If you’re on a time crunch and looking to get approved for a car loan fast, applying through an online lender is likely your best bet. Many can process your application within a few hours. And if approved, you may even be able to get your loan funded within a few days. However, you’ll still want to slow down and compare your options before committing to a lender.
How fast are quick car loans?
Rather than a turnaround that takes a week or two to process, a quick car loan only takes a few days after filling out the application to receive your funds. This can be especially helpful when you’re looking to lock in a special promotion at a dealership — having your finances ready to go will give your seller a sense of urgency. Meanwhile, you’ll have an extra tool that can help you negotiate the right price for your car.
Quick car loans are comparable to regular car loans in terms of interest rates, loan terms and how much you can borrow.
Compare quick car loans
How can I speed up the car financing application process?
From having your documents on hand to having your car picked out before you apply, here are a few tips for speeding up the application process:
- Compare your loan options first. This will keep you from wasting time and applying for loans you’re not eligible for.
- Apply for pre-approval. This allows you to see what rates and terms you might qualify for before filling out an entire application.
- Know what you want to buy. If you’ve already picked out a car and can provide the make, model and VIN, your lender will be able to process your application much faster. Most don’t require this for pre-approval, but already knowing it means you won’t have to spend time shopping after you’re pre-approved.
- Have your documents ready to go. Once you know what documents your lender requires — usually proof of income, employment and citizenship — you can have them on hand to make entering the required information easier.
Can pre-approval help me get my car faster?
Yes. When you apply for preapproval, you’ll receive a ballpark estimate of how much you can borrow, as well as what rates and terms you might qualify for. The form usually only takes 10 or 15 minutes to fill out, and you typically receive a response within a few minutes.
Most lenders ask you to provide the same information as if you were completing a full application, including details about your income, assets, liabilities and living expenses.
If approved, your lender should give you a buying period to select your car, often 60 days. Not only does this make the buying process easier since you’ll have a handy negotiating tool, but it also makes the loan process faster since you’ll only need to submit information about your car in order to complete the full application.
5 pitfalls to avoid with quick car loans
A car loan with a fast turnaround can be handy when you’re in a pinch, but it can come at a cost. Not every lender is legit, and not every loan will be right for you. Here are some pitfalls to avoid when on the hunt for a quick car loan:
- Same-day guarantees. Few online lenders are able to both approve and fund your loan all in the same day. If you come across lenders offering same-day guarantees, it may be a sign of a car loan scam.
- Taking on too much debt. Calculate potential monthly payments to avoid overspending. Most experts recommend dedicating no more than 15% of your budget to car costs, including loan repayments, maintenance and insurance.
- Applying for multiple loans. Applying for pre-approval generally won’t impact your credit score since lenders only do a soft pull. But processing a full application requires lenders to do a hard credit pull, which can lower your score. Applying for too many loans can cause your number to drop even more.
- Not working out the full cost. Don’t be fooled by low rates or fees. Higher fees can be offset by a lower interest rate or vice versa. Pay attention to the full cost of your loan including all fees, rates and terms.
- Not comparing options. A car loan may be quick, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Compare loans using the guide below to be sure you’re making the right decision.
How can I compare my options for quick car financing?
Because quick car loans are the same as standard car loans, you can use the same criteria to compare them as you would any loan. Not every lender offers the same features, so weigh which features matter most to you before making a final decision.
- Funding time. How long will it take to process your application? How long until you’re able to use your funds to buy a car?
- Loan amount. How much money will you need to borrow? The loan amount your lender offers may have an impact on the features you can add to your car, and some lenders may not offer larger loan amounts for certain types of vehicles.
- Loan terms. Terms generally range from 2-7 years for new vehicles, though some lenders offer terms of 8 years for larger loan amounts. Used vehicles have similar terms, though the older your chosen car, the shorter your loan term might be.
- Interest rates. Car loans can come with fixed or variable interest rates. Fixed rates stay the same throughout the life of your loan, while variable rates can fluctuate based on trends in the lending market.
- Fees. Most lenders charge a few different fees during the borrowing process. Many have origination, application and closing fees, as well as prepayment penalties if you pay back your loan early. Compare APRs to see how fees impact the total cost of your loan.
Many online lenders offer pre-approval and funding in as little as a few days, which may not cost more if you have good to excellent credit. But don’t settle for the first offer you find. Even when you’re in a hurry, compare your car loan options first to ensure you’re getting the best deal out there.
Frequently asked questions about quick car loans
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