Can I Buy a Car with Bad Credit or No Credit?

Couple Bad Credit Car Buyers

Your credit history is a key component to getting approved for an auto loan or financing. Because of this, car buyers with credit problems may have difficulty finding credit approval when seeking to purchase a vehicle.

Although buying a car with bad credit or no credit history may be a challenge, it’s not impossible. Here are some steps you can take:


  1. Check your credit
    Before you start visiting car dealerships, you can check your credit report and credit score. Your credit report is a document containing your personal information, credit account history, credit inquiries and information gathered from public records, which may include bankruptcies and open/closed accounts.

    You can access your credit report for free once every 12 months through the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The information found in your credit report is used to calculate your credit score, which is a numeric value that informs potential lenders and finance companies about your creditworthiness.

    According to Experian, you can check your credit score through your bank, credit card, a credit score service such as Credit Karma, or any of the three major credit bureaus.

  2. Improve your credit
    Once you’ve checked your credit report, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s impacting your credit and what you need to do to improve your credit. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, errors found in your credit report can have a negative impact on your credit score, which could harm your ability to get new lines of credit. Common credit report errors include:
    • Mistakes in your name, phone number or address
    • Loans, credit cards, or other accounts that are not yours
    • Reports showing late payments when you paid on time
    • Accounts you closed that are incorrectly listed as open

    You can dispute and fix mistakes in your credit report by contacting the credit reporting agency and/or creditor that provided the account information. A simple fix in your credit report has the potential to make a difference in your credit score, so it may be a good idea to report any errors you find before beginning your car-buying journey.

  3. Determine what you can afford
    Putting together a budget and savings plan is a good way to determine how much car you can afford. You can do this by reviewing your current expenses, calculating how much you already have or need to save for a down payment, and limiting any unnecessary spending.

  4. Find a car dealer that will work with you
    If you are shopping for a car with bad credit or no credit, it’s important to find a car dealer that can offer you the right type of car loan or auto financing for your financial situation. There are many dealerships that offer subprime auto financing to credit-challenged car buyers in need of credit approval to purchase a vehicle.

    Credit Acceptance works with a network of more than 13,000 enrolled dealers across the United States that can offer credit approval on quality new and used vehicles to credit-challenged car buyers.

The most important factor when buying a car with bad credit or no credit is doing what’s right for you and your situation. If you are in the market to purchase a vehicle and in need of credit approval, Credit Acceptance can help. Simply fill out the form on our website to get connected with three enrolled dealers near you that can help you start your credit approval today!