Car loans for temporary residents in Australia
Here as a temporary resident? There are options to help you get on the road.
Getting around Australia without a car can be difficult. With its sprawling population and new suburbs emerging far from city centres, it’s not uncommon for people in Australia to travel an hour or more to get to work or study. And while Australia's public transport system continues to improve, it is a far cry from countries like Singapore with their round-the-clock reliable network of public transport options.
You want to make the most of your time in this beautiful country and take in as many of the sights and experiences as you can. But doing so without a car will be prohibitive, and as a temporary resident in Australia it may seem as if a car loan is out of reach.
The good news is that some lenders are willing to offer a car loan to temporary residents in Australia. Lenders view this type of loan as a high risk one, so the key is knowing which lenders to approach and what their lending criteria is. Read on to find out how to apply for a car loan as a temporary resident in Australia, and how to maximise your chances of success.
Car loans temporary residents may be able to apply for
How does a car loan for a temporary resident work?
A car loan for a temporary resident is essentially the same as any other car loan or personal loan, except that lenders will impose additional stringent eligibility criteria.
The bank or other lender will lend you the amount of money needed to purchase a car, and you will enter into a contract to make repayments on the principal amount and the interest at regular periods over a set number of years. Regardless of your status in Australia, the lender may have requirements about the type or age of car purchased with the loan. For example, a lender is unlikely to extend a car loan to purchase a car more than a few years old, or a car that has been in an accident.
As a temporary resident, additional strict lending criteria and other considerations will apply, including:
- Loan term. While a typical loan term for a car loan is five to seven years, a lender will not extend a loan term past the validity of your current visa. Generally, the loan term will end at least three months before the expiration of your visa. Note that lenders will only consider your current visa and will not rely on pending visa applications or extensions, no matter how likely their success.
- Visa type. Some lenders will only extend credit to temporary residents holding certain types of visas. People with student visas and temporary work visas with a path to permanent residency will have a greater chance of success than someone on a provisional or bridging visa with no set expiry date. If your visa has been sponsored by an employer, this will greatly improve your chances of success.
- Credit history. For Australian citizens, lenders look at an applicant's credit history when considering a car loan application. Temporary residents typically have little or no credit history in Australia, and Australian lenders do not consider overseas credit history. For this reason, lenders will place more emphasis on an applicant's deposit, income and employment status.
- Visa breaches. Many visas have strict limitations on the number of jobs that can be held or the number of hours of employment each week. While it is important to maximise your income before applying for a car loan, lenders will not lend to anyone in breach of the conditions of their visa by working extended hours or multiple jobs.
How do I know if I am eligible for a car loan?
The lending criteria for a car loan for a temporary resident will vary between lenders. As always, it is important to consider the criteria of an individual lender before applying.
As with all car loans and personal loans, different lenders will have different requirements in relation to income, employment history, loan terms, deposits and lending amounts. But of particular significance to temporary residents is that some lenders will not offer a car loan to temporary residents at all, while others will only consider temporary residents holding certain visas. Additionally, lenders will have different criteria regarding how long you have been in Australia, how long you intend to stay in Australia, and your employment stability.
Examples of visa requirements for temporary residents include:
- ANZ. Only holders of 457 work visas and diplomatic visas will be considered. Working holiday visa holders will not be accepted.
- Bank of Melbourne. A minimum of two years remaining on your visa at the time of application. Must hold a visa contained on an extensive list of acceptable visa numbers.
- BankSA. A minimum of two years remaining on your visa at the time of application.
- CommBank. Will consider applications from holders of 457 working visas.
- CUA. Will consider applications from holders of 457 working visas.
- Fair Go Finance. 457 working visa holders will be considered. Centrelink payments are taken into account when determining income.
- NAB. A minimum of 12 months remaining on your visa at the time of application. New Zealand citizens and 457 working visa holders are preferred.
- St.George. A minimum of two years remaining on your visa at the time of application.
- Westpac. Only applicants with a visa on an extensive list can apply.
How can I increase my chances of being accepted?
Car loans for temporary residents are considered a high-risk endeavour for lenders. Once you have satisfied the eligibility requirements you can improve your chances of being accepted by considering the following factors:
- Cash deposit. The greater the deposit you can offer, the greater your chances of success.
- Proven savings. If you can show that your cash deposit is a result of your savings efforts while working in Australia, this will be more favourable to lenders than if your deposit was a gift.
- Income level. Income of $50,000 per annum or higher will put you in a good position when applying for a car loan.
- Regular income. Lenders need to be satisfied that your employment is stable and your income is regular. In some cases, lower regular income will be more favourable than intermittent or seasonal income, even if it is higher.
- Guarantor. If you can find someone who is prepared to go guarantor on your loan – to agree to be responsible for the loan should you default on the repayments – this will be looked upon favourably by lenders.
- Australian bank account. Most lenders will want to see that you have an Australian bank account into which your income is deposited. Be prepared to provide bank statements for at least the last three months.
How do I submit my application?
Most lenders allow applications for car loans to be completed online, making it a simple and easy process. On the other hand, since there are more stringent requirements for temporary residents to obtain finance to purchase a car than for Australian citizens or permanent residents, an online application is not always a good idea.
Every time an application for credit is made, this is noted on your credit history. Making too many applications within a short period of time can negatively affect your credit history – and this is particularly significant for temporary residents who may have little to no existing Australian credit history.
It can be a good idea to do the groundwork first to work out which lender could be the best choice based on your circumstances. Then, make an appointment to speak with a car loan officer at your chosen bank or financial institution.
Lenders do have a certain amount of leeway when it comes to deciding whether to extend credit to a temporary resident. For this reason, an in-person appointment will give you the opportunity to state your case and show that you are a good candidate for car finance – something that is not possible with an online application.
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