With unemployment hitting record highs this year, we’ve also seen an increase in people becoming self-employed by starting to freelance or picking up a side hustle in an attempt to make extra cash. What does this mean in terms of your ability to take on a car loan, though?
Proving Your Income While Self-Employed or Freelancing
One of the cornerstones of getting approved for an auto loan is proving you have enough income to pay for the vehicle. With a W-2 income (when you work for someone else), this simply means having a recent check stub that proves a monthly income that meets the lender’s minimum requirement, and shows your year-to-date income.
For people who are self-employed or freelancers, this means you have 1099 income (when you work for yourself or you’re a contractor). Some lenders may not accept borrowers that are self-employed, and whether or not they do can depend on your credit score.
Borrowers who are self-employed may need to provide copies of their tax returns to prove their income. However, if you have good credit, a traditional car lender may not ask for these. They may only ask for bank statements or deposit slips as proof of income.
However, expect to need more if your credit is poor.
Proof of Self-Employment Income and Subprime Lenders
For borrowers who are applying with a subprime auto lender for their next car loan due to a lower credit score, proof of income is a big factor. Subprime lenders look for stability in their borrowers outside of their credit score, and this means they typically verify work history and income to determine your ability to take on an auto loan.
If you’re self-employed or a freelancer with bad credit, then expect a subprime lender to ask for two or three years of your tax returns for proof that you can meet the income requirements. Your tax returns also prove that your income is taxed and reported.
Many people wonder if you can use bank statements to prove your income with a subprime lender. Unfortunately, bank statements don’t show that your income is reported, just that it’s deposited in your account, so subprime lenders almost always don't accept them as proof of income.
Your tax returns can also prove your work history, since it can show a consistent source of income. Many subprime lenders look at your work history going back three years, and they usually require that you’ve been at your current job for at least six months to one year.
While subprime lenders have some stringent requirements for their car loans, it’s all in an effort to make sure that you have the ability, stability, and willingness to handle the loan. Their auto loans are also reported to the credit bureaus, which means there’s a chance for credit repair with timely payments.
If you can’t prove your income or work history with tax returns, then you may have to look into other car lending options.
Self-Employment and BHPH Dealerships
If your credit score is low, you’re self-employed, and your tax returns don’t prove your income, then you’re likely to need a buy here pay here (BHPH) dealership to get into an auto loan.
BHPH dealers have double roles, since they’re also your lender. All the car shopping and financing is done at the same location, so it's a one-stop-shop experience. The biggest plus to these dealerships is that they usually aren’t concerned with what’s on your credit reports, so a lower credit score wouldn’t come in between you and a vehicle.
These dealers often aren’t as concerned about where your income is coming from, as long as you have enough to prove you can pay for the car. Since BHPH dealerships don’t have to rely on a third-party lender to approve you for financing, they tend to have their own means of verifying income.
Some requirements of a BHPH dealer usually include a down payment and some form of proof of income. On average, BHPH dealerships tend to assign higher than average interest rates on their auto loans, so it’s something to be mindful of. BHPH dealers may not report your car loan to the credit bureaus, so ask about their reporting practices if you’re concerned about credit repair.
Ready to Find a Dealership?
Finding the right lender for your income situation can be a struggle, especially if you’re dealing with credit issues. However, locating the right lender doesn’t have to be a hassle, and we want to help.
Here at Auto Credit Express, we’ve produced a network of dealerships that spans across the country. We match bad credit borrowers to dealers that are signed up lenders that work with unique credit situations. Get started right now by completing our free auto loan request form, and we’ll look for a dealership in your area without any obligation.