Shopping for a Car When Your Credit is Low

A few tips:

* Know your credit score, and don’t assume that if it is low you can’t get a loan. You may be able to; you will definitely pay higher interest.

* Consider paying cash for an older vehicle first, and driving it until you can get a loan for a newer car.

* Older vehicles can actually pull a higher interest rate than a newer one. The best financing is typically available on newer used cars, then on new cars, and finally less-good financing on older cars.

* Apply for loans in one two-week time frame to avoid bringing your score down. Each check of your credit report negatively impacts your credit score. However, scoring models usually count every credit inquiry performed by an auto loan lender within a 2-week time frame as just one inquiry.

* When you get a loan, go with a shorter loan period. Your monthly payment will go up, but your interest rate will likely go down so you will pay less for your car.

* Find a co-signer for your car loan. Your co-signer will have to make your payments if you don’t. Sometimes a family member will be willing and able to co-sign for you, but don’t do this to them unless you are really certain you will be able to make the payments yourself.