Easiest Auto Loans to Get in 2021

Easiest Auto Loans To Get
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Adam West
By: Adam West
Updated: June 7, 2021
Advertiser Disclosure

The easiest auto loans to get won’t leave you waiting for a ride at the bus stop. These secured loans not only work for consumers who have bad credit, but they often provide an affordable interest rate, loan term, and monthly payment that works within your budget.

We’ve compiled our list of the easiest auto loans to get based on all of these factors. Whether you’re looking to finance through an established bank, a local dealer, or with an independent auto lender, auto loan options are available that can give you same-day approval. In most cases, you can go from application to driving your new car in just a few hours.

And since these lenders accept online applications, you can get started right away — no matter where you are or what time of day or night you read this.

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The Easiest Auto Loans To Get Online

Auto lenders come in several shapes and sizes. If you have a bad credit score, we suggest you consider submitting a loan request through an online lending network — such as our top three options below.

By working with a network, your single vehicle loan request reaches several lenders and dealers at once without having to fill out multiple loan applications. Each subprime lender that partners with the network considers your loan request and may compete for your business. That means better — and more affordable — loan offers for you.

  • Network of dealer partners has closed $1 billion in bad credit auto loans
  • Specializes in bad credit, no credit, bankruptcy and repossession
  • In business since 1999
  • Easy, 30-second pre-qualification form
  • Bad credit applicants must have $1500/month income to qualify
  • Click here for application, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.9

Overall Rating

Interest Rate In Business Since Application Length Reputation Score
3.99% - 29.99% 1999 3 minutes 9.5/10

Auto Credit Express partners with dealerships throughout the U.S. that work with bad credit applicants and can accept your application today. When you submit a loan request to Auto Credit Express, the network pairs you with a local dealer that can likely meet your needs.

The dealer will contact you within 24 hours, but many consumers report that they heard from a dealer within minutes after submitting their loan request. The dealer will discuss your car-buying and financing options and set up a time in which you can tour the car lot to shop for your next vehicle.

You can receive loan preapproval from Car.Loan.com in three minutes or less and immediately begin shopping for your next automobile. That’s because this network has the largest online network of auto dealers trained in special financing for bad credit consumers.

The auto dealer in your area can not only walk you through the financing process and help you shop for your next vehicle, but it can also expedite your loan application and get you driving off the lot in your new car the same day.

MyAutoLoan.com isn’t just about new and used car loans. Instead, this vast lending network also includes private lenders that consider applications for auto refinancing and lease buyouts.

Qualified applicants may receive up to four loan offers within minutes of submitting a loan request. Each offer will come with a unique loan term, interest rate, and monthly payment requirement.

4. Carvana

Carvana LogoCarvana is the new-age auto dealer that’s known for the car vending machines featured on its many dealership lots around the U.S. But even if you aren’t close to a dealership, you can easily finance and purchase a vehicle online from this rapidly growing company.

You can start by filling out a simple loan application on the dealer’s website. If approved, you can begin shopping for your next vehicle from among the thousands of cars, trucks, and vans listed online. Once you choose the vehicle for you, Carvana can deliver it to your doorstep for an added fee.

5. Capital One Auto Finance

Capital One Auto Finance LogoMost people know Capital One for its catchy commercials and large credit card portfolio, but Capital One Auto Finance is also one of the largest auto lenders in America. Through the bank’s website, you can receive vehicle loan preapproval in a matter of minutes and begin shopping right away for your next vehicle.

If you qualify, just bring in your prequalified certificate to the dealer of your choice and pick out the car you’d like to purchase.

6. Credit Acceptance

Credit Acceptance Corp LogoCredit Acceptance can provide an auto loan financing option for applicants who have bad credit or are first-time car buyers. After submitting a short loan request, this network can connect you with up to three local dealers that may be able to help get you into your next vehicle.

Your bad credit won’t hinder you through this network of dealer lenders. The company’s “Everyone is approved” motto states that it enables dealers to approve nearly every applicant — regardless of their credit profile.

