Everybody needs transportation, and even if you have fair to bad credit, AutoFair Ford of Haverhill is willing to work with you. The same goes if you have no credit history at all. We strive to have 100% credit approval for all customers wanting to buy a new or used vehicle from us. Now that you know somebody's on your side, read on for the answers to some common questions.

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How should I approach the loan process if I have poor credit?

Priority number one should be improving your credit score before you apply for financing (if you don't need a vehicle immediately). That way you'll have a better chance of getting a lower interest rate, making monthly payments more manageable and costing you less over the full loan term. Start by paying off as much debt as you can to lower your debt-to-credit ratio, and make sure there are no errors in your credit report (for example, look for any items that you've paid in full that still appear). Each year you are entitled to one copy of your credit report from all three national credit reporting services: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Be sure to do this, and check each report carefully for errors.

How can I find out my credit score?

There are many free websites that can help you find your credit score, or you might already have a credit card that provides that information (as well as alerting you whenever your score changes). You'll also find the score ranges for the various credit score rankings: very good, good, fair, and poor.

What else should I do before I apply for credit?

Once know your credit score (and your general credit category), sit down and make an honest assessment of your expenses and what you can actually afford to spend each month on a car. You'll need to know this before you decide which model to buy. You may already have a vehicle in mind, but your budget should be the first factor to consider. If you get into something that you really can't afford, you'll feel stressed, plus you'll risk more serious damage to your credit. Missed payments - and the worst case, a repossession - will be hard to recover from because they will stay on your credit report for years. Remember: you can always upgrade your car in the future when you're on better financial footing.

What about getting a cosigner?

Getting a close friend or relative with good credit to cosign for you will improve your chances of getting approved for a loan at a decent APR, but it can be easier said than done. Since your cosigner will have to make the payments, the situation means less risk to the lender - but that risk is transferred to the cosigner. This is why not everyone you ask will be willing to cosign, so you should be prepared to hear "no."

How long will I have to pay a higher interest rate?

As you continue making your payments on time, your score will inch upward - as long as you haven't taken on new debt elsewhere (such as opening a new credit card or adding charges to an existing one). Some loan terms require the borrower to set up automatic payments, but that's a great idea anyway, since you won't have to worry about forgetting to pay.