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Car loans for bad credit
If you're searching for car loans with bad credit, you have options.
Here’s everything you need to know about car loans for bad credit, how to apply and what to look out for in the fine print.
Can I get a car loan with bad credit?
Yes, you can. Don’t be discouraged if you have a bad credit score – while having a credit score that’s 300, 500, 600 or anything in between will limit your options, there are plenty of lenders who will still work with you to help you secure a car loan with bad credit if you have a source of income.
Car dealerships and online car loan lenders offer poor credit car loans to consumers who are dealing with bankruptcy, bad credit or no credit at all but have a source of income. You may encounter higher interest rates and fees for any loans you are approved for though. With bankruptcy, the process of securing a car loan may take a bit more time because your lender may need more information from your trustee.
Bad credit credit car loans: top picks
Here’s the rundown on a few bad credit auto loan companies, including how they work, why we like them and what you’ll need to apply.
Standout feature: CarsFast specializes in working with applicants who have bad or limited credit histories. You can pre-qualify for loans from multiple lenders with a single application, so you can compare and see what rates are on offer from different providers that are already willing to finance you with a bad credit car loan.
How it works: Choose a vehicle from the online app, fill out a simple online application and get pre-approved within minutes for various loans that will help you cover the costs of your purchase.
Eligibility requirements: You must be a citizen or resident of Canada who is at least 18 years old and has a steady income of at least $1,800/month. CarsFast will ask for a government-issued ID, a void cheque, proof of income and proof of residency. CarsFast – or your lender – will also pull your credit score to assess your creditworthiness.
Standout feature: Car Loans Canada accepts applicants with bad credit. Its platform lets you compare multiple lenders at one time with the click of your mouse. This means your choices will be stacked next to each other so that you don’t have to compare quotes manually before making a decision. Car Loans Canada prides itself in a simple, transparent car-buying process.
How it works: Apply on the Car Loans Canada website, and after submitting your application, a customer service agent will contact you to discuss your car loan needs. From there, you’ll be supplied with a list of lenders willing to finance you and you can choose the loan that best fits your needs.
Eligibility requirements: You must be a Canadian citizen, have a valid Canadian address and be at least 24 years old. You also need to be employed for at least 3 months, with a minimum income of at least $2,000 per month. You’ll have to show that you have a valid Canadian bank account as well. On top of this, you’ll be required to consent to a credit check.
Standout feature: Loans Canada states on its website that it has the largest lender network. This broker lets you compare lenders with one simple application using its innovative online car loans platform. It sends your application to a number of different lenders who will do their best to woo you into a loan agreement. Using this big platform can help you find the best terms and interest rates for your car loan based on your unique set of needs and budget.
How it works: Fill in an online application, which will require your personal details, job title and income. From there, you’ll be contacted by a customer service agent to discuss your eligibility, along with rates and terms. You’ll then finalize your loan with the lender you choose to work with.
Eligibility requirements: You must be a citizen or resident of Canada who is at least 18 years old, with a valid Social Insurance Number. You also need to be employed for at least 3 months, with a minimum monthly income of at least $1800. In order to qualify for a Loans Canada car loan, you may also be required to consent to a credit check.
Compare bad credit car loans in Canada
What is the average rate for car loans with bad credit?
Generally, borrowers with bad credit can qualify for rates that are as low as 10.0% up to over 29.99%. The rate you can secure will vary depending on a handful of key factors, including the following:
- Your financial situation. Your income, how stable it is and your down payment are taken into account when lenders are deciding on your interest rate for a bad credit loan. They need to know you’ll have steady funds to stay on top of repayments.
- Your creditworthiness. Credit scores range from 300 and 900 in Canada. Where your credit score falls in this range helps lenders determine how much risk they’re taking on by offering you a bad credit car loan. Ideally, you’re staying on top of existing debt repayments before you apply to lock in a better car loan interest rate.
- Your loan needs. Lenders need to know how much you need to borrow, how long it’ll take for you to repay your loan and what type of car you’re purchasing (new vs old).
Here’s a look at how your credit score could affect your interest rate:
|Credit score||Estimated interest rate|
|660 – 900||0% – 4.9%|
|500-659||10% – 23.99%|
|300-499||Up to 29.99% to 46.96%|
Is a bad credit car loan right for me?
It depends on your credit rating, the type and cost of the car you’re looking to buy and your financial situation. Be sure to make thorough comparisons and don’t neglect other alternatives, such as using a credit card to pay for a low-cost car or getting a personal loan instead of a car loan.
Typically, bad credit car loans are earmarked for people who have a steady source of income but meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Bad credit (anything under 600)
- Little to no credit history
- Filed for bankruptcy or insolvency
- Can’t secure a conventional car loan
Getting car loans with bad credit
The process for getting a car loan with bad credit isn’t too different from getting one with good credit. Here’s a step-by-step look at what to expect:
- Apply online. Once you’ve done your research and zeroed in on the lender you’d like to work with, fill out the application form online. Make sure you have everything you need to meet their eligibility requirements.
