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How to Get a Car With No Money Down
by Canvas • May 27, 2019


Getting a car with no money down is a dream, right?

Is it actually possible to drive away behind the wheel of your dream vehicle without handing over your soul?

Believe it or not, you don’t have to have a well-padded bank account to afford the luxury of driving. There are plenty of ways to get a car without that pesky down payment, such as with the following options.

Boost Your Credit Score

If your credit score isn’t up to snuff, it could seriously be hurting your chances of skipping a down payment. What’s more, having a lower score increases your interest rate, boosting the amount you have to pay through the entirety of the loan.

The ideal credit score to skip a down payment and receive the best interest rate is anything over 680. Having a credit score this high means you pay your bills on time, keep your balances low on credit cards, and don’t have much outstanding debt.

If your credit score is between 550 to 680, it’s considered subprime. This means that you may be able to convince an auto lender to skip a down payment; however, to compensate, they’ll make your interest rate insanely high. Overall, it’s not an ideal situation.

If your credit score is below 550, you’re in real trouble. You may not even qualify for an auto loan, so if you’re dedicated to buying a car, you’d have to pay for it all up front. This isn’t feasible for very many people.

Cosign Your Vehicle With Someone

Let’s be real though, if you had a good credit score, you’d probably have money in the bank to spare for a down payment. While that’s definitely a point you can work on, it might take time, and if you need a car now, you won’t be able to wait. That’s why there’s another solid option for you to choose: having a family member or friend cosign on your vehicle purchase.

A cosigner is someone who vouches for your reliability when it comes to making car payments. If they have a higher credit score, the lender will take that into consideration when determining whether or not you need a down payment.

Just keep in mind that if you miss a payment, it will reflect negatively on both your credit score as well as the credit score of the cosigner. Therefore, you should always make sure you’re financially stable enough to make monthly payments before considering this option.

Find a Special Lender

At the end of the day, there are a lot of options out there for getting an auto loan. If the first bank you go to isn’t very helpful in negotiating down payments, keep scoping out the field. Make a list of all the local credit unions, banks, and auto dealerships in the area that might provide you with financing. Check them off your list one by one until you find one with terms you like.

There are also specialized online lenders that specifically cater to people seeking low-rate auto loans without a down payment. These can be a great option to pursue, but just make sure the site you’re looking into is legit before you sign anything.

One thing you should look for in a lender is being open to negotiation. Find a lender that will consider compensating factors, which basically means they’ll look beyond the paper application to consider your lifestyle and motivations. For example, if you have a poor credit score but have recently gotten a much higher paying job as well as paid all of your debts in the last year, they may decide to waive your down payment.

Trade in Your Old Car

Perhaps you already have a car sitting in your garage. If this is the case, it could be a valuable tool in securing a car with no money down. Trading your car into the dealer can count as a down payment. Even if it’s a junker that’s only worth $1,000, that could still be enough to satisfy the money down requirement.

Before heading into the dealer and accepting whatever offer they give you, it’s a good idea to do a little preliminary research about what your car is worth first. Head to a website like Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book to get an accurate estimated value for your vehicle. You can use this as a bargaining chip, as the dealer will most likely come in far lower than this value.

Use a Car Subscription Service

All the above options technically work for getting a car with no money down, but they’re not advisable. If you skip the down payment when buying a car, you won’t have any equity in the car for several years. What’s more, you’ll probably have a much higher interest rate than you would otherwise, so you’ll pay thousands extra throughout the course of the loan.

A better option to consider is a car subscription service, such as Canvas. With Canvas, you can get a car with no money down without the hassle of a purchase. Instead, you’ll subscribe to a car on a monthly basis. You can choose a term length between three to 12 months, depending on your needs. The longer your subscription, the cheaper the monthly payment. In most cases, the monthly payments are similar to what the payments would be for buying a car — just without the bank-account-draining down payment.

After choosing your terms, you’re good to go! The car you choose will be yours for the length of time you specified. If you want to keep it longer, just renew your car subscription at the end of the contract. Everything you need is included in that one monthly payment, including insurance, maintenance, and roadside assistance.

Getting a Car With No Money Down Doesn’t Have to Be a Hassle

Don’t let your lack of savings affect your ability to drive. Whether you try one of the above hacks to avoid a down payment or just go the easy route by choosing a Canvas car subscription, there are plenty of ways to slip behind the wheel without breaking the bank.