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Bad Credit Car Loans in Chilliwack

Bad Credit Car Loans in Chilliwack

Having bad credit can make securing an auto loan feel impossible. According to Experian’s State of the Automotive Finance Market report, the average interest rate for used car loans given to borrowers with credit scores below 500 was a whopping 21.32% in the first quarter of 2022. With rates that high, simply getting from point A to point B can quickly become a financial nightmare.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting approved for a car loan when you have bad credit. You’ll learn about interest rates, loan requirements, types of lenders, tips for improving your chances, mistakes to avoid, and more. We’ll also provide advice on alternatives if securing an auto loan just isn’t feasible. By the end, you’ll be equipped with the key information to make getting a car loan with bad credit less stressful.

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What is Bad Credit?

Bad credit refers to having a low credit score, typically below 600 on the standard 300-850 credit score range used in Canada. Your credit score is calculated based on information in your credit report, which details your history of borrowing money and paying bills.

There are a few main factors that affect your credit score:


  • Payment history – Whether you’ve paid bills on time or have any late payments
  • Amounts owed – How much you currently owe compared to your credit limits
  • Length of credit history – How long you’ve had credit accounts
  • New credit – How many new accounts you’ve opened recently
  • Credit mix – The different types of credit you have (credit cards, loans, etc)


In general, a credit score below 600 is considered poor or bad credit. This means you have a history of late or missed payments, high balances on your accounts, and limited credit history. Lenders view borrowers with bad credit as riskier to lend to, which is why it’s harder to get approved for financing like auto loans.


Why Bad Credit Makes Getting a Car Loan Difficult

There are several reasons why bad credit makes it harder to get approved for an auto loan. The main factors are:


Higher Risk for Lenders

Lenders like iA Auto Finance view borrowers with low credit scores as riskier investments. Those with bad credit have a history of late payments, defaults, or other issues managing credit. This makes a lender less confident that the borrower will repay the auto loan as agreed.


Lower Likelihood of Repayment

Statistical data shows that borrowers with poor credit are more likely to become delinquent or default on a loan compared to those with good credit. They pose a greater chance of not repaying the loan, which equates to a loss for the lender.


Result in Higher Interest Rates

To compensate for the increased risk, lenders charge significantly higher interest rates to subprime borrowers. The lower the credit score, the higher the rate. This ensures the lender earns enough interest revenue if the borrower defaults.


Requirements for a Bad Credit Car Loan

When you apply for a bad credit car loan, lenders will evaluate your application based on several key requirements. Meeting these requirements can improve your chances of getting approved despite poor credit.


Minimum Credit Score Requirements

Most traditional lenders require a minimum credit score between 550-600 for bad credit auto loans. Subprime lenders that specialize in bad credit may approve loans with scores as low as 500. The higher your score is above the minimum requirement, the better your chances of getting approved and securing a lower interest rate.

Income and Employment Verification

Lenders want to see stable income and employment history when reviewing a bad credit loan application. Having a full-time job for at least 1-2 years demonstrates you can reliably make monthly payments. Providing pay stubs and tax returns can verify your income. Self-employed applicants may need to provide business tax returns and bank statements.


Down Payment Amount

A down payment reduces the amount financed and shows lenders your commitment to repaying the loan. Most bad credit car loans require a minimum down payment of $1,000 or 10% of the vehicle purchase price. A larger down payment of 20-30% or more can significantly improve your chances of getting approved and lower your interest rate.


Interest Rates on Bad Credit Car Loans

Getting a car loan with bad credit often means paying higher interest rates compared to someone with excellent credit. The interest rate will determine how much extra you ultimately pay for the car over the life of the loan.

For new car loans, the average interest rate for someone with a credit score below 500 is around 14% APR. For used cars, the average rate is over 21% APR for borrowers with very low credit scores. Meanwhile, those with excellent credit (750+) can qualify for rates as low as 3% APR.

