Your browser is out of date. From Thu 28 April 2022, the Great Southern Bank website will not support your current browser, and you may have a degraded experience or be unable to connect. Update your browser to secure your online experience.


How to get a car loan

So, you’ve found the car you want to purchase. And you’ve done all the relevant checks and tests to make sure it’s in good condition – you’re almost ready to seal the deal. All you need now is the money.

That’s where having different car finance options can make a world of difference. Taking out a personal loan can be a smart way to pay for your new set of wheels – you borrow money from a lender, then repay the loan over a set term.

We have a range of clever car loan options to suit your needs, whether you’re buying a pre-loved Jeep or a colourful Mini. Jump in to find out how to get a car loan, so you can purchase your car with confidence.

Set a car budget

Making a budget early in the car-buying process can help you narrow down your options. By understanding your income and expenses, your budget can help set reasonable expectations of what cars you can afford to purchase. Plus, it can be a good indicator of whether a new or used car would be best suited for you and your finances.

A big part of buying a car is understanding the upfront and ongoing costs, such as registration, petrol and car insurance. By factoring these costs into your budget, you can work out how much you actually need to save. If you’re short on time, give our budget planning calculator a go. It’s easy to use and can give you a personalised budget within seconds.

If you’re thinking about buying an electric or hybrid car, then it’s worth looking into what government rebates are available. These rebates can help reduce your car-buying costs, while you do your bit for the environment.

Check your credit score

Your credit score is a number that reflects your borrowing and repayment history. It’s one of the things your lender will look at and consider when assessing how likely you are to repay a car loan and can impact the car finance options available to you. Your credit score will also influence the interest rate your lender will set for your loan. For example, the higher your score is, the lower your interest rate might be.

Quick tips to improve your credit score

  • Pay every regular payment you have on time. This includes bills, rent, credit cards and any buy now pay later purchases. There’s a strong chance that anything you need to pay on a regular basis will be on your credit report.
  • Be conscious of how much credit you apply for and take on. For example, taking out more than one credit card and using Afterpay for multiple purchases. The fewer loans you have, the better your credit score can be.
  • Know what your credit score is. You can get a free credit report from Experian, illion and Equifax. Your report will show how much money you need to repay and any credit you’ve taken out previously.

Choose the right car loan

Car loans come in all shapes and sizes. At the end of the day, it comes down to the car you want to buy and your financial situation. We’re going to explain three different loan options you have for buying a car, so you can discover the one that’s right for you.

Secured car loan

A secured car loan is ‘secured’ against the asset you are borrowing for – in this case, it’s the car. This means that if you’re unable to repay the loan for whatever reason, the lender can sell the asset to cover their costs.

As secured loans represent less of a risk to lenders, they generally come with lower interest rates than unsecured loans.

However, not all cars can be purchased with a secured loan. You’ll need to be buying a new or used car that is up to seven years old.

Unsecured personal loan

An unsecured loan is when you borrow money without having an asset as loan security. As there’s no collateral for this type of loan, unsecured loans are usually used for things like holidays and weddings, but they can be used for cars too.

When taking out these types of loans, your lender will evaluate your financial situation to see if you can commit to the loan, which includes looking at your credit score.

Green Car Loan

A Green Car Loan is a type of secured loan for green cars – hybrid and electric. As these vehicles have lower emissions, you can get a lower interest rate on your loan. Good for the planet, good for your finances.

Want to compare car loan rates? Use our car loan calculator – it’s simple to fill out and you’ll get a comparison in seconds.

Car loan checklist

If you’re ready to apply for a car loan, then here’s a quick checklist to help you get ready for the application process.

Documents to prepare

You need to have:

  • Proof of ID, like your driver’s license.
  • Financial information, like your expenses and income.
  • Employment details, like a payslip.

Eligibility Checklist

You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be a permanent resident of Australia.
  • Earn a regular income.
  • Have not been bankrupt or insolvent in the last five years.

Learn more about car buying

Our articles can help you get on the road towards your dream car.

What is a Green Car Loan?

There are some great options out there to help you buy an electric car. One of these is a green car loan – and we explain what you need to know in our article.

Read more
How to refinance a car loan

Did you know that you can refinance your car loan? And that there are some great benefits in doing so? We’re going to explore these and more in our article.

Read more
Tips for buying a new or used car

Buying a car is a huge investment. But we've got you covered. We explain the car buying essentials – so you can buy a car with confidence.

Read more
Car loan features
  • $0 monthly fees
  • Unlimited extra repayments
  • Free redraw
  • Flexible payment options
  • No penalties for early payout

Explore car loans

Secured Fixed Car Loan
Interest rate from
Comparison rate from 1
Get in touch
We are here to help.
Call 133 282

Mon - Fri: 8:00am - 7:00pm (AEST)
Sat: 8:00am - 4:00pm (AEST)

Find a branch
Speak to one of our friendly staff at a branch near you.
Connect online
Chat to us or browse help topics and FAQs.
Important Information

This is general information and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.

Loans are issued by Great Southern Bank, a business name of Credit Union Australia Ltd ABN 44 087 650 959, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 238317. Lending criteria, limits, conditions and fees apply.

Rates current as at 9 June 2024 and subject to change.

Your loan contract will state the minimum monthly repayment amount. You can arrange with us to make repayments on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

1. Comparison rate examples are accurate for a personal loan amount of $30,000 secured loan over a term of 5 years. WARNING: Comparison rates are true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.

2. Comparison rate examples are accurate for a personal loan amount of $30,000 unsecured loan over a term of 5 years. WARNING: Comparison rates are true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.

3. A $200 minimum withdrawal amount applies for redraws conducted in-branch. Redraw facility is available for Great Southern Bank Personal Loan products on offer from 6 June 2017.

To view the Target Market Determination for this product, please click here.

*The rate you are offered is calculated based on your personal circumstances and credit history. A few different factors are considered, including:

  • Your credit score.
  • Information provided in your application.
  • Existing loans.
  • The loan amount and your perceived ability to repay the loan.

Your personalised rate won’t be confirmed until you receive an offer from us (if approved) and is subject change before your loan settles.