Car Loan Rates

What Car Loan Rate Can I Get With My Credit Score?

Navigating the car loan landscape can be a daunting task, especially with the myriad of factors that influence the interest rate you might receive. One of the most critical factors is undoubtedly your credit score. This blog post delves into the impact of your credit score on car loan rates, utilizing data from Experian’s State of the Automotive Finance Market to shed light on what you might expect when financing your next vehicle purchase.

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores are numerical representations of your creditworthiness, derived from your credit history. They play a pivotal role in a lender’s decision to offer you a loan, including the terms and the interest rate. Scores range from 300 to 850, with higher scores indicating better credit. For the purpose of car loans, credit scores are typically categorized as follows:

  • Great Credit: 781-850
  • Good Credit: 661-780
  • Fair Credit: 601-660
  • Poor Credit: 501-600
  • Bad Credit: 300-500

How Your Credit Score Affects Your Car Loan Rate

Your credit score significantly influences the interest rate you can secure on both new and used car loans. Based on Experian’s data, here’s a breakdown of average car loan rates by credit score category:

Great Credit (781-850):

  • New Car Rate: 5.61%
  • Used Car Rate: 7.43%

Good Credit (661-780):

  • New Car Rate: 6.88%
  • Used Car Rate: 9.33%

Fair Credit (601-660):

  • New Car Rate: 9.29%
  • Used Car Rate: 13.53%

Poor Credit (501-600):

  • New Car Rate: 11.86%
  • Used Car Rate: 18.39%

Bad Credit (300-500):

  • New Car Rate: 14.17%
  • Used Car Rate: 21.18%

Interpreting the Data

The data clearly shows a direct correlation between credit scores and car loan rates: the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. This difference can amount to significant cost savings over the life of your loan. For instance, someone with great credit might secure a new car loan at 5.61%, while someone with poor credit might face rates more than twice as high.

It’s important to note that these rates are averages and can vary based on the lender, the loan term, and other factors. However, they serve as a useful benchmark for understanding what you might expect when entering the car loan market.

Strategies for Securing the Best Rate

Know Your Credit Score: Before shopping for a car loan, check your credit score. This will give you a better understanding of where you stand and what rates you might qualify for.

  • Shop Around: Don’t settle for the first offer. Compare rates from multiple lenders, including banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Sometimes, dealerships offer competitive financing rates, especially during promotional periods.
  • Consider a Co-Signer: If your credit score is lower than you’d like, consider having a co-signer with a strong credit history. This can help you secure a better rate.
  • Make a Larger Down Payment: A larger down payment reduces the lender’s risk, which can result in a lower interest rate for you.
  • Shorten the Loan Term: Shorter loan terms typically have lower interest rates. If you can afford the higher monthly payments, a shorter loan term can save you money in interest.

The Impact of Credit Scores on Car Ownership Costs

The interest rate you secure with your car loan has a direct impact on the total cost of owning your vehicle. Higher rates not only increase your monthly payments but also the total amount you’ll pay back over the life of the loan. For example, a higher interest rate can add thousands of dollars to the total cost of your vehicle, making it even more crucial to understand the implications of your credit score when financing a car.

Wrapping It Up

Your credit score is a powerful determinant of the car loan rates you can obtain. Understanding the relationship between your credit score and loan rates is crucial for making informed financing decisions. By taking steps to improve your credit score and shopping around for the best rates, you can ensure that you secure the most favorable terms possible, ultimately saving money and making your car purchase more affordable. Remember, a well-informed borrower is an empowered borrower. offers accurate estimates of new and used car loan payments based on self-selected credit score, current rebates, down payment, and trade equity or negative equity, without customers having to provide their personal identifying information such as email and phone.

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