CarMax Bad Credit Approval Policy (Including Credit Score Requirements)

Short Answer: CarMax offers a variety of financing options through lenders like Ally Auto Finance, CarMax Auto Finance, and Santander Consumer USA. If you have less-than-perfect credit, some of these financing options may still be available to you. Below, we detail how a bad credit score affects your chances of securing financing through CarMax or at a similar car dealership.

CarMax Financing for Those with Bad Credit

Does CarMax work with bad credit? Yes. CarMax will still sell you a car even if you have a low credit score. CarMax can accommodate “most” credit profiles and considers low credit scores on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the reason for your low credit score or other factors that show that you are reliable, like proof of employment, CarMax may still offer you financing. In addition to providing financing through CarMax Auto Finance, CarMax partners with other lenders to offer options for customers with less-than-perfect credit.

CarMax Credit Check

CarMax requires a credit check during its financing application process. Representatives for CarMax confirm that it conducts credit checks but were unable to tell us which of the credit bureaus it may pull from (Equifax, Experian, and/or TransUnion). Customers report online that CarMax commonly pulls Equifax, but it may pull from any or all of the three major bureaus in the process of matching you with a lender.

While CarMax will run a credit check, it won’t decide to approve or deny based solely on your credit score.

CarMax Financing Options

Part of the reason CarMax can accommodate most credit histories is that it offers financing through several different lenders including Ally Auto Finance, American Credit Acceptance, Santander Consumer USA, Westlake Financial Services, and its own CarMax Auto Finance. None of these companies were willing to share their credit acceptance ranges with us, and CarMax encourages potential customers to apply for pre-qualification to find their options.

However, several of the creditors listed above advertise themselves as accepting to those with blemished credit or minimal credit history, so CarMax may have options available to you if you have a poor credit history. Customers have also reported being approved by CarMax with scores between 500 and 600 on websites like CreditKarma and myFICO.

CarMax Pre-Qualification

To get pre-qualified by CarMax, you’ll need to provide some personal information, including home address, social security number, and work history. On CarMax’s pre-qualification form, the credit classifications are as follows:

  • Excellent: FICO score of 800 or higher
  • Very Good: FICO score between 740 and 799
  • Good: FICO score of 670 to 739
  • Fair: FICO score between 580 and 669
  • Challenged: FICO score of less than 580

The lower your FICO score is, the higher your APR will be if you are approved for auto financing from CarMax or one of its financing partners.

Other Sources of Car Financing for Those with Low Credit Scores

CarMax is not the only place to offer options to customers with a low credit score. Banks, other used car dealerships, and online lenders may be willing to finance your new vehicle if you are looking for an alternative to CarMax’s auto financing program. Below, we have more details of where else to find financing if you have a low credit score.

Suggested Article: How to Decide If You Really Need a New Car

Banks and Credit Unions

If you wish to secure auto loan financing on your own, you may want to apply at the bank or credit union where you are already a customer. A loan officer at your bank may know you’ve been trying in good faith to improve your credit score and can work with you to offer better terms on a car loan.

Once you have pre-approval from your bank or credit union, you can visit CarMax or another dealer with your pre-approved offer and purchase a vehicle.

Used Car Dealerships

Many small used car dealerships put out claims like “Good credit? Bad credit? No credit? We can help!” If you’re unsure of whether or not these places are a scam, we list some of the more reputable options for places that sell cars to people who have bad credit below. calls itself a “one-stop shop for qualified automotive information.” You can research new and used cars and find cars for sale in your area. It also offers online pre-qualification of financing for the purchase of a car.

Find more information about

Cars Direct

Like, you can find cars for sale in your area on the website. Cars Direct helps those with bad credit or no credit and those who have filed for bankruptcy and also offers pre-approval for car loans.

Find more information about Cars Direct


Carvana is a website where you can purchase a car in your area. Its website states it cuts out the dealership to save you money. Carvana has a pre-qualifying tool to see how much financing you can obtain.

Find more information about Carvana

Suggested Article: Is proof of income required at Carvana?


DriveTime claims it is the largest car dealership that specifically helps customers with “credit issues” purchase a quality vehicle. DriveTime has locations across 26 states and offers pre-approval for car loans.

Find more information about DriveTime

Online Lenders

If you don’t have a bank you use regularly, see our list of online places that cater to those with bad credit and can help you get pre-qualified for an auto loan. Keep in mind that you’ll need access to the internet to apply for a loan on any of these sites, and you will need to provide personal information, which can include your social security number. The following websites offer to help finance those with bad credit:

In Summary

Most reputable car dealerships, including CarMax, are usually willing to work with those with low credit scores. CarMax offers several options for approval including its in-house financing, CarMax Auto Finance, as well as its lending partners like Ally Auto Finance. You can also purchase a car from CarMax with financing from your bank and credit union or apply for financing with an online lender.


  • The article has including credit score needed. But didn’t find it in article. Can someone tell where it is, or did I overlook it?

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Dee Dee,

      I apologize for any confusion that the article caused! Because the range of credit scores that constitute “good” or “bad” can be very subjective, there’s not a single cut-off score that will qualify a customer for financing with CarMax. While CarMax states that it can work with “most” credit profiles, the exact requirements and restrictions will vary depending on the CarMax location that you visit and the salesperson who works with you. Since financing is on a case-by-case basis, really the only way to know for sure if you qualify will be to apply. You can see if you pre-qualify for financing on the CarMax website. I hope this helps!

  • Robin D Daniels says:

    I need a decent low mileage car quickly.My credit is not good.I keep getting a run around every where else.I need the car to get back & forth to the doctor & pick my Granddaughter up from school.Could you respond quickly…

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Robin,

      To find out if you pre-qualify for financing with CarMax, you can visit this web page and answer a few questions to see your financing options. DriveTime is another helpful resource for people with less than ideal credit to get approved for an auto loan; you can visit the DriveTime website and fill out a similar application to see what you qualify for with this company. (Note that DriveTime and CarMax are two separate companies.) Best of luck buying your new car, and please let me know if I can answer any further questions for you!

  • Kelsey Cooley says:

    I have bad credit and I think my credit is 566. I would like to know can I get approved for bad credit policy

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Kelsey,

      While CarMax states that it can work with “most” credit profiles, the exact requirements and restrictions will vary depending on the location and the salesperson who works with you. Since financing is on a case-by-case basis, the only way to know for sure will be to apply. You can see if you pre-qualify for financing on the CarMax website. Best of luck!