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Understanding Car Loans
A car loan is a type of personal loan taken to purchase a new or used motorised vehicle, such as a passenger car, van, truck, motorcycle, ute, boat, or 4WD. A car loan is also known as a vehicle loan.
Currently, the average interest rate for a car loan in Australia is 7.06%, and this rate is generally higher for used car loans at 7.89%. However, borrowers may be able to obtain lower interest rates on car loans for electric, hybrid, or low-emission vehicles, with the average interest rate for dedicated green car loans sitting at 6.12% p.a.
Here is an overview of some of the most common repayment options and rates for car loans:
- Fixed interest rate: A fixed interest rate is a rate that stays the same for the duration of the loan term. This means that your repayments will be the same amount each month. Fixed interest rates for car loans in Australia typically range from 2.99% to 10.99% for secured car loans, and up to 15% for unsecured car loans.
- Variable interest rate: A variable interest rate can change over the loan term, which means that your repayments may increase or decrease over time. Variable interest rates for car loans in Australia are 14.41%.
- Balloon payment: A balloon payment is a lump sum payment that is due at the end of the loan term. This can help to lower your repayments during the loan term, but you will need to have the funds available to make the balloon payment at the end of the loan. Balloon payments for car loans in Australia typically range from 20% to 50% of the loan amount.
- Secured vs. unsecured: Car loans can be either secured or unsecured. A secured car loan requires the borrower to use the car as collateral for the loan, while an unsecured car loan does not require collateral. Secured car loans generally have lower interest rates than unsecured ones, as they pose less risk to the lender.
- Repayment terms: Car loan repayment terms typically range from 1 to 7 years. Shorter repayment terms usually result in higher repayments, but less interest paid over the life of the loan. Longer repayment terms usually result in lower repayments, but more interest paid over the life of the loan.
Types of Car Loans to Choose From
Vehicle finance refers to the various options available for individuals or businesses to obtain funding for the purchase of a vehicle, such as a car, motorbike, caravan or boat; which they then repay over some time with interest. Lenders usually offer finance options of up to $75,000.
Poor Credit Car Loans
Poor credit car loans are financing options designed for people with bad credit who are looking to purchase a car in Australia. This option is offered by specialist lenders who are willing to take on higher-risk borrowers. However, it also comes with higher interest rates and may also have shorter repayment terms.
Second Hand or Used Car Loans
Interest rates on used car loans are generally higher than the rates for new cars, as old or used cars are considered to be a higher risk for lenders. Additionally, they may also have shorter repayment terms because lenders want to ensure that the loan is repaid before the car becomes too old or unreliable.
Electric Car Loans
Interest rates for electric car loans may be lower than those for traditional car loans. EVs are also considered to be more environmentally friendly and may be eligible for government incentives. The loan terms for EVs may be up to 7 years in some cases as these can be more expensive than traditional cars.
What to Consider Before Acquiring a Car Loan
Comparison rates are an important factor to consider when acquiring a car loan. A comparison rate takes into account both the interest rate and any fees or charges associated with the loan and expresses this as a single percentage figure.
When comparing car loans, it’s important to compare the comparison rates rather than just the advertised interest rates. A low-interest rate may not necessarily mean a low overall cost if the loan also includes high fees and charges.
The interest rate determines how much you will be paying back in addition to the principal amount borrowed. It’s important to shop around for the best interest rates available and compare them with different lenders.
Additionally, keep in mind that the interest rate you receive may depend on factors such as your credit score, the age and condition of the vehicle, and the loan term. You can choose between a fixed or variable interest rate, depending on your preference and financial situation. Fixed interest rates remain the same throughout the loan term, while variable interest rates may change depending on market conditions.
These fees can vary significantly from one lender to another, so compare them carefully. Some lenders may charge a flat application fee, while others may charge a percentage of the loan amount.
Some lenders may waive the application fee altogether particularly if you have a strong credit history. It’s important to factor in any application fees when calculating the total cost of the loan and determining whether the loan is affordable for your budget.
Reviewing the fees and charges associated with the car loan is important as these can significantly impact the overall cost of the loan. Common fees include establishment fees, ongoing fees, early repayment fees, and late payment fees.
Some lenders may offer loans with low-interest rates but high fees, so understanding the overall cost of the loan is a must before making a decision.
This includes the length of the loan term, the frequency of repayments, and the flexibility of the loan.
A longer loan term will generally result in lower repayments, but it may also mean paying more interest over the life of the loan. Additionally, more frequent repayments, such as weekly or fortnightly rather than monthly, can help you pay off the loan faster and save on interest.