7. DriveTime

DriveTime LogoDriveTime operates nearly 140 dealerships through the U.S. — all of which offer in-house financing and can get you into a new or used vehicle the same day you apply for car financing no matter if you have excellent credit, good credit, or a poor credit score.

This car dealership has a unique way of curating bad credit auto loan packages that tailor your monthly payment and repayment term to your credit rating, monthly income, and budget requirements. With your number in hand, you can shop online or in-person with confidence.

8. LightStream

LightStream LogoLightStream is the car financing arm of SunTrust Bank, which operates more than 1,400 branches throughout the Southeastern United States. With this type of backing, you can often find financing options in a matter of hours regardless of your credit history.

You don’t have to be a member of SunTrust or live near a bank branch to apply. You can get started on LightStream’s website by submitting a short loan request that the bank can make a quick loan decision on.

9. CarMax

CarMax LogoCarMax is one of the fastest-growing auto dealers in America and maintains more than 190 locations throughout the U.S. Each location includes a finance team that specializes in finding loan options for applicants who have bad credit.

Even if you don’t qualify for in-house car financing, CarMax can attempt to find your perfect loan through other subprime lender options — including Ally Auto, Capital One, Exeter, Westlake, and Wells Fargo Auto.

Can I Get an Auto Loan With Bad Credit?

A subprime borrower can often find affordable auto loan options despite having a low credit score. This is because an auto loan is a form of secured loan that takes some of the risk out of the lender’s hands.

A secured loan requires collateral for approval. In this case, your newly purchased vehicle is used as collateral — which means the lender can repossess the vehicle and sell it if you stop making payments.

There’s a steadily growing online lender community that works with consumers who have bad credit to complete auto financing in a matter of hours. These loans often have a lower interest rate, a longer loan term, and a more affordable monthly car payment than a similar loan provided by a bank or other traditional financial institution.

The easiest way to access these lenders is to submit a loan request to an online auto lending network. Our top recommendation is Auto Credit Express.

  • Network of dealer partners has closed $1 billion in bad credit auto loans
  • Specializes in bad credit, no credit, bankruptcy and repossession
  • In business since 1999
  • Easy, 30-second pre-qualification form
  • Bad credit applicants must have $1500/month income to qualify
  • Click here for application, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.9

Overall Rating

Interest Rate In Business Since Application Length Reputation Score
3.99% - 29.99% 1999 3 minutes 9.5/10

Networks like Auto Credit Express partner with dealers and private lenders throughout the U.S. that offer special financing packages for applicants with a low credit score. You may receive a loan offer from multiple lenders with no impact on your credit report.

Each auto financing option will come with a different annual percentage rate based on the information in your credit report. Your auto loan rate will vary based on the different lender requirements.

Some networks can preapprove you for auto financing in a matter of minutes, which enables you to begin shopping for your next vehicle right away.

Other networks may quickly connect you with auto dealers in your area that will schedule an appointment to go over your car-buying options. This will include completing any loan paperwork, pulling your credit report with the credit bureaus, and looking at available inventory on the car lot.

In most cases, you can go from application to final purchase in a matter of hours.

You’ll never have to pay to use an online lending network. The lender will receive a referral fee from the lender that closes your loan.

How Can I Apply For an Auto Loan Online?

Applying online for an auto loan is fast and easy, and it can give you the peace of mind you need before you head to a car dealer to shop.

To start, choose the lender or online lending network that you wish to work with. Either option will provide a quick loan request form that only takes a few minutes to complete and can provide a loan decision in a matter of seconds.

The loan request will require some basic identifying information that includes:

  • Your name
  • Your address (physical and email)
  • Your phone number (home or cellphone)
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your income information
  • The type of vehicle you wish to purchase

What happens once you submit this information will depend on the type of lender you’re working with. If you choose an independent lender, such as Capital One Auto Finance, you’ll receive a loan decision within one minute.

If you’re preapproved, you’ll get an idea of your loan amount, loan payment, and how long you have to access the loan (most preapprovals expire 30 days after they’re issued). You can then start shopping for your next vehicle.

