If you want to buy a car, one of the first things you should think about is your credit score. Your credit score indicates your likelihood of repaying a loan, and the higher your credit score, the better your interest rate and terms will be. Here’s what credit score is needed in 2022 to buy a car with a cosigner—and what you can do if your credit is less than perfect with capital one auto finance.

A credit score of at least 600 is generally required to qualify for a traditional car loan, but the minimum credit score required to finance a car loan varies by lender. If your credit score is considered subprime, you may need to look for a bad credit car loan. These usually have higher interest rates than traditional auto loans.

What Credit Scores Do Auto Lenders Use? 

You don’t just have one credit score, but several. The scoring models use the same basic information from your credit reports, but they weigh different factors. The two major scoring models are as follows:

  • FICO. The most well-known and widely used scoring company. FICO scores range between 300 and 850.
  • The VantageScore. A newer rival to FICO. Though previous VantageScore versions ranged from 501 to 990, the latest VantageScore ranges from 300 to 850, the same as FICO.

The major scoring models can also generate more specialized scores for specific purposes. FICO, for example, provides the FICO Auto Score, an industry-specific credit score aimed at auto lenders. The FICO Auto Score employs a different weighting system than other FICO scores, with credit utilization having a greater impact and isolated late payments—such as a one-time error—having a lesser impact. To make matters even more complicated, there are several versions of the FICO Auto Score.

A FICO Auto Score is used by many car dealerships, but not all. If you’re unsure and curious, ask your lender which credit scores they look at before agreeing to a credit check.

What Is the Minimum Credit Score Needed to Buy a Car?

Lenders consider your income and credit score when reviewing your auto loan application. Lenders categorize customers based on their credit scores, such as:

  • Super prime: 781 to 850
  • Prime: 661 to 780
  • Nonprime: 601 to 660
  • Subprime: 501 to 600
  • Deep subprime: 300 to 500

In general, lenders prefer borrowers in the prime range or higher, so a credit score of 661 or higher is required to qualify for most conventional car loans.

What Credit Score Is needed To buy A Car With A Cosigner?

If your credit score is less than perfect, having a cosigner can increase your chances of getting approved to buy a car, which you might not be able to do on your own. In turn, the loan allows you to build credit over time, which can help you qualify for better car loan terms in the future. However, before you begin looking for a lender, you must ensure that any potential cosigner you have in mind meets the requirements.

A lender typically looks for three characteristics in a cosigner:

#1. Excellent credit score (required)

Lenders demand that a cosigner have good to excellent credit. Your cosigner’s credit score should be at least 700. Lenders look for a cosigner with this type of credit history to help ensure that your loan is paid on time every month. In this case, the cosigner puts their credit on the line for you each month until the loan is paid off.

#2. Ability to pay (required)

Furthermore, lenders want to ensure that the cosigner, like the borrower, can afford the loan. Lenders look at the cosigner’s debt-to-income and payment-to-income ratios with the new loan added in to ensure they can afford the payment. The lender may request recent tax returns or a computer-generated pay stub from your employer.

#3. Stability (dependent) 

Proof of stability may be required as a final step. Depending on the lender, your cosigner may be required to provide proof of residency, employment, or both. Many lenders prefer cosigners who have lived at the same address for five years or more and are well-established in their community. In terms of employment, they prefer cosigners who have been with the same employer for a few years. However, as long as your cosigner has good credit, lenders are unlikely to request this.

What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a Car Without a Cosigner?

Many young adults want to know what credit score is needed to buy a car without the help of a cosigner. The solution is straightforward. It all depends. A cosigner assumes full responsibility for loan repayment. You must meet specific underwriting standards if you do not have a second person to back you up.

A good credit score for a stand-alone auto loan is 660 or higher, but lenders take into account other factors, so your minimum number could be higher or lower than this. When making lending decisions, car finance companies, for example, will consider the size of the down payment, the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and employment stability.

Down payment needed without a cosigner

The amount of your down payment has a significant impact on the minimum credit score needed to buy a car without a cosigner. For at least two reasons, auto finance companies vary terms based on deposit amount.

  • Smaller loan amounts imply less risky loans.
  • Vehicle equity has an impact on future default behaviors.

No money down

When you don’t have enough money for a down payment, you may need a credit score above 660 to buy a car without a cosigner, as lenders want something positive to balance the application.

Leases are sometimes easier than loans for people with bad credit and no money down because the monthly payments are lower. Finance companies are more willing to approve applicants who can afford monthly payments.

Large down payment

If you pay for the vehicle in cash, you can have a credit score as low as 350 and still qualify to buy a car without a cosigner. Your down payment would be 100% of the purchase price, eliminating the need for an auto loan.

Debt-to-income ratio needed to buy a car

The minimum credit score needed to buy a car with no cosigner is influenced by your projected debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. The DTI is used by auto finance companies to determine affordability, which is the third critical underwriting criterion.

Read Also: BEST WAY TO BUY A CAR IN 2023: Detailed Guide

What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a Car in 2023?

If you want a quick and easy answer, 660 is usually the minimum credit score needed to buy a car in 2023. But, as with most things in life, there’s much more to it.

This is fantastic news for our people with bad credit. If you have a subprime credit score, you will most likely be able to obtain a car loan. That is, of course, assuming you meet the other requirements, such as having sufficient income and documentation.

However, there is one condition…

Expect to pay a higher interest rate than your prime credit friend. For most loans, the general rule of thumb is that the worse your credit, the higher your interest rate.

