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Best Auto Loans for Fair Credit

AUTOPAY, LightStream, and First Tech Federal Credit Union are some of the best lenders of fair credit auto loans

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Car prices are still sky-high, as of mid-2023, so the majority of borrowers will need to use an auto loan to purchase a new or used vehicle. If you have fair credit, meaning a credit score of 580 to 669, you may find that financing a vehicle is especially expensive.?

However, you may be able to find lower rates and better terms by shopping around and requesting quotes from multiple lenders. To help you find the right loan, we reviewed 25 popular lenders based on their rates, fees, loan amounts, borrower/vehicle qualifications (including credit requirements), and more. See the best auto loans for fair credit below.

Best Auto Loans for Fair Credit of 2023

Car loan companies consider applicants with fair credit to be nonprime or subprime borrowers. Those distinctions mean you’ll pay much higher interest rates than those with very good or excellent credit. Average rates for those with fair credit can be in the double digits for new and used car loans. If you’re having trouble qualifying, consider the best bad credit auto loans for more options.

Best for Most Borrowers : AUTOPAY



  • Used APR Range: As low as 2.99%
  • Used Loan Amounts: $2,500–$100,000
  • Used Loan Terms: 2–8 years
Pros & Cons
  • Minimum recommended credit score of 500, according to customer support

  • Offers financing for new and used cars

  • Allows borrowers to refinance existing loans

  • Permits joint applications

  • Some partner lenders charge origination fees

  • Limited information about rates and fees online

  • Unclear eligibility requirements

Why We Chose It

Whether you’re buying a new car at a dealership or looking to refinance an existing loan, AUTOPAY has some of the best auto loans for fair credit. AUTOPAY connects borrowers with partner lenders that offer loans for new and used car purchases and auto loan refinancing

The company works with a wide range of credit levels, but it also allows borrowers to apply with co-signers. If you have less-than-perfect credit, adding a co-signer can help you qualify for a lower rate.?

AUTOPAY has limited information about its partners and rates online, and it doesn’t disclose all of its eligibility requirements. However, AUTOPAY does have pre-qualification options for purchase loans, so you can see what rates are available without affecting your credit.?

Use our auto loan payment and interest calculator to estimate your monthly loan payments and overall repayment cost with different rates and terms.

Borrower Qualifications
  • Recommened credit score of 500 or higher
  • Available in all U.S. states and Washington, D.C.
Vehicle Qualifications
  • Maximum accepted vehicle age: 10 years
  • Maximum accepted mileage: 150,000 miles
  • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: Not disclosed
  • Allows private-party vehicle purchases: Yes

Best for Fast Loans : LightStream



  • Used APR Range: 7.49%–15.94%* with autopay
  • Used Loan Amounts: $5,000–$100,000
  • Used Loan Terms: 24–84 months
Pros & Cons
  • Same-day loan funding

  • No origination or late fees

  • Unsecured loan

  • No vehicle restrictions

  • Relatively high credit score minimum

  • Higher than average rates

  • No pre-qualification tool

Why We Chose It

For those who need money fast to buy a new or used car, LightStream could be a good choice. The lender allows you to borrow up to $100,000, and you can receive the loan funds as soon as the same day you apply. 

LightStream disburses the loan funds directly to your bank account, so you can buy your chosen vehicle in cash without having to work with a dealer’s financing department or going through any other hurdles.?

Unlike the other lenders on our list, LightStream provides unsecured loans, so the rates are higher than you typically see for car loans. But the tradeoffs are that you don’t have to put up your car as collateral, and LightStream has no restrictions on vehicles; you can buy any car you want, regardless of how old it is or how many miles are on the odometer. 

LightStream doesn’t have a pre-qualification tool, and it generally requires good to excellent credit. However, it does allow borrowers to apply with co-applicants, so you can add a joint applicant to improve your chances of qualifying for a loan.?

Borrower Qualifications
  • Minimum recommended credit score of 680
  • Must be the age of majority in your state
  • Must have a verifiable source of income
  • LightStream also takes into consideration your credit history, assets, and debt-to-income ratio (DTI) 
  • Available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Vehicle Qualifications
  • Maximum accepted vehicle age: No maximum
  • Maximum accepted mileage: No maximum
  • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: No maximum
  • Allows private-party vehicle purchases: Yes

Best Credit Union : First Tech FCU

First Tech Federal Credit Union

First Tech Federal Credit Union

  • Used APR Range: As low as 7.90%
  • Used Loan Amounts: $1,000–$300,000
  • Used Loan Terms: 12–84 months
Pros & Cons
  • No origination fees

  • Financing for new and used cars?

