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Understanding Your Credit Score: How It Affects Your Car Financing Options

Understanding Your Credit Score: How It Affects Your Car Financing Options

5 July 2023 Concept Car

Securing the car of your dreams involves more than just choosing the make and model; it requires a comprehensive understanding of how your credit score influences your car financing options.

The interplay between credit score and car financing terms can significantly impact your ability to afford and own a vehicle. In this extensive article, we will delve deeper into the intricacies of credit scores and explore their profound effects on car financing.

By incorporating key terms such as financial stability, collateral, refinancing, negotiation skills, relationship with dealerships, financial responsibility, financial planning, budgeting, alternative financing sources, and loan security, we aim to equip you with the knowledge and tools to navigate the car financing landscape with confidence.

Need more help? Want a concrete offer? Looking for a specific model? The team at Concept Car Credit is always happy to help. Give us a call at 0800 093 3385 or use our contact form.

What is the relationship between my credit score and the chances for loan approval?

This is the big question and we’ll cover it in depth over the course of this article.

What we can already say with absolute certainty at this point is this:

A low credit score can make loan approval more challenging, as lenders consider creditworthiness as a primary factor. However, it is important to note that loan approval is still possible with a low credit score – even if you’ve already been turned down by banks or credit unions.

Many lenders, including ourselves, specialise in providing financing options for individuals with less-than-perfect credit.

How can I get car credit with such a low score?

We get asked this question quite often. And yet, the answer is simple: By not only looking at the credit score!

Bad credit car finance providers will assess other factors, such as employment stability, income, and the ability to make regular payments, alongside the credit score. We do this because the credit score mostly relates to the past, not the present. And yet the present tends to be the best predictor of the future.

Even if you can’t pay a lot each month, you will be able to pay something. Often enough, it will be enough to set up a repayment plan – tailored to your needs.

So, in summary, seeking out lenders who specifically cater to individuals with low credit scores can increase the likelihood of loan approval.

How will a low credit score impact the loan terms?

Let’s not beat around the bush: The lower your credit score, the more expensive the loan will get.

Interest rates tend to be higher for borrowers with low credit scores, which will result in higher monthly payments and an overall higher cost of borrowing.

However, it is important to note that loan terms can still be negotiated and improved, even with a low credit score. Demonstrating financial stability, providing a substantial down payment, and exploring alternative lending options can help secure more favourable loan terms. We’ll get into these aspects later in the article.

Ironically, therefore, many of our customers find that the process of getting car finance with a bad credit score is more personal than it ever was at a regular bank.

Is it true that some lenders will demand a shorter loan term as well?

Yes, we’ve observed the same thing.

When it comes to bad credit car finance, some lenders insist you pay back the loan as fast as possible. On paper, this makes sense. The further away the final payment is, the less certain you can be that you’ll be able to afford it. Also, lenders prefer to have their money back sooner rather than later.

At the same time, it seems somewhat ironic that those with less money at their disposal should pay a loan back faster than those with enough cash. At CCC, we therefore usually increase the loan term rather than reducing it. This gives you more time to pay the money back and also reduces the monthly sum.

Keep Reading:
A loan with a long tenure is actually great – if you do it THIS way!
Do THIS to improve high interest rates on bad credit car loans!

Will my credit score influence how much I can borrow?

Most likely, yes. There is a direct correlation between your rating and the loan amount: A low credit score can impact the loan amount that lenders are willing to extend.

The reason is pretty much the same why your interest rate will be higher for these kinds of loans: The lower your score, the higher the risk of a default for the lender. Lenders may be more cautious when providing loans to borrowers with low credit scores, which can result in lower loan amounts.

Additionally, some lenders may enforce stricter loan-to-value (LTV) ratios, meaning they may finance a smaller percentage of the vehicle’s purchase price. At CCC, we don’t do this, as it would defeat the purpose in our opinion: We firmly believe that your credit should take you all the way behind the wheel.

One thing is important to note, though: As a car buyer with a low credit score, it is important for you to set realistic expectations regarding the loan amount and be prepared to adjust your vehicle choices accordingly.

Keep Reading:
LTV Ratio: The Magic Number in Car Finance

What are the down payment requirements with a low credit score?

A low credit score can often result in higher down payment requirements. Lenders may require a larger down payment as a means of reducing their risk and offsetting the borrower’s credit challenges.

Again, this is perfectly logical in many respects. By making a substantial down payment, you can demonstrate your commitment to the loan and potentially improve your chances of loan approval.

Additionally, a larger down payment can reduce the loan amount, resulting in more manageable monthly payments and potentially improving the loan terms offered by the lender.

Of course, a downpayment will also deplete your savings and may end up increasing the risk of default. Although we do encourage a downpayment, we therefore make sure to work out exactly how much you can afford to pay upfront.

Unable to make a downpayment at all? Talk to our team, we’ll try to work something out for you!

