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Best Car Loans for Bad Credit

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Financing a new or new-to-you vehicle is possible, even if you have poor or limited credit. But your credit can make it more challenging to find decent financing, so it’s essential to shop around. To find the right car loan for your situation, compare options from credit unions, banks, and dealerships. Look at loan rates, fees, borrower requirements, and vehicle requirements to ensure you’re making an informed decision before you apply. 

To help simplify the process of getting financing, we’ve rounded up some of the best car loans for bad credit. These lenders offer minimal fees, flexible requirements for borrowers, and straightforward information about vehicle restrictions. 

Best Car Loans for Bad Credit of 2023

Planning to apply with a co-signer, or just want to see more options? Check out our picks for the best overall auto loans to shop around.

Best Car Loans for Bad Credit
Best Car Loans for Bad Credit

Best for Most Borrowers : AUTOPAY



  • APR Range: 2.99% and up
  • Loan Amounts: $2,500–$100,000
  • Loan Terms: 2–8 years
Pros & Cons
  • High maximum loan amount

  • Low minimum credit score of 500

  • Loans available in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

  • Lender marketplace

  • Maximum APR not disclosed

  • No physical branches available

  • Time to fund loan not disclosed

Why We Chose It

AUTOPAY offers new, used, and refinance auto loans to borrowers with a range of credit profiles. Its minimum credit score requirement is just 500, making it a decent option if you have poor or limited credit. 

While AUTOPAY indicates its minimum APR is quite low, your rate will likely be higher than that with bad credit. It doesn’t disclose its maximum APR, but it offers the option to prequalify for a loan without a hard credit check, which could provide some insight into the rate you may receive. 

AUTOPAY offers a wide range of loan amounts and repayment terms. Qualifying borrowers can get loans from $2,500 to $100,000 with terms of 2 to 8 years, though AUTOPAY doesn’t mention how long it takes to disburse loan funds. You won’t pay an origination fee if you use this lending platform, but it doesn’t disclose if it charges late fees or prepayment penalties. 

Borrower Qualifications
  • Loans are available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
  • Minimum credit score: 500 (according to customer support)
  • MInimum monthly income: $2,500 (according to customer support)
Vehicle Qualifications
  • Maximum accepted mileage: 150,000 miles
  • Maximum accepted age of the vehicle: 10 years old
  • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: Not disclosed
  • Private-party vehicle purchases: Allowed

Best for Focus on Used Car Loans : CarMax

CarMax logo


  • APR Range: Not disclosed
  • Loan Amounts: $5,000–$100,000
  • Loan Terms: 3–6 years
Pros & Cons
  • Works with borrowers of all credit levels

  • High maximum loan amount

  • No origination fees

  • Fast funding available

  • Late fees up to $50 

  • APR range not disclosed

  • High minimum loan amount

Why We Chose It

Borrowers shopping for used cars may want to consider a loan from CarMax, which doesn’t have any specific minimum credit requirements. This lending platform offers used car loans from $5,000 to $100,000 and repayment terms as long as six years. CarMax only finances used cars.

CarMax doesn’t disclose its APR range, but it does allow borrowers to see sample rates and prequalify. Getting prequalified is typically a good idea because it’s free and doesn’t hurt your credit. You can also apply with a creditworthy co-borrower if you choose, which could result in better rates. 

While loans from CarMax may offer certain perks for used car borrowers, including high loan amounts, possible same-day funding, and no origination fees or prepayment penalties, borrowers will be subject to late fees of up to $50. There are also no rate discounts available through this platform. 

Borrower Qualifications
  • Does not disclose a minimum credit score or income requirements
  • Vehicles and loans are available in 41 states, excluding Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and West Virginia.
Vehicle Qualifications
  • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: Not disclosed
  • Maximum accepted mileage: Not disclosed
  • Maximum accepted age of the vehicle: None (vehicle must be purchased through CarMax)
  • Private-party vehicle purchases: Not allowed
Customer Reviews*
  • “I've been satisfied with the products that I've gotten there. I've bought, and my family has bought more than one car from them, and I've got friends who have, so I think it's pretty well-run. And I've been happy with the warranties on the repairs two cars ago.”
  • “...Over the years I started buying from CarMax, maybe about 15 years ago, and had used the same salesman, usually. But this time it was during COVID when I got the car and they were trying to do everything that they could online. They would have even brought the car to me. If I picked it online they would have driven it to me and had me fill [out] the paperwork in my house. But because I was in a different state, they didn't do that.”
  • “If I was going to do something differently, I'd probably check and see if [my] credit union had lower interest rates. … But that's the only thing I would do differently, is … go for something with a lower interest rate.”

