are buying a quality used vehicle with a $10,000 loan. Lets assume the borrower with excellent credit gets a 4.3% interest rate while the subprime borrower has to pay 13.2%.

    Loan 1 :

    • Monthly payment: $229
    • Total repayment cost: $13,713

    As you can see with the math here, the borrower with excellent credit pays $43 less per month. Over a five-year loan, that adds up to saving $2,582 by having great credit. You can do your own analysis using an online calculator like those provided by Bankrate or myFICO.

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    Apply For Flexible Financing At Basil Ford

    Now that you know what credit score is needed to buy a car, you can begin the process today. You do not have to rely on a bad credit dealership if your credit score is not quite where you would like it to be. Even with bad credit, car finance deals are available at Basil Ford! Our team of auto finance experts will work with you one-on-one to secure the lowest possible interest rates and a payment plan that fits your budget. At the end of the day, our goal is for you to drive home in a new Ford vehicle that you love! Before you head to your local bad credit dealership, we invite you to Basil Ford. To save even more, check out our special lease and finance offers for drivers in the Pine Hill area. We are also happy to discuss topics like whether full coverage is needed for a financed used car.

    Fico Credit Score & Auto Loans

    Never buy a new car with a poor credit score!

    FICO Credit Score & Auto Loans

    If you are considering buying or leasing a new vehicle, you may be paying close attention to your credit score. This number determines what your car loan interest rate will be, and will also determine your eligibility for loans. So what what exactly is a credit score and how does it impact the car buying process?

    The three major credit bureaus are Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. The two big credit scoring models used by auto lenders are FICO® Auto Score and Vantage. Were going to take at look at FICO® since it has long been the auto industry standard.

    FICO is an acronym that stands for: Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that developed the FICO® credit scoring.

    FICO® credit scores are the auto industry standard for determining a potential buyers creditworthiness. Using a variety of factors, the company will give you a three digit score ranging from 300 to 850 .

    Though FICO keeps the specifics of their credit scoring algorithm a secret, there are certain known factors that weigh into determining a persons credit score.

    Many people are surprised when they arrive at the dealership, and find that their FICO credit score is not the same three-digit number they saw on the credit monitoring service that they have used.

    If you want to know your exact score before you begin car shopping, simply visit

    Generally speaking, banks require a minimum credit score of 600 to give an auto loan without any down payment.

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    Your Car Loan Can Help You Build Better Credit

    Once you’ve secured your car loan, it will help you build credit in two important ways: payment history and credit mix.

    Payment history is your track record of paying bills on time. It accounts for more of your credit score than any other single factor. Traditional lenders report your payments to the three major credit bureaus, which provide the data to calculate your credit scores.

    Understanding Auto Loan Credit Scores

    Your credit score is how lenders measure your financial stability and determine how well you can pay back debt. Credit scores are broken into tiers. Experian gives the following tiers and score ranges for auto loans.

    Your FICO Auto Score, which most lenders use to evaluate car loan applications, may be lower or higher than your regular credit score depending on your previous auto loans – how much you borrowed and how well you made the payments.

    Your exact FICO Auto Score can even vary from lender to lender. Each lender reviews your credit report information and weighs it according to what they think is the most important.

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    Find Your Insurance Premiums To Be Unfair

    You have the right to request an exception to the rules based on the claim of abnormal life circumstances. This should be done if your credit rating has a serious impact on your coverage. Whether it gets you denied, causes higher premiums, or leads to lower coverage total, you have the right to request that they work around the penalties to serve you better. Further, you can dispute an insurer if they cancel or reject your coverage renewal because of your credit rating change.

    For best results, shop around for the most reasonable premiums and coverage terms you can find. Although, if you have poor credit, you might want to consider boosting your score first. Not only does your credit score fluctuate a $25,000 loan repayment total by over $8,000, but it can also vary insurance premiums by more than $1,300 per year.

    That said, you might find yourself getting the same horrible quotes from various lenders. If that happens, take action to reduce your insurance costs instead of forking the premium. This is easy to do if you have a real-life circumstance that justifies your weaker credit status.

    For example, if you just went through a divorce and your shared debts ruined your credit rating, then you might qualify for an exception. The same will apply if you are carrying a higher than normal debt ratio due to taking time off work after your baby was born or taking on a new dependent.


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