- Look closely at what you’ve been pre-approved for. In most instances, online platforms will show you which lenders have pre-approved you, for how much and under what terms. Compare your bad credit loan options and choose the terms that work best for you.
- Select your car. Your lender will connect you with a local dealership to make sure the vehicle you want is available. Work with your lender and the dealership to work out the details on pricing, your down payment, monthly payments and how you’ll make these payments (usually through an automatic withdrawal from your chequing account). The dealership will be in contact with you to sort out a pick-up date for your new car.
- Triple-check all of the fine print in your contract. Make sure you understand what you’re signing up for, including how much you’ll be paying in interest over the lifetime of your loan, any monthly fees or penalties you’re agreeing to and if you’re allowed to make extra payments or pay off your loan altogether.
- Stay on top of your payments. Budget each month, accounting for your monthly car payment. Bad credit car loans can be a great tool to help you rebuild your credit as long as you keep up with repayments and aren’t late.
How to get approved for bad credit car loans
Getting a car loan with bad credit is a lot like getting an ordinary car loan. However, you might have to work a little harder to find the best deal. The first step is crucial if you’re trying to secure a car loan with bad credit.
- Take the initiative to improve your credit. Before you apply for a bad credit loan, try your best to get your credit into better shape. Pay down your credit card debt as much as you can and make sure you aren’t late or missing any payments on any of your debts. This will help you put your best foot forward to lenders. Learn more about how to improve your credit.
- Check your credit report. A mistake on your credit report can cost you points on your credit score. You can get a copy of your credit report for free and fix mistakes by contacting the creditor. Get your credit score.
- Set your budget. Come up with a limit to how much you’re willing to spend on a car, how much you can afford for the down payment and how much you can pay each month. Lenders may offer you more but if you’ve already done your homework, you’ll know precisely how much you can realistically afford.
- Compare, compare, compare. Apply for pre-approval with a few lenders to see what rates and terms you’re eligible to qualify with. If they run a hard credit check, make sure to keep your applications within a few weeks to avoid hurting your credit score.
- Read the fine print. Many provinces have limits on car loan APRs, and some bad
credit lenders try to sneak around these by tacking over-priced extras into the contract.
- Ask an expert. Worried you won’t qualify? Sign up for a credit counselling session to have an expert guide you through your options. Visit the government of Canada’s website where you can find a credit counsellor who can help you get your finances back on track.
- Apply with a cosigner. Bringing on someone with a higher credit score can increase your chances of approval for a loan. And if you plan on sharing the car, you’ll share the responsibility for paying it off.
What to consider when choosing car loans with bad credit
Before you apply for any loan, find out as much as you can about the offer you’re getting. Ask yourself these questions before you apply.
- Min. Loan Amount: $500
- Max. Loan Amount: $75,000
- Interest Rate: 4.90% to 29.90%
- Loan Term: 12-96 months
- Choose from thousands of vehicles
- Multiple financing options
- Pre-approval in 60 seconds
- Vehicle delivery to your door
CarsFast Car Loans
Browse thousands of vehicles from dealers across Canada and get matched with financing that meets your needs. Apply online and get your new or used car delivered to your door.
- Min. Loan Amount: $500
- Max. Loan Amount: $75,000
- Interest Rate: 4.90% to 29.90%
- Loan Term: 12-96 months
What to watch out for
Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into before you sign up for a car loan (or any loan). If you don’t do your research, you could find yourself in a financial nightmare or, worse, a scam. Here are some red flags to be aware of:
- Going over budget. Work out how much money you’ll be paying back over the course of the loan to get an idea of how much you’ll be spending overall on your vehicle – is the amount plus interest worth it? More importantly, can you afford it? Learn more about car loan affordability.
- Hidden fees and penalties. After you’ve done your research on your lender, triple-check your loan’s terms and conditions to make sure you’re on board with all the details in the fine print. You may be committing to paying for origination fees or other charges and penalties for late payments, extra payments or any other changes to your loan.
- Extremely long loan terms. Some lenders offer loan terms of over seven years that can accrue major interest over time. Sure, the monthly payments will be lower, but if it’s not absolutely necessary, you should avoid longer terms to save money.
- Being unprepared. Check your credit score before you do any car shopping. This will also help you to avoid applying for loans you’re unlikely to get approval for, seeing as each full application requires a hard pull on your credit, which can hurt your credit score. Also, by knowing interest rates that other lenders offer, you’ll be able to compare and find the most competitive deal.
- Making an impulsive purchase. Of course your dream car is out there. But if you have poor credit, it may have to wait so you can buy a car you can afford and one that has lower rates.
