Looking to purchase a new or used car or truck, but have poor credit, low credit, or no credit history at all?

Here are some basic steps you need to follow when applying for a new or used auto loan with below-average credit at a credit union or other financial institution. Keep in mind: everyone’s financial situation is different and it’s important to conduct and gather all of your own research before securing an auto loan.

Applying For a New or Used Auto Loan with Bad Credit Basic Steps

Know Your Credit Score

Obtain a copy of your credit report and know your credit score. Understanding your credit situation will help you gauge the type of loan you may qualify for.

Understanding Your Credit Score

Research Local Credit Unions or Financials

Research credit unions or other financial institutions in your area that offer auto loans. Look for ones who have experience working with individuals with below-average credit.

Credit Unions or banks that are willing to work with you and your financial background individually give you the best chance at securing the new or used auto loan you desire. It’s important to remember the effect poor credit might have on the types of rates you will have on any loan.

Gather Necessary Documents

Prepare the documents you’ll need for the auto loan application process. This can include:

  • Proof of income
  • Employment verification
  • Identification, and possibly references

Calculate Your Auto Loan Budget

Determine how much you can afford to spend on a car, including monthly auto payments, insurance, and maintenance costs. This will help you narrow down your options and prevent you from overextending financially.

A lot of times, your local credit union loan officer will help work with you to establish a plan that fits tour personal needs and finances. Here at Northwoods Credit Union, we work with you and look at more than just your credit score.

Auto Loans With Bad Credit: Steps to Take

Pre-Qualify if Possible

Some credit unions and banks offer pre-qualification processes where they assess your eligibility for a loan without a hard credit inquiry. This can give you an idea of the loan amount and terms you might qualify for.

Apply for the New or Used Auto Loan

Submit your loan application to the credit union or financial. Be prepared to provide all necessary information accurately and truthfully. You can apply for an auto loan online or in person at most local financial institutions.

Here at NCU, we offer an online application process paired with our branches in Cloquet, Moose Lake, and Floodwood, Minnesota that can assist you in-person with any auto loan financing questions relating to poor or low credit history!

Apply With Us Today

Review New or Used Auto Loan Offer

Once you receive a loan offer from the credit union or your preferred financial, carefully review the terms and conditions, including interest rates, loan duration, and any fees associated with the loan.

Making sure loan terms match your financial situation is very important, especially when looking to get an auto loan with bad credit.

Understand the Terms

Make sure you fully understand the terms of the loan before signing any agreements. Pay close attention to the interest rate, monthly payments, and any penalties for late payments or early repayment. Remember that trying to secure an auto loan with bad credit or poor credit might not lead to ideal interest rates.

Complete the Purchase

If you agree to the terms of the loan and find a suitable vehicle in your price range, finalize the purchase process with the seller and the credit union. Make sure all necessary paperwork is completed accurately.

New or Used Auto Loans With Bad Credit: What you need to know

Make Timely Loan Payments

After securing the loan, ensure that you make timely payments each month to avoid damaging your credit score further. Learn what exactly goes into your credit score here. 

By following these basic steps, you can navigate the process of applying for a new or used auto loan with below-average credit at a credit union in 2024. It’s important to remember that not all financial institutions are the same and to do the proper research before committing to any financial decision.



Can I get an auto loan with bad credit?

Yes, you can acquire an auto loan with bad credit, depending on your situation and financial institution. Options are available to you. While getting an auto loan with bad credit might mean higher interest payments, it might not mean you simply cannot get an auto loan whatsoever.

Here at Northwoods Credit Union, we look at more than just your credit score, analyzing your full financial background, not a single number. You can talk auto loan options with an NCU employee today.

What kind of rates can I expect to receive?

This answer will be dependent on a few factors such as your history, credit score, debt-to-income-ratio and possibly more depending on the financial institution. Learn more about credit score and its effects.

Can I apply for an auto loan online?

You can apply for an auto loan online at most financial institutions. The process is generally very straightforward and easy to follow.

I’m applying for an auto loan with bad credit and am not liking my rate options. How can I improve my credit score?

Check out the video below that helps explain some key things to look for when examining ways to improve credit scores and building credit as time passes.





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