Some key factors that determine your interest rate on a bad credit auto loan include:


  • Your exact credit score – lower scores mean higher rates
  • The age of your credit history
  • Your debt-to-income ratio
  • The size of your down payment – larger down payments can lead to lower rates
  • The lender you apply with
  • New or used car – used cars tend to have higher rates


While bad credit borrowers will pay more in interest compared to those with good credit, taking steps to improve your credit and shopping around with multiple lenders can help you secure the most favourable interest rate possible.


Improving Your Chances of Getting Approved

Even if you have bad credit, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of getting approved for an auto loan in Chilliwack:


Have a Co-Signer

One of the best ways to increase your chances of getting a bad credit auto loan is to have a co-signer with good credit cosign the loan with you. Their good credit helps offset your bad credit in the eyes of the lender. Just make sure your co-signer understands that they will be equally responsible for repaying the loan if you default.


Provide a Larger Down Payment

Putting down a larger down payment shows the lender you are serious and financially committed. While bad credit loans typically only require 10-20% down, providing 25-30% or more upfront can demonstrate your creditworthiness and make the lender more confident in approving your application.


Improve Your Credit Score

Take the time to improve your credit score before applying for a loan. Pay down debts, dispute any errors on your report, and make payments on time going forward. Even a 50-100 point increase can help your chances.


Have Proof of Income

Lenders want to see you have a reliable source of income to make the monthly payments. Provide recent pay stubs, tax returns, or bank statements to back up your income claims on the application.


Lower the Requested Loan Amount

Asking for a smaller loan means lower monthly payments, which reduces the default risk in the lender’s eyes. Consider putting even more money down to lower the loan amount.


Types of Lenders for Bad Credit Loans


Buy Here Pay Here (BHPH) Dealers

Buy here pay here (BHPH) dealers are car dealerships that provide in-house financing to buyers with poor credit. BHPH dealers are often the easiest option for getting approved for a car loan with bad credit. However, they typically charge very high-interest rates and focus on selling older used vehicles.

The advantage of BHPH dealers is they are more likely to approve buyers with low credit scores, minimal income, and past bankruptcies. You make your car payments directly to the BHPH dealer instead of a third-party lender. Just be prepared to pay higher rates.


Credit Unions

Credit unions are non-profit financial cooperatives that are owned by their members. They often offer better rates than traditional banks and have more flexibility to work with bad credit borrowers.

Credit union auto loans typically have lower interest rates compared to BHPH dealers and online lenders. Credit unions focus more on your current financial situation rather than just your credit score. If you’re a member already, or eligible to join, a credit union is a good option.


Online Lenders

Online lending companies like Canada Drives provide car loans entirely online for people with bad credit. They provide quick approvals and funding directly to the dealer to purchase your vehicle.

Online lenders use technology to approve loans faster based on more than just your credit score. This makes them more accessible for bad credit borrowers. Just be aware that online lender rates can be higher than traditional banks and credit unions.


Buy Here Pay Here (BHPH) Dealers

Buy Here Pay Here (BHPH) dealers are an option for bad credit borrowers to obtain financing. With the BHPH model, the used car dealer provides direct financing to the consumer. Here’s an overview of how BHPH works:

– The customer picks out a used vehicle on the BHPH dealer’s lot. The dealer then runs the customer’s credit and approves them for a loan in-house.

– Instead of taking out a traditional auto loan, the customer makes their car payments directly to the BHPH dealer. The dealer reports payment history to credit bureaus.

– Interest rates at BHPH lots tend to be much higher than traditional loans. The average BHPH interest rate is around 21% APR compared to 4-5% at a credit union.

– BHPH dealers cater to customers with poor credit or no credit since they have more flexible approval requirements. However, minimum credit scores around 500 are generally needed.

Some of the advantages of BHPH financing include:


  • More relaxed credit requirements for approval
  • In-house financing means quicker loan decisions
  • Flexible payment plans and terms
  • Opportunity to rebuild your credit by making on-time payments


Disadvantages include:


  • Higher interest rates than traditional loans
  • Limited selection of older used vehicles
  • Possibility of predatory lending practices
  • Vehicle may have GPS or starter interrupt devices installed


Overall, BHPH dealers provide an avenue to obtain transportation if you have poor credit but can handle the higher rates. Be sure to negotiate the best deal possible.