This option works best if you have at least good credit. If you have a low credit score, consider working with an online auto lending network. If you apply through a network, you’ll either receive a preapproval or get contacted by a dealer in your area who will set up an appointment to go over your financing and vehicle options.

These lenders are trained in special financing options for bad credit and can often find a bad credit auto loan for you. If you qualify, you can typically begin browsing the lot for your vehicle and drive off in a new car within a matter of hours.

Online loan applications are more convenient than working with a bank, credit union, or traditional financial institution because they never close. You can apply for a loan at any time and from anywhere in the world and get a loan decision within minutes.

Many online lenders also have handy tools to get you started on your auto financing journey. These can include an auto loan calculator or educational modules that teach you the terms you’ll need to know when negotiating an auto finance deal.

Plus, online lending networks can put you in touch with multiple lenders and dealerships throughout the U.S. If you don’t like an offer from one source, you can attempt to work with a different lender without having to fill out another loan application.

How Long Does it Take to Get Approved For a Car Loan?

In most cases, you can get approved for a car loan the same day you apply. This will depend on the time and day of the week you apply. If you submit an online auto loan application on a holiday, you may have to wait until the banks, lenders, or dealerships reopen after the holiday to receive final approval.

Also, if you apply later in the day on a regular business day, you may have to wait until the next business day for the lender to review your application.

Auto Credit Express Application

Auto Credit Express’s loan application takes three minutes to complete and you can receive a preapproval in seconds after you submit it. Loan funding can usually be done the same day.

Many lenders can provide preapprovals online in a matter of minutes. While this is a great first step to take in the auto financing process, it isn’t a guarantee that you’ll receive your loan after you choose which vehicle you want to purchase.

Preapprovals often use a soft credit pull to access a modified portion of your credit report. When you officially apply for the loan, the lender will conduct a full credit check that reveals the rest of your credit history. The lender can rescind the loan offer if something appears on that report that wasn’t obvious during the soft credit check.

In most cases, though, a preapproval is a very good indicator of future success when it comes time to officially apply for a loan. The full application, when completed with a dealer, can take anywhere between one and three hours to complete.

The dealer spends the bulk of that time shopping your loan application to various lenders to find the best possible deal. Just remember that a low credit score will often yield bad credit car loans with higher APRs.

What Credit Score Do I Need to Get a Car Loan?

Lenders rarely establish a minimum credit score requirement for auto loan approval. That’s because each lender has a unique set of approval standards that look at far more than just your credit score when considering your application.

For example, lenders want to see whether you have any missed payments, a prior repossession, a bankruptcy, or other negative reporting from a past vehicle loan or personal loan. While these items will impact your credit score, they may not be obvious when looking at your score alone.

Even if your credit report shows these items, you may still qualify for auto financing. You’ll just be charged a higher interest rate.

Auto Loan Rates by Credit Score

That’s because lenders often have more forgiving approval standards with auto loans because they’re secured loans. If you stop making payments, the lender can schedule a repossession and sell your car to make back some of the money it lost in the bad loan. This isn’t the case with an unsecured personal loan that leaves the lender with a big loss if you default on the debt.

Some local buy here, pay here lenders even guarantee financing options no matter what credit score you have.

If you have a poor credit score, you can improve your chances of loan approval if you consider a few different options. You can choose one or more of them to get a lender to reconsider your loan application, including:

  • Adding a down payment: Lenders want to see that you have some skin in the game. Including some of your own money will not only lower your car payment and total loan amount, it will show the lender that you’re also invested in the loan.
  • Include a trade-in vehicle: Just like a cash down payment, a trade-in vehicle can lower your overall loan needs and decrease your monthly payment. The less loan you need, the more likely a lender is to consider your application.
  • Add a cosigner to your application: Adding a cosigner to your auto loan means that someone who has better credit than you do is willing to add his or her name to your loan to guarantee its repayment. This is a tricky situation because if you miss a payment or default on the loan, you both take the credit score hit. This is a big responsibility that you shouldn’t take lightly.

