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.
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.
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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.
AutoMall.com 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.
Like AutoMall.com, you can find cars for sale in your area on the CarsDirect.com 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.
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.
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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.
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:
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.