What are the common requirements to get a car loan?

I'm going to apply for my first car loan soon. What requirements will I face as an applicant?

If you have bad credit, you may be required to provide more information than an applicant with good credit. Over time, these requirements have become standard for prospective borrowers who want to be approved for a car loan:
  • Proof of income: Most commonly shown via a current pay stub.
  • Proof of residence: You can, for example, show a utility bill at your address in your name.
  • Proof of identity: A valid driver’s license or state-issued photo ID is required. A license is also required to drive the car off the lot.
  • Proof of a working phone: A landline or mobile phone bill in your name at your address is sufficient for this.
  • List of personal references: Lenders may ask for three to five personal references and their contact information. Your references may not be contacted, but their info will be kept on file in case verification is required down the road.
  • Down payment: Most lenders require a down payment. Borrowers with excellent credit usually have a lower requirement, or they may not have to provide a down payment at all. Someone with poor or short credit history is usually required to put more money down — at least 10% of the sales price for the car.
Jim Donaher
Answered on Mar 12, 2021
Jim Donaher is a freelance writer and manager with over 35 years' experience in the insurance, banking, and investment management businesses. He provides expertise on a range of topics and is able to explain complex industry information in layman's terms. Jim is the author of two books, including Call Him, He's Home: A Guide to Prayer for Regular People and Then Larry Smiled, a novel about life, death, accountability, and salvation. Taormina, Sicily is his happy place!

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