If you want to buy a new car, you have a lot of decisions to make. One of the most critically important decisions is how much of a down payment you’ll put down in order to secure financing for your purchase. But did you know that you can actually get an auto loan – and a new car – without a down payment? You can start an online search today to find auto financing options with no down payment needed.

There’s a way to avoid making a down payment altogether. You simply have to do your research to discover the options available. Search online to find auto loan options that don’t require a down payment.

If you want to purchase a new or used car without handing over cash for a down payment, here are four options you can consider.

1. Improve Your Credit Score

The higher your credit score, the more financing options you’ll have when it comes to buying a new car. And if you improve your credit score before you make this big purchase, you could avoid paying a down payment altogether.

All you have to do is find a lender who’s willing to work with you. Many lenders can be persuaded to waive the down payment requirement for lenders who have strong credit scores. A score of 680 or higher is your best bet. Lenders may be willing to waive the down payment if your credit score is a little lower, between 580 and 669, but you may have to pay a higher interest rate on your loan.

To improve your credit score enough to skip the down payment, you’ll want to show lenders that you:

  • Have a steady job and regular income.
  • Don’t move frequently.
  • Make payments on time.
  • Pay off your debts, or make consistent payments towards your debts.
  • Have low credit card balances.

You can take steps to strengthen both your credit history and score by paying all of your monthly bills on time. On-time payments are one of the most important factors for your credit score, and it makes up 35 percent of your total score. You’ll also want to avoid opening new lines of credit, like new credit cards or loans. 

2. Get a Cosigner

Another way to present lenders with a strong credit score and a strong sense of security is to get a cosigner’s help. If you have a cosigner, lenders might be willing to let you borrow more and skip the down payment altogether.

A cosigner is someone who signs your auto loan with you. If you default on the loan or fail to make your payments, your cosigner agrees to make the payments. They’re just as obligated to repay your auto loan as you are. 

Having a cosigner can strengthen your application for a line of credit. Lenders may allow you to avoid making a down payment and might give you a lower interest rate. 

You can have a friend, a family member, or a spouse cosign your auto loan. Just make sure to choose a cosigner who’s willing to share your loan and its financial responsibility. It’s also a good idea to get a cosigner who has a strong credit history.

3. Save Enough Money to Pay in Full

If you don’t want to worry about lenders’ requirements or your financial history, there’s another way you can get around the usual down payment. You can save up enough money to pay for your new car in full.

While this isn’t a financing option, it is a financially smart move – if you can afford it. Instead of taking out a loan with a moderate or high interest rate and paying more for your vehicle in the long run, you can pay a lower cost up front. Additionally, because cars depreciate very quickly, you’ll make sure you don’t pay more than what your new vehicle is worth.

If you have the savings or the fund, or you have time to save up before making a purchase, you could avoid taking out a loan entirely. With the money to pay for your car in full, you won’t need to worry about a down payment either.

4. Shop Around For and Compare Car Loans

Lastly, you can avoid a down payment if you do your research before heading to the dealership. Auto loans come in many different forms, with different loan terms and requirements for borrowers. If you do your research and compare different lenders, you can find a loan that works for your financial situation – and perhaps doesn’t require a down payment.

Search online for auto loans with current interest rates and compare your options. You can consider loans from local credit unions, local banks, or even alternative financing sources like auto dealerships. Compare the loans you find, and make sure to ask lenders about their down payment options. You can even search specifically for auto loans with no down payment to narrow down your choices.

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Heather Fishel is a freelance writer who writes for many different interests and audiences. She’s covered topics ranging from productivity to psychology to education to finance on sites that include WonderHowTo, War History Online, Niche, and Livestly. She is the author of Fidget!, a nonfiction book that examines the connections between creativity, focus, and the brain.