How to Check if a Car is Under Finance for Free

Read about how you can determine whether a car is still under finance for free right here with Savvy.

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, updated on August 14th, 2023       

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If you're considering purchasing a used car in Australia, it's essential to know whether the vehicle is under finance before you sign on the dotted line. You can do this through a PPSR check, but these aren’t always free of charge. Fortunately, there are ways to check if a car is under finance in Australia without having to pay a fee, so you can learn all about how to do so right here in Savvy’s helpful guide.

How do I find out if a car is still under finance for free?

In Australia, there are several ways you may be able to determine whether the car you’re looking to buy is under finance without having to pay a fee, including the following:

  • Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) check: the PPSR, previously known as the REVS check, is a national online register which provides information about whether a vehicle has any existing debts or financial interests attached to it. While this comes with a $2 charge when conducted via the PPSR site, some lenders, dealers or even private sellers may offer this for free. Simply enter the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or chassis number to access the report.
  • Contact the seller: before conducting a check, it's advisable to ask the seller directly whether the vehicle is under finance. Honest vendors will provide you with accurate information. If they confirm that there is outstanding finance on the car and you still wish to buy it, you’ll need to arrange with them who is responsible for paying it off. However, if they say that there isn’t any, it may still be worth going ahead with a PPSR check.
  • Inspection of documents: while this method may not directly reveal if a car is under finance, a thorough inspection of the vehicle's paperwork can provide valuable insights. Check the registration papers, ownership history and any associated documents for indications of outstanding finance. If something seems amiss, it's worth investigating further.

It's important to note that while these methods can help you determine if a car is under finance, they may not necessarily provide other critical information such as the vehicle's accident history or odometer readings. For a comprehensive understanding of a used car's condition and history, you may need to obtain a paid vehicle history report from reputable providers.

Before purchasing a used car in Australia, it's crucial to check if the vehicle is under finance to avoid potentially sticky situations in the future (for instance, buying a car under finance could lead to it being repossessed by the lender if you weren’t aware it was under finance). Remember that a thorough check of the car's financial status is just one step in ensuring a safe and informed purchase.

What other free resources can I use to check a car before I buy it?

State and territory government transport agencies offer online services which allow you to check the registration details of a vehicle, which are useful to determine whether they’re currently registered and when it expires. These services are usually available on official government websites and may require the vehicle's registration number or VIN. Check your state or territory government’s site to see what information you need to find out more information about the vehicle’s registration.

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