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What Credit Score Do You Need for Car Loan Approval?

There is a very wide range of auto loans waiting to be approved for people with all kinds of credit. The biggest problem most people have when financing a vehicle is not applying at the right locations.

Just as there are different credit scores, auto loan rates, and types of vehicles, there are different types of lenders as well. Finding the right lender for you will greatly increase your chances of being approved for the best rates possible for your financial situation.

Pre-Approved Car Loan Credit Scores

One of the most important auto loan approval factors is your credit (or FICO) score. This is the average of your scores from the three major credit reporting agencies TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Most credit scores needed for an auto loan approval relies on your previous payment history. Generally most scores will range from the mid to low 300s through the mid 800s; but that by no means that having a 500-600 score is considered having "good credit".

A credit score measures many different aspects of your borrowing history such as:

  • Amount of available credit
  • How often you make payments
  • Ammount/Frequency of late fees
  • Even how much current unpaid credit you have
  • Plus many more factors

Your overall payment history will determine your rates and approved amount for any future loans you apply for. Let's take a look at a breakdown of various FICO scores that are accepted for automobile financing.

Excellent Credit Score: 720+
If your credit score is 815, 811, or even 742 all the way down to 720 when applying for auto loans, you are considered on average to have an excellent credit history. Meaning you get the best interest rates, repayment terms and an open selection of lenders to choose from; even for private party automobile purchases from some lenders.
A Good Credit Score: 719 - 680
Having a good credit score such as 697, 700, or even 685 is still fantastic news when financing a new or used vehicle. Most banks and practically all car dealerships will approve you for financing; but you may not be offered the rates of those with an excellent history. Most banks will still be able to offer loans for purchasing a vehicle from a private party in this range.
An Average Credit Score: 679 - 620
When applying for auto loans with credit scores of 640, 660, 650, or 644 for example, you will have higher rates on available loans. Most new and used car lots (including franchised car dealers) will still provide you with financing while most banks will take a deeper look into your finances prior to approval.
Poor Credit Score: 619 - 580
Looking around for a 590, 580, 600 or 610 score auto loan? At this range of credit scores getting a private party car loan from a bank is usually out of the question. But getting a dealership to approve you is still a possibility, although your rates will be much higher. Try finding a local in house financing car dealer.
Bad Credit Score: 579 - 500
When applying for auto financing with credit scores around 570, 563, 565 and 500 you are going to have limited options. Most franchised car dealers will not be able to approve car loans for people with bad credit scores. Your best options for financing would most likely be going to a dealership that provides it own financing or applying online for bad credit auto financing.
Very Bad/Miserable Credit Score: 499 and Down
Very bad credit scores such as 363, 300, or even 200 could make applying for an auto loan a bit tricky. As long as you have a steady source of income and a possible down payment, there are a few dealerships that will finance you directly at much higher interest rates and unusually rash penalties.

Get Approved for Any Credit Car Loans

Getting approved for auto financing with all types of credit is entirely possible, even for people with very bad credit. Getting approved for an auto loan on a new or used vehicle only takes a simple application that takes minutes to fill out.

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