The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

Have you been watching a lot of late-night television?  I’m thinking of those commercials where guys in goofy costumes claim to finance anyone who walks in the door, even if they have “bad credit, no credit, any credit!!!”

If those are the lenders you’re thinking of, then yes – it can make a difference. Here’s why:

In the finance world, there are what’s known as captive lenders and general lenders. Captive lenders finance their own products only – auto manufacturers fall into this category. Companies like Toyota or General Motors are treated the same as banks, and are considered “good” lenders in the eyes of the credit bureaus.

General lenders provide outside financing on cars, hot tubs, jewelry – you name it. Loans from general lenders will hurt your credit score because the credit bureaus assume (probably correctly) that you couldn’t get financing from a reputable bank or captive lender. Steer clear of these loans if you care about your credit score.

My advice? Next time you see Dealin’ Doug, Hot Tub Howie, or Diamond Dave shouting about guaranteed financing for bad credit, turn off the TV and snuggle up with your teddy bear – it’s time to get some sleep.