What Credit Score Do I Need to Buy a Car?
The difference of a few points in your score could end up costing you thousands of dollars in financing charges, it’s important to know this number before you even step into a dealership or start shopping for a loan. The most common type of credit score is the Fair, Isaac & Co. or FICO score and ranges from 300 to 850.
- Percentage of credit used
- Payment history
- Total debt
- Length of credit history
- Types of credit
If your score is above 720, you’ll most likely get the best rates available. Anything under 620 is considered by most lenders to be subprime, and you’ll be denied some loans and have to pay an excruciatingly high financing charge on others. In between these numbers, lenders have a series of tiers that affect the rate they’ll give.
Thanks to dubious marketing tactics, many consumers believe they’re ordering a free credit score from a website when they’re really agreeing to a $30 monthly subscription. After they’ve seen this $30 charge for the first time on their credit card statement, they then have to jump through a series of hoops to cancel the service. Much of the confusion comes from the fact that the Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees consumers access to one free credit report each year from each of the three reporting companies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This credit report does not provide a credit score but will let you know if there are any credit errors that need to be cleared up. While many companies can retrieve this credit report for you, AnnualCreditReport.com is the only one authorized by the FTC.
If you’re fairly certain that you have great credit, a credit report may be all you need to see before applying for an auto loan. However, if you’re looking for your exact score to help you negotiate, you’ll need to order your credit score. Because this score isn’t free, most sites will charge a fee or make you sign up for a subscription to retrieve it. Today, there is one site, Creditkarma.com, that retrieves a credit score without asking for a credit card or payment because it’s supported by ads. Remember, when negotiating an auto loan, knowledge is power. Use your knowledge of your credit score to your advantage and get the best deal possible on your next vehicle.