Credit Unions for Bad Credit Loans

Credit unions can be a great option for getting a car loan with bad credit. As member-owned financial cooperatives, credit unions take a different approach to lending than traditional banks.

Credit unions rely less heavily on credit scores when making lending decisions. They place more weight on your relationship with the credit union and your overall financial situation. Credit unions want to help their members, so they may be willing to look past credit challenges if you have a solid history with them.

While rates at credit unions are typically lower than other lenders, a bad credit score will still mean paying a higher interest rate than borrowers with good credit. Rates for bad credit loans from credit unions often range from 10-20%.

To qualify for membership in a credit union and financing, you’ll likely need to open a savings account and maintain a minimum balance. Requirements vary, but may include:


  • Becoming a member by opening a savings account with a minimum deposit, often $5-$25
  • Maintaining a minimum balance in your savings account, typically at least $5
  • Being a resident of the area the credit union serves
  • Joining a partner organization the credit union works with


If you’re already a member of a credit union, they should be one of the first places to inquire about auto financing, even if you have less-than-perfect credit.


Online Lenders for Bad Credit

Online lenders have emerged as popular options for bad credit borrowers in recent years. The online loan process provides a quick and convenient way to apply for financing. Here’s an overview of getting a car loan online with bad credit:


  • You fill out a short application form online providing basic personal and employment details.
  • The lender runs a soft credit check to view your credit score but won’t impact it.
  • You’ll generally get an instant initial decision on approval odds and estimated rates.
  • If approved, you submit documents to verify income, residency, etc.
  • The lender reviews your application and issues a loan decision within 1-3 days typically.
  • If approved, you can then search for a car locally and complete the purchase.


Interest rates from online lenders for bad credit borrowers often range from 10-30% APR. Approval odds depend on your specific credit situation but can be 50% or higher with deep subprime scores around 550. Here are some of the most popular online lenders to consider:


  • Auto Credit Express – Large bad credit auto lender with lender network for loan approvals.
  • MyAutoLoan – Top online marketplace connecting borrowers and lenders.
  • Canada Drives – Online loan process with decision in minutes.


The convenience of getting pre-approved online makes these lenders an attractive option for many bad credit car buyers.


How to Apply for a Bad Credit Car Loan

When you’re ready to apply for a bad credit auto loan, make sure you have all the necessary documents in order. Lenders will require proof of income, residency, and identity. Bring recent pay stubs, bank statements, utility bills, and a valid driver’s license. Having all your financial paperwork ready will help speed up the application process.

You can apply for a bad credit car loan through a dealership, credit union, or online lender. Dealerships can offer convenience but may have fewer loan options. Credit unions typically have lower rates but strict approval criteria. Online lenders provide fast approvals but higher interest rates. Shop around and compare quotes from multiple sources.

It’s crucial to compare loan offers from at least 3-4 places before choosing one. Interest rates, fees, loan terms, and approval requirements can vary widely between lenders. Applying with multiple lenders won’t hurt your credit as long as it’s within a short period of time. Taking the time to shop around will help ensure you get the best possible loan offer.


Mistakes to Avoid When Applying

When applying for a bad credit auto loan, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that could hurt your chances of getting approved. Here are some of the biggest mistakes to steer clear of:


Not Having All Documents Ready

One of the most important things when applying for a car loan is having all your documents in order. This includes proof of income, employment information, a valid driver’s license, proof of auto insurance, proof of residence, and any other documents the lender requests. Showing up to the dealership or lender without proper documentation demonstrates unpreparedness and could make them view you as a risky borrower.


Not Shopping Interest Rates

Don’t just accept the first interest rate a lender offers. With bad credit, interest rates can vary widely among lenders, so it pays to shop around. Get rate quotes from several lenders, including banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Compare all the options side-by-side while factoring in any fees. This will help you secure the most favourable interest rate possible.


Stretching Your Budget Too Thin

While lenders will approve loans even if the monthly payments are a stretch for your budget, this is an unwise approach. Agreeing to payments that consume an excessive portion of your take-home pay will make it hard to stay current on the loan. This can then harm your credit all over again. Be realistic about what you can afford each month when applying.


