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How a Car Loan Affects Credit Score

Larissa F. Gasperi
Apr 29, 2024 1:54:16 PM

Understanding how financial decisions impact your credit score is crucial for maintaining financial health. One common decision many face is taking out a car loan, which can have significant effects on your credit score. This article explores precisely how a car loan influences your credit score in Australia, offering insights into what you can expect when you decide to finance your next vehicle.

What is a Credit Score?

what is a credit score?

A credit score in Australia is a numerical expression based on a level analysis of a person's credit files, representing the creditworthiness of an individual. Scores can range from 0 to 1200, depending on the credit reporting agency. This score is used by lenders like banks and credit institutions to evaluate the likelihood that a person will repay their debts on time. Higher scores indicate better creditworthiness and can result in more favourable credit terms.

How Car Loans Affect Your Credit Score

When you take out a car loan, it impacts your credit score in several key ways:

Credit Enquiry Impact

When you apply for a car loan in Australia, it typically involves a credit enquiry, which can slightly lower your credit score for a short period. However, the impact is minor and diminishes over time, remaining on your report for two years.

Effects of New Credit

Upon obtaining a car loan, a new account is added to your credit report. Initially, this can lower your credit score because it decreases the average age of your accounts. However, as you make timely payments, this impact lessens, and consistent payments can improve your credit score.

Credit Utilisation Changes

Credit utilisation—the ratio of your credit balances to your credit limits—primarily looks at revolving credit but can be indirectly affected by a car loan. As you pay down your car loan, your overall debt decreases, which can positively influence your credit score over time.

Payment History

Payment history is the most significant factor affecting your credit score, accounting for a substantial portion of your overall rating. In Australia, making timely payments on your car loan can have a positive impact on your credit score. Each on-time payment is reported to credit agencies such as Equifax, Experian, and Illion, reinforcing your reliability as a borrower.

Conversely, missing payments can have a notably negative impact. If you miss a payment, it is recorded as a late payment on your credit report and can remain there for up to two years. Repeated late payments or a default can severely damage your credit score, making it more challenging to secure credit in the future.

Loan Diversity

Credit mix—or the variety of credit types you have—plays a role in your credit score. Having different types of credit, including installment loans like car loans, can be beneficial. This diversity shows lenders that you are capable of managing various types of credit responsibly.

Negative Impacts of Car Loans on Credit Scores

two men on top of an odometer symbolising credit score

While there are several ways a car loan can positively affect your credit score, there are also potential risks involved. Missing payments on your car loan is the most significant risk, as late or missed payments can severely damage your credit score. Additionally, if the borrowed amount is high relative to your income, it could signal to future lenders that you are overextended, making it harder to secure credit under favorable terms in the future.

Tips to Manage a Car Loan Effectively to Boost Credit Score

Managing a car loan responsibly can not only help avoid negative impacts but can also improve your credit score. Here are some tips to effectively manage your car loan:

  • Make Payments on Time: Set up reminders or automatic payments to ensure you never miss a due date.
  • Extra Payments: If possible, make extra payments to reduce the principal faster, which decreases total interest paid and can shorten the loan term.
  • Keep Balances Low: Try to keep your other credit balances low; this will help your credit utilization ratio and improve your overall credit score.
  • Regularly Check Your Credit Report: Monitoring your credit report can help you understand how your car loan affects your credit and allows you to check for any inaccuracies that might affect your score.


A car loan can influence your credit score in many ways. By understanding these impacts and managing your loan effectively, you can ensure that your car loan has a positive effect on your credit score. Remember, every financial decision you make can influence your financial health, so taking informed actions is crucial.


Considering a car loan? Contact Ausloans for expert guidance. Our team can help you understand how a car loan might impact your credit score and assist in making the best financial decisions for your circumstances.


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