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How long does car loan approval take?

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Car loan approval time

The car loan approval process can typically take up to four days before you receive the green tick of approval. This can be influenced by factors including your credit history, income, identity verification and promptness in providing loan documentation.

Itching to get your hands on your new set of wheels? If you’re in the market for a new car, chances are you want to get your hands on it as soon as possible. Some car lenders may claim to offer ‘immediate approval’ for car loans, yet the time frame for approval will always depend upon how fast the borrower provides their supporting documentation.

If you follow some simple steps, our friendly car lending specialists at loans.com.au can approve you for a car loan in under 4 days.

Prepare your documents ahead of time

When assessing your application we’ll need a number of documents to prove your identity and ensure you can pay back your loan. Preparing your car finance documents in advance can save you a lot of time and make things a whole lot easier when applying.

Some of the documents we’ll need are:

  • Personal information: We’ll require a driver's license and in some cases another form of identification like a passport or medicare card, so we can verify your identity and personal information like your name and date of birth.

  • Proof of income: So we can judge whether you can comfortably repay the loan, we’ll need to see your two most recent payslips and bank statements from the past three months.

  • Proof of assets and liabilities: So we can gain a greater understanding of your ability to repay the loan, we may also ask for information on other debts or loans you have, information on shares if you have any, and a summary of other assets like your superannuation.

  • Information about the car: Just like lending money for a house, we need to know the details of the car you’re looking to purchase - how much it costs, how much you want to borrow, and where you’re buying it from. Additionally, we’ll need to know its make and model and information on its fuel efficiency, as we offer discounts for selected cars which are more fuel-efficient than average.

  • Insurance: We need proof of fully comprehensive car insurance for the car you purchase. That’s so if the car is written off, an insurance claim can be made for the value of the car.

Factors that influence the wait time for car loan approval

Application and eligibility

The first step in any car loan application is to apply - this requires you to submit basic details about yourself including your name, address, phone number and email address.

Generally to be eligible for a car loan, a borrower will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Australian citizen or permanent resident.

  • Aged 18 years or over.

  • Able to provide proof of permanent employment and estimates of income and expenditure.

  • Be willing to be subject to a formal credit check.

Formal credit check

A formal credit check allows the lender to make a formal credit inquiry on your credit history to determine your creditworthiness. Government identification in the form of a drivers licence, proof of age card or passport are required to complete a credit check.

Credit checks, when conducted online are completed instantly, meaning the approval process can be slowed if you take your time time in submitting identification.

Having bad credit history in the worst-case scenario, may result in your application being declined. However, it may also just be a case of needing to provide additional documentation.

Documentation and supporting evidence

Lenders may insist on additional documentation or checking to verify your financial situation and credit profile.

If you pass the first eligibility criteria, lenders will need to conduct further checks on both residential and employment histories. Customers with a low credit rating may experience delays as lenders double check with employers and landlords, to ensure the information provided is correct.


Similar to other loan types, typically the larger the deposit, the easier it is to generate lender approval. It’s a good idea to know how much you have to contribute overall as a car deposit, should you be approved for a car loan. Having no deposit may mean you are required to provide additional documentation in order to satisfy lending requirements.

Use our car loan calculator to estimate your car loan repayments on the amount you wish to borrow.

Car Loan calculator


Once you’ve organised your documents and checked your finances you can use loans.com.au’s onTrack system to upload, review, and approve documents, and apply for car loan pre-approval. Car loan pre-approval is when your lender agrees in principle to lend you a certain amount of money to buy a car, subject to credit approval and an invoice from the dealership.

Obtaining pre-approval strengthens your position when negotiating with a dealer, as you know your budget and can bargain with greater confidence. You can get pre-approved for a car loan on the same day you apply, subject to certain conditions being met.

What happens once my car loan is approved unconditionally?

Once your car loan has reached unconditional approval, which means your lender has given you a final approval for your loan and you have found your new set of wheels, the settlement stage begins.


Some lenders may transfer the money into your nominated bank account which you then pass on to the dealership for purchase of a new vehicle. However, it is more common for the dealership to send transfer documentation to the lender in order to complete the vehicle purchase. In this case, the dealer will release the vehicle for pick-up once the loan is settled or they obtain confirmation that the payment is in progress.

Once the loan has been settled, the ignition to your new set of wheels can be fired up and away you go.

Check out our full list of tips to help get approved for car finance.


Is it faster to receive approval for a car loan online?

You may think applying online can cut out time to receive your new set of wheels faster. Sure you may cut out some time-sensitive interactions, but if you are not prepared with the correct details and documentation in order to receive approval, the wait time for online approval can blow out resulting in speed of approval being no different to applying face-to-face or over the phone.

Each application, whether that be online or over the phone is subject to the same checks in order to determine if you meet lending criteria.

What is the process to reach settlement?

First, you’ll complete an application either online or over the phone, and then upload supporting documents and provide any additional information. We’ll then assess your car loan application, and if approved, your loan documents will be issued to you. Once the loan documents are returned and signed, your loan will settle, and we’ll pay the funds directly to the dealer so you can pick up your car.


About the article

As Australia's leading online lender, loans.com.au has been helping people into their dream homes and cars for more than 10 years. Our content is written and reviewed by experienced financial experts. The information we provide is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives or needs. If you'd like to chat to one of our lending specialists about a home or car loan, contact us on Live Chat or by calling 13 10 90.

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