  • Financing for other vehicles available, like motorcycles and RVs

  • No pre-qualification for longer loan terms

  • Higher rates for used vehicles

  • Credit union membership required

Why We Chose It

Credit unions are non-profit organizations that often offer lower rates and fees than other lenders. And when it comes to car loans, First Tech Federal Credit Union (FCU) stands out due to its loan options. The credit union has options for financing new and used cars, along with auto loan refinancing. 

With First Tech FCU, you can finance up to $300,000 and take up to 84 months to repay your loan. Unlike many other lenders, First Tech FCU doesn’t charge origination fees, and it also offers financing for motorcycles, recreational vehicles, campers, scooters, boats, and more. First Tech provides car-buying services for its members that make it easier to buy and sell vehicles and can save you time at the dealership.?

As a credit union, First Tech FCU’s auto loans are only available to members. However, its membership criteria aren’t strict; you can join by becoming a member of the Computer History Museum or the Financial Fitness Association for a small fee.?

Borrower Qualifications
  • Minimum recommended credit score of 660
  • Available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Vehicle Qualifications
  • Maximum accepted vehicle age: 10 years
  • Maximum accepted mileage: 100,000 miles
  • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: 120%
  • Allows private-party vehicle purchases: No

Best for Focus on Used Car Loans : CarMax

CarMax logo


  • Used APR Range: Not disclosed
  • Used Loan Amounts: $5,000–$100,000
  • Used Loan Terms: 36–72 months
Pros & Cons
  • Will work with most credit profiles

  • Allows co-buyers

  • Three-day payoff option

  • Higher APRs than other lenders

  • Can only be used for cars bought through CarMax

  • Vehicles may be more expensive

Why We Chose It

CarMax is the nation’s largest retailer of used vehicles. Through CarMax you can buy used vehicles that have passed the company’s inspection and are backed by a 90-day/4,000-mile limited warranty.?

CarMax Auto Finance is the company’s own financing program. It can only be used to finance cars purchased through CarMax, but the company says it works with borrowers at every credit level. Even if you have poor to fair credit, you can likely qualify for a loan. 

Average CarMax vehicles may be more expensive than you’d expect for used cars; the average sales price of CarMax vehicles was over $28,000 as of 2022.?

Though the company will work with borrowers with less-than-stellar credit, those with poor to fair credit should expect to pay higher rates; using the company’s calculator tool, we found that rates for borrowers with fair credit were in the double digits.

However, if you buy a car and later find a better auto loan offer elsewhere, CarMax has a three-day payoff option. You have three days after purchasing your vehicle to return the funds and replace the loan with a new one at no cost.?

Borrower Qualifications
  • Minimum recommended credit score of 500
  • Vehicles and loans are available in 41 states, excluding Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and West Virginia.
Vehicle Qualifications
  • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: Not disclosed
  • Maximum accepted mileage: Not disclosed
  • Maximum accepted age of the vehicle: None (vehicle must be purchased through CarMax)
  • Private-party vehicle purchases: No
Customer Reviews
  • “I've been satisfied with the products that I've gotten there. I've bought, and my family has bought more than one car from them, and I've got friends who have, so I think it's pretty well-run. And I've been happy with the warranties on the repairs two cars ago.”
  • “...Over the years I started buying from CarMax, maybe about 15 years ago, and had used the same salesman, usually. But this time it was during COVID when I got the car and they were trying to do everything that they could online. They would have even brought the car to me. If I picked it online they would have driven it to me and had me fill [out] the paperwork in my house. But because I was in a different state, they didn't do that.”
  • “If I was going to do something differently, I'd probably check and see if [my] credit union had lower interest rates. … But that's the only thing I would do differently, is … go for something with a lower interest rate.”

Best for High Loan-to-Value Ratio : OpenRoad Lending

OpenRoad Lending

?OpenRoad Lending

  • Refinance APR Range: 1.99%–24.99%
  • Refinance Loan Amounts: $7,500–$100,000
  • Refinance Loan Terms: 24–72 months
Pros & Cons
  • LTV up to 180%

  • Low potential rates

  • Low income requirement

  • Does not offer purchase loans

  • Self-employed individuals are not eligible

Why We Chose It

OpenRoad Lending doesn’t offer loans for purchasing new or used cars; instead, it specializes in auto loan refinancing. 

Generally, the company’s maximum loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is 125%. But if you have good to excellent credit, you may qualify for an LTV as high as 180%—far higher than other lenders allow. With a higher LTV, you can refinance your existing loan by taking out a new loan for more than you owe. The lender will give you the difference to use as you see fit. For example, you could use the extra funds to consolidate debt. 

