We're all (rightfully) wary of situations where our credit might be pulled, and considering how much personal information is transmitted over the Internet now, it makes perfect sense to not want our credit checked until we're absolutely certain we'll be approved. Whether it's an application for a promotional credit card with our favorite company (like Kohl's, The Gap, Best Buy, REI), or a home loan, there are lots of different companies out there that want to--and need to--poke around our financial behavior. But when you're trying to restore your credit, it's improtant to excercise judgement, so you know how to take control of your finances and make your credit application count when it's most necessary.
If you're worried about having a financial instutution--including a bad credit car loan company--pull your credit, then it's wise to actually know what your credit is...especially before making a big life purchase. Sometimes, you might find yourself happily surprised by a much higher score than you thought, and, at other times, you might discover what's pulling your credit down into the dumps.
Either way, being educated about your credit score is necessary when it comes time to buy a car. We recommend getting ahead of your bad credit by having your credit pulled for free--and, even better, a personal pull on your credit is considered a "soft" hit--which is to say, asking for your credit report for personal reasons won't hurt your credit the way too many "hard" hits can when outside sources go sniffing around. Under federal law, you're entitled to one free credit report a year, so if you're not already taking advantage of this free service, we highly encourage you to do so.
Once you're aware of your score--and where it can be improved--make sure that any applications you're considering filling out will help you rebuild your credit, too. There's no point wasting your time, money, and a "hard" hit to your credit if the company you're doing business with won't help you on the road to financial recovery. Be sure to ask institutions if they actually report your good repayment behavior, should you choose to take out a loan with them. And, if they dodge your questions, then remember that your two best assets in any financial discussion are your legs--so use them to walk right out that door and find a place that will honor your journey toward personal credit restoration.