Select Page

Getting an Auto Loan with Bad Credit

If you have bad credit, finding a place to get an auto loan in Montana might seem like a difficult task. However, that doesn’t mean that getting a loan is impossible. In fact, there are plenty of companies willing to work with individuals with bad credit. The reality is that there’s no official minimum credit score required to secure an auto loan – the score you need ultimately depends on each company’s individual policy. Some lenders are more flexible than others, which means it pays to shop around. You might not be successful with your first attempt, but rest assured there are lenders out there willing to work with you, even if your credit is a complete mess right now. Of course, getting a loan may involve paying a higher (subprime) interest rate. But if you are diligent about making those payments on time, you’ll not only be able to get that new vehicle – you’re credit rating will start to skyrocket as well.

Buying and Dealership Requirements

Before purchasing a vehicle, it’s important to verify that you are working with a reputable auto dealer. In the state of Montana, that begins with ensuring that their licenses are up to date. Renewal fees for all motor vehicles in the state cost $25, in addition to a $5 application fee.

The dealer must also use the proper license plates on their vehicles. In addition to the standard plates, there are two types of plates that are permissible:

  1. Demonstrator Plates – These plates cost $5 a piece, and are only permitted under certain circumstances:
  1. Courtesy Plates – These are more expensive at $150 a pair, and are restricted to the following uses:
  • The vehicle is being moved to or from the dealer’s business for a sale
  • The vehicle is being moved to or from an exhibition in Montana, as long as the exhibition is shorter than 20 days
  • The vehicle is being used for demonstration – maximum period of 72 hours
  • The vehicle is being tested for repair
  • The vehicle is being moved to or from a repair center prior to a sale
  • The vehicle is being used to transport the dealer’s own parts or equipment
  • May only be used in cases where the vehicle is loaned out for educational, religious, scientific, or charitable use
  • Plates can be used for a maximum of 30 days for any particular vehicle
  • Dealers are required to keep meticulous records about who they loan these vehicles to, and when

Finally dealers are required to keep detailed sales records. They must include the name and address of the seller/purchaser, a certificate of vehicle ownership, as well as the vehicle’s engine number, chassis number, and maker number. If any of the identification numbers have been changed or damaged, they must also include a statement explaining that. If you find a dealer that is not doing their due diligence in any of these areas, it’s probably best to move on and find someone more reliable.

Driving in Montana’s Top 5 Cities

1. Billings, MT:

While it’s Montana’s most populous city, it still has just a little over 100,000 residents. Because of the lower traffic compared to other states’ primary cities, you can get better gas mileage than most places. On the other hand, parts of the I-90 highway running through the city are in definite need of repair, meaning a greater likelihood of wear and tear on your vehicle. Also, if you’re not used to driving in snow, it’s important to take extra precautions driving here during the winter – especially if you’re a new driver. Some lenders may be more hesitant to offer loans to drivers in these conditions.

2. Missoula, MT:

Montana’s second biggest city, Missoula, is in the western part of the state, near Idaho. As with any location in the state, snow and sleet are realities that drivers must cope with every winter. Being well into the mountainous region of Montana poses an additional obstacle for drivers. Sharp turns on icy mountain roads can be fatal if not handled with care and respect. With that said, it also offers stunning views and wildlife, which makes seeking an auto loan in Missoula well worthwhile for responsible drivers.

3. Great Falls, MT:

Located next to the Missouri River Basin, Great Falls is a good place for anyone with bad credit who needs an auto loan. According to the 2000 census, roughly 15% of the area’s residents live below the poverty line. While this isn’t great news for the local economy, it does mean that there are many lenders who have experience dealing with people who have poor credit.

4. Bozeman, MT:

Although it’s a ways south of Missoula, Bozeman has a number of similarities. It offers breathtaking scenery, as well as hazardous mountain roads. Having a vehicle in this part of the country is a necessity, and therefore you will find many lenders willing to work with people with bad credit history.

5. Butte, MT:

In Butte, winters are long and cold, and distances are long. Anyone living here needs a vehicle. After finding a reputable dealer, there are a number of lending institutions in town who will work with people of varying credit backgrounds.

Regardless of your credit situation, there are always ways of securing an auto loan. Less than perfect credit history doesn’t have to stand between you and a vehicle. As you can see, there are places in Montana where it’s nearly impossible to survive without a vehicle, so it would be unreasonable if a bad credit score prevented you from owning one. As long as you have persistence and do your due diligence, you will eventually find the right lender who understands your situation and is willing to work with you.