We know you’re excited about the car you want to buy, but take a deep breath and put your wallet away for a moment. It’s time to have a chat.
Cars are expensive, and unless you’re a financial tycoon, you’ll likely need to apply for a car loan to afford it sensibly. Sensibly is the keyword here because you may have the money to buy a car right now, but throwing it all on one asset is probably not a wise decision.
If you’ve decided to make a smart decision, then follow this auto loan guide to find out how you can buy a car with a loan.
Types of Car Loans
Before we get into applying for car loans, let’s brush up our knowledge a little bit. There are two main types of auto loans, and your choice will depend on the vehicle you’re buying.
- New Car Loans: As their name suggests, these car loans are used for purchasing brand new cars. Selected lenders also allow consumers to use new car loan plans for vehicles that are one, two, or three years old. A new car loan is usually secured against the value of the car. Since new vehicles have better market value than older ones, you’re generally able to negotiate a better interest rate when you apply for a car loan.
- Used Car Loans: Used car loans apply for vehicles that are too old to qualify for new auto loans. A used car is also commonly secured against the value of the car. However, some vehicles may even be too old to qualify for a used car loan. Cars older than 6 years are often denied secured loans because their values are unreliable at best. You’ll probably need to get an unsecured car loan in that case. They usually command higher interest rates because the loan isn’t secured against your car.
How to Apply for a Car Loan
Let’s get started on this auto loan guide and find out all the steps you need to take to secure your car loan.
Step 1: Check Your Credit Score
Your credit score is a metric used by lenders to determine how risky you are as a borrower. The score is measured between 300 to 850, and a higher value represents better creditworthiness. Your credit score is based on your credit history, and 5 main factors affect it:
- Current debt
- Payment history
- Length of credit history
- New credit
- Types of credit
Your payment history makes up for about 35% of the total score, while current debt influences around 30%. Current debt takes into account what percentage of your allowed credit you’re using (credit utilization). Length of credit history makes up 15% of the score, while new credit and types of credit account for 10% each.
You can get a copy of your credit report from any or all of the credit reporting bodies. There are three primary credit reporting institutions in Australia: Illion, Experion, and Equifax. Visit their website and download a copy of your credit report by entering your personal information.
But why should you check your credit score reports? Firstly, you should make it a regular habit of checking your credit scores for any mistakes or errors. It’s not too uncommon for people to find some sort of mistakes in their credit reports that impact their credit rating. Thankfully, you can contact the credit reporting body and get this error fixed for free.
Next, check your credit score to see where you stand. It will help you determine what sort of interest rates to expect and whether taking out a car loan is viable according to your current standing. Here’s how credit scores are usually classified.
- Poor- 300 to 579
- Fair- 580 to 669
- Good- 670 to 739
- Very good- 740 to 799
- Excellent- 800 to 850
These classifications aren’t necessarily set in stone, but they provide a good way for us to realize where we stand. Individuals in the poor category can expect a 4 times higher interest rate when they apply for a car loan.
Step 2: Budget for Your Auto Loan
The next step in this auto loan guide is to figure out how much you can afford to dish out on your car loan payments. It’s imperative that you create a realistic budget for your repayments. It will make it easier for you to pay the full amount back on time, while also being able to afford other car-related costs like insurance and maintenance. Your budget must be able to support both the costs of ownership and loan costs.
How much can you afford?
Before you go out to apply for a car loan, you need to figure out how much you can afford. Keep in mind that you need to have ample savings in your accounts and pay for your daily expenses alongside paying back your loan amount.
You should research what types of vehicles can fit inside your budget. There are hundreds of online resources that allow you to compare cars according to their features and prices. The Australian Government’s Budget Planner is a good place to start calculating your expenses and see how much you can afford.
Don’t just think about monthly payments.
Lots of borrowers make the mistake of just adding the monthly payments in their budget calculations, but loan expenses are much more than that. You need to think about the total cost of vehicle financing.
You might be able to lower your monthly payments by taking out a longer loan, but you’ll be paying a lot more in interest. Plus, a longer loan could put you at risk of developing negative equity over a long period. Negative equity means that you end up owing more on the car than it’s worth.
Remember to include and account for all the costs of ownership. This includes:
- The running costs of the car, such as fuel, annual registration fees, insurance, repairs, and maintenance.
- Other costs at the purchase point, like dealer fees, transfer fees, and taxes.
Think about the resale value of the car you want.
The resale value of the car will play a big role in your budgeting. Almost every car loses value over time, but some lose theirs faster than others. If you have plans to sell the vehicle in the future before fully completing the loan period, the resale value will have a significant impact on what you can afford.
