Does a Car Loan Build Credit? Everything you Need to Know

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While you may be driving your new wheels, do you know you can use the provision of a car loan in building your credit? Yes, there are some ways to do so! Read it through

Does a car loan build credit? Does financing a car build credit score somehow?

You may have heard that applying for a car loan can affect your credit score in a negative way which is partly true. The other side of the coin has a different context where your positive routine with a car loan can boost your credit score by enhancing your financial history as a borrower. While credit scores decipher your creditworthiness as a borrower, if you are consistent with your payments for a car loan it can elevate your stake in the financial market.

As you know, your payment history accounts for 35% of your overall credit score, you can understand the impact that it can have on your credit score. To get acknowledged from this whole concept, Carsfast has detailed the whole information via this useful guide.

Does a car loan build your credit score?

For many starters, the concept may seem like a muddle, but getting a car loan approval can become an effective way for building your credit score. When you are having bad credit which implies a higher risk of lending you money as a borrower, you can use the car loan as a mechanism to initiate your credit building process. Payment has a higher say in the overall credit score where you need to be consistent with your monthly payments to increase your creditworthiness and trust with lenders.

Once you begin to make on-time car payments with sheer consistency, it can enable you to improve your payment history. Since your payment history is one of the components of your credit score along with debt owed, length of credit history, kind of credit, etc, you can build a new credit.

How to build a credit score using car loans

If you want a positive impact on your car loan by rebuilding credit, you need to make the minimum monthly car payment on time as payment history holds the most weight in the credit scoring algorithm accounting for 35%. Therefore, long way on-time payments can become the best way to build credit.

The main components that determine the minimum monthly payment on your car loan include:

  • Principal amount: The principal amount borrowed is the total loan amount inclusive of additional fees. When you borrow a higher principal amount, your monthly payment will be relatively higher, and vice versa.
  • Interest rate: There is a certain amount that is charged on the money that you borrow from the lender, which refers to the interest. The rate of interest also affects the overall monthly payment you are adjusted with whereas, in the case of a higher interest rate, you have to make high monthly payments.
  • Loan term: There are a number of months during which you have to repay the loan amount which refers to the loan term. When you have a longer loan term, you have to make low monthly payments.

Nonetheless, your interest rate also changes with the loan term where it can also increase due to the longevity of the loan term. It means you will end up paying more for the vehicle due to the longer term.

A car loan can also help to balance your credit mix, which means the balance of your revolving credit like credit cards etc along with installment loans. If you are having revolving debts, you can balance the credit accounts on your credit report using a car loan. This can lead to an improvement in the credit mix which also has the potential to improve your credit score by a margin of 10%.

So with these ways, you may finally have a clarity on will a car loan help build credit and ways to build credit.

Does paying off a car loan build a credit score

In general connotation, you may say “the less, the best” conferring to loans. However, in a financial run for building your credit, it can be otherwise as well. Let’s get to the point now ‘does financing a car build credit’? Yes, if you pay your car loan early, it can affect your credit utilization and will be displayed on your credit report for up to 10 years which can help your credit score as well. However, in terms of active relevancy of paid-off accounts or loans, they don’t have as contending effect as for active or current credit accounts that you may be concerned with.

In terms of rebuilding your credit score to a maximum extent, it is better to keep making monthly payments continuously. Keeping this in view, there may be times during which paying off a car loan can be better as:

  • High interest car loan: If you are having a high interest loan, it may be better to pay off your loan early. On the contrary, you can refinance the loan with a lower interest rate while you have improved your credit score as well. You can continue to make monthly payments when you refinance your car loan.
  • Improving your debt-to-income ratio: Your DTI (debt to income) ratio refers to the division of monthly income and monthly debt payments. This ratio may increase rapidly due to your car loan, where paying it off can be a better option for you to try a mortgage or other loans as well.
  • Have other loans: If you have a balanced credit file that has an equal share of revolving credit and installment loans after a credit score check, you can pay off the car loan. In another scenario, you can build your credit again with other debts as well after this.

Will financing a car build credit? 

Once the most common question asked by most borrowers is ‘will financing a car build credit,’ then yes, the big yes. But there are certain conditions: as long as you pay the interest and installments on time, you can contribute a lot to increasing your credit score by financing a car. 

Negative impacts of a car loan on your credit score

As you question initially, does a car payment build credit? Yes, it can, but do you know what another valuable fact is? A As put before, a car loan can even  also harm your credit score. You can lower your credit score significantly if you have missed or late payments that can impact your payment history along the way. You may be defaulting on your loan as well which can lead to the loan in collected and repossession on your credit score.

Applying for a car loan leads to a hard inquiry on your credit profile from your lender’s side, be it a dealership, bank, or credit union. A hard credit inquiry has a negative connotation on your credit score which can account for 10% of your score. Due to this inquiry, you may notice a slight drop in your credit score which is not limited to auto loans and can exceed anyone who applies for any new credit including an auto loan, student loan, or credit card.

However, if you are persistent with on-time payments, you can counter the decrease over a period of time.


In context to the above information, if you are all set with making continuous on-time payments, then applying for a car loan can help you achieve a good credit score, depending on the length of your credit history. You have to keep in mind that this process doesn’t occur automatically but instead leads to the diversification of your credit mix along with affecting your payment history.

If you are aspiring to apply for an auto loan, Carsfast can deliver the best offers where you can also boost your credit score.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Is it worth getting a car loan to build credit?

In case you have bad credit and want to balance your credit mix, going for an auto loan can be the best option to rebuild your credit. However, it cannot always be ideal when your bad credit can lead to higher interest rates where failing to make monthly payments can get your new car repossessed.

How long should I have a car loan to build credit?

While paying off your car loan by making on-time payments can help you build your credit score, it is a long-term process. In case you are having the money to pay off the loan, you can continue and hold on for the next 12 -24 months to build your credit along with having fewer interest rates.

Does paying off a car loan early hurt credit?

While paying off a car loan may seem an ideal notion, it can also affect your credit by:

  • Lowering your debt usage: A person with no installment loan debt can hurt his credit score
  • Impact on your credit mix: If this car loan is your only installment loan, then closing it off could decrease your credit mix.
How many points will your credit score increase when paying off a car?

If you are paying off a car loan, then your credit score may go down instead of increasing in the beginning. However, it can be a temporary shift if your credit history is good which can lead to an increase in your credit scores depending on your future credit competence.

Why does my credit score go down when I pay off my car loan?

When you have no longer any installment loans, there are chances of witnessing a drop in your credit scores. When there is a mix of revolving and installment loans, your credit score remains high but when you pay off your loans with nothing as such, your credit scores can get affected.

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