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How to get a car loan with a low income

Low income doesn't have to stop you from getting a car loan. Here's how to get approved.

The average car payment in Canada is over $1,050 for a new car and almost $600 for a used car. That’s a lot of money for most of us, and if you only receive a low monthly income, you may find it difficult to qualify for a car loan.

The good news is that it’s still possible to find car loans for low income in Canada. Keep reading for tips on comparing low income car loans and maximizing your chances of getting approved.

Can I get a car loan with a low income?

Yes—but only from some lenders. Compared to alternative lenders, traditional loan providers like banks tend to have higher income requirements among their eligibility criteria. So, you’ll need to look for lenders with more lenient eligibility requirements.

However, before approving your application, the lender will still need to determine whether you can afford to repay the loan. They’ll consider your income, employment history, existing debts and other regular expenses before deciding whether to give you a loan.

Compare low income car loans

1 - 5 of 5
Name Product Ratings APR Range Loan Amount Loan Term Requirements Broker Compliance
CarsFast Car Loans
Customer Survey:
★★★★★
3.90% - 29.90%
$500 - $75,000
12 - 96 months
Requirements: Min. income of $2,000 /month, 3+ months employed
CarsFast will connect you with a dealership near you to help you find the right financing.
Loans Canada Car Loans
Customer Survey:
★★★★★
0% - 46.96%
$500 - $50,000
3 - 60 months
Requirements: Min. income of $1,800 /month, 3+ months employed
Loans Canada is a loan search platform. Get matched with a suitable dealer based on your credit history and borrowing requirements.
Approval Genie
Not yet rated
3.90% - 29.90%
$500 - $75,000
12 - 96 months
Requirements: Min. income of $2,000 /month, 3+ months employed, Ontario only
Get customized car loan and auto financing solutions for a used vehicle that fits your budget and lifestyle.
Dealerhop Car Loans
Not yet rated
6.99% - 29.99%
$7,000 - $50,000
12 - 96 months
Requirements: Min. income of $1,800 /month, 3+ months employed
Dealerhop matches you with a dealer partner to get you financing.
Clutch Car Loans
Customer Survey:
★★★★★
From 8.49%
$7,500 - No max.
12 - 96 months
Requirements: 3+ months employed, Max.1 bankruptcy, Ontario & Nova Scotia only
Apply for financing with online dealer Clutch, who partners with some of Canada’s largest financial institutions to get you competitive interest rates.
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How much do I need to earn to get approved for low income car loans?

It depends on the lender. As a general guide, many lenders will require you to earn at least $1,800 a month to qualify for a loan. But some lenders are willing to accept borrowers with income of $1,500 or even $1,200 a month, so it’s worth shopping around to find a lender who is willing to work with you.

What types of income do lenders accept?

Types of acceptable income vary from one lender to the next. Some lenders, especially traditional providers like banks, only accept full-time employment income. But others are also willing to accept part-time employment income, employment insurance and disability benefits such as ODSP and private disability.

A lender will typically list acceptable income types on its website. Check this list before deciding whether or not to apply.

How to increase your chances of approval

There are a few simple factors that will work in your favour when trying to qualify for a car loan with low income:

Improve your credit score

The better your credit score, the greater your chances of getting approved. Disputing any inaccuracies in your credit report, paying down existing debts and taking other steps to improve your credit score will help you qualify for a loan.

Low debt-to-income ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is the percentage of your monthly gross income that goes to debt payments. If your DTI is under 40%, lenders are more likely to approve you.

No NSF transactions

A history of NSF fees on your bank account statement suggests to lenders that you may struggle to make on-time payments. So if your transactions over the past six months don’t show any NSF fees, your chances of getting approved will increase.

Steady income and employment

If you’ve held down the same job and received consistent income for the past few years, a lender will see you as a safer borrowing prospect than someone who has only been in their job for a few months.

Larger down payment

The more money you save for a down payment, the less you’ll need to borrow. Having a larger down payment also shows the lender that you’re financially disciplined enough to save money.

Include all your income

Check the lender’s eligibility criteria to find out what types of income are accepted. If government benefits and other types of income are acceptable, be sure to include any income you receive in your application.

Apply with a co-signer

Applying with a co-signer who has excellent credit will help you qualify for a larger loan amount and a better interest rate. It’ll also boost your chances of getting approved, but the co-signer must be willing to take on the risk of repaying the loan if you can’t keep up with payments.

Lower your budget

Another simple way to increase your chances of getting low income car loans is to simply buy a cheaper car. It may mean settling for a car that isn’t 100% perfect for your needs, but it’ll help you get on the road.

Are there low income bad credit car loans?

Yes, you can qualify for low income bad credit car loans in Canada. These aren’t available from traditional lenders but rather specialist lenders who work with subprime borrowers.

These lenders will look past your credit history when assessing your loan application. Other factors will be considered instead like your income, how steady your employment is and your existing debt obligations.

Your income will still need to be sufficient to cover your monthly payments. The other factor to be aware of with bad credit car loans is high interest rates and fees—make sure you’re certain you can afford your repayments before you apply.

Can I buy a car while on welfare?

Yes, it’s possible to qualify for a car loan while on welfare. The lender will need to assess whether you receive sufficient income to afford your monthly loan payments. However, not all lenders will accept government benefits as a form of income, so you’ll need to check each lender’s eligibility criteria before applying.

Can I buy a car while receiving ODSP?

Yes, you can qualify for auto financing while receiving income support under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). However, not all lenders accept disability benefits as a form of income, so shop around to find the right lender. Taking steps to improve your credit score and saving a bigger down payment can also increase your chances of getting approved.

Bottom line

Low income doesn’t have to stop you from getting a car loan. But taking simple steps to improve your credit score or saving a larger down payment can increase your chances of getting approved. Compare car loans from a range of lenders before deciding where to apply.

Frequently asked questions

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Writer

Tim Falk is a freelance writer for Finder. Over the course of his 15-year writing career, he has reported on a wide range of personal finance topics. Whether you're investing in stocks and ETFs, comparing savings accounts or choosing a credit card, Tim wants to make it easier for you to understand. When he’s not staring at his computer, you can usually find him exploring the great outdoors. See full bio

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Publisher

Leanne Escobal is a publisher for Finder. She has spent over 11 years working with financial products and services, specializing in content and marketing. Leanne has completed the Canadian securities course (CSC®) as well as the personal lending and mortgages course by the Canadian Securities Institute. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English literature and creative writing from Western University. See full bio

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