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Bad Credit Truck Loans: How To Get A Truck Loan With Poor Credit

Making sure you have the right vehicle for work or play is crucial, especially for life in Southern California.

Unfortunately, if you have bad credit, financing a new car or truck can feel next to impossible. But CU SoCal is here to help, and we’re happy to share the good news that financing a truck is entirely possible, even if you don’t have great credit.

If you're ready to learn more about how to get a truck loan with bad credit, give us a call today at 866-287-6225 to schedule a no-obligation consultation with the financial experts at the Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal).

Whether you're looking for auto loans or any of our other stellar banking products, we've got you covered with all the information you need.

Get Started on Your Truck Loan!

What Is A Truck Loan?

A truck loan functions just like any other car loan, so you might already be more familiar with the process than you think. If you don't have the full cash amount to make a truck purchase, you can take out a truck loan from a variety of lenders and pay it back in set monthly installments. In this article, we'll discuss everything you need to know about truck loans, from interest rates, to loan terms, to where to buy a truck with bad credit.

Getting A Truck Loan With Bad Credit

While buying a truck while you have bad credit is not impossible, it might be slightly more challenging. Preparation is key to getting the best loan, even if your credit score isn't where you want it to be. Below, we've outlined out a few steps to help you get started on getting poor credit truck financing.

Check Your Credit

Before you start thinking about getting a truck loan, you should get familiar with your credit score. A lower score means you might not get approved for a loan, and if you do, you might see higher interest rates. A good credit score will make it easier for you to get approved and receive better terms on the loan.

Take Steps To Improve Credit

If your credit score isn't great, there are a few steps you can take to improve your credit score. As you look through your report, you'll see where there are any problem areas. Look particularly at how much debt you have and whether you carry a large balance on your credit cards.

Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to improve your score, such as paying more than the minimum monthly payments on your credit card, increasing your credit utilization, and more. If you have a tendency to pay bills late – and rack up late fees – setting up autopay can also be an easy way to get yourself back on track.

For more ways to build your credit, check out our tips on how to improve your credit score.

CU SoCal also offers a Credit Builder Loan for Members who want to jump start their credit score.

Create A Budget

Improving your credit score is a great start, but even if you're not able to obtain "excellent" status, you can still buy a truck with bad credit. Creating a realistic budget that you'll stick to is the most important step to take when looking to buy a new truck with bad credit.  

Since you've already checked your credit score, you probably know how much debt you have, which will affect your budget going forward. You'll also need to know your annual income and your current monthly expenditures. From there, you'll be able to find out how much you can afford to borrow

Save For A Down Payment

Regardless of whether you're buying a new or used truck, you'll likely need to save for a down payment. A down payment is a percentage of the total cost of the item that is to be paid in cash up front.

If you have a steady income, start setting aside some each month to save for the down payment. Not only will you have the cash saved up, but you'll also get a practice run on making monthly loan payments, which will give you a good idea about what you can realistically afford.

Also, consider that paying a down payment will lower the amount you have to borrow in the first place, making bad credit truck financing even easier.

Consider A Co-signer

If you need to get your new truck immediately, you may not have time to improve your credit score before seeking out a loan.

As such, you might want to think about getting a cosigner for your loan.

What is a co-signer?

Essentially, a co-signer is a person that agrees to make payments on the loan if you aren't able to. Having a friend or family Member cosign on your loan is a great way to get your truck faster, but beware: there are risks that come with cosigning. If you can no longer make payments, your co-signer is responsible for the remainder of the loan, which could negatively affect their credit score and even your relationship with them.

Shop Different Lenders

Just as you've probably shopped for your ideal new truck, you should also shop different lenders. Checking out the terms, requirements, and fees of several lending institutions will give you a clearer picture of what you can expect to receive when taking out a loan.

The most common lenders are banks, but we'll discuss in more detail later on what other options you have for finding the best loan.

Get Preapproved

Getting preapproval for a loan is a crucial step in your truck-buying journey. Basically, you will go to your chosen lender and present your financial information to see what type of loan you qualify for.

