Auto Credit Scores: Why is My Credit Score Different at the Dealership?

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Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.


, - July 17, 2018

You may not realize it, but you have multiple credit scores. The most common score auto lenders look at is your FICO score. But, even within your FICO score, there’s an industry-specific auto score that lenders sometimes use, and it’s typically not the same as your standard FICO score.

The Auto Credit Score: What is It?

The Auto Credit Score – also called an auto-enhanced credit score – is a scoring model auto lenders use to determine your eligibility for a loan. Your automotive-weighted score places more emphasis on your payment history with auto loans and leases. So, if you’ve had past auto loans and you were on time with your payments, the lender will see a higher auto score compared to your regular FICO score. On the other hand, if you were delinquent with any past auto loans, this negatively affects your automotive-weighted score, and lenders could see a score that’s below your regular FICO score.

Automotive lenders take this weighted credit score seriously, as it helps them determine if you’re prone to delinquency (slow pay) and gives them an idea of how you might pay your next car loan.

Can I See My Auto-Enhanced Credit Score Before I See a Lender?

You can see your auto-enhanced score before heading to a dealership. To do this, go to myfico.com and request your credit report. You have the option to purchase credit reports from one or all three reporting agencies.

Once you receive your report, you’ll see your FICO Auto Credit Score listed along with your other credit scores (regular, mortgage, credit card, etc.). Note that if this is your first time financing a car, your auto-enhanced credit score may be the same or less than your regular FICO score due to a lack of automotive credit history.

Bottom Line

Understanding just how your credit works is important when making a large purchase like a car. You don’t want to leave yourself in the dark when it comes to your credit scores and what’s contained in your credit reports. Be in the know before you go!

If you pulled your credit scores and found yourself with less than perfect credit and need a vehicle, CarsDirect wants to help. We've teamed up with a national network of car dealers that know how to handle challenging credit situations. Use our free service, and we'll work to connect you with a local dealership that wants to help. Get started by filling out our fast and secure car loan request form today.

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Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.


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