Question about buying a car

Question about buying a car
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Hi I’m 45 and am rebuilding my credit after not having a score for about 5 years while I was not using credit.

I got a secured card in March and have only been using it for my Hulu payment and have my payments set to be automatically paid in full each moth. Just since March I went from no score to 675 Vantage score - but I still don’t have a Fico score. I make about $80k/year and have no debt.

I’m looking to start shopping for a used vehicle and plan to spend about $10k, put 10% down, and pay it off in 3 yrs or less. My question for anyone who may know, am I better off waiting until I have a Fico score also? How long does that usually take? I’ve read conflicting things.

Thank you for reading!


Hi @countdown2020, and congrats on your overall financial situation. Having no debt is a great thing, and you’re treating your secured card in just the right way to build your credit: keeping usage low and paying on time/in full. Not only that, the 10% down payment and buying used rather than new is wise as well.

FICO scores do require about 6 months of credit use being reported the credit bureaus.

If you’re eager to get going with the car purchase, you could check with your credit union right now to see if it’ll preapprove a loan for you. Here’s a useful story by our auto writer Phil Reed about how you can save money by shopping for a loan first.

Phil’s got lots of really useful advice on this car-buying cheat sheet. You know I’ll have that cued up on my phone next time I step into a dealership!

One thing to keep in mind when you start loan-shopping is you want to group loan inquiries together in a short period, to limit the effect on your scores.


whoa that cheat cheat you sent is amazing! Thank you for such great information that is so nice of you. I can’t wait to shop for a new car but I think I will wait until I fave a Fico score to be safe. I am a credit union member so I will start there as you suggested. Car salesman skeeve me out usually make me really nervous! After reading the link I am really excited to be able to say "I’m a cash buyer!’ haha thank you!