OpenRoad Lending boasts low potential rates, and you can have as long as 72 months to repay your loan.?

However, not all vehicles and borrowers are eligible. OpenRoad Lending doesn’t operate nationwide, and those who are self-employed cannot qualify for a loan.?

Borrower Qualifications
  • Minimum credit score of 500?
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Available to residents in 46 U.S. states
  • Must make at least $2,000 per month (earnings from Uber or similar services do not count toward the income requirement)
  • Your DTI cannot exceed 40%
  • Can only refinance auto loans issued by NCUA- or FDIC-insured lenders such as credit unions and banks
Vehicle Qualifications
  • Maximum accepted vehicle age: Not disclosed
  • Maximum accepted mileage: 160,000 miles
  • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: 180%
  • Allows private-party vehicle purchases: No
  • Business vehicles, Oldsmobile, Daewoo, Smart Cars, and Isuzu vehicles are not eligible for refinancing

Best for Full Car Buying Experience : Carvana



  • APR Range: Not disclosed
  • Loan Amounts: Not disclosed
  • Loan Terms: Not disclosed
Pros & Cons
  • Accepts borrowers with poor credit?

  • Pre-approvals valid for 45 days

  • Buy vehicles entirely online

  • Financing can only be used at Carvana

  • Unclear rates and terms

  • Co-signers not permitted in all states

Why We Chose It

If you’re looking for a used car and are overwhelmed by the idea of visiting multiple dealerships to find the right vehicle, Carvana may be a useful alternative. It’s a used car retailer that allows you to buy cars entirely through its website. You can opt to pick up your new vehicle at a Carvana location near you, but Carvana will also deliver vehicles right to your door (you can test-drive vehicles from a Carvana vending machine, too, if there’s one nearby).?

Carvana also offers financing for its vehicles. You can qualify for a loan even if you have poor credit, and the company has a pre-qualification tool you can use to check your eligibility and view loan options without affecting your credit score. 

Carvana has very limited information about its loan rates and terms on its site. And if you intend to apply with another person, be aware that co-signers are only permitted in some states.?

Whether you’re shopping for an inexpensive, reliable vehicle for a teen or that classic muscle car you always dreamed of—1970 Chevelle SS, anyone?—using the best used car websites can help you find the perfect vehicle.

Borrower Qualifications
  • Minimum recommended credit score of 500
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Minimum annual income of $4,000
  • Must not have any active bankruptcies?
  • Available to residents in the 48 contiguous U.S. states
Vehicle Qualifications
  • Maximum accepted vehicle age: Varies
  • Maximum accepted mileage: 140,000 miles
  • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: Not disclosed
  • Allows private-party vehicle purchases: No; only for used cars bought through the Carvana platform

Final Verdict

If your credit score is in the “fair” range, finding a car loan with competitive rates can be challenging. But lenders like AUTOPAY and First Tech FCU offer loans for new and used vehicles with low potential APRs and multiple loan term options.?

If you need funding quickly, LightStream may be a better choice. It disburses funds as soon as the same day you apply, and you can borrow up to $100,000 without any vehicle restrictions.?

Regardless of whether you want to buy a new vehicle or a used car, or you’re refinancing an existing loan, shop around and compare rates from several lenders to find the best auto loans for fair credit. 

Guide to Choosing the Best Auto Loan for Fair Credit

How to Compare Fair Credit Car Loans

There are many different lenders that cater to borrowers with fair credit. When shopping for a loan, consider the following factors:?

  • Source: Auto loans for fair credit can come from banks, credit unions, and certain car retailers, such as CarMax or Carvana. Auto retailers may be the most convenient, since they allow you to finance through their platforms once you find the right car. But you may find lower rates elsewhere or by using a loan marketplace that allows you to get quotes from several lenders at once. 
  • Annual percentage rate (APR): The APR is how much you’ll pay in interest and fees in a year expressed as a percentage, and it’s one of the most important factors when considering overall cost. The lower the APR, the less you’ll repay over the life of your loan. 
  • Fees: Some lenders charge added fees, such as origination fees and prepayment penalties, that add to the overall cost of your loan. 
  • Vehicle requirements: Auto loans often have some vehicle restrictions. For example, lenders may only allow you to buy a car with less than 100,000 miles, or that is less than 10 years old. 
  • Loan terms: With car loans, typical repayment terms range from two to eight years. A longer term will give you a smaller monthly payment, but lenders usually charge higher APRs on longer terms, meaning you’ll pay more overall. 

How to Qualify for an Auto Loan

Although borrower requirements vary by lender, you generally need to meet the following criteria:?

