How Do I Qualify For A Car Loan
Answered by Jim Manelis, car enthusiast and Chase Auto Executive.
You’ve found your dream car and can’t wait to get behind the wheel. Now, you have to figure out how to pay for it. Most car shoppers need to finance the purchase. That’s when you borrow money from a dealership or a lender and pay them back over time, usually with interest, to purchase a new or used vehicle.
Determine Your Fuel And Insurance Costs
Before you set out to buy or lease, find out what your fuel expenses will be and what it will cost to insure the vehicle. Both costs vary considerably based on your location, your driving history and the vehicle you’ve chosen. Even though it takes a little work to come up with these estimates, you shouldn’t overlook them. Knowing these costs can help you choose among multiple vehicles. Some may cost more to fuel up others might have a higher cost to insure.
The EPA’s Fueleconomy.gov website has a detailed listing of fuel economy figures as well as annual fuel cost estimates for both new and used vehicles.
For insurance quotes, contact your agent or insurance company about the vehicle you’re interested in. You should be able to get an accurate estimate. Or go to the auto insurance website of your choice, and there should be an option to get an online quote. Do insurance and fuel costs add up to 7% or less of your monthly paycheck? Then you’re OK.
What Are Car Loans And How Do They Work
Auto loans are secured loans that use the car youre buying as collateral. Youre typically asked to pay a fixed interest rate and monthly payment for 24 to 84 months, at which point your car will be paid off. Many dealerships offer their own financing, but you can also find auto loans at national banks, local credit unions and online lenders.
Because auto loans are secured, they tend to come with lower interest rates than unsecured loan options like personal loans. As of October 6, 2021, the average APRs according to a Bankrate study are the following.
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Work On Your Credit Before Applying
The better your credit situation, the higher your chances of getting approved for an auto loan with excellent terms. If you don’t need a new car quite yet, check your credit score to see where you stand, then focus on areas where you can improve.
For example, get caught up on any past-due payments and work on paying down credit card balances. Also, check your credit report for potential inaccuracies that you can dispute with the credit reporting agencies. Improving your credit can take time, but it’s well worth it if it can save you money.
The Three Rules Of Car Financing
The rule of thumb when it comes to smart auto financing is the 20/4/10 ratio.
According to this rule, when buying a car, you should put down at least 20%, you should finance the car for no more than 4 years, and you should keep your monthly car payment at or below 10% of your gross monthly income.
Why is the 20/4/10 ratio smart? Heres why:
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What Is Your Credit Score
One smart thing to do before you begin the car loan process is to check your own credit score. Be sure you’re looking at a FICO® Score, as that’s what the lender you apply to are most likely to use.
Many credit card issuers give customers a free FICO® Score as a perk of membership, but it can be a smart idea to pay for a score-monitoring service. I use myFICO.com, as it’s run by the creators of the FICO® Score. Not only does this get you access to FICO® Scores from all three major credit bureaus, but there are many other useful tools as well .
Can I Get An Auto Loan With Bad Credit
It is possible to get a car loan with bad credit, although having bad credit will raise the rates you’re offered. If you’re having trouble getting approved or finding acceptable rates, try taking these steps:
- Improve your credit: Before applying for an auto loan, pay down as much debt as you can and avoid opening new accounts, like credit cards.
- Make a large down payment: Making a larger down payment will lower your monthly payment, but it could also help you qualify for better rates.
- Consider a co-signer: A co-signer with good credit will take on some responsibility for your loan if you default, but they can also help you qualify.
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Does Leasing A Car Affect Your Debt
A car lease will affect your debt-to-income ratio much like a car loan. The payment counts in your total debt payments, which are compared to your gross income to determine your debt-to-income ratio. Lease payments are typically lower than loan payments, but at the end of the lease you’ll either need to buy the vehicle, turn it in and walk away, or start a new lease on a different vehicle.
Major Factors That Influence Mortgage Eligibility
When qualifying for a mortgage, lenders rely on standard indicators that determine whether a borrower can repay a loan. These financial factors also influence how much they are willing to lend borrowers. Lenders will thoroughly evaluate your income and assets, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio.
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Your Car Loan Questions Answered
You can get a CIBC Personal Car Loan directly through your local car dealership. When you buy a new or used vehicle, your dealership will help you complete your loan application on the spot. You don’t have to be an existing CIBC client.
