How to Prepare Your Credit for a Vehicle Purchase

You’ve decided that you must get an automobile, but you are unsure of how to ensure the best possible price. Although we can’t look inside the engine, we can still give you an excellent start.

Your credit score will be used by lenders to assess your creditworthiness, work situation, and the car you want to buy. The buyers with the best credit receive the finest vehicle loan conditions.

See how your credit score compares using Credit Sesame.

You can use several of Credit Sesame’s tools to figure out how to raise your credit score, but first you should understand the distinction between a credit score and a credit report. Both are necessary to comprehend and enhance your financial situation.

A set of facts about your identity and your experience with credit-related items is called a credit report. Your credit score is derived in part from information on your credit report. The report contains a thorough list of all debts and accounts held in your name, together with information on each one’s amount, status (active, closed, or late), negative marks on your credit history, payment history, and the date the account was opened. Open accounts continue to appear on your credit report forever. After ten years, closed accounts that are still in good standing are deleted. Negative accounts that have been closed are deleted seven years later. Checking your credit report is a great approach to make sure that no fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name and that no other person’s accounts have accidentally ended up on your report.

Your payment history, the amount of revolving debt you have, the number of times lenders have checked your credit, the average age of your accounts, the age of your oldest account, the range of credit products you have used, and public records like bankruptcy, liens, or judgments are all taken into account when calculating your credit score.

By visiting, you can obtain a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three major consumer reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Your credit score is not included in free credit reports. Credit Sesame offers free monthly updates of your credit score. Credit Sesame offers a personalized dashboard to assist you in learning more about the potential causes of your low credit score, your strengths, and what you can do to raise it (because most of us have room for improvement).

What auto lenders are seeking

While it’s crucial, a lender will consider other factors when considering your loan application in addition to your credit score. Along with your employment situation and income level, lenders will take into account your down payment, the age of the car, and the length of the loan.

Credit rating

A good predictor of your creditworthiness is your credit score. A score above 720 is ideal, but the greater the score, the better. A good score is one that is greater than 640.

Remember that the factors that affect your credit score the most are your credit use and payment history. Thus, attempt to maintain modest credit card balances and always make your payments on schedule.

Employment situation and earnings

Lenders want to know that you have the financial means to make the loan payments. A recent paystub is a common form of proof of work and income requested by some lenders. Some could want that you list your employer on the loan application.

Ratio of debt to income (DTI)

No matter how much money you make, if all of it is going toward paying off debt, it won’t matter. Responsible lenders compare your take-home earnings to your minimum needed monthly payments to decide whether you can really afford to repay the loan.

The amount of the deposit

The lender has to finance less of your loan the more money you put down. It gets simpler for them to lend to you the less they have to fund and the smaller risk they pose.

The vehicle’s age

The car’s age may have an impact on your ability to get financing. A new car has a lower chance of losing value throughout the course of the loan. A used car might not survive as long as the loan, depending on the cost of the purchase. A wise lender won’t arrange a long-term loan for a car with a low worth.

Payback period

The amount of your monthly payments is determined by the repayment terms. The monthly payment increases with the length of the period. For instance, if you borrowed $10,000 to buy a car with a three-year repayment period, your monthly payment would be $278. Your monthly payment will be $139 if you pay off the loan in six years.

How to repair and safeguard your funds in order to purchase a car

Make any mistakes on your credit report right.

Check your credit reports thoroughly for mistakes. If you discover an inaccuracy, get in touch with the credit bureau that is reporting it to submit a dispute.

Consider the price of the car you want.

Be aware of the car’s value before you purchase it. Prior to going to the showroom, choose the vehicle. Price quotes can be obtained in advance from your bank, TrueCar, or Kelley Blue Book. In person, many rates can be bargained even further.

Save money for a car down payment.

Less money must be borrowed to purchase a car if you have a larger down payment. The easier it is to qualify for a loan and the less money you borrow, the less it will ultimately cost you because you’ll pay less interest.

Make prompt payments on all of your invoices.

Your payment history score rises as you make more timely payments. While late payments are recorded on your credit report for seven years, they gradually lower your credit score over time. The two most recent years have the greatest impact.

Reduce your credit use

Your credit usage is the ratio of your outstanding revolving debt to your overall credit line. It is determined both globally and for every credit card. Your utilization is 50% if your credit card has a $1,000 limit and you have a $500 balance. Get this proportion to be under 30. 10% or less is preferable.

There are two strategies to reduce use. One is to make debt payments. In any case, you should aim to reduce your debt because doing so will improve your financial situation.

The option is to boost your available credit by obtaining a new credit card but NOT using it or by having the credit limit on current cards raised. After some time of responsible use, certain card issuers will automatically increase your limit. Be warned that requesting a credit limit increase may trigger a hard inquiry on your credit report.

Repaid other debt

Installment debt includes, but is not limited to, student loans, personal loans, auto loans, and mortgages. The less financial pressure you are under and the easier it is for you to afford a car loan, the less installment debt you have. You’ll be in a better position to fit the new payment in your budget if you can pay off a lesser debt before applying for your car loan.

Don’t shut off accounts

Your credit score is impacted by the length of your credit history. Your credit history should be as old as possible.

If you have two accounts, one of which has been active for ten years and the other for five. Your age is then 7.5 years on average. open accounts continue to age (people with top credit scores often have accounts that are 25 years old or older). Depending on the account status at the time of closure, closed accounts will disappear from your report after 7 to 10 years.

Only apply for credit if it is really necessary.

There are two types of inquiries: harsh and soft. Your credit score can be reduced by a few points with each rigorous enquiry. Within a few months, your score should bounce back from the decline. Every time you seek for credit, there are hard inquiries.

Your score is unaffected by a gentle inquiry. Your credit is being checked softly by Credit Sesame. The same holds true if you run any kind of credit check on yourself.

You can apply with many lenders for various loan types, such as auto loans, without running the danger of having repeated inquiries significantly harm your credit score. The credit score companies are aware that you want to compare prices. All enquiries from auto lenders will be handled as a single inquiry for credit scoring purposes if you limit your rate shopping to a 14–45 day period. Do your shopping within 14 days to be safe because the length of the shopping window varies on the credit scoring model being employed, which is up to each particular lender.