It’s no secret that having bad credit can make qualifying for a loan pretty challenging. Many people with bad credit or no credit who try to get approved for financing often hear “no” from auto lenders and finance companies. But everyone deserves a second chance to improve their credit, get approved for vehicle financing, and purchase a reliable car.
The first step towards improving your credit is understanding your credit score, the numeric value that finance companies and many other businesses reference to estimate the likelihood of you paying back what you owe. Many scores range from 300-850, with scores of 700 and above generally considered prime, while scores below 650 are often considered subprime. Your credit score is generally based on information in your credit report. This information is reported by your creditors to credit reporting companies. The three biggest are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Once you have a sound knowledge of your credit history, you can start taking active steps to improve your credit. This includes:
- Paying your bills on time, every time.
One way to make sure your payments are on time is to set up automatic payments, or set up electronic reminders. If you have missed payments, get current and stay current.
- Avoid getting close to your credit limit.
Credit scoring models may look at how close you are to being "maxed out," so try to keep your balances low in proportion to your overall credit limit. Experts advise keeping your use of credit at no more than 30 percent of your total credit limit.
- A long credit history will help your score.
Credit scores are generally based on experience over time. Your score should improve the longer you have credit, open different types of accounts, and pay back what you owe on time.
- Being careful when closing accounts.
If you close some credit card accounts and put most or all of your credit card balances onto one card, it may hurt your credit score if you are using a high percentage of your total credit limit. Frequently opening accounts and transferring balances may hurt your score too.
- Only apply for credit you need.
Credit scores may consider your recent credit activity as an indicator of your need for credit. If you apply for a lot of credit over a short period of time, it may appear that your economic circumstances have changed for the worse.
Although having good credit generally results in getting easy car loan approvals, if you’ve had credit challenges, including bad credit or no credit, you can still receive credit approval from dealers enrolled with Credit Acceptance. To learn more about managing and improving your credit score, click here.
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