Bad credit? You still deserve a car, and here are the loans that can get you on the road
If you've got a bad credit rating, getting approved for a loan for a car doesn't have to be difficult. However, there are options available to help you drive away in that brand new car you've been dreaming of.
Some lenders deal specifically with bad credit car loans, helping people with bad credit finance the purchase of a new car. These lenders take the risk to approve loans for people with bad credit because they've handled loans like these before and specialise in this area.
There are two basic differences that set bad credit loans apart from regular car loans. The first is that bad credit loans usually have higher interest rates than regular loans, and will often have higher fees as well.
The second difference is that bad credit car loans sometimes require more security, such as a guarantor. Borrowers with bad credit are seen as high-risk clients, so lenders need extra security to justify the risk in lending you money.
Smaller amounts you could borrow for you car loan
What you need to know (and ask) about bad credit car loans
Buying a car is one of the most significant purchases you're ever likely to make, so shop around to make sure you're getting the best deal. Before you apply for any loan, find out as much as you can about the offer you're getting. Here are some things you need to look for before you proceed.
What is the interest rate?
The interest rate charged on your loan will obviously affect how much your repayments will be. Always know what rate you're being offered, and take the time to compare it against other loans to be sure the offer is competitive. Car loans can be secured or unsecured. Secured simply refers to the fact that the lender will take your car as security for the loan, and therefore the rate is usually lower.
What is the term of your loan?
Loan terms can be as short as 12 months or up to 7 years. A shorter loan term can reduce the amount of interest you pay on your loan overall and let you get out of debt quicker, but will increase the amount of your monthly repayments.
On the other hand, choosing a longer loan term will reduce your monthly payments but will increase the amount of interest you end up paying and it will take you longer to pay off your debt. Choose a loan term that suits your income and is in line with your financial plans.
What is the minimum repayment you'll be making?
What will your minimum repayments be and will they be affordable on your income and budget?
Can you make any extra repayments?
Is it possible to make extra repayments on your loan at any time? This flexibility can help you get out of debt much quicker. You can also check whether you're able to nominate to make extra payments as part of your regular repayment agreement. For example, you might decide to pay an extra $100 per fortnight on top of the minimum amount and have this total amount direct debited from your bank account every two weeks.
What kind of loan fees will you be charged?
Some lenders charge a monthly account fee or administration fee on their car loans, which generally range from $5 to $15 per month. Many will also charge an establishment fee to create your loan, and this fee can be as little as $100 or as high as $600 or greater.
Finally, some loans will also include a fee if you repay any or all of the loan before the agreed loan term date. If you intend to make extra repayments to pay your debt off sooner, check how much you might be charged. You want a loan that doesn't penalise you for paying off your debts because, otherwise, all these fees can add up and significantly increase how much you pay over the term of the loan.
Will you need to take out Insurance?
As the lender will be using your car as security for your loan, they may stipulate that the vehicle must be properly insured until the loan is fully repaid.
It's also a good idea to use the loan calculator provided below to calculate how much you'll be paying back on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. In order to get the best deal, the calculator also gives you a comparison feature for various loan options.Back to top
Calculate your bad credit car loan amounts
Simply enter your details in the calculator below to get an idea of where you stand with your borrowing power.Back to top
What you should try to avoid with your bad credit car loan
Unfortunately, this area of the financial world is a breeding ground for shonky lenders who sometimes engage in unscrupulous practices. Make sure you know exactly what you're getting into before you sign up for a bad credit car loan; if you don't do your research, you could find yourself in the midst of a financial nightmare.
Examine and compare what each lender is going to provide you with:
- How much money will you be borrowing?
- What is the interest rate on the loan?
- What fees and charges are attached to the loan?
- How much money will you have to pay off each month? Can you pay off extra without incurring hidden fees?
- What is the duration of the loan?
Do the sums to work out how much money you will be paying back over the course of the year, then compare this to the base value of the car you are buying. This should give you an idea of what you are going to be paying and how much you are going to be spending on your vehicle - is it worth it and, more importantly, can you afford it?
There are other steps you can take to avoid getting caught out by a dodgy lender. Check review sites where other consumers have rated the performance of car loan lenders, peruse discussion boards on car sales websites and car enthusiast sites to see what other people have to say about certain lenders, or ask the advice of people you know who've been in a similar position when financing a car purchase.Back to top
Alternatives to bad credit car loans
If a bad credit car loan isn't the right choice for you, there are other options to consider. You could, for example, use a credit card to buy a car. The main way to pay for a car purchase is to use a low interest rate or 0% offer, which could let you pay off the balance gradually without the hefty charges associated with a regular credit card or personal loan. Read finder.com.au's guide to paying for a car with a credit card here.
Another way to avoid going down the bad credit car loan route is to wait until the bad marks on your credit file are gone. You can also work to improve your credit rating by controlling your debts and managing your finances responsibly, and by knowing what's on your credit file you can work to remove any errors or disputes from your file.Back to top
Those niggling questions about bad credit car loans
Is a bad credit car loan actually the right solution for me?
Several factors affect this, from your credit rating to the type and cost of the car you are looking to buy. Compare several products before signing on, and don't neglect other alternatives such as using a credit card to pay for a car.
How do I choose a lender that is reputable?
Do your research. Get online and see what other people are saying about their experiences with different lenders on forums, discussion boards and review sites. Talk to people you know who have applied for a bad credit car loan - which lender did they choose and was the process a success? Finally, make sure to read all the terms and conditions and shop around for the best deal.
What fees are involved that might be different to bigger banks?
Monthly account fees and establishment fees can significantly increase the amount you have to pay back. Some loans will also include a fee for early repayment, so make sure you know the ins and outs of your loan.
What if things go wrong and I can't pay?
If you can't resolve a problem with your credit provider, take your complaint to your provider's independent dispute resolution scheme. This will be either the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Credit and Investments Ombudsman Ltd. Both schemes can be reached by calling 1300 780 808.
If you think that a credit provider has acted unlawfully or in a misleading way, you can complain to ASIC online or call ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630.Back to top