- Falling for a scam. There are some common scams and tactics you should be aware of when you’re shopping for a bad credit car loan. Don’t let a predatory lender push you into making the wrong financial move.
Pros of poor credit car loans
Bad credit car loans are a godsend if you have less-than-perfect credit and need to secure financing to buy a car. They come with a series of other perks too:
- Easy, secure online applications with quick pre-approvals. After filling out an application form online, most online lenders that specialize in bad credit car loans work quickly to get you pre-approved and working with a lender of your choice to secure your loan.
- Loans provided with no bad credit or no credit. Lenders providing bad credit car loans offer car financing for any type of credit situation, including bankruptcy.
- No down payment. It’s possible to get a bad credit car loan without paying any money out of pocket to secure your vehicle. The focus tends to be on proving that you have a steady source of income to make your repayments to your lender.
- Lengthy terms. You’ll be able to lock in a term lasting up to seven years to help bring your monthly payments down.
- Large sums of money. Bad credit car loans provide you with large amounts of money to buy the car you want. Make sure you’re not overcommitting and only borrowing what you need and can afford to repay.
- In-house dealership loans. Rather than working with a conventional lender, some bad credit loans are provided by auto dealerships that offer in-house financing for your car purchase.
- Large inventory. You can choose from new and pre-owned cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans on offer from dealerships partnered with bad credit car lenders.
- Improve your credit score. As long as you keep up with your monthly repayments, your bad credit car loan can actually help to rebuild your credit, setting you up for better terms and interest rates for future loans.
Cons of poor credit car loans
On the flip side, poor credit car loans come with their fair share of red flags to keep an eye on. These include the following:
- Potential for additional fees. Bad credit car loans tend to come with more fees and penalties worked into the fine print. Monthly account fees and origination fees can significantly increase the amount you have to pay back. Some loans will also include a fee for early repayment, so make sure you know the ins and outs of your loan.
- Steep interest rates for bad credit. You may be able to secure auto financing despite having bad credit or no credit at all, but you could end up paying interest rates as high as 29.95% or more for your loan.
- Predatory lenders. Consumers with bad credit could fall prey to scams since predatory lenders know your loan options are limited. Your job is to make sure you carefully read over your loan’s terms and conditions and ask any questions before you sign any contracts to lock in your financing.
What types of car can you get with a bad credit car loan?
You’ll have your pick of new and used cars if you’re working with a lender that specializes in bad credit car loans. This is because most of these lenders work in partnership with car dealerships across Canada, providing them with a large inventory of vehicles, from cars and vans to SUVs and trucks that are both brand new and pre-owned.
You can expect to come across major brands with vehicles at all price points, including Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Mazda, Hyundai, Mazda, Subaru, BMW and Lexus.
Choose carefully, though. Your lender will approve your loan based on how much you can reasonably afford. While you may want a brand new BMW SUV, your income and credit score may limit you to a more economical vehicle. Your lender’s priority is to ensure you can afford to keep up with your repayments to them.
Alternatives to consider
If a bad credit car loan isn’t the right choice for you, you have a few more options to consider:
- Work towards improving your credit rating. By controlling your debts, managing your finances and knowing what’s on your credit file so that you can remove any errors or disputes from your file, you will improve your credit rating. You can apply for a conventional car loan when your credit score is in better shape.
- Use a credit card to buy your car. If you already have a credit card with a high balance to work with, you may be able to pay for your car with plastic. The smart way to pay for a car purchase with a credit card is to buy a cheap car and take advantage of a low interest rate or 0% offer. This way, you pay off the balance gradually without the hefty charges associated with a regular credit card or a personal loan.
- Apply for a guarantor/cosigned loan. If you can’t qualify for a traditional car loan on your own, you can ask a family member or close friend to cosign on your loan and act as a guarantor. The catch? If you default on payments, your guarantor will have to pick up your loan, so make sure they’re aware of what they’re committing to. Both of your credit scores will take a hit if you default on your loan.
- Apply for a personal loan instead of an auto loan. You can also work with your bank or an online lender to secure a personal loan you can use to purchase a new car. Your personal loan can be secured, using one of your assets as security, or it can be unsecured with a higher interest rate.
If you’re in a bind with bad credit and no luck with securing a conventional loan to help you buy a car, bad credit car loans are a great resource. Consumers need to be savvy when they’re shopping for a bad credit car loan though. For starters, there’s a lot you can do to help secure the best terms possible, beginning with paying off as much of your debts as possible and making sure you’re staying on top of your repayments. While your credit score is less-than-perfect, these efforts can still make a difference.
Shop around when you’re looking for the best bad credit car loan to suit your needs. You can apply online quickly and easily and get pre-approved with several offers. Pay attention to the interest rates and fees these lenders may be charging you. Be alert for any loans that seem too good to be true.
Ultimately, a bad credit car loan can be just the ticket to help you get the keys to your new car and aid in rebuilding your credit.
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