This is because you have to repay the loan amount on the original value of the car. If your car’s value depreciates a lot at the time of your sale, you will have to cover the rest of the loan payment yourself.
Step 3: Get Your Documents Ready
You’re almost ready to apply for a car loan now. All that’s left to do is get all your documents ready.
Most auto loan requirements include:
- Proof of a steady, adequate income
- Proof of identification, like driver’s license, passport etc.
- Proof of residence
- Proof of your assets and liabilities
Step 4: Compare Car Loans
The most crucial aspect of this auto loan guide is finding the right source of financing and the best loan available.
Sources of auto loans
There are lots of places where you could apply for a car loan. You need to explore all of them and shop for the best deal.
Getting financing with your car dealership could be beneficial if you get them to give you discounts for financing with them. You’ve got three options under dealership financing:
- Captive finance companies— These are financing arms of the major automakers, like Toyota, GM, and Ford. They often have deals that give 0% interest rates for a few months or rebates to people with excellent credit ratings.
- Buy here pay here— This is the in-house financing service provided by many dealerships across the country. We recommend not going for these loans because of their extremely high interest rates.
- Dealer-arranged financing— A lot of dealerships have relationships with banks and act as intermediaries between you and the bank. However, they do put on a few percentage points on the interest rate for themselves. We think there are better options than dealer-arranged financing in this auto loan guide.
Banks are usually the best choice for auto loans, but many are becoming more hesitant in issuing car loans. People who usually can’t get approved by banks go to captive finance companies for their loans. The biggest benefit of applying for a loan with the bank is the opportunity to get preapproved.
Preapproval gives you an assurance of your budget and gives you an estimated interest rate. You have up to 45 days after preapproval to shop for the car of your choice. You can apply for preapproval with multiple lenders and, as long as you apply to all within 14 days, they will count as one line on your credit report.
Credit unions are non-profit organizations and usually offer lower rates than banks. That sounds amazing, so why doesn’t everyone borrow from credit unions? The simple answer is that they don’t lend to everyone.
Most credit unions won’t lend to non-members. There are certain requirements one has to meet before becoming a member.
Home equity loan
This is a bit of an unorthodox move, but homeowners have the option to take out a home equity loan and use it to finance their car. The rates are usually the same as car loans, but the interest is tax-deductible.
How to compare car loans
Use the following metrics to compare offerings before you apply for a car loan.
- Interest rates—some lenders offer awfully high interest rates.
- Fees—this includes application fees, early exit fees, monthly fees etc.
- Loan amount— if they can’t offer the amount you need for the car, that lender can be crossed off the list.
- Loan term—longer loan terms will mean higher interest costs, while shorter loan terms probably mean higher monthly payments.
- Loan type-–is it secured or unsecured?
- Features and restrictions— is early payment an option? Are there any restrictions on what cars you can buy?
Step 5: Get Preapproval and Begin Shopping for Your Car
Get preapproval from multiple lenders. This way, you can get maximum loan amount and quotes with the expected rates. Preapproval usually gives borrowers better negotiating power with a dealer when discussing a financing offer with them. It allows you to just focus on the price of your car rather than think about interest rates and loan amounts at the time of purchase.
Lenders who’ve preapproved your loan will give you the appropriate documents you need to carry to the dealership. The dealership can contact your lender once you’re ready to buy.
Now comes the fun part! Work on getting the best deal possible for the car you want. If you’re shopping for a used car, you can negotiate the price quite a bit. Take your time and make the right decision for your needs.
If you haven’t picked one yet, you could try searching online and looking at various options from your home before you start heading out to dealerships.
Step 6: Apply for a Car Loan!
Congrats! You’ve finally picked your car—time to secure the loan.
Since you had your preapproval, you should have been able to negotiate financing options with the dealership. Choose the best option available according to the factors we mentioned in step 4.
Whichever option you choose, follow the lender’s instructions and start finalizing your loan. Bring all the documents you need. Loans from 3rd party lenders like banks or credit unions are either transferred directly to the dealership or to you so you can pay the dealership.
Put pen to paper and sign all the paperwork!
Gets Car Loans ASAP With CashOnYourMobile
If you’re in a hurry and need to get your loan approved fast, CashOnYourMobile is one of Australia’s most trusted lenders and always up for the job.
We can help you secure up to $50,000 in as little as 4 hours for your new car loan. We will automatically get you the best rates from our database of Australia’s best car loan providers.
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