Bad credit car loans are essentially targeted at those who may have a history of not being able to pay off loans and other credit items. Some companies may specialise in dishing out car loans for people with bad credit, but, besides the higher interest rate, there’s not much inherently different about bad credit car loans than ‘good credit’ car loans.

Can I get a car loan with bad credit?

If you have a bad credit rating, you may find it difficult to be approved for loans from mainstream lenders.

But as a quick Google search will reveal, there are specialist lenders and car loan brokers that promise to give those with bad credit a second chance at securing finance.

However, such entities are not doing it out of the goodness of their heart. With a bad credit rating, you’re likely to be subject to a much higher interest rate than someone with excellent credit. This is because the bad credit rating suggests to the lender that you pose a higher risk of failing to repay the loan than someone who has a strong track record of consistently paying off their debt.

If you have a good or excellent credit rating, these are some of the lowest-interest, fixed-rate car loans you may be eligible for:

Lender

FixedNew1 year
More details
Approval within 24 hoursEarly payout available
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
Approval within 24 hoursEarly payout available

New Car Loan - Special (Fixed)

  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
FixedNew1 year
More details
Approval within 24 hours
  • Save the planet. Save thousands on your car loan.
  • Get a discounted rate if you buy electric
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
Approval within 24 hours

Green Car Loan Fixed

  • Save the planet. Save thousands on your car loan.
  • Get a discounted rate if you buy electric
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
FixedNew2 years
More details

New Vehicle Fast Loan Low Rate

    FixedNew99 years
    More details
    Loan amounts from $2k to $75k
    • Available for any new motorised vehicle
    • No ongoing or early exit fees
    • 1-7 years loan terms. Pay monthly, fortnightly, or weekly
    • Get quick decision. Funds in 24 hrs if approved
    Loan amounts from $2k to $75k

    New Car Loan

    • Available for any new motorised vehicle
    • No ongoing or early exit fees
    • 1-7 years loan terms. Pay monthly, fortnightly, or weekly
    • Get quick decision. Funds in 24 hrs if approved
    VariableNew1 year
    More details

    New / Demo Car Loan (Variable)

      FixedNew1 year
      More details

      New / Demo Car Loan (Fixed)

        FixedNew, Used99 years
        More details

        New or Used Car Loan Special

          FixedNew, Used7 years
          More details
          No ongoing fees
          No ongoing fees

          Plenti Car Loan (Refinance)

            FixedNew, Used99 years
            More details

            Unsecured Car Loan Excellent Credit

              FixedNew5 years
              More details

              Fixed Car Loan (New)

                FixedNew, Used7 years
                More details

                Secured Car Loan

                  VariableNew, Used10 years
                  More details

                  Car Loan

                    FixedNew, Used99 years
                    More details

                    Car Loan

                      Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

                      All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here.

                      The comparison rates in this table are based on a loan of $30,000 and a term of 5 years unless indicated otherwise. The comparison rates for car loans and secured personal loans for the relevant amounts and terms are for secured loans unless indicated otherwise. The comparison rates for unsecured personal loans are applicable for unsecured loans only. WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Comparison rates are not calculated for revolving credit products.

                      Monthly repayment figures are estimates only, exclude fees and are based on the advertised rate for the term and for the loan amount entered. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes. Rates correct as of April 20, 2024. View disclaimer.

                      Comparatively, someone with an average or bad credit history may be limited to car loans with interest rates between 10% to 20%.

                      Still, there’s a few things you could do to make your profile more attractive to lenders to give yourself a better chance of securing a loan with an interest rate on the lower end of that spectrum.

                      How do I get a car loan with bad credit?

                      Like when you’re out on a first date, you’ll want to present yourself well and be honest about your situation. You wouldn’t catfish a date, nor would you catfish a financial institution. Here’s some tips for your car loan application:

                      • Know your credit rating: This could prevent a shock to the system if a car financier gives you a higher interest rate than you were expecting.

                      • Being honest about your bad credit when applying: Financial institutions can and will pour through your records to see if you can pay off that loan. Failing to disclose your indiscretions may result in an immediate denial so you won’t be able to get a car loan.

                      • Sort your bank account out: One of the main things a lender will assess is your bank statement to examine your ability to save money - even if it’s a small amount. They will also take a look at your discretionary spending such as how much you put into your gambling account, and how much you spend on meals out, Netflix and other entertainment.

                      • Be employed: A regular income is another major factor in determining your creditworthiness. A steady full-time (or equivalent) job is ideal for demonstrating your ability to pay back the loan.

                      • Pay down other debts: If you have other debt, particularly unsecured debt, such as from a credit card or personal loan, it could be prudent to pay those down before applying for a car loan to demonstrate to the financial institution you have a track record of paying off debt.

                      Can I get a car loan if I’ve declared bankruptcy or defaulted?

                      Even if your credit history shows you have previously been declared bankrupt or have defaulted on a loan, you may still have a shot at being approved for a car loan - although probably only via a specialist lender at a significantly higher interest rate.

                      • If you have not been discharged from bankruptcy, you will not be able to take out a car loan. The bankruptcy period ends three years and one day from when the Government accepts your bankruptcy application, or from when it accepts your statement of affairs from your creditor.

                      Similarly, with unpaid defaults on your report, you may also be subject to higher interest rates, sometimes in the realm of 19% or more. If you believe you have an incorrect unpaid default on your report, it is important to get that rectified - credit reporting agencies may offer investigating services.

                      What does my credit history show?

                      A credit report looks at more than just credit cards and home loans - it will likely feature any ‘credit’ items such as a postpaid mobile phone bill, utilities contract, in-store finance and more. It may also show your credit score, although you can get this separately.

                      There are various reporting agencies out there that can reveal your credit score. The three credit reporting bodies (CRBs) as recognised by the Government include:

                      • Equifax
                      • Experian
                      • Illion

                      The scoring breakdown varies between credit rating agencies:

                       

                      illion

                      Experian

                      Equifax

                      Excellent

                      800 - 1,000

                      800 - 1,000

                      833 - 1,200

                      Very good

                      700 -799

                      700 - 799

                      726 - 832

                      Good

                      500 - 699

                      625 - 699

                      622 - 725

                      Fair

                      300 - 499

                      550 - 624

                      510 - 621

                      Weak

                      1 - 299

                      0 - 549

                      0 - 509

                      Equifax’s site has a sample credit report so you know what to expect. You can access a copy of your credit report for free once every 12 months, or whenever a credit application was denied - you may need to provide proof of denial to the credit reporting agency. In requesting a credit correction you can also request a credit report.

                      Keep in mind that you don’t need a long credit history to have ‘good credit’ - applying for too much credit could actually reflect badly - but a financial institution may look at your history to see your track record of paying things off.

                      Saving.com.au’s two cents

                      If you’ve got a bad credit history, or unpaid/defaulted debts, ask yourself whether you really need that car and car loan in the first place. If you’re sure you want a new car, keep in mind that if your credit score is ‘Average’ or ‘Below Average’ you may be subject to much higher interest rates on car loans. Further, some lenders may be unwilling to lend to you at all - in this case, be wary of predatory lenders that offer extreme interest rates and high fees.

                      Having bad credit isn’t the end of the world. If you work to rectify the issue, such as by regularly paying down debt and limiting new debt, you can turn your bad history into ‘good’ history. If this means tightening the budget belt for a while, your discipline could pay off in the long run.