Score too low for loan

Dear Terry,
I hope you can help me. My credit rating is not great. It's in the fair range. I have no outstanding debts on my credit record having just paid them with my tax refund. In your opinion what is a decent interest rate for someone with a credit score between 650 and 670? How much of a down payment is needed? I have tried going to dealers and telling them, but they run my Social Security number and then I never hear from them. I don't want to resort to a predatory lender and I am tired of driving lemons. Is this what I am going to have to do until my score rebounds or is there some hope for me now?
-- Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

Dear Sick,
Even with a FICO score of 650 to 670 you should be getting at least a few nibbles from dealers. Have you looked at your credit report lately? Is there something there you're not aware of?

Putting that issue aside, you could check with your bank or apply with an online lender for a loan before you go car shopping. Someone should be willing to give you a loan, although the interest rate may be higher than you'd like. You can compare rates and find lenders in your area right on Bankrate's auto page.

Regarding the down payment, the more you can apply the better. At least 10 percent and preferably 20 percent would ease your chances of getting a somewhat competitive loan rate.

This week
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