An instant auto loan approval isn't impossible to get as a bad credit borrower, but it's typically easier to come by when you're in a good credit position. If you're struggling with credit and wondering about getting an instant approval, also called a pre-approval, you need to know where to start your journey, and what to expect along the way.

Research for Instant Auto Loan Approval for Bad Credit

As a consumer, even one with bad credit, if you have the time to read auto loan and car ads, you also owe it to yourself to investigate the companies that are placing them. If it is an internet ad, you should go to one of the sites that will tell you who owns the domain name. These sites include companies such as,, and

Companies that are actually in business to help you will have their names, contact people, and phone numbers listed as registration source. Other companies have a “blind” company listed under their registered name. If a company is truly interested in helping consumers, why would it attempt to hide its name and location (such as being registered with Domains by Proxy, Inc.)? You should also check with the Better Business Bureau in your local area as well as nationally to see if any complaints have been made against the company and, if so, whether were they resolved.

What Is an Instant Auto Loan Approval?

Is an Instant Auto Loan Approval Possible With Bad Credit?An instant approval usually leaves you waiting only hours, instead of days, to hear about a car loan decision. But, not every lender offers it and not every borrower qualifies for it, either.

When you get an instant approval auto loan, you do so with a direct lender, such as a bank, credit union, or online lender. Getting pre-approved essentially turns you into a cash buyer, which gives you negotiating power you may not have had otherwise.

Is Instant Auto Loan Approval Good for Bad Credit?

You should ask yourself if the offer seems too good to be true. You don't have to have 20 years of experience in the retail auto business to make that kind of decision.

Are there legitimate businesses out there that will help you if you have experience credit problems? Absolutely, there are. Will these businesses guarantee you credit approval? No, there is no way that they can (as an example, if you've had a recent car repossession after a closed bankruptcy, there is no national lender that will offer you a loan).

Getting an Instant Car Loan Approval

Direct lenders that issue instant approval loans typically base car loan approvals on credit scores alone. Though each lender has their own requirements, you may start to run into problems if your credit score is below around 670 – which is the general cutoff point between good and bad credit.

However, if you're a member of a credit union, whose account is in good standing, you may have a fighting chance at a pre-approval. Because credit unions are member-owned, they tend to have slightly less rigid requirements and also offer members a wide range of lending options. An online lender may also be more apt to work with a borrower whose credit score is somewhat shaky.

If you're able to get the instant approval you're looking for, you typically get a check or promissory note for the amount of your loan, which you can then use as a cash limit for your upcoming loan. A pre-approval allows you the freedom to go to any dealership or private seller that you choose.

You then repay your auto loan to the bank. Because you have a set amount of money to work with, you have more freedom to tailor your car-buying experience. The total loan amount must simply fit within your borrowing limit.

What if I Don't Qualify for an Instant Approval?

If you don't qualify for an instant approval auto loan, don't worry. There are many lenders that work specifically with borrowers who are struggling with credit issues. These lenders are called subprime lenders, and they're third-party lenders who are signed up with special finance dealers, not banks or credit unions.

Subprime lenders are often referred to as bad credit lenders or indirect lenders, and you never actually sit with them in person to work out your loan details. Instead, a special finance manager at a dealership acts as your go-between.

Since you're primarily working with the dealer, you need to be prepared for your car loan as soon as you set foot in the showroom. If you're not ready right up front, you run the risk of having to make multiple trips to the dealership to get an auto loan deal done. You can avoid all the extra hassle by bringing a few documents with you when you start the process.

Generally, subprime lenders need you to bring in documentation that shows you have the stability, ability, and willingness to repay a car loan. This means providing your most recent 30 days of computer-generated pay stubs, utility bills or bank statements, and a phone bill in your name as proof that you can meet the lending requirements.

Though not necessarily needed in order to be approved, most bad credit lenders also require you to have a valid driver's license, provide personal references, and make a down payment of at least $1,000 or 10% of a vehicle's selling price.

Why you should believe us

At Auto Credit Express we've spent over 20 years focusing on consumers with bad credit and helping these same individuals raise their credit scores and reestablish their car credit by financing a vehicle with a bad credit car loan. Along the way, we try to provide our applicants with the kind of information they need in order to make an educated decision on whether or not to apply for a bad credit loan, as well as furnish them with the tools necessary to determine how much of a car payment they can afford. This is important since a poor decision can trap them in a loan they can't afford which might actually lower their FICO scores even further.

As with anything else, the key to a successful bad credit car loan is focusing on the basics. In this case, it means wading through the different types of offers that appear in internet search results.

Finding a Dealership for Your Next Car Loan

Though not everyone can qualify for an instant auto loan approval through a direct lender, many borrowers may find it easier to get the car loan they're looking for when they work with a subprime lender. These lenders aren't available everywhere, and searching when you don't know where to start can be frustrating. With Auto Credit Express on your side, it doesn't have to be.

We've been connecting borrowers in need with qualified dealers for over 20 years, and we want to help you find a local dealership to work with, too. The process is fast, free, and puts you under no obligation to buy, so what are you waiting for? Fill out our online auto loan request form today, and we'll get a move on making your match!