If you’re shopping for a new or used car, one of the key things that will affect your ability to get financing (and also the terms of that financing) is your credit score. Your credit score is the numerical representation of how creditworthy you are, and it plays a big role in determining the interest rate you’ll get on your auto loan. So, what credit score do you need to buy a car?

The answer depends on the lender, but generally, the better your credit score, the better the terms available to you. Here’s a breakdown of the credit score ranges and how they generally affect car financing:

1. Excellent credit (750+)

If you have an excellent credit score, you’re in a prime position to get the best auto loan rates available. Lenders view borrowers with excellent credit as low risk, and you can expect competitive interest rates and flexible terms.

2. Good credit (700-749)

With a good credit score, you’re still in a strong position to get reasonable financing options. You may not qualify for the absolute lowest rates, but you can still access competitive terms and interest rates.

3. Fair credit (650-699)

A fair credit score may make it slightly more challenging to secure a loan, and you might be looking at higher interest rates. But many lenders still work with borrowers in this range, especially if other factors—like income and a down payment—are favorable.

4. Poor credit (600-649)

If your credit score falls into this range, you may face more limited options and higher interest rates. Subprime lenders and buy-here-pay-here dealerships may be more willing to work with you, but you’ll need to be especially cautious with them, and be sure you understand the terms thoroughly before signing anything.

5. Very Poor credit (below 600)

Getting a car loan with a very poor credit score can be challenging. You may need to explore alternative financing options, such as co-signers or special financing programs designed for individuals with low credit scores.

It’s important to note that while your credit score is a significant factor in obtaining auto financing, lenders also consider other factors, like your income, employment history, and the loan amount you’re trying to get. Improving your credit score over time can definitely open up better financing opportunities in the long run. You may want to check out Brigit’s Credit Builder* as a useful tool to help build your credit.

The bottom line: what credit score do you need to buy a car?

The credit score you need to buy a car varies, but a higher credit score generally results in better loan terms. Before shopping for a car, it’s a good idea to check your credit score, review your credit report for accuracy, and work on improving your credit if necessary. Doing so can help you secure more favorable financing options and potentially save you money over the life of your auto loan.

*Impact to score may vary. Some users’ scores may not improve. Results will depend on many factors, including on-time payment history, the status of non-Brigit accounts, and financial history. Results show that customers with a starting credit score of 600 or below were more likely to see positive score change results. A Brigit subscription is required [link to pricing page]. Credit Builder loans are not available in all states.

The Brigit Credit Builder is a service provided by Brigit and its bank partner, Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC. The Brigit Credit Builder product is separate from the Brigit Instant Cash Advance service. Brigit Credit Builder installment loans are issued by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC, subject to approved underwriting practices.