*Customer reviews were collected from an independent survey of 1,016 current, past, and prospective auto loan borrowers.

Best for Full Car Buying Experience : Carvana



  • APR Range: Not disclosed
  • Loan Amounts: Not disclosed
  • Loan Terms: 3–6 years
Pros & Cons
  • Offers financing for people with bad credit

  • Fast funding available

  • Accessible customer service

  • Co-signers permitted

  • Loan APRs and amounts are not disclosed

  • No physical locations

  • Lower accepted mileage than some competitors

Why We Chose It

Carvana allows you to shop for a vehicle online and get it delivered directly to your home; it’s also more accessible than many lenders, offering to accept people with bad credit. Its customer service team is accessible by online chat and over the phone from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET, and it has a robust help center on its website if you have questions.

Despite providing accessible support during the car-buying process, Carvana doesn’t disclose much information about its loans, including rates, amounts, and origination/late fees. However, it lets borrowers prequalify, which could offer more insight into its financing options. 

Overall, Carvana may be a good choice for those who prefer the convenience of shopping for a car completely online. You won’t need to visit a dealership at all, which means no haggling with aggressive salespeople or unwanted upselling, and the whole car buying process (including the loan) can be completed on one platform. 

Borrower Qualifications
  • Minimum credit score is not disclosed
  • Minimum income: $4,000
  • Carvana does not operate in Alaska or Hawaii.
  • Co-signers are not allowed in Alaska, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
Vehicle Qualifications
  • Vehicle must be purchased through Carvana.
  • Maximum accepted mileage: 140,000 miles
  • Maximum accepted age of the vehicle: Varies
  • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: Not disclosed
  • Private-party vehicle purchases: Not allowed

Best for High Maximum Accepted Mileage : OpenRoad Lending

OpenRoad Lending

 OpenRoad Lending

  • APR Range: 1.99% and up
  • Loan Amounts: $7,500–$100,000
  • Loan Terms: 3–7 years
Pros & Cons
  • High maximum mileage of 160,000 miles

  • High maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 180%

  • Co-borrowers permitted

  • Relatively slow funding time

  • Membership may be required

  • Only offers auto refinance loans

Why We Chose It

If you’re interested in refinancing a high-mileage vehicle, OpenRoad Lending may be a decent option. This lending platform allows borrowers to finance cars with up to 160,000 miles. For context, many lenders only allow financing for vehicles with up to 120,000 or 150,000 miles. OpenRoad also doesn’t have a maximum age for vehicle financing, while many competitors won’t finance a vehicle over 10 model years old. 

While its vehicle qualifications are relatively open, OpenRoad Lending doesn’t disclose its maximum APR—and you may get something on the high end of that range if you have bad credit. Borrowers will need to prequalify to determine what rates, terms, and loan amounts may be available to them. This lending platform also charges origination fees of up to $449 and late fees of up to 5% of the total unpaid balance. There are no prepayment penalties, though, and OpenRoad accepts an LTV of up to 180%, which is high compared to competitors. 

Overall, although you may end up paying more than with some other lenders, OpenRoad is exceptionally flexible in its borrower and vehicle requirements.

Borrower Qualifications
  • Minimum credit score: 500 (according to customer support)
  • Minimum monthly income: $1,500 (income from Uber or similar taxi services is not eligible)
  • States available: 45 states (not available in Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, North Dakota, and Wisconsin)
  • Self-employed borrowers are ineligible.
Vehicle Qualifications
  • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: 125% in most cases; exceptions up to 180% can be made (according to customer support)
  • Maximum accepted mileage: 160,000 miles (according to customer support)
  • Maximum accepted age of the vehicle: 8 years
  • Private-party vehicle purchases: Not allowed
  • The following vehicles are ineligible: commercial vehicles and vehicles for business use; Oldsmobile, Daewoo, Smart Car, and Isuzu models; vehicles that are no longer being manufactured; motorcycles; recreational vehicles; trucks or vehicles larger than 3/4 ton.

Many auto lending platforms aren’t transparent about financing details. Getting information about loan amounts, APRs, and loan terms may be challenging. 

