Looking for Great Car Deals? How’s Your Credit?

car deals - credit scoreMost advertised promotional car deals have small print that says something like, “Only applies to well qualified customers,” or “Offer only available to Tier A applicants, ” or ” Only for qualifed lessees.”

What does it mean? How does it affect your ability to get those good deals?

When auto makers put together monthly promotional incentives, such as rebates, low-interest loans, 0% APR loans, special lease deals, and factory-to-dealer cash; they put conditions on exactly who qualifies.

Although rebates and dealer cash are usually available to anyone, special finance rates and lease deals are only available to customers who have good credit. Some deals even specify just how good the credit has to be — typically a credit score of 700 or 720, or higher.

If your credit score is below the required level, you probably will not qualify. If you don’t know your score before you visit your dealer to take advantage of a special deal, you might become a little embarrassed when you discover that your score doesn’t qualify you.

It’s always good to know your credit score before you go for a car deal, even if it’s not a special promotional deal. We recommend a reputable online service that provides credit reports and credit scores. What’s your FICO score? Find out now when you check your credit report for $1 at Experian.com!   Your car dealer and his finance company will use your credit score to determine the finance rate you’ll be charged for your loan or lease.

If your credit score is significantly below 700, your dealer may have difficulty in qualifying you with any of the loan sources he works with.

Your score may be considered “sub-prime” and you’ll be best to find your own financing before you visit a dealer because even if your dealer works with a sub-prime lender, you may be able to get better rates on your own.

You should consider one of the reputable online car loan companies such as Auto Credit Express  that specializes in providing auto financing to people who have no credit, poor credit, bankruptcies, or repossessions in the past.

In summary, promotional car deals that involve financing or leasing nearly always require that the customer have great credit to qualify. Buyers with less-than-great credit may be able to qualify for rebates, price discounts, and other non-financial incentives and still get a good deal. However, buyers with poor credit will have fewer options.

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