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Bad Credit Car Loans in Prince George

Bad Credit Car Loans in Prince George

For residents of Prince George, a reliable vehicle is often a necessity due to limited public transportation options and long driving distances. However, finding an auto loan with poor or no credit can seem like a daunting challenge. When banks and traditional lenders like RBC won’t even look at your application, how can you get approved for a loan? While a low credit score certainly makes buying a car more difficult and expensive, it is still possible in Prince George.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about getting an auto loan with bad credit in Prince George. We’ll discuss what bad credit actually means, how to start improving your credit, minimum credit score requirements, special financing options, and the top local lenders willing to work with bad credit borrowers. We’ll also provide tips on the loan application process itself, down payments, interest rates, loan terms, and alternatives if your credit simply won’t qualify for financing just yet. With the right information and strategy, the path to reliable transportation is still open despite past credit mistakes.

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What is Bad Credit?

Bad credit is when your credit score falls below a certain threshold, usually considered to be below 600 on the standard 300-850 credit score range used in Prince George. Your credit score is calculated based on information in your credit report, assessing factors like your payment history, amounts owed, credit age and mix of credit types.

There are a variety of reasons that could cause someone to have bad credit, such as:


  • Missing payments on loans or bills
  • Having collections or judgments
  • Defaulting on a loan
  • Declaring bankruptcy
  • Applying for too much credit at once
  • Having a short credit history


These factors damage your credit score over time. The lower your credit score, the harder it is to get approved for financing and the higher interest rates you’ll pay since lenders see you as a riskier borrower.


Challenges of Getting an Auto Loan with Bad Credit

Getting approved for an auto loan with bad credit can be challenging. Here are some of the common issues that come up:


Higher interest rates – Lenders view applicants with lower credit scores as higher risk, so they will often charge significantly higher interest rates to offset that risk. Interest rates on auto loans for borrowers with bad credit can be over 10-20%, compared to 3-5% for those with good credit.


Require larger down payments – To reduce their risk on a bad credit auto loan, lenders typically require a down payment of 10-20% or more of the vehicle’s purchase price. For borrowers with good credit, little or no down payment may be required.


Less financing options – With poor credit, your options for lenders willing to approve your auto loan will be limited. Many traditional banks and credit unions may deny your application entirely. Specialty subprime lenders are often a borrower’s only financing option when credit is damaged.


Minimum Credit Score Needed

When applying for an auto loan in Prince George with bad credit, one of the most common questions is “what is the minimum credit score to qualify?” Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Each lender has their own minimum credit score requirements, but here’s a general guideline of the credit score ranges that may qualify for a bad credit auto loan:

500-579: This is considered very poor credit. Only subprime lenders will approve loans in this range, and you can expect to pay higher interest rates and potentially larger down payments.

580-669: While still considered poor credit, borrowers in this range have a better chance of approval. Interest rates will still be high but may be more manageable.

670-739: Approaching good credit territory. Mainstream lenders are more likely to approve loans in this range at lower rates.

While your credit score is important, it’s not the only factor lenders consider. They will also look at your income, existing debt, employment history, down payment amount, and the loan term requested. Focusing on improving some of these other areas can help compensate for a less-than-ideal score when applying for a car loan in Prince George.


Improving Your Credit Score

If your credit score is not quite where it needs to be to get approved for an auto loan, here are some tips for improving it:


  • Pay all your bills on time – Payment history makes up a significant portion of your credit score. Set up automatic payments or payment reminders to avoid missed or late payments.
  • Keep credit card balances low – High credit utilization hurts your score. Try to keep balances below 30% of the credit limit on each card.
  • Avoid applying for new credit – Too many recent credit inquiries can lower your score temporarily. Wait at least 6 months before applying for new credit.
  • Correct any errors on your credit report – Errors can significantly impact your score. Review all 3 of your credit reports for mistakes and dispute any inaccuracies.
  • Consider being added as an authorized user – If you have a family member or friend with good credit, being added to one of their credit cards can help.


