How Long Does Car Finance Approval Take?

Find out how long it takes to get your car loan approved right here with Savvy.
Published on December 15th, 2020
  Written by 
Thomas Perrotta
Thomas Perrotta is the managing editor of Savvy. Throughout his time at the company, Thomas has specialised in personal finance, namely car, personal and small loans, although he has also written on topics ranging from mortgages to business loans to banking and more. Thomas graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Media, majoring in journalism, and has previously had his work published in The Advertiser.
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   Reviewed by 
Bill Tsouvalas


Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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Car loans take about one to two days on average to process before formal finance approval, which can occur as soon as within 48 hours. This can be influenced by a few factors, such as your credit history, providing enough documentation promptly, verifying your identity and your details of citizenship or permanent residency.

Some lenders may advertise “60-second approvals” or “overnight approvals”, which often refer to pre-approvals or are evidence of untrustworthy practices. It’s important to know what to expect when it comes to your car loan approval time, so you can find out more about the various factors which can impact the speed of your application here with Savvy.

What can influence the speed of approval for your car finance application?

A range of factors can slow down or speed up your online car loan application. It’s important to understand the steps involved in the application process and how each of them can vary in terms of the time they take. These include:

Submitting your application

The first step in any car loan process is to apply. This requires you to submit basic information and contact details such as your name, address, phone number and email address.

At this step, the lender will ask some pre-qualification questions to determine your eligibility. This may include if you’re an Australian citizen or resident, over the age of 18 and employed. They’ll also seek out estimates of income and expenditure. If you’ve satisfied these requirements, you must consent to a formal credit check.

A potential delay can occur at this stage if the applicant takes more time to complete the online form or is unable to provide the correct information. It’s also worth preparing your documentation in advance, to save on potential delays when it comes time to submit your formal application.

Providing your documents and having a credit check conducted

This part of the application allows a lender to make a formal credit inquiry to determine your creditworthiness. Credit checks are instant when conducted online. However, you’ll need to have submitted your documents by this point, which can include:

  • 100 points of ID
  • Proof of income and savings (such as your last two payslips and 90 days of bank statements)
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of assets and liabilities
  • Details about the car you’re buying, such as the make, model, age and condition
  • Proof of car insurance (must be comprehensive)

This part of the process can be slowed down by taking more time to submit your documents.

Sending through any required additional information

At this stage, your lender may require additional documentation or information to verify your financial situation. This may include further checks on your residential history, employment history and more.

Customers with bad credit or more complex financial situations may experience delays, as lenders may take more time to properly assess whether they’re in a position to take on the loan they’re applying for. This could include double-checking with employers and landlords to ensure their information is correct.

Having your application approved and settled

If you’re formally approved, you’ll be sent a loan contract to sign which outlines all the terms and conditions of your agreement. Returning this promptly will help avoid any potential delays on your end.

When it comes to transferring funds, many lenders will liaise with your dealership or private seller or otherwise gain their information to send the money to them directly. However, in some cases, they may transfer the money into your account, which you can then pass on to the dealer.

Delays can occur depending on your lender’s processing time in this instance, as some may take longer to send the money out, especially if there’s a large backlog of other loans to sort through.

Other common delays in car loan applications

Some lenders may have cut-off times for processing. They may advertise a quick turnaround time, but this will be subject to a few factors. You may have to apply in the morning or before a certain time (such as 2:00pm) to ensure the lender has time to process your application, provided you don’t need to supply additional documentation. If you submit your application after hours or on the weekend, it’ll likely take longer to receive approval.

The other common delay in car loan approvals is providing incomplete or incorrect paperwork. Your lender needs to be crystal clear about your financial situation and the car you’re buying before they can give the green light to any application. This is especially the case for used or vintage car buying scenarios when an independent or manual valuation may be required to determine the risk involved with financing the vehicle (which can ultimately influence your chances of approval).

Bill Tsouvalas, Managing Director of Savvy, says that ensuring all your information is correct and up-to-date is essential in the car loan approval process.

“Delays caused by applicants who don’t have all the required documentation or information are common and easily avoided in the car loan process”, he said.

“That’s why it’s crucial to take the time to carefully go over your lender’s requirements before you start your application so you can be sure of exactly what you need and have it ready to go.”

