How Credit Score & Credit History Impacts Your Auto Loan
First, know that everything you do, from buying on credit to opening loans and paying down debt, affects your credit score. This is often known as your FICO score. FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that originally came up with the formula back in the 1950s. The FICO score compares what is on your credit versus what is on thousands of other customers credit and assigns it a numerical value that ranges from about 300 to 900.
The higher your credit score, the better interest rates you are likely to get because you are less of a risk for creditors to loan money to. The lower your score, the more you’ll likely have to pay higher interest rates in order to borrow money. Banks consider you to be higher risk when your credit score is low, and that higher risk means they’ll charge more to loan you money.
How is Your Credit Score Evaluated for A Car Loan
Your credit score is based on five factors: your payment history, how much outstanding debt you have, the length of time you’ve had your credit, what kinds of credit you have, and how much new credit you’ve sought recently.
For auto loans, lenders are specifically interested in whether or not you have paid your lease or loan on time, if you’ve ever had a car repossessed, if your account has ever been sent to collections and whether or not you have made late payments on those loans. You may not be able to get ahold of your FICO Auto Score for free, however you can estimate it. Use this online tool to get a pretty good idea of what yours might be.
Can I Still Get An Auto Loan If I have Bad Credit?
Having bad credit doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get a loan, it just means that that loan will likely cost a lot more than it would if you had great credit. If you fall into the bottom half of the group above you should start taking action to repair your credit. The best way to do this is to pull your credit report and make sure there are no errors on it. This is also a good way to see if there is anything fishy going on, too. If your identity has been stolen or you have been hacked, things show up on your credit report that may not be yours. If this is the case, you need to reach out to each bureau and follow the procedure to dispute the questionable items on your report. Be warned, it can take a lot of time and work to dispute an incorrect item on your account but it is worth it in the end.
It’s also important to know that it takes time to repair poor credit. It takes seven years for delinquent or bad debt to fall off of your credit report so you’ll need to make good habits a permanent fixture of your life in order to repair your credit in the long term. With patience and hard work, though, you can improve your credit over time.