With some time and discipline, you may be able to raise your credit score enough to qualify for an auto loan. Speak to a lender for guidance on improving your credit over time.


Getting a Co-Signer

If your credit is poor, getting a co-signer on your auto loan can help you qualify and get a better interest rate. A co-signer is someone with good credit who agrees to be responsible for repaying the loan if you can’t. Since the lender has the co-signer as a back-up, they are more willing to approve applicants with bad credit.

To be an effective co-signer, the person should have a long credit history with high scores. Their income should comfortably cover the monthly payments if needed. Often a parent, spouse or relative will co-sign an auto loan for someone with bad credit.

The lender will consider the co-signer’s credit score and debt-to-income ratio when determining the interest rate and loan terms. With an excellent co-signer, you can qualify for interest rates almost as good as those with great credit.

Just be aware that if you are late with payments or default, it will also negatively impact your co-signer’s credit. Make sure you only take on a loan you can confidently afford to avoid this scenario.


Types of Auto Loans Available in Prince George

When trying to get approved for an auto loan in Prince George with bad credit, you have several options to consider for financing either a new or used vehicle purchase.


New and Used Car Loans

Most lenders in Prince George offer loans for both new and used vehicle purchases. New car loans typically have lower interest rates and longer repayment terms, but used car loans are more accessible for those with poor credit. Used car loans have higher interest rates but shorter terms. You’ll need to provide details on the car you wish to purchase so the lender can assess its value and set loan terms.



Leasing a new vehicle involves lower monthly payments versus financing, which can help those with bad credit get approved. You’ll pay for the vehicle’s depreciation during the lease term plus fees and interest. At lease end, you either return the car or purchase it outright. Credit requirements are high for leases, but some specials lenders offer lease options for those with poor credit.


Private Sales Financing

Some lenders in Prince George provide financing for private party vehicle purchases, which typically have lower prices than dealers. This allows you to search sites like Autotrader and Kijiji for a used car, then apply for a loan to purchase it directly from the seller. Lenders will assess the car’s value to approve financing. Interest rates are higher for private sale loans.


Local Lenders to Work With

There are a number of local lenders in Prince George that are worth considering when trying to get approved for an auto loan with bad credit. Some of the top options include:


Credit Unions

Credit unions are member-owned financial cooperatives that often offer better rates and more flexibility than traditional banks. Two credit unions to check out in Prince George are:


  • Prince George’s Community Federal Credit Union – They offer competitive rates on auto loans with flexible terms. Loan officers can work with you to find the best option based on your credit and financial situation.
  • Spruceland Credit Union – This local credit union provides auto loans and works with borrowers to get approved even if they have poor credit or other financial challenges.



Major banks operating in Prince George that provide auto loans include:


  • TD Prince George TrustTD has flexible lending options including loans for bad credit borrowers if you meet their eligibility criteria.
  • Bank of MontrealBMO offers competitive rates and extended terms for subprime borrowers to make payments more affordable.
  • CIBCCIBC provides auto loans tailored to your specific credit situation with terms up to 8 years.



Many local dealerships work with special finance lenders and have dedicated bad credit teams. Some options are:


  • Prince George Toyota – Their “no credit car loan” program can help those with challenged credit get approved.
  • Wood Wheaton Toyota – Their finance team has experience helping people get car loans even with bad credit.
  • PG Auto Sales – This local used car lot markets specifically to subprime borrowers and handles financing in-house.


So there are numerous lenders and dealers in the Prince George area that are willing to work with bad credit customers. Be honest about your financial situation and shop around for the best rates and terms. With some effort, you can get approved for the auto loan you need despite past credit difficulties.


The Auto Loan Application Process

When applying for an auto loan with bad credit in Prince George, you’ll need to gather some documents and submit a complete application either online or in person at the lender. Here’s an overview of the auto loan application process:


Required Documents

  • Driver’s license
  • Proof of income – recent pay stubs or tax returns
  • Proof of residence – utility bill or bank statement
  • Car information – Make, model, year, mileage of vehicle you want to purchase
  • Down payment amount


Having all these documents ready will make the application process faster and easier. The lender needs to verify your identity, income, residence, and details on the car you want to finance.