Summing up: How your credit score influences your car financing options

Obviously, the more options you have at your disposal, the better. A low credit score reduces your finance options in the following ways:

  • It reduces the range of lenders willing to provide you with credit.
  • It reduces the loan amount you may be able to secure.
  • It increases the cost of the loan.
  • It may force you to agree to a shorter loan repayment period. This in turn increases the risk of a default.
  • It can be accompanied by less attractive loan terms.

At CCC, we can work something out for you by shifting the focus from the credit score to other aspects of your financial situation. But of course, we also encourage you to keep working on your situation.

If you’d like to make real progress, read on and see how the following 7 strategic steps can help you return to the black again.
How Your Credit Score Influences Your Car Financing Options - Concept Car Credit

7 Strategies for overcoming low credit score challenges

A low credit score will undeniably present challenges. Thankfully, there are strategies that can help car buyers improve their chances of securing financing. Even better, these strategies are not just useful for the loan application process. They will improve your financial health in general!

Achieving financial stability is the cornerstone of successful car financing. Lenders thoroughly evaluate your financial stability when considering your car loan application. From our experience, the leading factors in this regard include your employment history, income stability, and overall financial management. All of these play significant roles in a lender’s assessment.

Effectively, demonstrating a steady income stream, maintaining a healthy debt-to-income ratio, and showcasing responsible financial behaviour establish you as a financially stable borrower. This, in turn, opens doors to favourable car financing options, including lower interest rates, longer loan terms, and higher loan amounts.

By focusing on these aspects, you will automatically improve your credit score as well.

Low credit score Strategy #1: Improve credit health

Take proactive steps to improve your credit score by making timely payments, reducing outstanding debts, and addressing any inaccuracies on your credit report.

This is part of a move towards higher financial responsibility in general. This responsibility is a fundamental aspect of your creditworthiness and plays a significant role in determining your car financing options. Demonstrating sound financial habits indicates a lower risk of defaulting on car loan repayments, making you a more desirable borrower.

Over time, as your credit score improves, you may become eligible for better loan terms.

Low credit score Strategy #2: Know your status

Each lender will base their decision to either lend to you or to reject your application on your financial status. Wouldn’t you agree it’d be much better if you already knew this status before setting foot in a showroom?

Not only will this avoid unpleasant surprises.

Strategic financial planning and budgeting are also instrumental in achieving financial health in general. For one thing, understanding your income, expenses, and savings goals allows you to set a realistic budget for your vehicle purchase.

By evaluating your financial capabilities and aligning your budget accordingly, you can avoid overextending yourself financially and ensure a smoother car financing experience.

And once you’ve been approved, a well-planned budget also enables you to manage monthly payments comfortably, stay on track with your overall financial goals, and build a strong foundation for future financial success.

Low credit score Strategy #3: Consider a Co-Signer

A co-signer is not a must for us. But undeniably, a co-signer with a strong credit history can increase your chances of loan approval and potentially help secure more favourable loan terms.

However, it is important to recognise that the co-signer is equally responsible for the loan, and any missed payments can negatively impact both parties’ credit.

Low credit score Strategy #4: Pick the right car

This recommendation may sound a bit vague. But really, it is a key element of every low credit score car finance strategy. Simply put, you are better off by picking the car that you need, not the one you dream about.

We’ve written about this part of the financing process several times on our website. But if you don’t want to spend hours perusing the archives, this is what the process comes down to:

Make a list of what you expect from a car, then find the cheapest one which fulfils them. If possible, opt for the lowest trim level and older model generations.

Don’t be afraid to pick an “un-sexy” brand or model. If there’s one thing we’ve noticed over the past decade it’s that it is precisely these “un-sexy” cars which end up giving drivers the biggest satisfaction. And in doing so, they have become extremely sought-after and, funnily enough, pretty sexy!

Low credit score Strategy #5: Combine your loan application with a trade-in

As you’ve probably heard, used cars are more valuable than ever. That’s bad news if you’re looking to buy. But it’s great news if you intend to sell. Why not compensate for the former by offering your used car as a trade-in?

At Concept Car Credit, we’re always interested in used cars. Talk to us if you would like to improve your chances of a good deal by means of a part-exchange.

Low credit score Strategy #6: Refinancing

Refinancing your car loan can be a strategic move to improve your financing terms after the initial purchase.

This is particularly attractive if you have a bad credit score. And as your credit score improves over time or if market interest rates decline, refinancing allows you to negotiate for better loan conditions.

Of course there’s a lot more you can do to overcome the challenges of a low credit score. We recommend browsing our blog for in-depth articles and guides on how to return to financial stability.

Low credit score Strategy #7: Reduce debt

We’ve made this the final point of our list of strategies. But that’s not because it’s the least important point.

Quite on the contrary, reducing debt is probably the most effective way to restore or improve your credit score. It is also the hardest.

Bringing down debt is especially hard if you’re simultaneously looking for car finance. But it can be done. One approach is to set up a plan a few months before applying for a loan. Act as if you’re already paying back instalments each month but use them to reduce existing debt.

Once you do apply for car finance, you will be far more healthy in financial terms – and you may even be able to get a better deal!

5 July 2023 Concept Car