Car Loan Checklist

Filed under Information Centre

In this article, we’ll take a look at a car loan checklist and some other things to consider before, during and after getting a car loan.

Before we get started, note that car loan applications are pretty much 100% online these days. This means:

  • All documents are submitted online (eg. via email)
  • Loan contract are typically digital and can be signed with an electronic signature
  • You might need to get ID verification from police station or similar (eg. post office) but these can be sent to a lender/broker via photo

The steps of a car - in brief

It can be confusing, especially if you haven’t gone through the process before, or are a little rusty on it. Here’s what most car loans consist of:

*Lenders are financial institutions (like banks) that lend money to people.

Step 1: let lenders know who you are and what you want

This means name, address, employment details and what kind of car (which can be vague) and roughly how much money you need.

Step 2: show lenders you can make the repayments

This means providing payslips or something to show you have surplus funds left over each pay cycle to use for car loan repayments.

Step 3: get pre-approved

This means a lender has given you the all clear for the amount you want for the type of car you want.

Step 4: find a car

The fun part. This means finding a specific car for sale and providing its details (specific make, model, year, registration number, agreed sales price, etc)


If all boxes are ticked, the funds are transferred to the seller (private or dealer) and you drive away in your new car.

Having a car loan checklist can really make these steps a cinch.

Car loan checklist

Here's how you can maximise your chances of getting your car loan approval, and getting a fast settlement.


  1. Reduce current debts as much as you can by paying off any small outstanding debts, including your credit card balance
  2. Save a deposit towards your car, as well as insurance and registration (a deposit is not mandatory but really helps)
  3. Ensure you have stable employment and residence
  4. Avoid taking on more any more debt (new loans)
  5. Avoid gambling, cash withdrawals and frivolous spending


  1. Work out how much you can afford to pay each week after your other expenses, and keep this amount aside for a few weeks before applying
  2. Reduce any unnecessary expenses like subscriptions that you don't use
  3. Get your free credit report before you apply to find out where you stand


  1. Use a car loan broker to compare loans before applying
  2. Get a quote for your car loan before deciding to apply, a broker can provide this
  3. Have all of your documents handy, including ID, income, and residence


Apply online to get your car loan pre-approval faster


  • Apply for a loan amount that you can't really afford to repay
  • Make multiple car loan applications directly to lenders (these can affect your credit score)
  • Change jobs or addresses frequently
  • Get the first loan you see advertised


When you prepare to apply for a car loan, you want to present your application in the best light possible to the lender. That way, you're offered a favourable car loan structure and best possible interest rate for your profile.

By arranging your pre-approval with a car loan broker, you can rely on their expert advice and presentation of your application to maximise your chances of approval.

In the vast majority of cases, a car loan applicant who utilises a broker will come out on top over someone who goes it alone. This is because a broker can smoothen and de-stress the process, get better loan conditions and take care of all the heavy lifting behind the scenes.

To get a faster online car loan approval, make sure you have all of your documents ready when you start the application. This will mean the lender can review your information and give you a car loan approval without needing to ask you for further information.

Car loan checklist: documents

The kinds of documents you need for a car loan application vary depending on the type of loan product and lender - again, a broker can assist you with this.

Here's what you'll likely need for a car loan application:
    • 100 points of ID
    • 3 months of payslips or proof of income such as Tax Return, BAS Statement
    • Evidence of any other income you might have
    • Residential information (eg. utility bill)
    • Any assets you have, including property, bank balances
    • Liabilities, including loans, mortgage, credit cards
    • 2 personal references (adults in Australia not living together or with you)
    • 3 months of bank statement (a broker can assist with these and remember, not all car loans require bank statements)

    If you have all this information ready when you complete your application, it can be processed really quickly.

    Car loan checklist for a fast settlement

    Getting pre-approved quickly can be a huge help in today’s car buying market as supply isn’t huge and Aussies love getting behind the wheel.

    Once you have an initial car loan approval and you've found a car that's within the amount you've been approved to borrow, you're ready to proceed to settlement.

    Settlement is the final step in the car loan process before you drive away with your new car and is pretty exciting.

    Settlement means:

    • The funds are transferred to the seller
    • You, the borrower, own the vehicle
    • Registration is transferred to your name
    • You’ve organised insurance (your broker can again assist with this)
    • You’ve selected any additional warranties you might want

    Here's what you'll need to make it happen:

    • Tax invoice for the car, with VIN, registration number, year, make and model.
    • Evidence of comprehensive car insurance
    • Sign and return car loan contracts

    At settlement, if you've arranged your car finance with an online lender, they will usually email your contracts straight to you when you've found the car, enabling you to complete and return them for a same-day final car loan approval.

    Your car loan broker will be proactive about getting the tax invoice the lender needs, speeding up your settlement process.

    Now that you know the car loan checklist you need to follow, you can confidently take the first steps by getting a car loan quote and working out what you can afford.

    In summary

    Car loans are much faster and easier than they used to be. There’s no more lining up at banks, no more printing, scanning and mailing things off in the post.

    With the car loan checklist above, you’ll ensure you give yourself the best chance of getting approved for the right vehicle and line yourself up for not only the best interest rates but also the smoothest and fastest application process.

    If you’re ready, start with a quick quote and know that the experienced team at Positive is working to quite literally get you the best outcome possible.

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