Approval Timeline

Most lenders will provide a quick initial decision on your auto loan application submitted online or over the phone. If approved, you’ll get a loan offer detailing the amount, rate, term length and monthly payment.

After accepting the offer, the lender still has to finalize approval. This involves processing your documents, appraising the vehicle and other due diligence. Final approval usually takes 1-3 days. Then you can purchase the vehicle once the lender transfers the loan funds.

So in total, expect about a 1 week timeframe from initial application to driving away in your new car with bad credit financing from a Prince George lender.


Down Payment Options

When getting a bad credit auto loan in Prince George, coming up with a down payment can be challenging. However, the more you’re able to put down, the better the terms of your loan will likely be. Here are some tips for coming up with a down payment:


Saving Up Over Time

Ideally, you’ll want to start setting aside money for a down payment well in advance of when you need the vehicle. Even if you’re only able to put aside $50 or $100 per month, that can add up over time. Make an auto down payment savings fund and have a set amount automatically transferred into it each month. It may take a year or more to save up a sufficient down payment, but this approach requires the least amount of financial sacrifice upfront.


Using a Tax Refund

Many people get a sizable tax refund each year. Instead of blowing it on impulse purchases, consider putting that windfall towards your auto down payment savings goal. You may even want to adjust your tax withholding to get a larger refund that can specifically be used for this purpose.


Trading In Your Current Vehicle

Trading in your existing vehicle can lower the amount you need to put down for the next one. While you won’t get as much as you would from a private party sale, the convenience factor often makes trading in worthwhile. And some dealers may even provide trade-in bonuses to help sweeten the value. Just be sure your current vehicle is paid off, or work out having the trade payoff any existing loan balance.


Interest Rates and Terms

When financing a car with bad credit in Prince George, you can expect to pay higher interest rates than borrowers with good credit. The interest rate you qualify for depends on factors like your credit score, income, and debt-to-income ratio.

For borrowers with credit scores in the low 600s, interest rates typically range from 8% to 18%. The lowest rates are usually around 8-10%, while borrowers with credit scores below 550 can expect to pay 15-18% APR.

The loan term also impacts your monthly payment. Auto loans typically come in terms of 24 to 72 months. Shorter terms of 24-36 months mean you’ll have higher monthly payments, but you’ll pay less interest over the life of the loan. Longer terms of 60-72 months have lower monthly payments but more interest paid.

When getting a bad credit auto loan, expect higher rates and shorter terms. A 36-month loan term is common for borrowers with poor credit. Work on improving your credit to potentially qualify for lower rates and longer terms on your next auto loan.


Alternatives Like Buy Here Pay Here

If you’re struggling to qualify for traditional auto financing, you may want to consider buy here pay here (BHPH) dealers as an alternative. BHPH dealerships differ from traditional dealers in a few key ways:


No credit checks: BHPH dealers typically don’t run credit checks. Instead, they’ll evaluate your repayment ability based on your income.


In-house financing: BHPH dealerships finance the vehicles themselves rather than going through an outside lender. This allows them to work with lower credit customers.


Weekly/bi-weekly payments: BHPH dealers may offer weekly or bi-weekly payment schedules which can make payments more affordable for some buyers.

However, there are some risks to be aware of with BHPH dealerships:


Higher interest rates: You’ll typically pay a much higher interest rate at a BHPH lot than with traditional financing, often over 20%.


Older vehicles: The vehicles tend to be older with high mileage and may have mechanical issues or need repairs.


Possibility of repossession: If you miss payments, the dealer can swiftly repossess the vehicle since they hold the title.

Overall, BHPH can be a lending option of last resort if you have no other way to obtain a vehicle. But make sure you understand the terms and risks before committing to such financing.


Using a Personal Loan

Another option to consider is taking out a personal loan to purchase a vehicle rather than a bad credit auto loan. Personal loans typically have lower interest rates than bad credit auto loans. This is because personal loans are unsecured, meaning there is no collateral like the car itself. So while you may pay a higher rate than someone with excellent credit, you can often get a better rate than with a specific auto loan designed for bad credit borrowers.