If you buy a car outside of a dealership, you can still apply online for a CIBC Personal Car Loan Opens in a new window.. You can also finance the purchase of a car with a CIBC Personal Loan or CIBC Personal Line of Credit.
To estimate your car loan payments and how much you can borrow, use our car loan calculator.
Payment estimates are based on the amount you borrow, the term of your loan and your interest rate.
You can check the balance of your loan online or on the CIBC Mobile Banking® app. You can also visit any CIBC Banking Centre Opens in a new window. or give us a call at .
Yes, you can pay off all or part of your loan at any time without penalty.
Yes, you can skip up to two payments yearly3. Interest accrues during the payment holiday period. For more information about your loan options, give us a call at .
Have A Source Of Income
Having a steady income is important to auto lenders because it improves the likelihood that you’ll make your monthly payments. Depending on the lender and your job situation, you may need to provide one or more forms of documentation.
If you’re a W-2 employee, for instance, a recent pay stub or a W-2 form may suffice. If you’re self-employed or receive Social Security or other similar forms of income, however, you may need to provide bank statements.
Speak with the lender early on in the process to talk about your situation and find out what documents you need to avoid prolonging the process.
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How To Accelerate The Financing Process:
- Proof of identity: A photo ID with your signature on it. Government identification or a passport are typically acceptable documents. Check with your lender or dealership to see which they prefer.
- Proof of insurance: Dealers may ask you for proof of insurance before you purchase and take out a loan on your new or used vehicle. You can contact insurance companies from the dealership when you buy your car, or get details lined up with the insurance provider before purchasing the vehicle.
- In some cases, you’ll need proof of residence: A driver’s license is typically acceptable.
- If you’re trading in another vehicle as part of your financing, you should probably have your registration papers for your current vehicle.
- In some cases you’ll need to prove that you have a steady source of income, usually through several months of pay stubs or W-2 forms. Some lenders may also call your employer for verification.
Understanding Your Car Payment
Now you have an estimated auto payment youll have a better sense of what kind of new or used vehicle loan could work for you. Is your payment too high? Do you have more room for an auto payment in your budget? Adjust the terms to see how the figure changes.
While the monthly amount is important, also think carefully about the total cost of the purchase and how much you would pay in total interest charges.
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Bank Of America: Best Big Bank Option
Overview: Bank of America offers flexible and convenient auto loans you can apply for directly on its website. Rates are competitive, and you can qualify for additional discounts if youre an eligible Bank of America customer.
Perks: Bank of America will finance a minimum of $7,500 and requires that the car be no more than 10 years old, with no more than 125,000 miles and valued at no less than $6,000. Financing is available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Bank of Americas APRs start at 2.89 percent for a new car and 2.99 percent for a used car.
If youre a Bank of America Preferred Rewards customer, you can qualify for a rate discount of up to 0.5 percent off.
What to watch out for: If you’re applying online, the term range you can apply for is limited you can pick only a 48-, 60 or 72-month term.
You Can Get A Car Loan With A Low Credit Score
To be clear, you can get a car loan with a low credit score. Although the subprime mortgage market has virtually disappeared since the financial crisis about a decade ago, the subprime auto loan market has exploded in recent years. Roughly 1 of every 4 car loans made in the U.S. is made to a subprime or deep-subprime borrower.
While the exact definitions of these terms vary depending on who you ask, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, defines subprime as borrowers with credit scores of below 620 and deep subprime as borrowers with scores below 580.
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Required Income Calculator For A Home Purchase Or A Refinance
Have you found a home that you want to buy? Or plan on refinancing? Or you’re looking at homes around a certain price point. Can you get a loan to buy it? Need to see how much you can qualify for on a refinance?
This mortgage income calculator can give you the answer. This calculator not only takes into account the loan amount and interest rate, but also looks at a whole range of other factors that affect the affordability of a home and your ability to get a mortgage, including your other debts and liabilities that have to be paid each month, as well as costs like taxes and homeowner’s insurance that are part of the monthly mortgage payment.
It also makes it easy to see how changes in the mortgage rate or the loan amount affect the income required for a loan, by using the sliding adjusters below to change your results. Just start filling out the fields indicated below. Or scroll down the page for a detailed explanation of how to use the Mortgage Required Income Calculator.
