You don’t need perfect credit to get a car loan. In fact, there are special finance lenders out there who, in some cases, can get someone with a credit score as low as 500 approved for a car loan. But, how do you go about getting a car with bad credit?

How to Get a Car with Bad Credit

Before taking out a bad credit car loan, the first thing you need to do is request your credit reports and view your credit scores. Make sure all the information in your reports is accurate, and dispute any incorrect information to the correct credit bureau as soon as possible. Then, you need to find a special finance dealer in your area to work with. If you’re unable to find one, you can fill out our request form and we’ll match you to one near you.

Get an Auto Loan with a 500 Credit ScoreOnce you have a dealership to work with and know where your credit stands, you’ll need to have all the proper documents ready:

  • Proof of income – A recent computer-generated paycheck stub will suffice. Although income requirements can vary by lender, most require you to make at least $1,500 to $2,000 a month, pre-tax.
  • Proof of a working phone – You must have a working landline or contract cell phone. A recent bill with your name and address listed will work.
  • Proof of residency – Bring in a recent utility bill in your name with your current address listed.
  • Personal references – Most subprime lenders also require a list of six to eight personal references not living at your address complete with names, phone numbers, and addresses.

You’ll typically be required to have a down payment of some sort when you finance through a subprime lender, too. The amount varies, but most lenders require a minimum of $1,000 or 10 percent of the vehicle’s selling price, whichever is less. Also, you may need to provide additional documents such as trade-in information if you’re trading in a car.

Dealerships that Accept a 500 Credit Score

You may find it difficult to get the financing you need even with subprime lender. So, where else do you go? Your next best place is a buy here pay here (BHPH) car lot. BHPH dealers are different from subprime lenders: they offer car loans in house. Because they’re in-house financers, they’re able to offer financing options for people dealing with various credit situations – including really bad credit and no credit. To qualify for financing, these lenders look at your pre-tax monthly income, not your credit, making it much easier to qualify if you have terrible credit or little to no credit.

However, the cars in BHPH lots are typically older used vehicles with higher mileage. This doesn’t mean these cars are necessarily bad, it only means you won’t be getting a brand new or low-mileage vehicle when you finance through one of these dealerships. You also need to ask if the dealer reports your loan and payments to the credit bureaus. If not, your credit won’t improve over time, even as you make on-time payments on your loan.

Start Your Financing Journey

If you need to get a car loan with a 500 credit score, you typically have to go through a special finance or in-house financing dealership. These places have loan programs in place to help borrowers with poor credit – and we can help you find one near you.

If you’re ready to finance a car with bad credit, but are having trouble finding a dealership to help you out, let Auto Credit Express guide your way. We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealers and want to help you find one in your area. Simply fill out our online auto loan request form to get started today!