You can also attempt to prequalify for a loan online before officially applying. This process will give you the peace of mind that you will likely qualify for a loan before you submit a formal application.

Can I Get a Car Loan With No Credit Check?

Some auto lenders may approve your loan application without conducting a credit check, but you can expect these loans to be far more expensive than a loan that includes a credit check.

Lenders rely on three primary factors when considering a loan application:

  1. credit score
  2. income
  3. current debts

Many lenders won’t work with you if they don’t have access to that information. Those that will still work with you will likely tack on extra fees to offset the risk associated with these types of loans.

These no-credit-check loans will likely include a higher dealer fee or loan origination fee, a higher interest rate, and other fees that make the loans quite expensive. You can avoid these fees by agreeing to a credit check. Even if you have poor credit, you can often still find a lender willing to fund the auto loan you need.

But if you simply refuse to allow for a credit check, you can consider a local buy here, pay here auto dealer. These dealers often sell older cars that may have mechanical issues and do not include warranties. Still, they will accept any buyer without conducting a credit check.

Many online lenders will require a credit check. That’s because each lender may be located in an area other than where you live. As a result, a credit check is the only way to properly assess your creditworthiness, since you’ll never actually meet in person.

Can I Get a Car Loan With No Job?

You can often qualify for an auto loan without having a job — as long as you can prove that you have the regular income needed to make your monthly payment.

Income does not have to come from traditional employment. Most lenders will allow a borrower to include income from several sources, including but not limited to:

  • government benefits
  • disability payments
  • retirement income
  • investment dividends
  • rental property profits
  • an annuity
  • a structured settlement
  • student aid income
  • alimony
  • child support

If you receive any of these sources of income — even if you also receive a regular paycheck from an employer — you can add them to your income totals to improve your chances of loan approval.

Does CarMax Approve Bad Credit?

CarMax often finds financing options for applicants who have bad credit because the dealer works with several lenders that have a diverse selection of loan offerings.

The CarMax in-house financing team includes specialists who are trained in bad credit auto financing strategies. Even if you don’t qualify for CarMax financing, the dealer can search with its partner lenders to find an option for you.

These partners include some of the largest and most inclusive auto lenders in the industry, including Ally Auto, Capital One Auto Finance, Exeter, Westlake, and Wells Fargo Auto. You can also find your own financing through a private lender, bank, or credit union to purchase your vehicle from CarMax.

Whether you finance directly through CarMax or with another lender, you can complete your loan process in a matter of hours and get on the road the same day you apply for a loan.

What Credit Score Do Car Dealerships Use?

There’s no way to tell for certain which credit score an auto lender will use. That’s because there are many different versions of your credit score that lenders can access.

The most common credit score used is your FICO score. But you have dozens of FICO scores issued under your name. FICO releases a new algorithm for calculating your credit score every so often, and lenders have to pay for access to a specific scoring model. They can pay to access the latest scoring model, but they typically save money by sticking with their current version for several years before paying for a new scoring model.

That means that one car dealership may use the FICO 8 score whereas another may still use FICO 4. Thankfully, there’s rarely a large difference between scores, but it does make it difficult to understand which score you should focus on improving before applying for a loan.

Types of FICO Scores

Instead of focusing on a specific scoring model, consider pulling your free annual credit report before applying for a loan. Although this report won’t show your actual credit score (you have to pay for that), it will show all of the items that are used to calculate your credit score.

That means you’ll see all of the negative and positive data that are reported to credit bureaus on your behalf. If you have recent missed payments, defaults, charge-off accounts, or collections, you may want to wait until those items are replaced with positive data on your credit report before you apply for a loan.

But if your credit history over the last six months to one year is clean, and if you maintain low balances on your credit cards and other loans, you can feel confident going forward with the loan application you’re considering.

If possible, prequalify for an auto loan before submitting an official application. Doing so will give you peace of mind that you’ll get the loan you need without causing any potential harm to your credit score.

