All About the Ford First-Time Buyer Program

Ford’s first-time buyers program is a great way for drivers with little to no credit history to purchase a new car—but it’s not available at all dealerships.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Pat Roache
Ford’s first-time buyers program allows borrowers who’ve never purchased a vehicle and who have no negative marks on their credit to use proof of income to secure a
car loan
with a low initial down payment, lower monthly payments, and a lower interest rate. Unfortunately, it’s not available from all dealers.
  • Ford’s first-time buyer program offers discounts and incentives to help get drivers with new or no credit into a new Ford.
  • If you don’t qualify for Ford’s first-time buyer program you still have several other options for financing a new or used vehicle.
  • Ford has several reliable, affordable, and safe vehicles perfect for first-time drivers.

What does the Ford First Time Buyer program offer?

The Ford First Time Car Buyer Program offers buyers without a vehicle-purchasing history the chance to get behind the wheel of a new Ford while taking advantage of discounts often reserved only for “well-qualified” buyers. Those discounts include:
  • A low initial down payment (usually $500)
  • Decreased monthly payments
Qualifying for the program is fairly simple—here’s what you need:
  • No previous car credit
  • No negative marks on your credit history
  • Proof of at least $2,000 or more monthly gross income for at least the past 6 months
In other words, if you’ve never bought a car before, this program can help you do it without breaking the bank.
Unfortunately, this program isn’t available at every Ford dealership, and it’s only available for those buying a new Ford. Used and certified pre-owned vehicles aren’t eligible for this program. Some dealerships also have additional requirements above those listed here. 
Bottom line: if you’re considering taking advantage of Ford’s first-time buyer program, be sure to give your dealer a call or check their website before heading to the lot to see what options they can offer.
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Tips for low-credit Ford financing if you don’t qualify for the First Time Buyer program

Let’s face it—qualifying for special buyer programs isn’t always as easy as it looks on paper. Maybe you can’t afford to put $500 down. Maybe you started a new job, and you don’t have 6 months of employment history to provide. Whatever might be the case, you may still have options. Let’s consider a few of them now.

Pick a vehicle you can afford

One of the most important steps in the car-buying process is selecting a vehicle you can afford. This means thinking about more than just the sales price for your vehicle. You can use tools like
Ford’s car payment calculator
to estimate your monthly payment, but be sure to also include ownership costs like maintenance, fuel, and car insurance.
Also, remember that just because you can’t afford over $55k for a new
Mustang Mach-1
doesn’t mean you can’t afford a car at all. Keep your mind open to considering other, less expensive rides, including used cars or certified pre-owned Fords.

Compare loan offers from multiple lenders

Dealer financing isn’t your only option—and may not be your best option—when it comes to
buying a new car
. You should
consider an auto loan from a credit union
or your bank, as you may be able to secure better rates and lower payments. Plus, coming to the lot armed with a loan pre-approval may help you negotiate with your car salesperson.

Get an assist from a co-signer

Sometimes, we just need a little help to get started, and that’s where a co-signer may come in. If you’re unable to get approved for a loan on your own, talk with a friend or family member to see if they’d be willing to sign as a co-applicant for your loan. Keep in mind that if your co-signer is going to be helpful, they’ll need to have a solid credit score and history. 
MORE: How to get a cosigner for a bad credit car loan

Wait a bit

If it’s an option, be patient. Give yourself time to save money for
a good down payment
or build up the credit or employment history you need to qualify for the loan you want.
MORE: Car loans for people with no credit history

The best Ford models for first-time car buyers

Buying your first car
is also about finding a car that you can handle. But, we know that just because it’s your first car purchase doesn’t necessarily mean it’s your first time behind the wheel. So, to give you a head start on your selection, here are some of our favorite Fords for first-time drivers and car owners:
  • Ford Maverick
    : Affordable, fuel efficient, and a workhorse to boot? Say less! If your focus is affordability, the base XL will get the job done for just $23,690. But just $3k more adds a host of creature comforts on the XLT.
  • Ford Escape
    Compact, reliable, and easy to drive, the Escape is a great option for first-time drivers and owners. Its starting price of $28,995 makes it an affordable option, but if you’ve got a little room in your budget, selecting the mid-range ST-Line unlocks more comfort and convenience options inside, and slides a peppy turbo-four under the hood. Looking for something a little more eco-friendly? The
    Escape PHEV
    is a great option, and it starts under $40k!
  • Ford Bronco Sport
    : If you’re looking for something a bit more rugged without adding the heft of a larger SUV, check out the Bronco Sport. Its compact size makes it as maneuverable as an Escape, and with a starting price of $30,810, it’s budget-friendly. While uplevel trims, like the
    , may offer more fun and performance, we’d recommend staying with a lower trim to help keep both your car payments and your insurance premiums affordable. 
  • Ford Mustang
    : Ford doesn’t have too many options left when it comes to cars, but the Mustang is a classic you can’t go wrong with. For a first-time driver or owner, we recommend you keep things reasonable by choosing the EcoBoost or EcoBoost Premium. Your wallet will thank you both at the dealership and when you set up your insurance policy.
Most dealerships will have a selection of each of these models available on their lots, but be sure to check in to set up an appointment and ask about Ford’s first-time buyer program before you head in for a test drive.
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