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What you need to know about used car loans

Written by

Shaun McGowan

If you’re buying a used car, you’ll either be doing it through a private sale, or at a dealership.

If you’re getting your loan through a private sale, you’ll want to read our guide on buying a car privately.

If you’re planning on buying your car at a dealership, then this is for you.

Should I get my used car loan through the dealership?

Car dealers will generally offer vehicle finance to you as part of the car sale process.

It’s super convenient - - the dealership can act as a one stop shop for you.

You could be trading your current car to them, buying a new one and arranging the finance with them.

Of course, you’re not obligated to do this.

You should shop around for a car loan. With our Money Matchmaker™ it literally takes minutes and you could be saving $1000’s.

Finding a car loan through a car dealership

What’s so bad about car loans from a dealership?

As mentioned, the main benefit of a loan from a dealership is convenience.

The downside is that you may end up paying much more for your loan than you needed to.

It’s that simple. also warns:

“Car dealerships will try to sell you add-on car insurance. This includes loan protection, gap cover, and tyre and rim protection. These products are not good value for money. Don't feel pressured to buy them.”

How do car dealers make money when I buy finance with them?

  • Dealerships can add on commission and fees to the finance being offered.
  • You always want to ask for the comparison rate as this is the actual rate you will be paying.
  • According to Deloitte, the income a car dealer makes from providing you with a loan could be as high as $2,700.
  • That’s a pretty big incentive to shop around and it certainly doesn't make the car you’re buying as cheap anymore.
  • The other thing to note is that car dealers may discount the car slightly with the hope of selling you car finance.

Long story short: do your research!

Find the best deal on car loans


Buying at a dealership without dealership finance

Turning up to the dealership pre-approved or knowing exactly how much you can borrow will give you greater negotiating power.

Alternatively, if you find your dream car at a dealer, you’re better to get the total cost of the car including all costs, and compare car loan offers online before committing to the purchase.

Go in with the best deal you can find before you purchase your vehicle, and make sure you’re comparing similar options and products.

This means:

  • The same loan term
  • The same type of interest rate
  • The same repayment frequency
  • The same fees

Don’t be fooled by a lower repayment amount spread over a longer-term loan.

Calculate your total repayments and your total interest paid. Make sure there are no hidden fees that could make the loan more costly than it seems.

You should be able to find used car loans with no fees and the ability to make extra repayments without penalty using Money Matchmaker. Try by taking the quiz.

Shop around for a personal loan and save thousands with Money Matchmaker

Is it the same loan process?

Yes, if you're arranging car finance at the dealership it's a very similar process to if you were using a car loan broker or applying directly with a lender.

If you're apply for a car loan with bad credit, you may need to supply additional information.

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About the Author

Shaun McGowan from



Shaun McGowan

Shaun is the founder of and is determined to help people pay as little as possible for financial products. Through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded and Lend.

*Information about comparison rates Comparison rates are designed to allow borrowers to understand the true cost of a loan by taking into account fees and charges, the loan amount and the term of the loan. The comparison rate is based on an unsecured fixed rate personal loan of $30,000 over 5 years. WARNING: Comparison rates are true only for the examples provided and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.