Tips for Securing the Best Loan

When you have bad credit, it’s important to shop around and compare quotes from multiple lenders. Each lender will look at your application differently, so don’t assume the first quote you get is the best deal. Spend some time reaching out to lenders like credit unions, online lenders, and special financing dealers to see who can offer the lowest interest rate and overall cost for your situation.

Many lenders allow you to get pre-approved for financing before you even start looking for a vehicle. Having a pre-approval letter in hand shows car dealers you’re serious and ready to buy. It also gives you an estimate of what terms you qualify for so there won’t be any surprises later.

If possible, consider adding a creditworthy cosigner to your application, like a family member or significant other with good credit. Their positive credit history can help offset issues on your credit report and improve your chances of approval. Just make sure the cosigner understands they are equally responsible for repaying the auto loan if you default.

Taking the time upfront to secure pre-approval and compare lenders can help you get the most favourable interest rate and loan terms possible when financing a car with bad credit.


Alternatives to Getting a Car Loan

If your credit is very poor, you may want to consider alternatives to taking out a car loan. Here are some options:


Buying with Cash

The best way to avoid the high-interest rates and strict loan requirements of a bad credit auto loan is to pay with cash. Save up to buy a quality used car that you can afford outright. This avoids monthly payments and interest charges.

Set a realistic budget and savings goals. Search classified listings and dealers for affordable used cars priced within your budget. Expand your options by increasing your budget or considering an older model.

While it takes discipline to save up, buying with cash gives you flexibility and lower costs overall.


Using Alternative Transportation

Public transportation like buses, subways, and trains can be an affordable and convenient option if available in your area. Plan your commute and errands around bus routes and rail lines.

Carpooling or ride-sharing services let you split gas and parking costs while reducing the need to own your own vehicle. There are also peer-to-peer car sharing platforms to rent vehicles by the hour or day as needed.

Biking, walking, carpooling and public transport remove the costs of car payments, insurance, maintenance and fuel. While not always practical, they can supplement or partially replace driving your own car.


Final Tips and Advice

Getting approved for a car loan when you have bad credit can seem daunting, but is very possible if you follow the right steps. Here are some final tips to recap what we’ve covered:

Take time to improve your credit. Give yourself a few months before applying to pay down debts, dispute errors on your report, and lower credit utilization. This can significantly boost your score.

Get pre-approved first. Submitting applications to multiple lenders allows you to compare rates. Plus you’ll know your chances before going to the dealer.

Raise your down payment amount. Putting 10-20% down shows lenders you’re committed to repaying the loan.

Find the right lender. Credit unions, BHPH dealers, and online lenders may offer better rates for bad credit than traditional banks.

Consider a co-signer. Adding someone with good credit can make approval easier, but be sure they understand the risk.

Shop for lower rates. Even a small difference in APR can save thousands over the loan term, so research thoroughly.

Check alternate transportation options. Public transit, carpooling, biking etc could be cheaper if you can’t get approved yet.

Learning as much as possible about the auto loan process gives you the best chance of success. Be persistent and don’t get discouraged – bad credit doesn’t have to stop you from getting the car you need.

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Chilliwack Bad Credit Car Loan Questions

Most lenders in Chilliwack will approve car loans for people with credit scores as low as 550 or 600. However, the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate will likely be. With a credit score below 650, you can expect higher interest rates from 14% to over 20%. Improving your credit score before applying for a loan is recommended to get the best rates.

When applying for a bad credit car loan in Chilliwack, make sure you have the following documents ready:


– Proof of income – Recent pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements

– Government-issued ID

– Proof of address – Utility bill, bank statement with address

– References – Friends or employers who can vouch for you

– Down payment – Lenders usually require 10-20% down


Having these documents ready will help speed up the application and approval process.


Getting a creditworthy cosigner is highly recommended if you have bad credit. A cosigner with good credit essentially guarantees your loan, lowering the lender’s risk. This allows you to qualify for better rates and terms. Make sure you choose a reliable cosigner like a family member or close friend. Agree to specific repayment terms so they know what to expect.

