Current Auto Loan Rates By Credit Score – You’ve shopped for cars, gone for a test drive, and found the perfect car. But will you qualify for a car loan? Before you get approved, the lender pulls your credit report to determine your creditworthiness. Your credit report and credit score help them decide whether to give you a loan and at what interest rate.

Lenders can choose between multiple credit scoring models and multiple credit bureaus. So what credit score do car dealers usually use?

Current Auto Loan Rates By Credit Score

When you apply for an auto loan, a lender is likely to use one of the following credit scores: FICO® Auto Score, Base FICO® Score, or VantageScore®. The FICO® score is used by 90% of top lenders and the VantageScore® credit score is used by nine of the 10 largest banks.[1][2]

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FICO® Auto Scores are industry-specific scores that focus on how likely you are to make late car loan repayments. For example, late payments (or other negative information) on past auto loans can hurt your FICO® Auto Score more than other derogatory items.

Instead of the traditional 300-850 credit score range, FICO® Auto Scores offer a scale of 250-900. A higher FICO® Auto Score indicates less credit risk—just as a higher score means less risk under other credit scoring models. With a higher score, you are more likely to qualify for car financing and receive a better interest rate based on each car lender’s criteria. Each individual lender also determines what other financial information they will consider in their credit review process.

Lenders use several versions of the FICO® Auto Score. (Think of the many versions of smartphone software, and how some users will update their operating systems while others continue to use older options.)

The newest version (as of this writing) is FICO® Auto Score 10, introduced in 2020. However, most auto lenders still use FICO® Auto Score 2, FICO® Auto Score 4, FICO® Auto Score 5, and FICO® Auto Score 8.

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The Base FICO® score predicts the likelihood that you will make a late payment on each credit obligation in the next 24 months. They have a traditional score range of 300-850.

Lenders use several versions of the base FICO® scores. A FICO® score of 10 is the most recent (as of this writing). Yet FICO® Score 8, introduced in 2009, remains the most widely used version.[3]

In 2006, a new credit scoring option became available – VantageScore®. The VantageScore® credit score was born from a collaboration between the three major credit bureaus.

The two latest versions (3.0 and 4.0) of the VantageScore® credit score offer an industry standard credit score range of 300-850. Older VantageScore® models had a scale of 501-990.

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VantageScore® is becoming increasingly popular among auto lenders. The 2019 VantageScore® Market Study Report revealed that approximately 131 million VantageScore® credit scores were used by auto lenders between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.[5]

Your credit score will depend on the credit scoring model and credit bureau. Various companies will show you a credit score, often for a fee. For example, you can get your FICO® Score 8 from Experian for free, or your VantageScore® 3.0 for $7.95. Equifax will share your FICO® Score 5 based on its report for $14.95 per month, and TransUnion will share your VantageScore® 3.0 based on its report for $24.95 per month.[6] VantageScore also provides free credit score reports from certain providers.

FICO® offers an “Advanced” plan that provides 28 FICO® scores, including auto, mortgage and credit versions, as well as a tri-bureau credit report and other services for $29.95 per month.[8] FICO® also offers other plans so be sure to check the pricing page to determine the best option for you, if you believe you need the service. You can request a free copy of your credit report from any credit reporting company every 12 months at

Even if you don’t know which model your lender uses, it’s important to know what your credit score is and how it will affect your interest rate.

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There are three major credit bureaus that compile your credit history into credit reports: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Lenders can use credit bureaus to determine your creditworthiness.

There is no exact answer as to which credit bureau is most used for car loans and it can vary with many different factors that each lender reports to each credit bureau. While many do, lenders are also not required to report to each credit bureau, which means there is no guarantee that your credit information will be the same across all three credit bureaus.[10]

Lenders will look at your credit score to determine whether to approve a car loan application, but it’s not the only factor. They will also consider your debt-to-income ratio; Personal information such as whether you are at your current address or working for your current employer; and the amount of down payment you want to make.[11]

You may still be able to buy a new car with bad credit, but if you get approved, the above factors will affect your loan terms, the amount of your monthly payments, and your interest rate. Remember to consider your budget and evaluate used car options. While a luxury car may seem attractive, a used model may be a better fit for your budget and credit rating.[12]

What Credit Score Do You Need For A Car Loan?

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), your credit score is one of many other factors that can affect your interest rate. Your interest rate may change based on your credit history, loan amount, the type of car you buy, and the length of the loan.[13]

If you’re in the “fair” or “very poor” credit score range, you may want to try raising your score before applying for a car loan. Borrowers with fair credit may be considered subprime borrowers and are unlikely to receive better terms if their loan is approved. Those with very poor credit may be rejected outright or may face higher loan rates and additional fees even if they are even approved.

This chart details the average interest rate by credit score for a new or used auto loan. You can see how it classifies borrowers into five risk categories based on their credit score: deep subprime, subprime, nonprime, prime, or superprime, according to Experian’s latest data for Q4 2021. .[14]

Disclaimer: All rates are subject to change and lenders may have different categories and scoring models. Please use this strictly as a guide.

How Your Credit Score Impacts Your Financial Future

A lender may view a borrower with a low credit score as high risk and may demand a higher down payment. This can work in your favor, though, because you’ll have a smaller loan to pay off. If you can afford a larger down payment, you may be able to save some money by paying less interest overall, even at a higher rate.

Before you decide to buy a car, it’s helpful to understand the factors that go into calculating your credit score. Then you can adjust your financial performance to help you build credit.

Your payment history is the most important factor in your credit score, making up 35% of your FICO® score. Paying off debt on time — whether it’s personal loans, student loans or payments to credit card providers — is an important step in improving your credit score.

Your credit utilization ratio is the second largest factor in calculating your FICO® score, accounting for 30%. This is the amount of credit card debt you have on all your credit cards divided by their combined credit limit.

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If you had $2,000 in debt on three credit cards with a total limit of $5,000, your credit utilization would be 40%; Experts recommend keeping it below 30%. High credit utilization may negatively affect your credit score and lenders may view you as a potentially risky borrower.[15]

Errors happen more often on credit reports than you might think. Numbers can be transferred; Accounts may be incorrectly reported as open, late or delinquent; Balance may be off; And fraud can happen. An FTC study found that 1 in 4 consumers found errors on their credit reports that could affect their score.[16]

Fortunately, you can dispute any mistakes that are wrong. To check for any suspicious entries, you can order a free copy of your credit report at

Applying for new loans or new credit can affect your credit score. When applying for new credit, an inquiry is made on your credit report by the three major credit bureaus. Depending on which bureau the lender uses, and other factors on your report, this question may drop your score by a few points. However, according to FICO®, if you apply for multiple car loans in a short period of time (typically 45 days) it will only count as one tough ask; This principle also applies to mortgage loans.

Plus Credit Score: How To Get One—and Make The Most Of It

If you think you’ll be in the market for a car, it’s a good idea to build your credit ahead of time. Focusing on general credit habits can be more beneficial than trying to get a specific score. Building credit takes time, so be patient

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