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Interest rates are low, and they’re expected to stay that way for a while. Many bad credit borrowers are concerned about only qualifying for high interest rates, but now may be the time to start rate shopping while the getting is good.

Why Are Interest Rates Low?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve has voted to keep interest rates between 0% to 0.25% until 2022. What does this mean?

It means that interest rates offered for everyone are lowered, since the prime rate has fallen. FOMC lowers interest rates as a way to incentivize businesses and consumers to spend more cash.

For borrowers with less than perfect credit, a low prime rate can mean qualifying for a lower interest rate than pre-pandemic. According to dealers we have surveyed, the average APR on an auto loan for bad credit consumers is 13.16% – it was 15.04% pre-pandemic.

Two percent doesn’t sound like much, but it can mean lots of savings in terms of interest charges, especially if you have a longer loan term and/or a large loan amount.

Rate Shopping With Bad Credit

With interest rates remaining low until 2022, now is the time to start rate shopping and evaluating your options for your next car loan.

Rate shopping is when you apply with multiple lenders for the same type of credit within a small window of time. You may be thinking, “But what about all those hard inquiries that are going to destroy my credit score?” and you’re partially correct. Hard inquiries do hurt your credit score, but only for up to 12 months.

However, if you apply for the same type of credit within a two-week window, only one hard inquiry hurts your credit score. All the inquiries still appear on your credit reports, but only one has any effect on your score.

To take advantage of the fact that the credit bureaus don’t punish you for looking for the best rates and deals. Make a list of the different auto lenders you want to apply with, and then do so within 14 days. This way, your credit score only takes a little damage and you can compare rates and see what lenders can do for you.

With a lower credit score, though, rate shopping can be hard. Sometimes, a poor credit score means a car loan denial, but there are plenty of lenders in the sea. If you know where to fish, that is.

Bad Credit Auto Lenders

Special finance dealerships have resources for bad credit borrowers. They’re signed up with subprime lenders, or bad credit lenders, and they work with borrowers in all sorts of unique credit situations like no credit, bankruptcy, and credit issues in general.

When you apply for financing with a special finance dealer, your information typically gets sent out to one or more subprime lenders. If you qualify for auto financing with a subprime lender, they let the dealership know what your maximum car payment can be, and then you work with the dealer to find the right vehicle.

Another bonus? These lenders have the know-how to assist borrowers in tough credit situations. So, if you have credit issues, you have a higher chance of getting approved with a subprime lender over a traditional one.

Get Connected to a Car Dealership

It can be difficult to know what dealerships are signed up with subprime auto lenders. Luckily, we know where they are! Here at Auto Credit Express, we’ve cultivated a nationwide network of dealers, we work hard to match borrowers to one near them that has the resources they need.

Get started by filling out our car loan request form. It’s completely free, secure, and there’s never an obligation to buy anything.