Some of the best options for getting a car loan with bad credit in Chilliwack include:


– West Star Motors

– Valley Toyota

– Murray Mazda

– Chilliwack Ford

– Bannister Hyundai


These dealers advertise special financing programs for bad credit buyers. They have experience getting loan approvals for people with credit challenges.

Yes, getting pre-approved for financing is highly recommended before going to dealerships in Chilliwack. Pre-approval locks in an interest rate and loan amount you qualify for. This gives you negotiating leverage when dealing with dealerships. It also simplifies the process once you’ve selected your vehicle.


In Chilliwack, people with credit scores below 650 can expect to pay higher interest rates between 14% to over 20% for car loans. The average rate for used car loans was 21.32% nationwide in early 2023. Rates vary depending on your specific credit score and history. Improving your credit can lower rates.

If you get declined for standard financing, you still have options to get a car loan in Chilliwack including:


– Apply with alternative lenders like West Star Motors that specialize in bad credit

– Improve your credit score and reapply in 6 months

– Save a larger down payment of 25-50%

– Find a creditworthy cosigner to guarantee the loan

– Explore in-house dealer financing if available

– Consider a secured loan using collateral like a GIC


Don’t give up if initially declined. Use one of these backup plans to get approved.

Car title loans may seem tempting if you have bad credit, but they come with sky-high interest rates exceeding 30%. You risk losing your vehicle if unable to repay. Exhaust other options like alternative lenders, cosigners, or secured loans before resorting to car title loans. The interest rates will likely be much lower through other means.

If you default on your auto loan in Chilliwack by missing multiple payments, the lender can legally repossess your vehicle. They will send written notices asking you to get caught up before resorting to repossession. If you cannot get back on track with payments, they have the right to take the car back and sell it to recoup their losses. This severely damages your credit too.

Most lenders in Chilliwack require a minimum monthly income of around $1,500 – $2,000 to qualify for car loan financing. This ensures you can afford the monthly payments. Have recent pay stubs, tax returns or bank statements showing regular income ready when you apply. If self-employed, two years of tax returns may be needed to verify income.


Here are some top tips for improving your credit score before applying:


– Pay all bills on time – this has a big impact

– Pay down existing debt balances

– Check credit reports for errors to dispute

– Limit new credit applications when possible

– Build credit history with a secured card


Allow at least 6 months of positive behavior to significantly improve your score and qualify for better rates. Check your scores so you know where you stand.

Expect to put down a larger down payment of 10-20% when financing a car with bad credit in Chilliwack. This lowers the lender’s risk allowing them to extend credit. Save up the required amount before applying as you won’t get approved without a down payment. Rates and terms improve also with larger down payments.

Since higher interest rates come with bad credit lending, make room in your budget for increased costs:


– Get pre-qualified to understand your payment amount

– Budget an extra 10-20% on your loan payment

– Cut back discretionary spending to dedicate more to your vehicle

– Build up savings for future repairs and maintenance

– Refinance to a lower rate once you build credit


Careful budgeting is key so higher payments don’t jeopardize other financial goals.

Don’t hesitate to ask dealers about special financing offers for bad credit customers. Important questions to ask include:


– Do you offer in-house financing for bad credit buyers? What are the requirements?

– Are there any current low interest rate promotions?

– Does the interest rate depend on certain loan terms or down payment amounts?

– Are there additional fees attached to loans for customers with poor credit?

– How quickly can I get a financing decision and take delivery of the vehicle?

Some common mistakes to avoid when seeking a car loan in Chilliwack:


– Not having your documentation ready causing delays

– Providing incorrect information on your application

– Applying for financing without being pre-approved

– Overestimating your income which may not be verifiable

– Accepting the first loan you are offered without shopping rates

– Putting little to no money down raising questions of affordability


Avoid these errors to smooth the approval process and get favorable rates.

If you need a vehicle but can’t get approved for a loan currently, consider:


– Buying an affordable used car with cash

– Using public transportation until you improve your credit

– Borrowing a family member’s car temporarily

– Renting or leasing a vehicle short-term

– Ride sharing until you raise your credit score


Build your credit for 6-12 months using secured cards or credit builder loans before attempting to finance again.

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