Personal loans also offer more flexibility in what you can use the money for. You receive the lump sum of the loan rather than the lender paying the dealer directly. This allows you to shop around for the best deal on a used car. It also gives you the freedom to purchase from a private individual rather than limiting your options to just dealerships that work with subprime lenders.

The downside is that personal loan amounts tend to be lower than auto loans, topping out around $35,000 typically. So this option may work better for purchasing a used car versus a new one. You also have to be prepared to make payments right away rather than having a grace period like with some auto loans. Still, a personal loan can be a smart way to get financing for a car when dealing with bad credit. Just be sure to compare all the rates and terms to make the best choice for your situation.


Budgeting for a Car Payment

Before taking out an auto loan, it’s important to carefully consider the total monthly costs and budget accordingly. This involves creating a detailed budget that accounts for:


  • The monthly car payment amount
  • Insurance costs
  • Estimated gas expenses
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Registration and licensing fees
  • Parking costs, if applicable


Add up all of these anticipated auto expenses to get your total monthly car costs. Compare this to your monthly take-home income after paying for essentials like housing, food, utilities, etc. If the new car payment and related costs exceed your remaining disposable income, you’ll need to reduce expenses in other areas of your budget.

Potential ways to cut back include:


  • Lowering your housing, insurance, or utility costs by finding cheaper options
  • Cutting back on discretionary spending like dining out, entertainment, vacations, etc.
  • Finding ways to increase your income through a side gig, raise, or promotion


With some budget adjustments, you may be able to afford the monthly costs of an auto loan payment and associated expenses. Careful planning can help you get approved for financing while still meeting your other financial obligations.



Getting an auto loan for bad credit in Prince George may seem challenging, but it is possible with some preparation. The main takeaways are:


  • Check your credit report and score so you understand where you stand.
  • Aim to improve your score – even small increases can make a difference.
  • Research lenders willing to work with bad credit borrowers.
  • Have some savings for a down payment if you can.
  • Get pre-approved to start shopping for the right vehicle within your budget.


Don’t let bad credit discourage you from getting the reliable vehicle you need. With a strategic approach, you can find an auto loan that fits your situation. The first step is to start the pre-approval process so you know what you qualify for. This allows you to shop with confidence and potentially improves your negotiating position. Contact one of the lenders mentioned today to get the process started and be on your way to improved transportation.

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Prince George Bad Credit Car Loan Questions

The **minimum credit score** needed for most car loans from a dealership or bank in Prince George is around **620**. However, interest rates tend to be quite high for borrowers with scores in the low 600s. For the best rates, you’ll generally need a score of **700** or higher. Shop around between lenders, as the minimum score and rates can vary.

Yes, there are options for **bad credit car loans** in Prince George. Many lenders specialize in financing for borrowers with credit challenges. **Interest rates will be higher** compared to those with good credit, but you can likely still get approved. Make sure to **shop multiple lenders** to compare rates and terms. Bringing a down payment can also help secure a loan.

When applying for a car loan in Prince George, most lenders will require:


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

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

– **Proof of ID** – Driver’s license, passport

– **Down payment** – If required, proof of funds through bank statement


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

Most car loan applications require a **hard credit check** in Prince George. This allows the lender to view your entire credit report when assessing your application. Hard checks can **temporarily impact** your credit score, but the effect is usually minor. Pre-approvals and pre-qualifications often only require a soft check.

If you have bad credit and need to finance a vehicle in Prince George, here are some tips to rebuild your score:


– Make **all payments on time**. Payment history is crucial. Set up autopay if it helps.

– Keep your **credit utilization low** by not using more than 35% of available limits.

– After a year or so, you can **refinance your loan** at a lower interest rate thanks to your improved score.

– Do not take on additional debt during the loan term as it may overextend you.


Sticking to the payment schedule will demonstrate responsibility and help raise your score over time.