  • Credit: There are loans specifically for those with poor credit or limited credit histories, but lenders generally look for credit scores that are fair to excellent. If your score is at the lower end of the fair range—580 to 669—taking a few months to improve your credit can boost your chances of getting a loan with a relatively low rate.?
  • Income: Lenders usually require applicants to submit proof of income. You can satisfy that requirement by providing pay stubs or recent tax returns.?
  • DTI: Lenders consider your DTI to ensure you can afford the new loan payments. In many cases, the maximum DTI you can have and qualify for a loan is 40%. However, the lower the DTI, the better.?
  • Co-signer/co-borrower: If you have fair credit, adding a co-signer or co-borrower to your application can help you qualify for a loan and get a better rate than if you applied alone. Not all lenders allow co-signers, so be sure to check during the rate-shopping process.

Alternatives to Fair Credit Car Loans

If you’re not happy with the loan term you were quoted with a fair credit score, these alternatives may help you:?

  • Delay buying a car: Although delaying your planned purchase may not be ideal, it can be worth it over the long run. It gives you time to improve your credit by paying down debt and making your other payments on time, increasing your chances of qualifying for a loan with a lower rate later. 
  • Larger down payment: Some lenders will offer better terms if you have a larger down payment. A down payment of 10% or 20% of the car’s purchase price may allow you to secure a lower rate. 
  • Co-signed loan: If you have a parent, relative, or friend with a stable income and good credit, adding them as a co-signer could allow you to qualify for a loan with a lower APR. 
  • Personal loans: Another alternative is to take out a personal loan to buy a car. Personal loans are typically unsecured, so they don’t use collateral, but they often have much higher rates than car loans. See our picks for the best personal loans for bad credit to review the leading options.

Beware of “no credit check” and “buy here, pay here” dealers. They charge much higher rates—often, the rates are well into the double digits—and they also charge higher prices than the vehicle is worth.

Auto Loan Rates by Credit Score

Car loan lenders assign risk distinctions to borrowers based on their credit and other factors. Generally, lenders use the following categories:?

Category Credit Score Range Average APR for New Cars Average APR for Used Cars
Super Prime 781–850 4.75% 5.99%
Prime 661–780 5.82% 7.83%
Nonprime 601–660 8.12% 12.08%
Subprime 501–600 10.79% 17.46%
Deep Subprime 300–500 13.42% 20.62%

Source: Experian: State of the Automotive Finance Market Q4 2022

Borrowers with fair credit, meaning a score between 580 and 669, would be in the subprime to prime categories.?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can You Qualify for an Auto Loan With Fair Credit?

    Although it is easier to qualify for a car loan if you have good to excellent credit, there are many lenders that will accept applicants with fair credit. AUTOPAY, LightStream, First Tech FCU, and Carvana are a few of the lenders that made it on our list.

  • Where Can You Get a Fair Credit Car Loan?

    Fair credit auto loans are available through credit unions, banks, and online lenders. Some car retailers also offer their own financing programs and work with borrowers with less-than-perfect credit.?

  • Can You Get Cash-Out Refinancing With Fair Credit?

    You may be able to qualify for cash-out auto refinancing if you have fair credit. Lenders have different maximum loan-to-value ratios, with many offering up to 125% and some quite a bit higher—up to 140% for Chase Auto, and 180% for OpenRoad Lending. If you qualify for a cash-out refinance loan, you may be offered a lower loan amount and/or higher fees.

  • What Is Considered Fair Credit for a Car Loan?

    Fair credit for an auto loan usually means a FICO credit score of 580 to 669; depending on where you are in that range, you may be considered to have subprime, nonprime, or prime credit.


Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of auto loan lenders. To rate providers, we collected hundreds of data points across more than 20 auto loan lenders, including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, borrower requirements, and vehicle requirements, to ensure that our reviews help users make informed decisions for their borrowing needs. We also conducted a survey of 1,016 auto loan borrowers for attitudes and opinions about lenders and the loan process.

Mother and son examining new car in dealership

Maskot / Getty Images

Article Sources
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  2. Experian. "State of the Automotive Finance Market-Q4 2022."?

  3. Lightstream. "Frequently Asked Questions."?

  4. First Tech Federal Credit Union. "Become a Member."?

  5. CarMax. "2023 Annual Report-10-k."?

  6. CarMax. "Car Payment Calculator."?

  7. OpenRoad Lending. "Terms and Conditions Prequalified Offer."?

  8. Kelley Blue Book. "How Much Is the Typical Car Down Payment?"?

  9. Federal Reserve. "Consumer Credit."?

  10. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "What Is a 'No Credit Check' or 'Buy Here, Pay Here' Auto Loan?"?

  11. Experian. "State of the Automotive Finance Market Report."