This website uses cookies to enhance and provide your experience.

Car finance made easy

We make getting car finance simple so you can be on the road in no time with over 17 lenders and 70 products compared.

  • Get a free no-obligation quote - no impact to your credit file
  • Purchase any vehicle from any dealer or privately
  • Don’t pay broker fees - transparent process
  • Found a car? Check the history & value for free
Price calculator

Car finance calculator

I would like to borrow
£1,500
To pay back over
3.5 years

Representative Example: Borrowing £5,500 over 48 months with a representative APR of 19.8%, the amount payable would be £163 a month, with a total cost of credit of £2,283 and a total amount payable of £7,783.

How to get car finance with poor credit rating

If you’ve experienced payments problems in the past, whether it’s missing an occasional payment or a bigger issue like bankruptcy, then you could have a bad credit history. You may still need a car however and might be wondering how to get car finance with a poor credit rating. The simple answer is to rebuild your credit history before making your next application.

Read on for some simple steps you can take to improve your rating, and some useful advice in cases like bankruptcy.

Get your timing right

Every time you apply for credit, your history will be searched and this information will show to other lenders and car dealers you attempt to get finance from. These searches will stay on your credit history for a certain period of time depending on whether they are hard or soft searches, typically up to 12 months. 

This means it’s a good idea to stagger your applications for credit so that your history isn’t negatively affected further whenever possible.

Get on the electoral register

Make sure your name is on the electoral register and you are listed at your current address. This simple action can help you to enhance your credit score. 

Proof of paying

You can show lenders you can pay on time by setting up direct debits for your monthly outgoings like utility bills. Direct debits will ensure that you don’t miss any more payments and in a short period, you can show a record of reliable paying to potential lenders.

Responsible borrowing and spending

You can improve your credit report by using “rebuilder cards”. These credit cards are specifically designed to improve your credit history. Offering a smaller sum of credit than most cards, your likelihood of being accepted for the card in the first place is increased and if you use them to pay small affordable amounts that are easy for you to repay, you can build a history of responsible borrowing.

Defaulted loans

If you’ve defaulted on payments and have outstanding unpaid debts, it’s worth getting in contact with your lender and arranging a payment plan. No matter how small the monthly repayments are, it will show other finance companies that you are making good on your commitments and they may be more willing to lend.

Notice of correction

It’s possible to add an up-to-200-word statement to your credit file explaining your circumstances when you defaulted on payment – this is called a notice of correction. Lenders will have the option to read in your own words the details of your circumstances and may be more understanding of your situation as a result.

Bankruptcy

If you’re currently bankrupt, you will not be able to get a car finance agreement. However, if you’ve been discharged and your term of bankruptcy has ended, you can make an application.

It’s advisable to give your credit history at least one year to recover from bankruptcy and rebuild it as best you can using the methods discussed above.

Attempts at immediate borrowing after bankruptcy will negatively affect your chances of securing finance, and the best interest rates will not be offered to you. Take your time and bolster your score before applying for further credit.

CCJ

If you’ve paid off a County Court Judgment (CCJ) within a month, you can get the judgement taken off the register. If you paid it after a month, you can get it recorded as ‘satisfied’. To do this, you’ll need to contact the court and issue proof of payment. This usually costs £15. Paying the full amount of your CCJ and making sure this is recorded will help to improve your credit rating. 

Finance advice

At Car.co.uk, our panel of lenders will consider car buyers in different circumstances. For further advice on how to improve your poor credit history, you can contact our specialist team.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

There is no specific minimum credit score needed to finance a car. While your credit score is one factor – lenders will consider a number of different pieces of information; including affordability and the type of vehicle you’re buying.

If you apply for car finance shortly before applying for a mortgage, this can affect your mortgage price. However, if you have a mortgage in place already, it will have no impact.

If you’re refused car finance, find out why. You may need to correct inaccuracies in your credit report or take steps to improve your credit score. You might also want to consider using a guarantor.

It may be possible to get car finance if you have an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) currently in place. To do so, you’ll need to seek the permission of the Insolvency Practitioner dealing with your case.

Both Equifax and Experian are credit referencing agencies. They use slightly different scales to present your credit rating – but both can provide lenders with some of the information they need to decide whether they’re willing to provide you with car finance.

In order to get car finance with a CCJ, you will need to change the status of your judgement on the record or have it removed.

If you make numerous applications for car finance, repeated credit checks can impact your score negatively. Your approach to paying back the loan will decide longer-term credit score effects – but if you pay on time, it could well go up.

Your access to agreements may be more limited, but it is possible to get car finance with a poor credit history.

It is not possible to get car finance in the 12 months after being declared bankrupt or until your bankruptcy is discharged through the courts. Getting finance without declaring that your bankrupt is against the law – and could lead to an extension of your bankruptcy.

It is possible to get car finance with a default, but it may be more difficult to do so than if you had a good to excellent credit score.