Can I get a car loan if I'm unemployed

Can I Get A Car Loan if I’m Unemployed?

Cars are often a necessity for work, but can I get a car loan if I’m unemployed? 

Can I get a car loan if I'm unemployed

Do You Qualify?

The basics of receiving a bank note involves the ability to repay the loan. A stand-in for a proven ability to repay can be a good credit score, but income of some sort it required. Depending on the type of note varied requirements apply based on the value of the car, the size of the loan, any equity or collateral, and the ability to repay. 

Here are some qualifiers:

  • Source of income
  • Credit score (usually 500 or higher)
  • Approvable finances outside of the loan
  • Social Security Number for background and credit checks

What Are Your Options? 

It’s possible to use unemployment benefits as a means by which to demonstrate income. However, it’s a limited path that will allow you to finance a vehicle with unemployment benefits as most car loans will exceed the term of the benefits meaning that at some point in the foreseeable future, the loan will have no known repayment source. 

There are a number of financing options available depending on a person’s situation. Many homeowners have equity in their houses and can extract that value by taking out a line of credit or refinancing. Refinancing a mortgage may give access to far more money than what’s needed to cover the cost of buying a car but has a hefty origination fee that outweighs the benefits of accessing this financing. 

Another option is to look for alternative loans such as a personal loan from the bank that may utilize alternative collateral to back the loan. Credit unions also offer a more personal connection to their customers than bank credit loan officers. 

What Is A Cosigner?

Some may need a simple leg up from a friend of family member. A cosigner assumes equal responsibility for the loan and make it more likely that the auto loan will be repaid. For those with challenged credit, a cosigner with strong credit can overcome a borrower with bad credit on a loan application. 

By finding someone with approvable finances, a bank will trust that the borrower will be more inclined to repay the loan because there is a personal tie to the repayment that goes beyond simply affecting the borrower’s credit report. 

Traditional Loan Alternatives

While less than ideal, some credit cards offer refinancing options for balances accrued on another card. For example, paying a car on “card A” can be refinanced on “card B” at 0-3% for a period of 12-24 months. While not ideal, it can be one of the least expensive ways to finance the purchase of a car at very low interest rates. This is one of the few options for those that do not qualify for a loan, but do not have a flawed credit history. 

One might also consider options to purchase a car through Uber or Lyft which will finance the purchase so long as the borrower stays in their employ. 

There are some websites that allow for personal borrowing on the internet from a pool of strangers that act as financier. These rates tend to be higher than traditional loans, but for those that fall outside of acceptable loan options, this could be another helpful alternative. Sites such as will also recognize other forms of income that banks simply cannot, such as unfiled freelance work prior to the end of the tax year. 


Losing a job can be hard and finding a car loan without reliable income can be even harder. However, there are options for the creative in just about all financial situations.

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