Can I Get Car Finance With A Bad Credit Rating?

Worried that your credit score may put the brakes on your car finance plans? 
If you're picturing your dream car drifting out of reach, don’t worry - having a poor score doesn't mean you're locked out securing finance for your next car.

At Carmoola, we’re here to help you navigate through the twists and turns of securing car finance with a lower credit score.

Read on to discover more about your credit score, the part it plays in finance applications and how to improve your chances of being approved.

Got a specific question? Why not jump to:

What is a ‘bad’ credit score?

Just like a good credit score can vary, so too can a bad one. It really depends on the credit reference agency you check, as each uses a different method to calculate your score. 
Here’s a snapshot of what a bad credit rating looks like according to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion:



  • Poor: 0-438


  • Poor: 561-720
  • Very poor: 0-560


  • Poor: 601-660
  • Very poor: 300-600

You’ll typically have a bad score if you’ve missed a payment or two, or perhaps you've just hit a rough patch financially and are struggling to keep up with your repayments.

It's a score that lenders look at and think, "Hmm, there might be a bit of a risk lending to this person."

But don't fret; it's not the end of the road when it comes to securing car finance.

Can I get car finance with a bad credit score?

Getting car finance with a bad credit score is definitely tougher, but it's far from impossible. 
Think of it as a tricky video game level you can conquer with some smart strategies and a bit of persistence.

Lenders understand that everyone's finances can go through some ups and downs. Many lenders offer options tailored for those who are dusting themselves off after taking a financial tumble.

So, even if your credit score isn’t looking its best right now, there's still a realistic path forward to securing your dream car.

Can I get car finance with no credit history?

Applying for car finance without a credit history may feel like you’re starting from scratch, but that doesn’t mean you can’t lock in a good car finance agreement.

Take time to find lenders who are willing to give newcomers a shot. You can also work on building up your credit history to increase your chance of getting approved further down the line.

Can I get car finance without a credit check?

The truth is credit checks are a non-negotiable part of the credit application process. They're how lenders get to know you and whether you can repay what you borrow.

Don’t worry though, if you are concerned about what the check may reveal, there’s time to work on turning it around.

More credit guides

What options do I have to get car finance if I have a bad credit score?

If you have a bad credit score, don’t worry, all is not lost. There are routes you can take to get approved for car finance.

Let's explore some of the options you have to secure car finance, even when your credit score has seen better days:

Put down a larger deposit

A larger deposit reduces the lender's risk and minimises how much you need to borrow.

Use a guarantor

Having a guarantor means having someone with a good credit score to vouch for you. 

This can give lenders the confidence boost they need to approve your finance application. 

Just make sure your guarantor understands what they're signing up for as they’ll be responsible for making the payments if you miss them.

Find lenders who work with poor credit score

Some lenders specialise in loans for people with bad credit. These lenders are ready to throw you a lifeline when you're struggling to secure car finance.

These lenders often have options tailored to those working their way back to a healthier credit score. Just be aware that they’ll likely charge you higher fees and interest rates because of the added risk involved.

Each of these paths offers a beacon of hope for securing car finance, even when your credit score isn’t perfect.

How can I improve my credit score?

If your credit score isn’t as good as it could be, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

First off, make sure you’re paying all your bills on time, every time to show that you’re a responsible borrower.

Whether it's a credit card, loan instalment, or even your phone bill, punctual payments show you're reliable and trustworthy.

Next, consider your credit utilisation ratio, that's the percentage of available credit you're using. Keeping this number low shows you're not over-relying on credit.

Aim to use less than 30% of your available credit, and you’ll start to see your score climb.

Also, don't forget to give your credit report a regular check-up for any errors or inaccuracies. Correcting mistakes can give your score an immediate boost.

Improving your credit score doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time, patience, and hard work.

However, the results are more than worthwhile, giving you access to a wider choice of loans with better interest rates.

FAQs About Credit Scores:

What’s an average credit score in the UK?

The average credit score in the UK varies by the credit reference agency but generally falls within a 'fair' to 'good' range. For example, Experian's scores range from 0-999, with an average score falling around the mid-700s.

Can I get car finance if I’ve been declared bankrupt?

Getting car finance after bankruptcy is challenging but not impossible. You might need to wait until your bankruptcy is discharged, and looking into lenders that specialise in financing for those with a history of bankruptcy could help.

Can I get car finance if I’ve got a County Court Judgement (CCJ)?

Yes, you can still get car finance with a CCJ, though your options may be limited. Some lenders specifically cater to people with CCJs or bad credit histories.

Can I get car finance if I’ve defaulted on a loan?

Yes, it's possible to get car finance with a loan default on your record, though it may be more difficult. You might face higher interest rates, and looking for lenders who offer bad-credit finance options can be beneficial.

Can I pay off my bad-credit car finance early?

Yes, you can usually pay off your car finance early, even with bad credit. Check your agreement for any early repayment charges that might apply.

How much can I borrow if I have a poor credit score?

The amount you can borrow with a poor credit score varies by lender. It might be less than if you had good credit, and the interest rates may be higher. Providing a larger deposit or having a guarantor could increase the amount you're eligible to borrow.