Final Verdict

If you’re concerned your bad credit may be a barrier to getting an auto loan, you may be surprised to find out that financing options are available. For most car buyers, AUTOPAY could be a good first choice. This lending platform offers new and used car loans, as well as refinancing. Unlike some competitors, it provides clear details about its loan amounts, terms, and borrower and vehicle requirements. Its minimum credit score requirement is just 500, so it’s an option even if you have bad credit. 

Those shopping for used cars may also want to consider CarMax. Like AUTOPAY, it’s transparent about its loan terms and amounts. CarMax and the other lenders above all accept people who don’t have the best credit, so you can still shop around and find a loan that fits your budget.

Guide to Choosing the Best Car Loans for Bad Credit

What Counts as Bad Credit for an Auto Loan?

Multiple credit scoring models exist, though lenders commonly use the FICO and VantageScore models in loan decisions. Both of these models segment credit scores into ranges from 300–850. With the FICO model, a credit score is considered “poor” if it falls into the 300–579 range. And a score in the 300–600 range is considered “very poor” or “poor” by VantageScore. 

You may have a poor credit score if you have no credit history or negative items on your credit reports. Negative items may include missed or late payments, maxed-out credit cards, past bankruptcies, or several credit inquiries in a short timeframe. 

Because different auto lenders have different borrowing criteria, you could get approved for a car loan with limited or poor credit. There’s no specific minimum credit score that applies across all lenders.

FICO Score Ranges

 Rating  Score Range*
Excellent/Exceptional 800–850
Very Good  740–799 
Good  670–739 
Fair  580–669 
Poor  300–579 
No Credit Not enough data to score 

*Source: myFICO

How to Compare Bad Credit Car Loans

  • Interest rates: As you shop around for an auto loan, it’s essential to compare interest rates. You can expect to receive a higher rate with bad credit than you would with good credit, but certain lenders offer higher rates than others
  • Fees: You’ll also want to consider fees, including origination/application, registration, title, and prepayment fees. In general, it’s best to avoid lenders that charge sky-high fees compared to competitors.
  • Credit requirements: With bad credit, your options may be more limited. Compare different lenders’ credit requirements to find a suitable option for your situation. 
  • Down payment requirements: Certain lenders may require a larger down payment if you have poor credit. Research down payment requirements as you consider loan options and work them into your budget.
  • Financing restrictions: You may only be able to finance certain vehicles, depending on the lender’s requirements. For instance, some may not offer financing if a car has over 100,000 miles or is over a certain age. Ask about possible financing restrictions. 

Certain dealerships are “buy-here, pay-here.” These may not offer the best financing options. Watch out for unreasonable interest rates and fees with these types of dealers. Use a car loan calculator to figure out a reasonable price and monthly payment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can You Get a Car Loan With Bad Credit?

    Yes—while you’ll likely have fewer options for car loans with bad credit than a borrower with good credit, it is still possible to finance your new or used vehicle. Even with poor credit and few options, it’s still best to compare the offers you can get and find the best possible loan for your situation. Learn more about how to buy a car with bad credit.

  • Where Can You Get a Bad Credit Car Loan?

    Certain banks, credit unions, and car dealerships may offer bad credit car loans. If you have an established account at a local credit union or bank, that’s likely a good starting point. Your financial institution may be more willing to work with you if you’re a loyal customer, even if your credit isn’t great. 

    Alternatively, you could consider financing through a conventional car dealer. But keep in mind that the dealership may offer higher-rate auto loans than you’d get from a bank or credit union. In general, it’s best to avoid buy-here-pay-here dealerships, which cater to borrowers with poor credit. These dealers generally offer loans with very high rates, which will highly mean higher monthly payments. 

  • Is There Guaranteed Approval for Bad Credit Car Loans?

    Be wary of dealerships or lending platforms offering guaranteed approval for bad credit car loans. While it may be easy to get approved, your loan could come with unfavorable terms and rates. A bad credit auto loan with a very high rate could be difficult to repay, putting you in a worse financial position than you were initially.

  • What's the Lowest Credit Score Allowed for a Car Loan?

    Credit score requirements vary by lender. While some may require good credit to qualify for a car loan, others may be willing to work with borrowers who have fair or poor credit too. Although you may be able to find a loan with bad credit, you should expect to pay more in interest and fees.


The Balance is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of auto loan lenders. To rate providers, we collected hundreds of data points across more than 20 auto loan lenders, including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, borrower requirements, and vehicle requirements, to ensure that our reviews help users make informed decisions for their borrowing needs.

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