The lender will then look at your credit score, income, debt, and other factors to decide how much money you qualify to borrow and present you with a preapproval based on those items.

Getting the best loan terms can be challenging if you aren't prepared, so take the time to learn how to improve your credit score with CU SoCal today.  

Where To Get A Truck Loan With Poor Credit

When it comes to bad credit truck loans, you'll need to explore all your options. Banks are the primary lending option, but there are several alternatives that might suit your needs better, especially if you have a low credit score. Here are the best options for where to get a truck loan with poor credit.


Usually the first stop for many loan-seekers, banks are full-service financial institutions that might be able to offer you a loan. It's likely that you already have an account with a bank, so taking a loan out with them makes sense and is incredibly convenient. And because modern banks focus on online use, websites and apps are generally user-friendly.

Do keep in mind, though, that banks often have higher credit standards for offering loans. If your score is too low, you may not be approved for a loan, even if you are a Member of that bank.

Credit Unions

Non-profit credit unions are owned by their Members. This means that they can offer more flexible terms to Members seeking out a truck loan, even if they have bad credit. Credit unions are usually more local and smaller than nationwide banks, so you can expect to have more personalized service.

Most credit unions will only offer loans to Members, so if you aren't yet a Member of CU SoCal, consider joining today to take advantage of our great terms – even if you have poor credit.

Online Lenders

As the world grows more internet-focused, it was only a matter of time before online lenders became widespread, which is what we are seeing today. Online lenders don't have any brick-and-mortar locations, which could be inconvenient if you prefer to talk face to face. However, because everything is online, you can easily compare lenders, look at details, get quotes, and sign up through great websites and apps.

However, with the ease of use comes some downsides. With so many options, it can be difficult to choose the best one, especially if you don't understand all of the details.


Dealerships are another common lender for bad credit truck loans. Because the dealership has a direct line to the manufacturer, you could receive a few unexpected perks or discounts. And because some lenders work exclusively with dealerships, you might get access to more lending options than you would have if you had gone straight to the bank. When you do your truck shopping, take the time to ask about any financing the dealership might offer.

Other Options

The above lenders may not be feasible options for getting a truck loan for people with bad credit. It could be that you don't get the most favorable terms, or you may not get preapproved at all. In that case, there are a few financing alternatives that might be useful when trying to buy a truck with less than ideal credit.  

Personal Loans

If you don't qualify for a truck or auto loan because of bad credit, you might qualify instead for a personal loan. This type of loan offers fixed monthly payments on a set term, so you will know exactly how much you will be paying without any surprises. As with any loan, rates and terms will be more favorable the higher your credit score, but it's still a great option if your credit score keeps you from other types of loans.


Also known as a home equity line of credit, a HELOC loan is secured by the value of your home. In other words, your house is used as collateral for the loan, which means that if you are no longer able to make payments, the lender could put a lien on your home. Taking out a second mortgage isn't right for everyone, so make sure you've shopped around before you commit to putting your house on the line.

CU SoCal Truck Loans

At CU SoCal, we know how important it is to get on the road as soon as possible, and we want to help you get there. For over 60 years, we've been helping people like you get into the car or truck of their dreams.

With financing up to 120%, competitive rates, fast preapprovals, and flexible terms, getting a truck loan from CU SoCal is one of your best options, and we'll do everything we can to make it happen.          

Apply For Truck Loan Online Today!

The Southern California lifestyle is on the move, and that's why we dedicate ourselves to getting our Members the vehicle they're looking for.

Ready to see what we can do for you? Call us today at 866-287-6225 to schedule a hassle-free expert consultation, or apply online to become a Member and get your poor credit truck financing today.

Get Started on Your Truck Loan!

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Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal) is a leading financial institution empowering those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County to reach their goals and build strong financial futures. CU SoCal provides access to convenient money management services and offers competitive rates and flexible terms on auto loans, mortgages, and VISA credit cards—turning wishing and waiting into achieving and doing.


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