My FICO is currently 651...is it possible to get traditional financing with a low score like that through a bank or CU? I don't want to apply and take a ding to my credit if the answer is no. I will have a down payment of about $5,000 and I have a good employment history and salary.
yes, possible. auto loans are easy.
Sure you can.
Any idea what type of interest rate I'm looking at? Should I go through a bank or credit union or try the dealer?
Not all banks will approve you, but the dealer will shop banks and find one that will finance you. They sell cars to people with credit scores below yours all the time, so they know where to look. I wouldn't expect a good interest rate, but you can refinance when your credit improves.
Completely possible, yes. I just financed a 2005 Dodge Ram last month for $13,500, with $400 down, approx 580 FICO, with a single good credit card that I've had since May, always paid on time. Depending on which CRA you look at, I've got between 3 and 10 negatives on my report, none of which were actively being dealt with. Yes, I'm paying an extremely high interest rate right now - 24.75%. Price you pay for being an idiot, and not dealing with things like you should....It also appears to have caused my scores to nose dive in the short term, but I'm hoping this being a 2nd good account, plus a different loan type (installment vs revolving) should help improve things in the near future.
I would recommend shopping for financing before going to the dealership. But, even if you go through the dealership don't let them talk you into an outrageous interest rate. I got a car in February 2012 with a 607 score at 9.1% interest through the dealership. Of course, when they first ran the credit they proposed 18% which was ridiculous. With good debt to income ratio, payment history, and a reasonable credit score (651 is not terrible!) you should be able to do at least that or better. If you shop around within a small window of time then all the inquiries only count as one and won't ding your credit too much.
24.75% APR??? On a car???? Passes ot on the floor and hits head ---thud---
Just as an update, it took only six months of payments to be able to refi it at 16 percent. Yes, still pretty darn high, but in my case when I bought that truck I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, and wasn't really in a position to shop around at multiple dealers/lenders, etc. Refi'ing it quickly was always the plan, but I failed to take into account the year and milage on the truck, so I may be stuck with only this one refi until my credit improves some more, and maybe being able to play a few dances with low APR credit card balance transfers, trade it in on something newer in a couple years and take the hit there, or something else down the road.
At the end of it all though, I'm not upset over it. Lessons learned and all that....and this is also why I took the 13K truck over the 50K one I wanted I'm more than comfortable with the current monthly payment on it, so worst case scenario, I drop way more into it than I should have in interest. The current plan is to be in a position to fully pay it off in the next two years, so the total interest paid would be roughly the same as a longer term note at 9%.
Just another "stupid fee" to be racked up as a result of my earlier bad decisions in life