An auto loan does impact your credit, right from the beginning all the way to your last payment and beyond. To understand how a car loan impacts your credit score you’ve got to know the five categories that make up your credit score – new credit (10%), payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of your credit history (10%), and credit mix (10%) – and how your loan impacts them.

Car Loans and How They Affect Your Credit Score

How Does an Auto Loan Impact My Credit Right Away?Your credit score is a three-digit number that expresses your creditworthiness, and auto loans impact all five of the parts of it. From the moment you apply for the loan, it affects the many parts of your credit right away, but it can take some time before you see a boost in your credit score.

When you first apply for a car loan, it can lower your credit score a little bit. This is because the category new credit keeps track of how many times you inquire to a lender about taking on a new account (where the term hard inquiry comes from). Typically, a hard inquiry can lower your credit score around five to 10 points, but this damage only lasts for up to 12 months.

If you’re approved for the auto loan, you now have an installment loan on your credit reports! This has many benefits to your credit score, maybe just not initially. Installment loans are those you pay off over time in increments (usually monthly), so this has the potential to build a really strong payment history, which carries the most weight out of the five credit score categories. If you make your payments on time, every time, it heavily influences your credit score.

Car loans can impact amounts owed, too. The amounts owed category compares the total amount you owe on the loan to the amount that you originally took out (as well as many other things). If you manage to keep paying off the auto loan consistently, it improves your credit because you’re proving you can manage large amounts of credit.

As far as the length of your credit history, this takes time to improve your credit score, too. Credit length considers the average age of all your accounts. The longer you’ve had credit, the better. So, when you take on a new car loan, it can lower your length of credit history category a little bit at first. Time heals this pretty easily, though, as long as you’re paying on the loan and the account doesn’t get closed. This category is more passive than the others, because simply leaving your credit accounts open helps improve it.

For credit mix, installment loans add variety if you’ve only had revolving credit, like credit cards. The credit scoring models rate you higher if you prove that you can handle different kinds of credit well. The more variety on your credit reports, the higher your credit score can soar.

Repairing Poor Credit

Many borrowers start their credit history off with an auto loan. Some also use bad credit car loans to dig themselves out of a lower credit score, as installment loans have lots of potential for credit repair. Other installment loans, like mortgages, aren’t nearly as frequent as auto loans, so borrowers tend to start their credit history off with a vehicle instead of a house.

When you get your car loan, it’s imperative that you make all your payments on time. It’s the best way to improve your credit score. It can take some time to really build a long-standing payment history, but auto loans are a great way to establish time in the credit bureaus.

Getting a Car Loan

Ready to rebuild your credit, or start your borrowing journey for the first time? Then start right now with us at Auto Credit Express. We’ve created a nationwide network of dealerships that assist bad credit borrowers, and we’ll look for one in your area at no cost after you complete our car loan request form. It’s secure, quick, and there’s an obligation to buy anything, so let’s get to work!