Flexibility is also important, as you may want to make additional repayments or pay off the loan early without penalty. Some loans may offer repayment holidays or other flexible features to help you manage unexpected expenses or when financial difficulties arise.
This refers to the length of time you have to repay your car loan. Typically, car loans have loan terms of one to seven years. A longer loan term means you will be given lower monthly repayments, but it entails paying more interest over the life of the loan. On the other hand, a shorter loan term will have higher monthly repayments, but you will pay less interest overall. So make sure to choose a loan term that suits your financial situation and budget.
Loan conditions refer to the specific terms and conditions of the car loan that you will be required to meet. Make sure to carefully review and understand the loan conditions before acquiring a car loan, as they can impact the total cost of the loan and your ability to make repayments. Some important loan conditions to consider include:
- Repayment frequency: How often are you required to make loan repayments? This may either be weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
- Early repayment penalties: Does the lender charge a penalty fee for making early repayments or paying off the loan early? If so, this could impact your ability to save money on interest overtime.
- Late payment fees: Does the lender charge a fee for late repayments? If so, you should also factor this into your budget and ensure you can make repayments on time.
- Security requirements: Some lenders may require you to provide security for the loan, such as the car or other assets.
- Loan insurance: Some lenders may require you to purchase loan insurance, such as a comprehensive car insurance to protect the loan in case of default. This should also be taken into account when calculating the total cost of the loan.
Choosing Between a Secured or Unsecured Car Loan
A secured loan could be a wonderful loan choice for anyone looking to buy a newer car. A secured loan is one in which you offer ‘collateral’ (such as the car itself) to provide additional security to the loan provider if you fail to repay the money you borrowed within the agreed timeframe. Because you’ll have to use your new car as collateral, they often have lower interest rates than unsecured loans.
If you’re considering purchasing an older vehicle, an unsecured loan might be the best option. Unsecured loans don’t require any kind of security. Instead, the lender will base their decision to approve the loan on affordability. You won’t have to put up any collateral, but you may end up paying a higher interest rate.
Eligibility Requirements for Car Loans
You must fulfil the following criteria to be eligible for a car loan:
- At least 18 years old
- A permanent citizen of Australia
- Have a stable source of income.
- A working phone number and email address
- An active bank account
Please note that the eligibility for loan applicants will vary depending on the lender. Meeting the eligibility requirements also does not guarantee loan approval as lenders will need to consider other factors such as your debt-to-income ratio, employment history, and other financial obligations.
Car Loan Application Process in Australia
What to expect during your car loan’s pre-approval
During the pre-approval process, you may be able to negotiate the terms and conditions of the loan, such as the interest rate, loan term, and fees. This can help you to find a car loan that suits your budget and financial goals.
Once you have been pre-approved for a car loan, you can start looking for a vehicle within your budget. When you have found a car that you want to purchase, you will need to provide the lender with the details of the vehicle, such as the model and registration number.
The lender will then do a valuation on the vehicle to ensure that it is a suitable security for the loan. If the valuation is satisfactory, the lender will provide you with the loan contract to sign and the funds will be transferred to the seller.
Important Note: Pre-approval does not guarantee your loan approval, and the final loan terms and interest rate may be different from those provided during the pre-approval process. Also, each lender may have a different car loan application process, so remember to clarify all specific details first before pushing through with your application.
What are the needed documents or requirements?
The specific documents and requirements needed for a car loan application in Australia may vary depending on the lender and the type of car loan you are applying for. But general requirements usually include the following:
- Personal identification documents, such as your driver’s license or passport.
- Proof of income, such as payslips or bank statements.
- Details of your employment, including your employer’s name and contact details.
- Information about the vehicle you are purchasing, including the make, model, year, and registration details.
- Your credit history, which the lender will usually obtain through a credit check.
- Details of any other assets or liabilities you have, such as other loans or credit card debts.
It is best to check with the specific lender you are considering to confirm the exact documents and requirements they need for a car loan application.
How long is the application process
The length of time it takes to complete a car loan application in Australia can vary depending on the lender and the individual circumstances of the applicant. In general, the application process can take anywhere from a few minutes to several days.
Many lenders offer online application processes, which can be completed quickly and easily. Once the application is submitted, the lender will review it and may request additional documentation or information if needed. The length of time it takes to receive a decision on the loan can also vary depending on the lender, but many lenders will provide a decision within 24-48 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
Friendly Finance is a website with backend technology that matches applicants to the appropriate lender based on their financial situation. We do this by filtering your application and bank statement data in real-time to place you with a lender that fits their criteria. This means we help you navigate the long list of Australian car loan lenders so that you can find the best rate based on your personal situation.
