Your credit score can mean the difference between driving the car of your dreams and driving the car you can get. This single number is derived from a history of financial behavior and patterns like paying your bills on time, using too much credit, applying for too many credit cards, filing for bankruptcy or facing foreclosure on your home. The lower the score, the more limited you are when it comes to financing a car purchase. There are always options out there for buying a car with bad credit, but you’ll likely pay a whole lot more for them.
Cars.com is a great source for figuring out how to buy a car with bad credit since the first question you need to answer is how much car you can afford. You will need to take a close look at your monthly income and the bills that you are responsible for paying. From this analysis, you can estimate how much each month you have left over that you can earmark for your car payment. Using the affordability calculator on the site, you can also enter the down payment funds you have on hand, potential trade in value of your current vehicle and other information. The calculator will generate a maximum purchase price for you based on your entries. It’s important that you stay within this budget while your car shopping or risk doing even more damage to your credit by buying something you really can’t afford.
Once you’ve established your car buying budget, you can begin searching online for lenders that offer subprime car loans. These are loans with fairly high interest rates designed for buyers with poor credit history. The lender charges you more interest to equalize their risk incurred by lending you the money in the first place. There are plenty of subprime lenders that offer a wide range of loan terms, research each carefully before agreeing to any one loan program. You can also try local community banks that make lending decisions locally. Their credit criteria is often on the more conservative side of the spectrum, but it never hurts to ask the question. Once you have some financing program in place, always pay your monthly note on time. On time payments for big tickets items like cars and houses positively impact your credit score in a big way. And remember, just because your credit score isn’t where it should be right now doesn’t mean that it will always be. Work hard to improve your score in the coming months and you can always refinance your car loan for better terms when you look better on paper.