Bill Tsouvalas, Managing Director - Savvy

How to make your car loan approval as speedy as possible

  • Read the eligibility criteria: figure out if you’re eligible for a loan before applying. This can prevent you from going through a process and finding out you’re unable to proceed further. Eligibility criteria also extend to your car, as lenders will have age limits on the vehicles they’re able to finance.
  • Gather your documents: have all your documents, such as 100 points of ID, bank statements, residential history, income slips and other evidence ready so you can submit them immediately. As mentioned, this is a common and easily avoidable source of delays.
  • Apply as early in the day and week as possible: to get a car loan approved within or before the 48-hour window, you should apply as early in the day and week as you can. Applying in the afternoon or evening might mean your application isn’t reviewed until the next day (or week if you apply on a Friday).
  • Keep in constant contact with your lender: if your loan consultant needs more documentation, make sure you can take their call so you can get onto submitting them right away.
  • Consider car loan pre-approval: pre-approval can be granted sooner than formal approval, as it’s a conditional indication of what your lender would be willing to approve based on the information provided in your pre-approval application. While these aren’t guarantees of approval, ensuring your financial situation remains stable and that you buy a car within your lender’s eligibility criteria may help the process run more smoothly.

Different types of loans and how long they can take to be approved

Secured car loans

Secured car loans are a type of loan where your car is tied to the value of the loan as collateral. You may need to go through a conditional approval process and find a car to purchase before the funds are released to you or your dealer. As mentioned above, these loans can often take around 48 hours to be formally approved, though this may occur sooner or later depending on your circumstances.

Unsecured car loans

Unsecured car loans are a type of personal loan where funds are released directly into your bank account for your car purchase. These are often the quickest type of loan, as there’s no need for your lender to consider whether the car you’re buying is suitable as collateral for the loan. Instead, the application and approval are based solely on your personal situation. As a result, these can be turned around within 24 hours in some cases.

Chattel mortgages

Chattel mortgages are essentially car loans designed for the purchase of business vehicles. They come with a few tax benefits specific to businesses, but otherwise follow much of the same process as a car loan and can be turned around in a similar timeframe. More scrutiny may be placed on borrowers in terms of the usage of their vehicle, as it must be at least 50% for business purposes.

Novated lease

Novated leases are an arrangement between an employee, employer and car dealer. This agreement involves your employer deducting lease payments from your pre-tax income, which lowers your income tax as a result. At the end of the lease, you have the option to purchase the vehicle outright. This may take the most amount of time due to the number of parties involved, but some leasing companies advertise approvals as soon as the same business day.

Bad credit car loans

Bad credit car loans are secured car loans that have higher than usual interest rates due to the risk profile of the prospective borrower. These often take a bit longer to process than other loans due to more documentation and verification required but, like novated leases, there are companies in the market who specialise in this type of loan and can

Common questions about the time it takes to get a car loan approved

Can I get same-day approval for a car loan?

In some cases, you may be able to obtain same-day car loan approval. You may have to apply early in the day, have all your documentation submitted and have a strong financial and credit record to be able to do so, as well as have your car lined up. If you’re unsure about how long your car loan approval may take, you can speak with your lender.

Can I get car loan approval on the weekend?

Car loan approval can only be granted during business hours, so whether you can get it on the weekend will depend on when your lender is open. Some lenders operate on Saturdays, for example, meaning your application could be approved on that day. Your funding may still be subject to bank operating times, though.

I don’t have a deposit. How long would it take to get approved for a loan?

In some cases, seeking out a loan for 100% of your car’s value may not stop you from getting your loan approved quickly. However, this will mean your monthly payments will be higher, potentially attracting more scrutiny from your lender. Putting forward a larger deposit will always help your approval chances, meaning it may speed up the approval process.

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This guide provides general information and does not consider your individual needs, finances or objectives. We do not make any recommendation or suggestion about which product is best for you based on your specific situation and we do not compare all companies in the market, or all products offered by all companies. It’s always important to consider whether professional financial, legal or taxation advice is appropriate for you before choosing or purchasing a financial product.

The content on our website is produced by experts in the field of finance and reviewed as part of our editorial guidelines. We endeavour to keep all information across our site updated with accurate information.

Approval for car loans is always subject to our lender’s terms, conditions and qualification criteria. Lenders will undertake a credit check in line with responsible lending obligations to help determine whether you’re in a position to take on the loan you’re applying for.

The interest rate, comparison rate, fees and monthly repayments will depend on factors specific to your profile, such as your financial situation, as well others, such as the loan’s size and your chosen repayment term. Costs such as broker fees, redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, aren’t included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts may result in a different comparison rate.

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