What credit score is needed to buy a car?

A car may be one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, so it’s important to feel confident you’re getting a good deal. Your credit can play an important role in how much you pay for your car if you’re using a loan to finance it. It’s worth preparing your credit prior to your car purchase and having a credit score goal in mind before you buy your next car.

What is a good credit score for buying a car?

There’s no standard, minimum score to be approved for a car loan. A good credit score from TransUnion, which is based on the VantageScore 3.0® scoring model, is in the range of 721 – 780. If your credit score is below this range, consider 721 and above a good long-term goal. Lenders may not use a VantageScore 3.0 credit score based on TransUnion credit report when considering you for a loan. You can ask your lender which credit scoring model they use and which credit reports (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) they’ll pull. This is especially important if you have a credit freeze and need to temporarily unfreeze your credit for them to check your reports.

For VantageScore as well as the FICO® scoring model, credit scores range from 300 – 850. As your credit score goes up, especially through the higher ranges, you can benefit from better odds of approval and lower interest rates. But just because your score isn’t “good,” that doesn’t mean you can’t be approved for an auto loan. Your approval will ultimately depend on the lender and the type of sale (whether it’s private or through a dealership). You may find approval varies from dealer to dealer.


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