How to finance a car with no job

how to finance a car with no job

Traveling around the United States can be challenging without access to reliable transportation. 93% of households in the U.S. had access to at least one car in 2019.1 You must have a steady income to finance the purchase of a vehicle. 

But what if you are currently unemployed? You may be saying to yourself, “I need a car but have no money or job?” There may be options through a car loan or auto loan. Keep reading to learn about your financial options when you try to get a car loan with no job.

Can I Get a Car Loan Without a Steady Income? 

To get approval for a car loan, most traditional lenders, especially some credit unions and banks, expect borrowers to have good credit scores and reliable income sources. However, there are options available if you are currently without a job. You may still be able to make a car purchase to commute long distances quickly. 

Apply for an Auto Loan With a Cosigner

If you do not currently have a monthly income, you could still qualify for a car loan if you use a cosigner. A cosigner shares full responsibility to pay back the car loan if you do not, which lowers the lending risk for creditors. Anyone with good credit can be a cosigner, which means you can ask a close friend or family member. 

A cosigner with a good credit score can also help you obtain better loan terms. If someone is willing to cosign a loan, you may get a better interest rate thanks to their strong credit history. However, there are risks with this option for the cosigner. 

Use a Large Down Payment 

You will need to provide a down payment to get an auto loan. Most lenders expect consumers to offer 10% to 20% of the purchase price of a new vehicle.2 If you can provide a more sizable down payment, you could get a car loan without a job! Providing a lender with more money upfront lowers the lending risk and may work in your favor. 

If you cannot afford to provide that much money upfront, consider buying a used car. Used cars can run efficiently and cost less than brand-new manufactured vehicles. Coming up with a larger down payment on a used car is one way to get an auto loan when unemployed. 

Show Proof of Other Income Sources 

If you do not have a job right now, you may still qualify for an auto loan with alternative sources of income; here are some examples:

Type of IncomeDetails
Self-EmployedPossible loan approval based on self-employment income.
Rental Property IncomeIncome from rental properties could be considered for loan approval.
Government Assistance/Unemployment BenefitsSome lenders may accept these as valid sources of income, including for unemployed individuals.
Other Steady IncomeAny other consistent source of income might be acceptable for loan approval.

Ask your prospective lender about acceptable sources of income and what documents you need to provide. For example, you could show proof of your monthly income through invoices, proof of unemployment checks, or bank statements. You may still be able to pay back a loan despite not being actively employed. 

Use Your Good Credit Score (If You Have One)

You may have a good chance of getting car loan approval without proof of income if you have an excellent credit score on your credit report. High credit scores prove to a lender that you are financially responsible and pay your debts on time. Not to mention, a portfolio of different credit products also shows a lender a long history of managing good debt instead of bad debt

How Does Good Credit Impact an Auto Loan?

Credit scores over 740 points can help borrowers obtain lower interest rate options to save money. A lower interest rate can help you get lower monthly payments, improving your financial situation. If you are trying to improve your credit, try and pay off debt to decrease debt to income ratio, pay your bills on time, and diversify.  

Use Alternative Loans 

If you can’t get an auto loan without proof of employment, you could raise your approval odds by applying for alternative loans such as bad credit loans. If you want to finance the purchase of a new or used car, you could use a personal loan instead of an auto loan! 

How Do Personal Loans Work?

Personal loans offer eligible consumers a large payout that they repay monthly over a specified period of time. These are types of installment loans. Personal loan lenders are known to have flexible qualification requirements. There are personal loans for people with bad credit and no job. 

Using a personal loan might come with higher interest rates than car loans. Additionally, since it’s unsecured, failing to repay could lead to a more substantial hit on your credit score. Before deciding on one option, learn more about auto loans vs. personal loans.

Type of Car Insurance You Need for a Car Loan

Before you purchase a new or used car, you will need car insurance. You will be unable to drive your new vehicle until you provide proof of insurance. 

A financed car is not legally yours until you pay the debt off, which means the car has to have complete financial protection. Full coverage insurance is the priciest option because it includes liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance. A lender may not require full coverage insurance if you buy a used car. 

Call ahead and ask the dealership or seller what type of insurance you need for a new or used vehicle. If you downgrade your insurance while repaying your loan, you will violate your finance contract. Violations are subject to fines and a civil lawsuit. It’s essential to consider car insurance costs when buying a new or used car. 

FAQs To Get a Car Loan Without Job Security

How does having a cosigner affect my chances of getting car loans if I’m unemployed?

Having a cosigner, especially one with good credit, can significantly improve your chances of getting approved for an auto loan as they provide assurance to the lender that the loan will be repaid.

How does my credit score get affected if I fail to repay my car loan on time?

Failing to repay your auto loan on time can negatively impact your credit score, with late payments being reported to credit bureaus, leading to a drop in your credit rating.

If I get a new job after securing an auto loan while unemployed, should I notify my lender? And can this lead to better loan terms?

Notifying your lender about employment can be a good idea. While it might not change the current loan terms, it could favor future negotiations or refinancing.

Are there other factors, aside from employment and credit score, that lenders consider when approving an auto loan?

Yes, a loan officer might also consider factors like debt-to-income ratio, the size of the down payment, previous loan history, and the value of the vehicle being financed with unemployed borrowers.

If I get rejected for an auto loan due to unemployment, how long should I wait before applying again?

It’s advisable to wait at least 3-6 months before reapplying, giving you time to improve your financial situation or find a cosigner.

How do credit union options approach auto loans for individuals with bad credit?

Credit union options are member-owned financial cooperatives and often have a more personalized approach than traditional banks. Credit unions might be more willing to consider individual circumstances and offer auto loans to members with bad credit.

CreditNinja’s Thoughts On Trying To Get a Car Loan With No Job

At CreditNinja, we know If you recently lost your job, you may struggle to get a car loan. The good news is that you can raise your approval odds through various methods. You can use a cosigner, provide a big down payment, or advocate your good credit. Even if you do not have good credit, know that buying a new car with bad credit is still possible! 

The ability to get a car loan offer is exciting, but don’t settle for the first lender that qualifies you with alternative sources of income. Take your time comparing lenders and loan offers to find the best repayment plan for your finances. 


  1. Car Ownership Statistics in 2023 | The Zebra
  2. How Much Should Your Car Down Payment Be? | Car and Driver
  3. How Much of a Down Payment Should You Make on a Car? | Experian
  4. How to Buy a Car When You Don’t Have Proof of Income | Your Mechanic
  5. Do I need full coverage on a financed car? | CarInsurance.Com

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