Girl with preapproval car loan

Pre-approved Car Loan Comparison

Information verified correct on March 26th, 2017

Want to know exactly how much bargaining power you have when searching for a car? A pre-approved car loan can put you in the driver's seat.

If you're looking for finance to help you buy a car, the usual car-buying process involves you finding a car, then applying for a loan to help you buy it. Pre-approval is available from some car financiers so you can head to the dealership knowing how much you're approved for. Find out everything you need to know about pre-approval, and compare some of your options on the page below.

IMB New Car Loan

IMB New Car Loan

Apply for IMB New Car Loan and enjoy a great low fixed interest rate with no ongoing fees.

  • Interest Rate From: 5.99% p.a.
  • Comparison Rate: 6.34% p.a.
  • Interest Rate Type: Fixed
  • Application Fee: $250
  • Minimum Loan Term: 1 year
  • Maximum Loan Term: 7 year
  • Minimum Loan Amount: $2,000
  • Maximum Loan Amount: $75,000

Compare some of the options available to apply for

When you are searching for a car loan, it is always important to compare your options. While not all the loans below offer pre-approval, it is important to know what is available before you start comparing.

Rates last updated March 26th, 2017
Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Repayment
IMB New Car Loan
This fixed rate new car loans up to 2 years old features no early repayment penalties
From 5.99% (fixed) 6.34% $2,000 1 to 7 years $250 Go to site More
RACV Car Loans
Enjoy this fixed rate new car loan offer from RACV. No ongoing fees.
From 6.99% (fixed) 7.52% $15,000 1 to 7 years $378 Go to site More
Latitude Personal Loan (Secured)
Can be used for whatever purpose: renovating, buying a car, booking a holiday. Funds can be in your account in as little as 24 hours.
From 12.99% (fixed) 14.2% $3,000 2 to 7 years $250 (Loans under $4000 - $140) Go to site More
St.George Secured Personal Loan - Fixed Rate
Get behind the wheel of your perfect car with a competitive interest rate from St.George. Get an application response within 60 seconds.
From 8.49% (fixed) 9.39% $3,000 1 to 5 years $195 Go to site More
Bank of Melbourne Secured Car Loan
A low rate personal loan from Bank of Melbourne with variable or fixed option.
From 8.49% (fixed) 9.39% $3,000 1 to 5 years $195 Go to site More
BankSA Fixed Rate Car Loan
Apply for a fixed rate car loan from multi-award winning BankSA.
From 8.49% (fixed) 9.39% $3,000 1 to 5 years $195 Go to site More
NRMA Car Loan
Purchase a new car with an NRMA Car Loan with a fixed rate term and no monthly fees.
From 6.99% (fixed) 7.52% $15,000 1 to 7 years $378 Go to site More

The ins and outs of pre-approved car finance

When you apply for pre-approval, your financial circumstances will be evaluated and the lender will determine how much you can afford to borrow. During the process you'll need to provide the same details as you would provide a normal loan. It's important to note that pre-approvals are only valid for a short space of time.

A huge benefit to a pre-approved car loan is it gives you an advantage when you need to negotiate the price of a vehicle. You know how much you can spend, so you can make an offer there and then. However, this means you also means you know your budget limitations, so if the salesperson can't meet your negotiations you'll have to walk away. You also have committed to the loan in a way, as it's not listed on your credit file, so if you want to take advantage of a competitive dealer finance offering you may not be able to.

While pre-approved car loans are not as widely available as other standard car loans, there are still a small number of lenders you can consider.

What is conditional approval?

Conditional approval is given when you're initially approved for a pre-approved car loan. Based on the details you provided during the pre-approval process, the lender says you can borrow up to a certain amount. Unconditional approval is when the lender approves you for the loan to buy a specific vehicle. Lenders have restrictions with the types of vehicles they will finance, so need to be sure that the car fits within these restrictions before giving the final green light.

How to get pre-approved for a car loan

  1. Get a copy of your credit score
  2. Ensure you have all your documents and pay slips
  3. Compare a range of loans that you can apply for
  4. Contact your bank or financial provider you wish to apply with
  5. Shop around for your next car

What types of car sales can I use with a pre-approved car loan?

Pre-approved car loans can be used to purchase cars bought through a dealership, at private sales and at auction. These are all the types of situations you can expect to use a regular car loan for. So in that regard, pre-approved car loans serve the same purposes as regular car loans.

Have you weighed up the benefits and drawbacks of pre-approval?

  • Buyer confidence. Pre-approved car loans give buyers confidence that they have a good chance of getting finance for their chosen car.
  • Understanding of your financial situation. The lender has already assessed your financials and has confirmed that you can afford the loan and therefore the car purchase, before you go out and buy it.
  • Bargaining power. Pre-approval can give you the upper-hand when negotiating your price at the car dealership.
  • Shorter periods of time. Conditional approval on some loans is only available for short periods of time.
  • Limited choice. There aren't as wid ae a variety of lenders who offer pre-approval as who offer car loans, so you have limited choice.
Features of car loans

Pre-approved car loan features

Like the best features on the market? You can get some of the best features and interest rates on the market with pre-approved car loans.

