Bankruptcy and bad credit can make you think your ability to get a car loan will be an impossible task. But it does not have to be. Also, any new loans including a car loan will help you to build and reestablish your credit and credit history.
Most finance companies will not deal with you if you are in the middle of bankruptcy, but they will when it is finalized as you can then legally take on debt and reestablish yourself. Bad credit should not mean no credit. You can still get a good car loan and even a reasonable or good rate and payment. Here are some excellent tips and pointers to help you get the best car loan and terms possible regardless of your credit history.
First, get a copy of your credit report.
This is a crucial step as your credit report may and probably will contain some erroneous and derogatory information. It is a known fact that over 90 percent of credit reports contain some sort of error or incorrect information. This can range from wrong contact or loan info to derogatory debt info that should be removed as it is older than 7 years.
The rule is that most derogatory credit and debt reporting can only stay on your credit report for 7 years (a bankruptcy is 10 years). Many collection companies and other creditors abuse this law by relisting bad credit with different loan numbers and such. This is actually illegal and a violation of the Fair Debt Reporting Act. If you find any fraudulent reporting like this hire an attorney and sue the violating company.
Basically, anything that does not belong on your credit file can be investigated by inquiring with the credit bureaus (Trans Union, Equifax and Experian). When an inquiry is opened, they must contact the original creditor and receive proof that the debt is valid. If they do not receive proof within 30 days the disputed information must be removed. The credit bureau in question will then send you a free, corrected credit file. Note, this dispute process is not to be abused for knowingly valid debts.
By correcting the data in your credit report you can only improve your credit rating. You are also entitled to add a small entry to explain any valid derogatory entry. For instance if it was caused by a unexpected illness, automotive accident by an un-insured motorist or something that was not your fault. Creditors may take this info into account and give you a better rate or terms or extend credit where they normally would not.
Make friends with the special finance manager at your local car dealership that handles bad credit.
This can only help as many times a loan is made or determined on the finance managers personal opinions. They can put in a good word for you or a personal favor or recommendation. Especially if they are at a large dealership and they do a lot of loans. They may be able to throw it in with a package of loans and get you approved or get you a better rate. Do not discount this, I have personally seen this happen.
The special finance manager will also determine how much money you can put down and what payments you can afford. If you are friends with them you will most likely get a much better deal, car and payments.
Look online before you sign the dotted line.
There are numerous online finance companies and websites that may give you better terms and or rate, but you will never know if you do not check. Just look up the keywords bad credit car loan on Google or Yahoo and you will find plenty of them. Find a few and see what kinds of offers or terms you will get. Do not be surprised if you are approved, but for a newer car. Many finance companies will not do loans on cars older than 5 or 7 years or with prices below $5,000.
Buy here pay here.
If you wish to buy a car older than the range most companies will finance, under $5,000, or your credit will not let you buy at a normal dealership (very rare), then there is one last resort the BHPH (Buy Here Pay Here dealer). These car dealers finance the car themselves and will usually expect weekly payments. Do not expect your car loan with them to be reported on your credit report so it will probably not help your credit. If you miss a payment, they will tow off or repo your car.
Then you will have to pay extra repo fees and all payments to get you up to date to get the vehicle back. BHPH is kind of like legalized loan sharking, but for some it is an acceptable or only alternative to riding the bus or walking. Expect high interest rates (whatever the state maximum is) and weekly payments of between $50 and $100 with a sizeable down payment (usually around $2,000 or so depending on the year and price of the car being loaned).
Now, once you have a car loan, do not mess up and miss or make late payments. Your goal is to correct the mistakes of your past and build good credit. If you keep making on time payments and continue to build your credit, with 1 to 2 years you will improve your credit and may even be able to do things like purchase a house or condo and qualify for better rates and terms.
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