The simple answer is no. We are a loan matching service and we search the market so that you don’t have to. We understand the hassle of having to fill out multiple application forms for different lenders, which is why we take the hard work out of locating the right lender through one simple application process.
Similar to other loans, the amount you can borrow with a car loan will depend on your income, financial situation, savings, and credit history. Lenders will look at your present situation by evaluating affordability indicators. Car loans start at $5,000 and go as high as $75,000.
Friendly Finance offers a service that is incredibly quick and simple. Many different types of automobiles, both new and used, will be considered by our panel of lenders. If you are accepted by a lender, you can choose between buying through a dealership and a private sale. The goal is to secure the necessary funds for you so that you can get a car loan as soon as possible.
The interest rates and fees for a car loan would depend on your personal situation and your chosen lender. Interest rates typically range from 3.78% – 25.99%.
Friendly Finance’s personalised quotes automatically include all lender fees and charges, so the monthly repayment amount you see is precisely what you’ll have to pay each month, with no hidden fees. However, some lenders may impose early repayment fees.
The comparison rate can be used to determine the exact cost of a loan. Comparison rates take into account all fees and interest rates that a lender charges and is the true cost of borrowing.
Every quote from Friendly Finance includes a detailed explanation of the comparison rate so you can immediately determine the best car loan for you. As a general rule, avoid relying on quoted annual percentage rates (APR) as this only accounts for the interest charged on loan and not any additional fees that you may incur.
Your credit score is one of the most important factors lenders typically look at when evaluating your loan application. If your credit score is above average, you’ll likely qualify for a lower interest rate. If you don’t have the best score, you’ll probably end up paying a higher rate.
Nevertheless, your credit score isn’t always the most important consideration. Some lenders will focus more on your personal information, such as your job, living situation, or desired loan amount. Ultimately, the rate will be decided by the lender.
Your situation and your monthly budget will determine the ideal length for a car loan. You should pick a loan term that won’t put you under financial strain and that enables you to properly manage your monthly repayments.
If possible, obtain short-term loans with terms ranging from 12 to 48 months as the overall cost of borrowing will be less. A shorter loan term will mean higher monthly repayments. If the higher repayments aren’t affordable, you can choose a longer loan term to fit your budget.
It’s simple. Complete our short application form and your personalised quotes will be generated in just a few minutes.
Our algorithms automatically compare your profile to the criteria of our lending partners to identify which loans you might be qualified for and at what lending rates. These charges are tailored to your profile as compared to the standard starting rates you may find somewhere else that might change before you sign the loan contract.
No. Getting your rates from Friendly Finance does not affect your credit score.
Your application will be shared with your chosen lender and a full credit report will be run only after you have selected your lender, submitted your final application to us and has been reviewed by our team. By doing this, we can prevent unnecessary credit inquiries from appearing on your file. Lenders are only permitted to conduct the necessary credit checks if we are confident you have a high chance of approval.
Friendly Finance and our lending partners are strictly regulated by the National Consumer Credit Protection Act, which is a good thing. Nevertheless, it also means that we must collect sufficient information about your current financial condition (including your current income, expenses, and assets) to make a reasonable assessment of the loan’s suitability for your financial situation.
Don’t worry, this information is kept safe and only used for this purpose.
This is up to the lender. Some lenders will let you add a spouse or child as a co-applicant to the loan, in which case they will review the application along with the income and costs of both parties.
Remember that when determining your interest rate, they’ll use the lower of the two credit scores, thus in some cases, having just one applicant could result in a lower rate.
We won’t include your spouse as a co-applicant unless you directly request it. Although they are not responsible for loan repayments, most of our lenders will still want to know about your partner’s employment and income situation to divide costs.
For instance, to be able to split $1,500 a month in rent equally between the two of you, they must be informed that your spouse also has a source of income. As always, the information about you and your partner is kept safe and is only used for this reason.
You do not need to have a car to have your loan pre-approved. For secured loans (often 2008 or newer vehicles), the age of the vehicle you wind up with will affect your interest rate. Thus, if you want to acquire pre-approval before choosing a car, we’ll estimate what it will cost and what age of car you’re likely to buy.
If you want to buy an older vehicle (2007 or older), we can look into an unsecured loan. This means that you can speed up the procedure for yourself by having money in your account before visiting the dealership or private seller.