Auto Loan Options for Bad Credit Borrowers

Auto Loan Options For Bad Credit Borrowers

More and more bad credit auto loan ads these days bombard debtors and other bad credit borrowers with the concept that they can buy a car or truck no matter what their credit may look like. Although most of these ads are based on truths, in this article I will carefully review some of the bad credit auto loan pit falls to be aware of, and help debtors to understand how some of these systems work.

The direct finance business works as a good credit auto loan would from your local bank, except borrowers with bad credit will be expected to bring in a larger down payment and pay a higher interest rate. Most local lenders, of course, will not make these loans at all to borrowers with bad credit. Depending on the severity of one’s bad credit, down payments for these loans can range from 20% to 50% and depending on the credit and legal limits of the state one lives in, interest rates can range from 12% to 26%. I have even seen in a few states extreme cases where borrowers already owning cars use their vehicles as collateral for very short-term loans. The effective interest rate can be as much as 144% per year. These loans, sometimes called title loans, offer a short-term loan at 12% per month, so when the loan can not be paid off another loan at 12% must be taken. Such lending is illegal in most states and even where allowed I can think of almost no situation where taking out such a loan would represent a prudent financial decision. In most cases debtors with bad credit should expect to pay in the 12% to 18% interest range. Amortization (the time needed to pay the loan in full if all regular payments are made) choices offered may only range from 2 to 4 years opposed to good credit borrowers whose auto loans may extend for as long as 5 to 7 years. Certain amortization schedules and higher interest rates combine for payments that can be considerably higher than for those with excellent credit. The good news is that if these loans are paid on time they can also serve as tools for rebuilding credit. Dealers who advertise their willingness to work with bad credit auto purchases often ultimately finance the transaction with one of the direct lenders as described above. Dealer’s who finance these loans internally sometimes combine of these things where they secure an external financing source by guaranteeing apart of the loan or allowing a part of the loan to remain un-funded until certain loan payments are made.

The greatest abuses in bad credit auto lending come from dealers who artificially inflate the prices of their cars and or the interest rates charged for the financing. A common tactic is for a dealer “specializing in bad credit purchasers” to price a car normally sold for $3,000 at $6,000, take $1,500 down and finance the balance at 24 to 26%. The reality would be that the borrower not only obligates themselves to a contract at a very, very high interest rate but that the under lying debt and price for the car bear no realistic relationship to the value of the vehicle. This leaves the borrower in a position that ultimately they will default on the loan further ruining their credit. Otherwise they will complete the contract by which time they may have paid double or triple what they would have for the same car if they had purchased it from a legitimate dealer at a legitimate price. The watch word here is “caveat emptor,” let the buyer beware, some dealers advertising they work with poor credit purchasers may be honest and forthright dealers. The best consumer protection is knowledge. Research the true value of the cars you are purchasing and try to pay only the wholesale cost plus a $200 to $500 profit for the dealer. In only the rarest of instances should you pay more than the retail price of the car.

Sometimes purchasing and financing a car through a dealer works to the buyers’ advantage. A company dealing in the finance operation only must make all of their money from the financing where the dealer also makes part of their money from the sale of the vehicle. In some incidences the incentive to sell the vehicle for the dealer and can mean financing concessions or less constringent guidelines. Surprisingly, this emerges frequently as a situation when purchasing a brand new vehicle. With a sizable down payment it may actually be easier for borrowers with bad credit to obtain financing for a new vehicle financed by the car manufacturers own funding arms because of the company’s incentive to sell their new cars. Purchasers of new vehicles can also be aided by the fact that interest rates are lowered in these transactions. Newer cars generally merit lower interest rates than older cars and amortization for new cars are longer too. The result maybe that the payment for purchasing a new car may be the same or lower than payments may be purchasing a used car.

With the popularity of the Internet and the mass marketing capabilities of television, two new types of marketing have emerged for someone with bad credit to obtain an auto loan. The most prevalent advertising of this type on the Internet is a dealer network system. A potential customer can click on a site advertising that they can purchase a car regardless of their credit. The site requests certain information about the borrower. This information is then passed along to a dealer capable of working with purchasers who have a problem in their credit history. How well these systems works will depend on the dealer used. It can be possible that the same referral network can have good and bad dealers. From the consumer point of view, since no fees are involved, the only caution is to understand the type of site you are working with and what they’re doing with your information.

Application services, predominately found on the Internet, involve automatic multiple submission of financial information to potential lenders. In this case, the potential borrower fills out some in depth financial information. The coordinator of the network then forwards the information to lending sources that may be willing to make the loan. When all works correctly, the borrower hears from four lenders who then fight for the loan by competing against each other to offer the best rates and amortization. For bad credit auto loan candidates it may be more a case of one or two lenders coming forward without much fighting, but where not many sources exist this can be a great time saver.

In most of these cases, either the car dealers or lenders may contact the borrowers directly. If you don’t have a car in mind already the dealer networks may be quite helpful in directing you to someone who has an inventory of vehicles and the experience and capability of securing a loan on the vehicle you wish to purchase. If you already have a vehicle in mind and are having trouble finding a financing source the multiple submission networks may be helpful.

Even with all of these opportunities which will allow “almost” anyone to obtain vehicle financing some borrowers will fall into the category that can not. People with no down payment whatsoever and bad credit may find it very difficult getting car financing. Debtors in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings may find that financing is not available until their bankruptcy case has concluded. Others may be pleasantly surprised to find financing only to realize payments on these loans beyond their means.

Don’t be discouraged if your first few attempts at financing fail or if you have to settle for your second or third choices of vehicles. With perseverance, and if needed a little polishing up of your tarnished credit, you should be able to obtain safe and reliable transportation despite a previous bout of bad credit or bankruptcy.