Paying for a new or new-to-you car in cash is always your best bet. But, raise your hand if you have a spare $30K lying around. Commuters don’t always get to choose when they need a new car either. A lot of Americans need a car to get to work and back, and breakdowns happen.
If you’re in a bind and don’t have enough cash on-hand to offer as a downpayment, you do have options. Not all auto loans are created equal, and a lot of them don’t even require any money up front. It’s easy to see why so many people are turning to auto loans to finance their new vehicles. Today, we’ll explore a few down payment free car buying options available right now.
No Down Payment Needed!
Those of us that drive to work every day can’t exactly afford to go carless. But the fact is, millions of car-dependent Americans are a dashboard light away from being exactly that! It isn’t as simple as making space in your monthly budget for a car payment either. A lot of sellers and lenders require sizable up-front payments in addition to whatever monthly fees you agree on. It isn’t a great situation.
The thing is, banks want to lend reliable borrowers money. You might not have a stack of cash to count on, but a good enough credit score could still earn you an auto loan. We still recommend that you offer up as much of a down payment as you can, and we’ll explain why later. It is good to know that, if you find yourself without a car and without enough for a deposit, you aren’t without options.
Credit Scores Count
Banks don’t hand out deposit-free auto loans to just anyone. You’ll be asked to fill out an application, and wait for bank approval before anything can be finalized. Be ready to be able to prove your identity, your income, your residence, and your insurance status. Banks look at a number of things to determine if they’ll issue a loan, and at what rate. Employment status, banking history, and credit history are all key factors.1
Your credit score is particularly important. Banks look at a lot of things, but will generally issue out auto loans to applicants with credit scores of 680 and above.2 You aren’t entirely out of luck if your credit score is lower than that. It takes time, but you can boost your credit score in a meaningful way by paying your bills on time, and paying off debts and credit card balances.
You may think that your inability to pay a down payment restricts your auto loan options, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A stable source of income and a good credit score is enough to get most lenders fighting for your business, without a down payment. Between the local credit unions, small banks, and institutional lenders, you have more choices than you probably think.
You’ll want to check in with your local lenders, but some of the best auto loans out there right now can be found below3:
Bank of America Auto Loan
- New car rate: starts at 5.29% APR
- Used car rate: starts at 5.49% APR
- Refinance/lease buyout rate: starts at 6.09% APR
Lightstream Auto Loan
- New car rate: starts at 5.99% APR
- Used car rate: starts at 5.99% APR
- Refinance/lease buyout rate: starts at 6.49% APR
US Bank Auto Loan
- New car rate: starts at 7.11% APR
- Used car rate: starts at 7.11% APR
- Refinance rate: starts at 7.54% APR
Navy Federal Auto Loan
- New car rate: starts at 4.54% APR
- Used car rate: starts at 5.44% APR
- Refinance/lease buyout rate: starts at 4.54% APR
PNC Auto Loan
- New car rate: starts at 5.74% APR
- Used car rate: starts at 7.89% APR
- Refinance/lease buyout rate: starts at 5.74% APR
Capital One Auto Loan
- New car rate: starts at 2.99% APR
- Used car rate: unspecified
- Refinance/lease buyout rate: unspecified
Get Back On The Road Today!
You don’t need an extra $5K lying around, or a high-value trade-in to secure financing for a new or used vehicle. In fact, lots of banks offer low-risk borrowers auto loans with or without a down payment. If you have a good credit score and reliable employment, you could be back on the road in a new ride in no time.
Don’t forget to shop around for the best rates! You’re also encouraged to provide a down payment if you can afford to. Doing so could save you on your monthly payment and substantially reduce your long-term costs. Either way, you shouldn’t have to remain carless for long!