Lenders prefer to make more money off of people with bad credit. It’s their way of justifying the risks of lending money to someone with a bad credit history. This is similar to car loans in that your credit score determines your interest rate.

But, regardless of where your credit score falls on the scale, know that if you want a good interest rate, now may be the best time to buy. Interest rates have reached a new low as a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this downward trend is expected to continue into 2022.

According to Experian Q2 Market Data, the following are the 2022 average Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for credit score needed to buy a car:

  • Deep subprime (300-500): 14.59%
  • Subprime (501-600): 11.03%
  • Near prime (601-660): 6.61%
  • Prime (661-780): 3.48%
  • Super prime (781-850): 2.34%

What Credit Score Is needed To buy A Car Capital One?

Capital One Auto Finance can be useful if you want to compare shops and compare rates before deciding on a vehicle. Capital One Auto Finance is an option whether you have poor or excellent credit because the needed minimum credit score to buy a car is only 500.

Application Requirements for Capital One Auto Finance

To qualify for a Capital One auto loan, you must have a minimum credit score of 500. You will also need a minimum monthly income of $1,500 to $1,800, depending on your credit score. Except for Alaska and Hawaii, Capital One auto loans are available to residents of all states. These car loans, however, cannot be used to purchase Oldsmobile, Daewoo, Saab, Suzuki, or Isuzu vehicles.

Rates and Fees

Capital One Auto Finance provides loan rates that are competitive. Purchase loans have interest rates as low as 3.39% while refinancing interest rates range from 4.07% to 24.99%. The better your credit, the lower your interest rate may be. No application fees are required.

Capital One has a car payment calculator that can help you estimate your potential monthly payments. Based on your credit score and the corresponding APR, the calculator can estimate your monthly payment.

You can estimate your payments using the average interest rates for each credit score listed below:

Buying a New Car

  • 501-600: 11.71% APR
  • 601-660: 7.77% APR
  • 661-780: 4.96% APR
  • APR of 4% above $780

Buying a Used Car

  • 501-600: 16.89% APR
  • 601-660: 11% APR
  • 661-770: 6.36% APR
  • APR above 780: 4.66%

How to Buy a Car With a Lower Credit Score

Getting a loan to buy a new or used car when you don’t have perfect credit can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Here are some options for auto financing for people with bad credit:

#1. Make a sizable down payment.

Offering a large down payment on a vehicle purchase may enable car buyers to obtain more reasonable financing rates and terms, resulting in lower monthly loan payments. Lenders may view the loan as less risky if you put more money down at the time of purchase, increasing your chances of approval.

#2. Obtain cosigner assistance.

Purchasing a car with the help of a cosigner is another way to potentially increase your chances of obtaining favorable financing. A cosigner agrees to share the loan’s repayment responsibility, effectively promising the lender that if you don’t make the payments, they will. If the cosigner is creditworthy, the buyer will be in a much better position to obtain financing than if they went it alone.

#3. Consider a less expensive car.

It is especially important to know how much you can realistically afford to spend when buying a car with bad credit — and then stick to that budget, even if the dealer tries to upsell you. Furthermore, finding a less expensive car will reduce the amount you need to borrow, and a smaller loan amount may be easier to get approved for than a larger one.

How big of a loan can I get with a 550 credit score?

With a credit score of 550, the amount you can qualify for is usually determined by the lender. Avant is one lender that accepts borrowers with a credit score of 550. They can lend up to $35,000 and have interest rates ranging from 9.95% to 35.99%.

Can I get a car with a 600 credit score?

There is no minimum credit score required to obtain an auto loan. If your credit score is higher than 660, you will most likely qualify for an auto loan with an APR of less than 10%. If you have bad or no credit, you may still be able to get a car loan, but you should expect to pay more.

What credit score do you need to get any car?

A credit score of at least 600 is generally required to qualify for a traditional auto loan, but the minimum credit score required to finance a car loan varies by lender. If your credit score is considered subprime, you may need to look for a bad credit car loan.

Can I get a car with a 500 credit score?

A car loan with a credit score of 500 is possible, but it will be costly. According to the Experian State of the Automotive Finance Market report, people with credit scores of 500 or lower received an average rate of 13.97% for new car loans and 20.67% for used car loans in the second quarter of 2020.

Can I get a car with a 700 credit score?

As you can see, a credit score of 700 places you in the “good” or “prime” category for financing, making it a good credit score for buying a car. While it is always a good idea to improve your credit score before purchasing a car, if you are already in the 700 range, you will be fine.

How good is a credit score of 600?

Your score falls within the Fair range, which ranges from 580 to 669. A FICO® Score of 600 is lower than the average credit score. Some lenders consider consumers with Fair credit to have unfavorable credit and may decline their credit applications.


While auto lenders may have minimum credit score requirements, there is no universal minimum credit score needed to buy a car. There are lenders who provide auto financing to borrowers with poor credit, and some even specialize in bad credit car loans.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does your credit score need to be at for a car?

661 points or higher

In general, lenders prefer borrowers in the prime range or higher, so a credit score of 661 or higher is required to qualify for most conventional car loans.

Which credit score is most important when buying a car?

The FICO credit score is used by more than 90% of car lenders. An individual FICO score is generated by an algorithm that considers many aspects of your credit history, such as unpaid debts, the number and types of open loan accounts, and the length of time you have kept these accounts open.

What do car dealers look for in credit?

Your credit score is important in determining car financing options, but dealers will also look at your overall credit history. High credit card usage and missed payments that are more than 30 days late are two of the potential risks that auto dealers consider.


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