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Compare student car loans in Canada

Learn the steps and tips for getting a student car loan in Canada.

Having a car can make student life a lot more convenient — and expensive. If you can’t save up money to buy a car outright and can’t ask your parents for help, consider getting a car loan. But finding a loan with low interest rates can be tough if you have little or no credit. Find out abut your student car loan options in Canada by reading our guide below.

What types of student car loans are available in Canada?

There are two main types of car loans students can choose from in Canada:

  • Secured car loan. Secured car loans are the most common type of car loan. They usually have lower interest rates because your car is used as collateral. If you default on the loan, the lender has the right to repossess the vehicle. Check the table below for a list secured car loan providers.
  • Unsecured personal loan. If you want to purchase a car that’s 10 years old or older, or if you want a loan that covers more than just the cost of the car, consider an unsecured personal loan. You’ll likely need a strong credit history for an unsecured personal loan because they’re more of a risk for lenders. Interest rates may be higher, but if you default on the loan, at least you’ll still have your car.

Compare student car loan options in Canada

1 - 8 of 8
Name Product Loan Amount Interest Rate Loan Term Min. Credit Score Requirements
CarsFast Car Loans
$500 - $75,000
4.90% - 29.90%
12 - 96 months
300
Min. income of $2,000 /month, 3+ months employed
Get a new or used vehicle delivered to your door.
Browse thousands of vehicles from dealers across Canada and get matched with financing that meets your needs.
Loans Canada Car Loans
$500 - $35,000
0% - 31.99%
24 - 120 months
300
Min. income of $1,800 /month, 3+ months employed
Compare rates from 60+ lenders.
Complete a single application to get quotes from different lenders. Bad credit, CERB and EI borrowers considered. 0% APR for new cars only, used car rates start at 7.99%.
Coast Capital Car Loan
$10,000 - No Max.
Varies
18 - 84 months
650
Able to service debt payment of $300/month
Competitive rates and flexible terms.
Finance new and used vehicles from one of Canada's largest credit unions. No credit union membership required. Available across Canada except SK, QC, NT, NU, YT.
Clutch Car Loans
$7,500 - No Max.
From 3.90%
12-96 months
580
3+ months employed, Max.1 bankruptcy
Pre-qualify for a loan in under 2 minutes with no impact to your credit score.
Get approved for financing in under 24 hours for the used car you want. No hidden fees. Get the vehicle delivered to your door.
Canada Drives Car Loans
$7,500 - $99,999
4.75% - 29.99%
12-84 months
400
Min. income of $1,800 /month
Buy a used car online and get it delivered to your door in under 24 hours.
Get pre-approved for financing in 3 minutes with no impact to your credit score. No fees or penalties for early loan repayment.
Carloans411 Car Loans
$500 - $50,000
1.90% - 19.99%
Up to 72 months
300
Min. income of $1,600 /month, 3+ months employed
High application approval rate.
Get connected with suitable lenders to finance your next car, van or truck. Check eligibility for this loan through LoanConnect.
Canada Auto Finance
$500 - $45,000
4.90% - 29.95%
3 - 96 months
300
Min. income of $1,500 /month, 3+ months employed
Get financing from partnered local lenders.
Financing for a new or used car is available for borrowers with bad credit, no credit, CERB, EI or bankruptcy.
Splash Auto Finance
$10,000 - $50,000
9.90% - 29.90%
24 - 84 months
300
Min. income of $2,200 /month, 3+ months employed
Apply with any credit score.
Get financing for a new or used car. Auto loans for borrowers with fair credit, bad credit, no credit or bankruptcy.
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Compare up to 4 providers

7 steps to getting a student car loan in Canada

Finding a student car loan is pretty straightforward. Here’s how it works:

  1. Get pre-approved.

    Before deciding which car you want to buy, see how much you can borrow by applying for pre-approved loan. This can give you more bargaining power at the dealership or a car auction.

  2. Find a car.

    For private sales, look on car sales sites and the newspaper, or head to a dealership. Find a car that’s within your budget and in good condition.

  3. Compare your loan options.

    Start comparing your loan options once you’ve found the car you want or have an idea of what you’re looking for. Consider the interest rate, fees and features of the loan to find one that’s right for you.

  4. Check the eligibility criteria.

    Even if the loan sounds right, you may not meet its eligibility criteria. Lenders usually require you to be at least 18 year old, a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, earn a regular income and be employed. Your car will also have to meet eligibility criteria. If you’re under 18 years old, an adult such as a parent can help you get a loan instead.

  5. Get your documents in order.

    Gather all the required documents, which usually include a valid form of government-issued ID, pay stubs and information regarding your employment and finances (income, expenses and debts). Once you choose your car, submit the make, model, year, VIN number, registration number and purchase price to the lender.

  6. Submit your application.

    Depending on the lender, you may receive an instant response. Other lenders may take a few days to review your application and fund your loan.

  7. Buy your car.

    This can happen in a few ways. The lender may pay the dealer or private seller on your behalf or you’ll get funds to pay the seller directly.