As of January 2023, the average interest rate for new auto loans in Prince George is around **5.99%** according to For used cars, the average rate is **9.96%**. With excellent credit (scores above 720), rates can be below 3%. With poor credit, rates can exceed 15-20%.

Down payment requirements vary in Prince George:


– **0% down** – Possible for those with great credit buying new cars

– **$500-$2,000** – Typical minimum down payments today

– **10-20% down** – Required for buyers with poor credit to get approved


Putting more money down if you can afford it gets you a lower interest rate on your loan.

The best way to get **pre-approved** for a car loan in Prince George is to:


  1. Check your credit score and report for errors
  2. Shop rates from multiple banks and lenders
  3. Formally apply for pre-approval with your top pick
  4. Provide documents verifying income and ID


This gives you negotiating power at the dealership knowing the rate and loan amount you qualify for.

Yes, **social assistance recipients** can qualify for a car loan in Prince George but options are limited. Few mainstream lenders will approve loans in this scenario. Specialized subprime lenders that offer higher interest rate loans to riskier borrowers are one option. Bringing a down payment of 20-30% or more can also help secure financing.


Most Canadian lenders offer maximum auto loan terms of **6-8 years** for new vehicles and **4-6 years** for used vehicles. Stretching the repayment period through a long-term loan reduces the monthly payment amount but increases the total interest paid over the life of the loan.

Getting an auto loan has little direct impact on Canadian insurance rates. However, there are a few implications:


– You must carry full coverage, not just liability insurance

– Buying a newer, pricier vehicle may increase your premiums

– Improving your credit score over the loan term may lower premiums


So while the loan itself does not change costs, factors associated with financing can.

With today’s relatively low interest rates on Canadian auto loans, most financial experts recommend investing extra funds for higher returns rather than prepaying loans. However, paying off debt gives a guaranteed return equal to the interest rate while investing carries risk. It depends on your risk tolerance and loan rate.

In Prince George, make sure to budget for:


– Monthly loan payment

– Insurance

– Gas/charging costs

– Registration, licensing fees

– Regular maintenance

– Occasional repairs


Budgeting an extra 10-15% above expected ownership costs is wise when taking out an auto loan.

Some top options for bad credit auto loans from national lenders in Prince George include:


– **Fairstone Financial**

– **Carfinco**

– **Credit Prince George**

– **Prince George Drives**


These lenders work with borrowers even with bankruptcies and consumer proposals. They offer higher interest rates to offset the risk.


The easiest places to get approved for a car loan with bad credit are often specialized subprime lenders, not the big banks. Smaller used car lots that offer “Buy Here Pay Here” (BHPH) financing are also an option. While their interest rates are higher, they work specifically with bad credit borrowers.

Most top Canadian lenders allow auto loan modifications or deferrals for existing borrowers facing financial hardship from job loss, illness, disability or other issues. You typically need to provide evidence of the hardship. Options can include payment reductions, extensions of the loan term and in extreme cases some payment deferrals for a few months.

An “excellent” credit score in Prince George for car loan financing is 760 or higher. Borrowers with scores in this range have access to the very best interest rates from lenders, usually below 4% from major banks. Scores of 720 to 759 are still considered “very good” for auto financing purposes.

Taking over another person’s car loan or lease in Prince George requires you to re-apply and get approved for the financing under your own name and credit. The lender must approve the transfer of liability from the original debtor to you through an assumption agreement. There may be fees involved with the process as well.


The best car loan rates for students in Prince George are generally available through larger credit unions and financial institutions. Some companies like Coast Capital Savings and Scotiabank offer student-specific auto financing programs. Students should expect to pay higher interest rates than non-students until they establish a solid credit history.

You can easily calculate monthly payments on a Canadian auto loan by plugging the following variables into a loan calculator:


– Vehicle Purchase Price

– Down Payment Amount

– Interest Rate

– Loan Term (years)


The calculator does the math to determine the monthly payment amount over the repayment period. Adjust the numbers until you get a payment you can comfortably afford.

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