Car Buying Tips: Secrets

Before you complete an online auto loan application you need to read this report. Failing to do so may mean the difference between your loan application being approved and being declined.

Community Auto Credit is frustrated with the way the system works because good people like you get turned down everyday for reasons we will explore below. While some of the nuggets in this document may not be shocking, they will certainly surprise you.

First, let us say that online loan applications are amazing. A car shopper can complete an application that is then submitted through a lender and dealer network nation-wide, thus improving the applicant's ability of getting a new or used vehicle. Prior to the Internet, car shoppers had to physically go from dealership to dealership. Car shopping is a process that can take literally months in some cases.


When you complete an online application, you must consider that you are submitting data across the Internet that will be processed by a human or in most cases by an algorithm designed to analyze the data that you submit.

Why is this important? Any potential mistakes, incorrect characters, or misspellings can disqualify your application. Avoid using special characters at all. Just submit plain text. Here are some special characters you should avoid using: (, ! $ & ; : - _ / ? \ [ ] { } , .* ?) It may surprise you, but people will use the strangest characters when completing finance applications online.

Not every participant or system in a nationwide lender network processes data the same way. Any special characters in your application can cause a computer or network to disqualify your application for "invalid characters".

Here are some examples of how to correctly and incorrectly to enter information:

(Betty Smith = correct, Betty-Smith-Thompson = incorrect)
(waiter = correct, waiter/bus boy/labor = incorrect)
(123 main street box 22 = correct, 123 main st. / box #22 = incorrect)

Avoid special characters and you'll increase your odds of your application being processed correctly.


Reporting income is an important part of completing the online loan application. Many folks that complete an online application want to amend or change their data after the application has been submitted. Unfortunately, this is extremely hard to do after the fact.

Before you complete your online auto loan application decide whether you will complete the application as an individual, couple, or will have a co-signer. Many applications will allow you to complete an application with two incomes or a co-signer.

Why is this important? Once your application is submitted, it is essentially put into a hold pattern for a minimum of 30 days. Once it goes out over the network and is in the system, any subsequent applications will be flagged a duplicate further delaying your ability to purchase a vehicle.

Fill Out Only One Application

This is probably the most important step or consideration in all of our online loan secrets. As mentioned above, once you complete an application, it is on the network. A 2nd, 3rd, or 4th online application will typically be flagged as a duplicate lead, and in some cases cause your application to be ignored for too many submissions.

Here's some sound advice; after completing your first online loan application, wait a few days before doing anything. While nearly every company promises instant or immediate approvals this does not happen 100% of the time. Remember your application is being processed over a computer network, and then it will be matched with a local lender or dealer that may be best able to assist you. While the actual scoring and processing of your application may be near instantaneous, it may take a couple of days for a human to actually look at your application and call you back. Be patient as some lenders and dealers will actually limit the number of applications they accept hourly or daily.

If after a couple days you have not heard from anyone, contact us directly using our contact form and be sure to enter your application ID. We will follow up with the lender or dealer that picked up your application.


This is another important factor; simple responses with no special characters. If you are self employed or an independent contract don't list those as many lenders or auto dealers flag these words or phrases. If you work for a company and you perform multiple functions, list them as a phrase or enter a one word response. Here are some examples:

(self employed = incorrect, Bobs Plumbing = correct)
(secretary/office admin = incorrect, secretary = correct)
(independent contractor = incorrect, salesperson = correct)
(temp worker = incorrect, Personnel Services Inc = correct)
(usaf = incorrect, United States Air Force or Air Force = correct)

Remember, you are trying to get a real person to get your application, review it and call you back. Adding multiple job descriptions won't improve your odds of getting your application approved.

Lastly, if you are self employed or a temp / contract worker, do not use those as they are negative flags. If you are self employed and don't have a DBA, just use your name: Employer = Toms Lawn Mowing Occupation = Lawn care services. If you are a contract worker, use the actual name of the company you contract with. Under occupation, don't use contractor or temp labor; list what you are actually doing. If you are a phone operator, say so.

Auto Loan Discrimination

Did that get your attention? Many auto dealers and online lenders determine where they want to accept applications from based on zip codes. This means you could be off one digit or one block from a targeted zip code and your application will come back as "no coverage". Be prepared to select another city you would be willing to travel to for your auto loan or vehicle. Typically, you'll see a box somewhere or a drop down asking how far you'd be willing to travel. If the site you are on does not have this feature be sure to say something in the comments field. For example: I live outside of Waco, TX, but I would be willing travel 50 miles for a vehicle or auto loan.

Valid information

It is important to double check and verify your information is correct. Check your phone number(s) you would like someone to reach you at. 000-000-0000 is not a valid phone number and can cause your application to be declined. Check your email address and make sure you entered it correctly with appropriate .com / .net, etc. You would be amazed at how many malformed email addresses we encounter on a daily basis. Some lending partners will attempt to validate your email address when your application hits the network. If your email address is incorrect your application may be declined automatically.

If you don't want to be called at work, don't list your work number. List a primary phone number and then possibly an alternative phone number such as your cell phone or a spouse's cell phone number. Don't list the same phone number if you can help it as some lenders or dealers will reject an application just based on a missing or duplicate phone number on the application

Social Security Numbers

Unfortunately, most lenders and auto dealers want to see this information. This is a single factor that will prevent your application from ever being processed. Personally, we don't think a social should be mandatory. The lender or auto dealer can get this from you when they start to process your paperwork or actually run your credit. Hopefully, the industry will change this, but for now, no social will immediately prevent your application from ever getting a first look or hitting the lender / dealer network.

Help Them Help You

What does that mean? If you work odd hours or available only on certain days, note it in the comments section, or if the site asks for the best time to contact you make sure you are available. Some auto dealers or lenders will have their call center contact you to verify basic information. If they can't reach you after a reasonable amount of time they will mark your application as "bad" and delete your information.


Fill out one application with honest information. After looking at thousands of applications, duplicate information, modified information, slight changes in address, name spellings, etc. will all get caught. Technology gets better every day at detecting bogus and inaccurate information. In reality, lenders and auto dealers want to help you get into a vehicle. Put yourself in the best light possible. Any good lender or auto dealer will help you work through the details or road blocks encountered in purchasing a vehicle.


If you've tried for several months or don't want to go through the frustration of completing multiple online applications, waiting, etc. We offer a premium services for $47 in which we will build your auto loan package and submit it directly to dealers and lenders on your behalf. We work with you to complete all the documents, verifications, etc. that a bank or auto dealer will need, run one credit report, compile it all into a lender or dealer loan package and then actively work to get you approved. That means peace of mind for you.

While this process takes a bit of time up front to complete, it can save you some time in the end because the lender or dealer have everything they need up front to get your loan done.

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