What Does Buy Here, Pay Here Mean?

A buy here, pay here (BHPH) auto dealer is a locally owned business that sells cars to members of the community. These dealerships don’t work with outside financiers. Instead, the dealer self-finances all of the cars it sells — making it both the dealer and the lender.

Instead of submitting your monthly payment to a private lender, you’ll pay the dealer until you pay off your loan. Since everything takes place in-house, a buy here, pay here dealer can often accept a loan application without performing a credit check. Instead, you may have to show proof of enough income to afford the car’s monthly payment.

Although this sounds like a great deal, these dealers often charge extraordinarily high interest rates and other fees for their loans. They often have a very small selection of older vehicles purchased through car auctions that may have mechanical problems and won’t come with a warranty.

BHPH Prices

With a lack of a warranty, you’ll be responsible for any breakdowns or repairs that the car needs to stay on the road. In the meantime, you’ll still have to pay your monthly payment to avoid repossession.

These are rarely your best options for purchasing a vehicle — even if you have poor credit.

Can You Be Denied After Auto Loan Preapproval?

No loan is guaranteed until both the lender and borrower sign the final loan agreement contract. Until then, either party can back away from the deal at any point. That means the lender can rescind your preapproval for just about any reason.

That doesn’t mean that lenders are quick to pull a previously approved loan offer. After all, lenders are in business to loan money.

The most common reason that lenders deny a loan after preapproval is that the loan offer either expires or the borrower’s credit score changes after submitting the initial loan request.

Lenders often place a 30-day expiration date on preapprovals. This is because new information is reported to the credit bureaus monthly. That means your credit score can change — for better or worse — after your initial preapproval. To avoid any problems, you must formally complete a loan within 30 days after you receive preapproval to lock in the loan term and interest rate.

The preapproval process requires the lender to conduct a soft credit pull that reveals only a modified portion of your credit history. This is often enough to see whether you’ll qualify for the loan but doesn’t show every detail on your credit history. It also doesn’t harm your credit score by placing a hard inquiry on your credit report.

Once you formally apply, the lender will likely require you to undergo a full credit check that will give them access to your entire credit history. As long as nothing new appears on that report, you’ll still qualify for the preapproved loan. On the rare occasion that the lender sees something negative that wasn’t obvious on the soft credit pull, you may lose your loan offer.

In some cases, you may still qualify for the loan, but with a different loan term and interest rate.

How Much of a Down Payment Do I Need to Get a Car Loan?

In the past, lenders wanted to see at least a 20% down payment from a borrower, but those standards have changed as vehicle costs have steadily increased.

Today, you can often find auto financing options with as little as $500 down — though you can improve your chances of loan approval with a larger down payment.

Your down payment works to not only lower your overall loan and monthly payment amount but also helps ease the lender’s mind when considering an application from a subprime borrower. That’s because every dollar you put toward the loan lowers the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio.

LTV Chart

Because you’re a subprime borrower, you may have to convince the lender that you’re a good candidate for a loan. One way to do this is to include a down payment and/or trade-in vehicle at the time of purchase.

This shows that you’re equally invested in the loan and are less likely to default on the debt if times get tough. That may be the deciding factor the lender needs to make a decision in your favor when considering your loan request.

Just remember that your stated vehicle purchase price on the window sticker will likely not include taxes, dealer fees, vehicle registration, and other charges. Consider those costs when determining how much of a down payment you can afford. You may need some of that money to pay those fees to get your purchased vehicle on the road.

Compare the Easiest Auto Loans To Get Online

Don’t let your poor credit score keep you from purchasing the transportation you need. With a reliable vehicle, you can get to and from work safely, go shopping whenever you need to, and take your kids to school without relying on public transportation or other costly ride-sharing services.

With the easiest auto loans to get, you can overcome your past financial mistakes and find a loan that works with your budget. And you have the chance to repair your credit score with timely payments.

You can get started right now by submitting an online loan request. If you qualify, you can begin immediately shopping for your next vehicle and be back on the road by the end of the day.

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