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Bad credit affects millions of Americans. Whether you lost your job at some point and increased your debt relying on your credit cards to get by while you had no income or you defaulted on your expensive student loans, it’s not uncommon to have bad credit. For many, the collapse of the economy in 2008 led to poor credit. Those who were financially savvy had a difficult time paying bills after a job loss or decrease in their income, they lost homes, they couldn’t pay their bills, and their credit took a hit. Even if it happened five or six years ago and you’ve been back on financial track for the past few years, it’s still affecting your credit score. Late payments, missed payments, and negative reports on your credit score have a nasty habit of sticking around for seven years. This means you won’t see your score improve by much no matter how much debt you pay off or how hard you work until those items fall off.

This is a problem when you need a new car in North Carolina. You have a need to buy a car since there’s not much in the way of public transportation to get you to and from work, there’s a lot of rural communities, and the suburbs aren’t exactly close to the business district. Your panic sets in when you realize you cannot afford a new car without a loan, but no lender is going to work with you since you have a bad credit score. Don’t fret. There are lenders that will work with you despite bad credit. To help increase your chance of being approved for a bad credit loan, you’ll need to save up enough to make a down payment on a new car, and you’ll need to have good payment history for the past six months to a year at minimum.

Try speaking with someone at your credit union. If you have a standing relationship with someone there, they’ll talk to you about a loan. Your rate will be higher than most, but you’ll have a chance to get a loan that’s not a traditional bad credit loan. They’ll look at your score, but also at how you got that score. If you had a bad year a few years back but have a positive credit history since, low debt, and good enough income, your credit union is going to work with you.

If you don’t have a credit union, you can find a dealership that works with applicants with bad credit. Smaller lots do this a lot, but even some larger lots with nationally known brands backing their business can do this in North Carolina. A large down payment is going to help you secure that loan, which is always helpful when shopping for a new car in North Carolina.

If your credit score is really that bad, you won’t qualify for any loans even if they’re specifically for bad credit. You’ll need to pay cash for a new car, or you can work with a dealership that helps credit challenged applicants with buy here pay here loans. You can work with one of these if you need to, but you’ll want to think long and hard since they’re so expensive.

Knowing Which Dealers to Work With

If you’re going to work with a big-name brand dealership backed by a manufacturer, you won’t need to worry about these laws. However, if you choose to work with a local dealer, a small dealer, or a bad credit dealer in North Carolina, you will need to figure out whether this dealer is reputable. Do they have a mechanic on staff? This is imperative, because it means cars are being inspected, repaired, and cared for when they come onto the lot before they’re sold. Is the dealer happy to provide you with a Carfax history of cars you’re interested in purchasing without hesitation or asking you to pay for it? The law in North Carolina requires all dealers provide you with this information at no cost. Any dealer unwilling to do that is not worth your time.

Is the dealership happy to provide customers with their state licenses and credentials? Are the salespeople happy to show you their own licenses issued by the state? Is the lender they work with backed by the FDIC? You need to know these things prior to work with any dealer, because they are laws that are important.

Driving in North Carolina

Coastal communities, mountains, and a lot of rural roads make it easy to live here. If you live along the coast of North Carolina, you’ll find it’s more expensive to insure your vehicle due to potential flood threats. If you live in one of the bigger cities, you’ll find the commute is a little longer due to congestion. This includes Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, and Winston-Salem. Driving here means experiencing a great shift in weather during the seasons, but it’s not particularly dangerous.

If you love to sing in the car you’re buying now that you have a bad credit loan, you’ll need to know it’s illegal to sing off key in North Carolina. If someone hears you at a light, you could be fined or ticketed. You might tone it down if you aren’t a good singer, because you don’t want to break any laws while driving in North Carolina.

If you have bad credit, don’t worry about getting a loan. You’ll need some patience, you’ll need to do your homework, and you’ll need to expect a high interest rate. It’s not cheap to purchase a vehicle with bad credit, but it is possible. If you have time to work on your credit score before you purchase a new vehicle, it’s recommended you do that. It’s going to make things a bit easier on you, and it’s going to make it more affordable.