If you’re worried about buying a new vehicle because you have a challenging credit score, you shouldn’t be. In the past, little could be done for those with tough credit. But things are changing as time goes on and technology improves. Between data reporting that lenders use and apps customers can use to boost their credit scores, challenging credit isn’t as tough to overcome as it used to be.
Lenders can now tap into more forms of credit data than they could in times past. This can shed light on someone’s debt management skills. That’s good news for consumers and auto dealers. Why? Because lenders can make better decisions when they know more about how a customer pays. This can lead to lower rates for customers and easier sales for dealers.
This data “expands the universe of potential borrowers for lenders,” according to Peter Turek, Senior Vice President at TransUnion.
Turek says you can get a clearer picture of a person’s credit history by using utility payment information like:
- Cell phone bills
- Cable bills
- Utility records
Many of these can be found through electronic, third-party companies so lenders may not even require these documents since they can pay to access some of this information.
But it isn’t just lenders who have access to newer ways to obtain customer data. Many companies have developed tools for customers interested in boosting their credit scores. Several apps, including some from the credit reporting agencies themselves, are now available.
So what do you do to get financed?
The good news is, you’ll likely be able to get financed even with poor credit. But getting financed doesn’t mean you’ll get the best interest rate. Experian Automotive reports that subprime loans have an interest rate spread from 9.75% as an average new car rate to 20.43% as an average used car rate for a deep subprime credit score.
However, you can take steps to improve your credit score whenever you’d like. Making payments on time increases your credit score. But you can also try to get a co-applicant for your loan who has better credit. That can set you up for a lower rate in the future, if the payments on the loan are made on time. If you pay rent, there are apps for your phone that will allow your rent payment to get reported to the bureau.
If you don’t have any credit at all, you can start off with a small credit card loan you’ll be able to pay off every month. That will establish credit and could help you get a lower interest rate down the road.
Keep in mind that improving your credit score isn’t going to happen overnight. There’s not a quick fix for challenging credit. It takes patience and planning, but with the tools available to customers and lenders, having a low credit score isn’t the problem it used to be.