Shopping for a new car can be an unnerving process. You want to find the vehicle that will be the best fit for your lifestyle and budget, but it’s easy to feel like the dealer is in charge of the entire process.

man in front of car

This is especially true if you have bad credit and aren’t sure if you can get approved for a car loan. Getting pre-approved for a car loan is one of the best ways to combat this problem.

Getting pre-approved for a car loan doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive the funds, but it does give you a realistic picture of what you have to work with. Pre-approval can help you figure out your budget and give you more confidence when you walk into an auto dealership.

5 Auto Lenders for Borrowers With Bad Credit

If you have bad credit, you may be wondering what lenders will even be willing to pre-approve you for an auto loan. Perhaps you’ve been denied by your local bank or credit union. Fortunately, many lenders are willing to work with borrowers than have bad credit.

Of course, many of these bad credit auto loans can come with sky-high interest rates and unfavorable terms. Listed below are five reputable lenders who work with borrowers that have less-than-ideal FICO scores.

1. Auto Credit Express

Auto Credit Express specializes in dealing with borrowers who have a poor credit history or have even gone through bankruptcy. The company is an online dealer network and has a large database of lenders.

When you’re looking for a lender that accepts borrowers with bad credit, you can run into some pretty sketchy companies. But Auto Credit Express has an excellent reputation for dealing with borrowers. They’ve been in business since 1999 and have closed over $1 billion in bad credit auto loans.

To get pre-approved, you must be employed full-time and earning at least $1,500 per month. There are no minimum credit requirements to apply, and the application process is simple.

2. myAutoloan

MyAutoloan is an online lending network that matches borrowers with lenders across the country. The company is willing to work with borrowers that have bad credit, and you can receive funding in as little as 24 hours.

If you’re approved, they will send you an online certificate or check that you can take with you to the dealership. And there are no restrictions on your purchase so you can buy any vehicle you want.

3. Car.Loan.com

Car.Loan.com is a free loan locating service that matches bad-credit borrowers up with auto financing. They partner with auto dealers from around the country which allows them to connect borrowers with a local dealer.

Loan qualifications and requirements will vary based on the individual dealer that you’re matched up with. You can get started quick and easy with their online auto finance request form. You will usually hear back from a representative within 24 hours.

4. Capital One

If you earn a minimum monthly income between $1,500 and $1,800, you can apply for an auto loan with Capital One. And the bank will do a soft pull on your credit so that it won’t damage your credit score further.

However, there are some restrictions on taking out a bad credit car loan through Capital One. Your vehicle can’t be more than 10 years old, and it has to have less than 120,000 miles on it. And you need to have a minimum credit score of 500 to qualify.

5. Carvana

Carvana’s unique value proposition is that you can take out a loan, choose a vehicle, and buy a car all in one place. The company has a large selection of used cars you can choose from, and there is no minimum credit score to apply.

To get started, you’ll fill out a quick survey of what you’re looking for in a car. Carvana will then match you to a number of different vehicles.

Once you’ve chosen a vehicle, they’ll run a soft pull on your credit to pre-approve you for a car loan. Once you finalize the loan application, Carvana will do a hard pull on your credit.

How to Get Pre-Approved for Your Loan

Getting pre-approved for an auto loan is an essential first step since it can make the entire process easier. You’ll have greater negotiating power once you head to the dealership. It will also give you an idea of what your maximum loan amount and interest rate will be.

Once you know how much car you can afford, you can use an online loan calculator to get an idea of what your monthly payments will be. You can adjust the interest rates and loan amount to see your options.

This will allow you to focus on finding the car that’s right for you instead of worrying about what your monthly payment will be and whether or not you can afford it. Listed below are three steps you can take to make the pre-approval process a bit smoother.

Check your credit

You should always review your credit reports before applying for a new car loan. Even if you know your score is lower than you would look, it’s still useful to take a look at your credit reports. There could be incorrect or outdated information on there, and removing those items could help you improve your credit score.

Make sure your paperwork is in order

Any lender is going to want quite a bit of information from you before they are willing to pre-approve you for a bad credit auto loan. So it helps to get your paperwork in order before you apply for pre-approval.

You should have the following information on hand before applying:

  • Your driver’s licenses
  • Social Security Number
  • Employment information
  • Proof of income

Check with multiple lenders

If you have a poor credit history, it may be tempting to go with the first lender that pre-approves you. But you should always compare lenders because the first offer you receive may not come with the most favorable terms.

The interest rate you end up with will have a big impact on your loan payment and how much money you’ll pay over the life of the loan. So you should apply for pre-approval with multiple lenders and compare each of the loan offers carefully. You may be surprised to find that you end up receiving better terms than you thought.

Summary

Getting pre-approved for an auto loan can make the entire process much easier. It will give you more confidence when you’re car shopping and will make it easier to focus on finding the vehicle that’s right for you.

This is especially important if you have bad credit because it will give you peace of mind. And it can help you avoid taking out an auto loan with a high interest rate. If you have a hard time getting pre-approved, you might consider applying with a qualified cosigner.

Once you’ve purchased the car, this is an excellent opportunity to begin improving your credit score. Make sure you pay your car loan on time every month and take steps to start rebuilding your credit.