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How to Prequalify for Auto Financing

Whether you like to shop for vehicles online or by visiting a dealership, you’ll probably need to set up financing on the car you choose. Learn how much you can afford and save some time at the dealership when you apply to prequalify for auto financing.

Benefits of prequalifying for auto financing

One of the greatest benefits of getting prequalified is that you can get a real-time decision that includes an estimated monthly payment amount. Knowing this, you can focus your search on vehicles you can afford.

For example, you might have your eye on a midsize truck but learn through the application process that you could be prequalified to finance a larger amount than you thought. This may allow you to expand your search to include larger or more expensive vehicles.

Another benefit is that when you prequalify, auto finance companies share this information with your selected dealership. That means you can talk with the sales team knowing you’re on the same page.

Finally, getting prequalified may expedite the process for finalizing your vehicle selection and submitting a credit application to GM Financial or your preferred auto finance company.

What to expect when you apply to prequalify

Prequalification is different from preapproved financing. Getting preapproved for financing often involves a hard credit check and a more thorough review of your credit history. GM Financial offers an online application for prequalification — not preapproval. In other words, you can apply to prequalify for auto financing without affecting your credit score.

The GM Financial online credit application form asks basic questions about your income, housing situation and personal identifying information that can be completed in minutes. When you share your preferred dealership, they will be notified about what kind of vehicle you’re looking for and connect you with their sales department.

After you submit your application, you’ll see a real-time decision about prequalification. For example, you may learn that you prequalify for monthly payments up to $700 for the purchase or lease of a new or certified pre-owned vehicle at your preferred dealership.1 With this prequalification in hand, you can enter the dealership and shop with confidence.

Consider elevating your next car-buying experience. Research what to know before you apply for auto financing to better understand how much car you can afford.


1 The exact amount and terms of the credit are dependent on the vehicle you choose.

Lori Tutt
By Lori Tutt, GM Financial

From cars and movies to great works of literature, Lori Tutt has a passion for the classics. She’s never claimed to be good with numbers but can readily find the right words to describe money matters like budgets, investments and understanding credit. And when she’s stressed, she turns it around with desserts (or clever wordplay).


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