Why might I need a co-signer in order to get vehicle financing?
A co-signer is a person – such as a parent, close family member or friend – who pledges to pay back the loan if you do not. This can be a benefit both to you and your lender.
A lender cannot require you to have a co-signer if you qualify on your own. If you are told that you need a co-signer for a loan, it means that the lender will not offer you the loan based solely on your own income and credit record. The lender wants another person to also promise to pay the loan. This is what a co-signer does. A co-signer is a person who is obligated to pay back the loan just as you, the borrower, are obligated to pay. A co-signer could be your spouse, a parent, or a friend. The lender cannot require your spouse to be a co-signer unless you are both applying for the loan.
Having a co-signer on your loan can be a benefit to both you and your lender. Co-signing gives your lender additional assurance that the loan will be repaid. You may get a better interest rate with a co-signer.
There are risks for the co-signer. The co-signer is also obligated on the loan. If you do not repay your loan, your co-signer will be liable for repayment even if the co-signer never drove your vehicle. In addition, if you pay late or default on the loan, both your credit and your co-signer’s could be negatively affected.