  • Secure against your vehicle. Interest rates are lower on car loans that are secured, saving you money and keeping your repayments manageable.
  • Choice of fixed or variable interest rates. Keep your repayments the same each months or take advantage of the flexibility of a variable rate loan.
  • Up to seven-year loan terms. Longer loan terms can help make the regular payments more affordable. Fixed rate loans may only come with maximum loan terms of up to five years.
  • Weekly, fortnightly and monthly payment options. This differs among lenders, but you'll usually have the choice of weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayments.
  • Extra repayments & redraw. Variable pre-approved car loans can allow borrowers to make fee-free additional repayments and redraw to suit ever changing finance needs.

Things to consider before applying for pre-approval

There's probably a few things you should do before buying a car, and these will vary from person to person. Here's a few things to keep in mind.

  • Research your car. The make. The model. The year. The colour. You'll also need to take into consideration the fuel consumption.
  • Check your financial standing. Car loans are an extensive financial commitment. Ensure that you have the required funds and/or pre-approval.
  • Test-drive your car. Taking the car for a test-drive will let you find out if there is any issues with it.
  • Shop around. Your next car may be at several dealers — it could be a good idea to not to buy the first car you see.

How do I apply for a pre-approved car loan?

Apply online to see if you qualify for a pre-approved car loan. You can compare your options using the table on this page and click 'apply' once you've found the right loan for you. Keep information handy such as your income, employment details, other income, assets, liabilities and 100 points of ID. Applying has never been easier, with some lenders granting pre-approval within 60 seconds.

About your next car loan

Have more questions about pre-approval?

You asked and we listened. Here are the top questions you've had about getting pre-approval on your next car loan

Should I get a new or used car?

As with any large purchase, it's important to compare your options. You should choose a car based on the features you want, and then pick one in your budget. There are benefits and drawbacks to both new and used car purchases, for instance, used cars can be a bargain but can come with unknown mechanical problems, while new cars come with a factory warranty but depreciate quickly.

Take a look at our used car buying guide here to get an idea of what might be in store.

Are there any extra costs I should be worried about?

  • Stamp Duty. The government requires you to pay stamp duty on your car which will be a percentage of the purchase price.
  • Compulsory Third Party Insurance. This is a legal requirement in Australia and covers anyone who may get hurt as a result of your driving.
  • Insurance. Not mandatory in Australia, but any extra insurance could protect your car.
  • Ongoing costs. You'll have to pay for the ongoing upkeep of your next car including servicing, tolls, etc.

Who can actually get pre-approval?

Depending on who you bank with you may already have pre-approval. Compare the lenders above to find out. You'll have to be 18+ and a permanent resident or citizen, have a job and a regular income and be able to afford your loan repayments.

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Related Posts

Latitude Personal Loan (Secured)

Can be used for whatever purpose: renovating, buying a car, booking a holiday. Funds can be in your account in as little as 24 hours.

RACV Car Loans

Enjoy this fixed rate new car loan offer from RACV. No ongoing fees.

IMB New Car Loan

This fixed rate new car loans up to 2 years old features no early repayment penalties

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6 Responses to Pre-approved Car Loan Comparison

  1. Default Gravatar
    Sharon | July 16, 2016

    I have been pre approved for a car loan and went and found a car I liked today, and my bank said to make sure it was subject to finance which I did , do I let my bank know all the cars details and dealer details or does the dealer do that on my behalf

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | July 18, 2016

      Hi Sharon,

      You’ll need to advise the dealer that you’ve got a pre-approved car loan, but then you’ll need to give the details of the vehicle to the bank yourself. Following this the bank will pay the money to the dealership on your behalf.

      I hope this helps,


  2. Default Gravatar
    richard | January 20, 2016

    sir I have a 2011 buick lacrosse that I want to trade in for a 2016acura rdx so how does a pre approval work in this case . I owe approx. 8000$ on it

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | January 21, 2016

      Hi Richard,

      Pre-approval works depending on the lender you apply with, but this will be considered a refinancing loan. You can compare lenders using the table above and once you’ve found a lender you want to enquire with you can click through to its website. You can then find out the process and if the car is eligible for refinancing. You may also want to consider the services of a car loan broker which you can do on the table above.

      I hope this has helped.



  3. Default Gravatar
    Karina | July 12, 2014

    Can you get a loan while being unemployed? Do car loaning places accept your application if your partner or parent is willing to pay your car loan until you get a job?

    • Staff
      Shirley | July 14, 2014

      Hi Karina,

      Thanks for your question.

      When considering your application, most lenders will need to see proof of income before accepting your loan. Some lenders will allow a guarantor, but it’s best to do some research and speak to relevant the lenders before you apply to discuss your eligibility.


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