Credit scores are most often associated with housing, as they factor heavily into qualifying for a mortgage or even renting an apartment. However, your credit score affects much more than buying or renting a place to live. A good credit score can be a great help in getting an affordable car loan, keeping the total cost of your new ride as low as possible.

What Makes up a Credit Score?

The short answer is that a credit score is a number that describes your history of managing credit. There are several agencies that formulate credit scores, but what they have in common is that they try to reflect whether you have a history of paying your loans and bills on time—for example, to utilities or credit cards—and whether your debt-to-income ratio expresses financial stability. The most cited score is the FICO score. This score takes the above criteria into account, as well as the types of credit and number of credit report inquiries you have had. The point of a score is to predict whether you are likely to be a good credit risk—in other words, how likely you are to pay off your auto loan.

What Credit Scores Mean for Auto Loans

Auto loans are increasing in size and length of term every year. At the beginning of 2023, the average auto selling price had risen above $48,000. In response to the growing loan amount, the terms of auto loans have increased to as much as 84 months. Because the loans have increased so much, your credit score plays a greater role on the terms of your loan. As our credit score blog article points out, your credit score is variable, and you can be proactive about improving.

 ITCU makes it easy for you to check your credit score. Members who sign up for online banking have quick and easy access to their credit score, and receive score change alerts. Our Momentum and Prime Checking accounts also include credit score access as part of their benefits. More importantly, you can decide if you want to take specific actions to manage your score. ITCU’s Arrival Guide includes Five Credit Score Facts to help get you in the know. We also offer Auto Loan Calculators to help you visualize what different loan amounts and interest rates could mean for your budget. 


The magic number. What is the best credit score for an auto loan? Below 600: Review the credit terms or talk to your credit union.. 650: Almost there! Above 700: Easier to qualify for better rates.

Using Your Score to Plan Your Purchase

Scores in the broad range of 675 for used and 750 for new cars are considered the norm for getting the best interest rates. If your credit score is not exactly what it should be, you may feel trapped into financing at the dealership. Do not jump to conclusions yet!

When you apply for multiple credit sources, your score can also take a hit. So, take a moment to consider what your credit union has to offer. ITCU dedicates itself to serving our members with the best terms and rates available. Check with us first to see how your membership can serve you. We offer loans on new and used vehicles, and even auto refinancing.

When you are in the market for a new vehicle, be sure to check out all the benefits that your ITCU membership places at your fingertips. From your credit score to low-rate auto loans, we are here for you. If you need a helping hand, be sure to contact us to get on the right road.