- FAQ: Great tool to use as loan amount estimates change as you shop for a new home. Or for a refinance when the appraised value forces a change in loan amounts because of loan to value .
Examine Your Buying Patterns
In addition to the formula for car affordability, recognizing your own car-buying habits, good and bad, can offer clues to the best strategy for you.
For example, are you someone who buys a car, pays it off and then keeps it for a few years? Buying a new car would work for you: You have a track record of shopping within your means, finishing off the loan and going payment-free for a while. That’s smart.
Do you get bored with a car after a few years? Then leasing is your best bet. What good is it to take out a six-year loan if you’re going to trade in the vehicle during the fourth or fifth year? You’ll likely owe more than the car is worth and will have to roll that balance into the next loan. You’d be better off leasing and paying less per month. Leasing also lets you get a nicer car for less money.
Finally, are you trying to make the most financially sound decision possible? Then buy a lightly used car, pay it off, and keep it for many years. The first owner takes the depreciation hit, and you’ll have a car that’s new enough to avoid major repairs for a while.
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Shop For Car Insurance
Keeping your monthly payment under 10% of your gross income is the most important thing. Thats whats going to keep you from feeling pinched and stretched. Here are some of the top insurance providers on the market today that are operating in your local area. Find the policy that best suits your needs.
If you prefer to work with an agent, can help you save money. If youre an excellent driver, this insurer may be a great option for you. Sign up for Drivewise and earn as much as 25% back for every six months you go without an accident.
Those who have multiple types of insurance may want to look at . You can save big by bundling your auto policy with your renters, homeowners, or condo insurance. Their website makes it easy to get a quick quote to find out if you can save money by switching to them.
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Increase Your Likelihood Of Approval
Knowing your credit score will help you plan a realistic approach toward financing your next vehicle. While you can still get approved for a loan with a lower credit score, you may have a higher interest rate.
If this is the case, or if your credit score is too low for approval, consider signing with a co-applicant. A co-applicant is an individual who enters the loan with you and may maintain part ownership of the vehicle under that loan.
Buying a vehicle is an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming with so many variables to consider. Here are some helpful tips to make your buying experience a little easier:
- Think about how you plan to use your vehicle, considering things like interior space, car size, maintenance, and gas mileage.
- Do your research, and test drive all of the cars you’re interested in. Consulting a reference guide for general specifications and fair market values is always a good idea.
Considerations when buying a new vehicle:
Considerations when buying a used vehicle:
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Why Is My Amount So Low
Cars may be necessary transportation, but their quick depreciation means spending more than you have to on a car is a fast way to make your hard-earned money disappear unnecessarily.
A bank or car dealer will likely approve you for much more than your result on our calculator. But what the dealer says you can afford and what you can actually afford are very different. Remember, if you stop paying your car loan, the bank repossesses the car. Either way, they win.
The result of our car affordability calculator shows you a sensible amount to spend on a car. And yes, it might be far lower than you might think. But remember that the more money you spend on a car, the less money you have available for everything else housing, food, travel, entertainment, paying off debt, and saving.
Your car is one of your largest monthly expenses the lower you can keep that expense, the faster youll be able to build wealth in other areas.
Cfpb Shifting From Dti Ratio To Loan Pricing
Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have allowed higher DTI ratios for buyers carrying significant student debt.
While measuring debt-to-income is useful for getting a baseline feel for what you may qualify for, the CFPB proposed shifting mortgage qualification away from DTI to using a pricing based approach.
What Change did the CFPB Propose?
“the Bureau proposes to amend the General QM definition in Regulation Z to replace the DTI limit with a price-based approach.”
Why Did They Suggest the Change?
“The Bureau is proposing a price-based approach because it preliminarily concludes that a loans price, as measured by comparing a loans annual percentage rate to the average prime offer rate for a comparable transaction, is a strong indicator and more holistic and flexible measure of a consumers ability to repay than DTI alone.”
How Does This Impact Loan Qualification for Low-income Buyers?
“For eligibility for QM status under the General QM definition, the Bureau is proposing a price threshold for most loans as well as higher price thresholds for smaller loans, which is particularly important for manufactured housing and for minority consumers.”