How to find a competitive deal on a student car loan in Canada

When comparing student car loans, these are the important factors to consider:

  • Interest rate. Get the most competitive interest rate by applying to a number of different loan providers. Make sure these lenders only do a soft pull, not a hard pull, on your credit in order to give you their initial quotes. Too many hard pulls on your credit will damage your credit score.
  • Fixed or variable rate. With fixed rates, your repayments stay the same for the entire loan term, but fixed-rate loans tend to come with more restrictions on early repayment. Variable rates change throughout the life of the loan, but you usually get more early repayment flexibility.
  • Fees. Take a look at the upfront and ongoing fees for the loan to get an idea of how much it will cost.
  • Repayment flexibility. Are you able to choose how often you make payments? Can you make additional payments without penalty? Can you repay the loan early without penalty? These are things to look out for.
  • Features. Does the loan offer any additional features? Some of these may include pre-approval, online account management, a car-buying service to help you find your car or discounts on other products and services.

Car loans for international students

Graphic of country flags from around the worldFinding a car loan as an international student can be particularly tough: you likely can’t meet most lenders’ requirements for documentation, credit and/or permanent residency. Luckily there are a few lenders out there like Go Auto that specialize in financing for students in your situation.

You will need to get a Social Insurance Number (SIN) in order to fill out a loan application, which is fairly easy to do. To get a SIN, go to a Service Canada Office with personal identification and one of the following documents:

  • A study permit stating that you “may accept employment” or “may work” in Canada, OR
  • A study permit and a “confirmation to work off campus” letter issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) prior to February 6, 2015 OR
  • A work permit (such as a co-op, post-graduation, or spouse/partner work permit)

Your SIN will be issued the same day.

Plan on making a sizeable down payment (50% or more of the car’s purchase price). You might also want to look into getting a personal loan — often these don’t require a Canadian cosigner and can be used to buy a car. And if you do get a car, make sure you get insurance you can qualify for as an international student.

8 helpful tips when applying for a student car loan

If you’re a student you may be working part time, be on a lower income or have a limited credit history. This can make it difficult to get a car loan. Use the guide below to find out how to get approved for a car loan.

1. Build your credit history

Your credit history is important in order to be approved for a car loan you can afford. If you’re in college, you may have a short credit history — or none at all. A couple of ways to build your credit history are:

  • Pay your existing bills on time, including your phone and utility bills.
  • Order a copy of your credit file — you can receive it free once a year from the 2 major credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion.
  • Don’t open and close credit accounts frequently; let your accounts mature.
  • Keep you credit utilization ratio under 30%. For example, if your credit limit is $1,000, keep your balance below $300 — 30% of your limit.

2. Have a reliable income

Lenders want to see that you have a steady stream of income to show that you’ll have the means to pay back the car loan without missing any payments. Income requirements for lenders vary, so it’s smart to ask what counts as an eligible income before applying.

3. Confirm eligibility criteria

In most cases, you’ll need to be 18 years or older and be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. If it’s a used car, it may need to meet certain requirements. For example, lenders have guidelines about how old the car is allowed to be and how much mileage it can have to be allowed for financing.

4. Save as much money as you can for a down payment

A larger down payment shows that you have control of your finances — and can reduce your monthly payments and overall loan amount.

5. Consider a cosigner

A cosigner — a parent or other adult that trusts you — can sign on to your loan with their income, getting you a better interest rate. Your cosigner agrees to take on the legal and financial responsibility for your debt if you’re unable to make payments. Make every effort to make your payments so you don’t jeopardize you or your cosigner’s credit.

6. Refinance your initial loan

If you’ve had a loan for a year or two and have been making steady payments and growing your credit score, you’ll likely benefit from lower interest rates and loan terms by refinancing your loan.

7. Budget

College is expensive, with classes, books and other living expenses. When you’re taking on a car loan it’s important to factor in every cost that comes with it. Make sure you’ll be able to afford car insurance, gas and maintenance along with your other personal expenses.

8. Negotiate the loan

A lender may try to win your business if they know you have other options. Ask about lowering the interest rate as well as getting flexible loan terms including early repayment without penalty. Any waived fees or discounts you can get equals money saved.

Compare car loans for students

How to choose the best car for students in Canada?

Since this is probably your first car purchase, you may want to stick to an economical car. Here are some tips that can help you choose the best car as a student:

Do

  • Shop around
  • Attempt to negotiate; you don’t have to accept purchase terms exactly as they come
  • Ensure the vehicle you want meets your lender’s loan requirements

Don’t

  • Buy the first car you see
  • Accept for the first loan offer you receive
  • Apply for every loan available — narrow down your choices to three

What other transportation alternatives can work for students?

Unless you absolutely need it to get around, buying a car as a student might not be the smartest financial move while you’re in school. Here are some other options that could help you get around:

  • Public transportation. Taking the bus or train might not be as much of a hassle as you think — and most will lead to campus if you live in a college town. Plus it’ll give you extra time to do readings or last-minute cramming for a test.
  • Car pooling. Got a friend (or friends) who already have a car? Consider tagging along with them instead of buying a car. You might want to offer to pay for gas to avoid over-staying your welcome.
  • Ride-sharing. Getting around with Lyft or Uber might actually be less expensive than buying a car, especially if you only occasionally go long distances.
  • Bikes and scooters. These smaller, less-expensive vehicles can help you get around campus and nearby areas on the cheap. Plus, if you bike most places, you won’t have to pay for gas. Many cities with colleges or universities also have bikes and scooters that you can rent by the hour.

Bottom line

You might have trouble getting a car loan on your own while you’re still in college or university. But it’s not totally impossible. By working with a lender that accepts students or allows you to apply with a cosigner, you could be on the road with a new set of wheels in no time.

Want to learn more about how car loans work? Check out our comprehensive guide.

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