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What is a credit union and how is it different to a bank?
Credit unions are member-owned financial institutions. When you take out a loan with a credit union, you must first become a member, which also means becoming a part-owner. Credit unions work for their members, using profits to provide them with competitive rates, low fees and other benefits. This differs to the way banks operate in that they are generally owned by shareholders, and they use their profits to pay dividends to those shareholders.
Like banks, credit unions are registered with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) as authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs). ADIs are financial institutions licensed to carry on banking business, including accepting deposits from the public.
The services and products provided by credit unions are much the same as banks, including savings accounts, personal loans, home loans, credit cards and term deposits.
Why might I consider a credit union car loan?
While you might think it’s more convenient or less of a risk to choose a car loan that’s offered by a bank like the big four (CommBank, Westpac, ANZ, NAB), it could be worth considering what credit unions have to offer.
Car loans provided by credit unions can often be some of the more competitive loans on the market, as their profits are used to benefit their members in this way. Credit unions also have a reputation for providing a more personal customer experience than banks, which largely comes from their history as community-based institutions.
Credit unions are also considered to be just as safe as major banks, as they are registered as ADIs and in turn are regulated in the same way.
How do I compare credit union car loans?
Credit union car loans can generally be compared in much the same way as any loan. There are certain attributes that might be worth considering, including the following:
- Interest rates: Take note of both the advertised rate and the comparison rate.
- Any fees involved: This could include application fees, monthly/ongoing fees and sometimes others.
- Fixed or variable: Fixed rate loans will have regular repayment amounts throughout the life of the loan, while variable rate loans may see repayments increase or decrease.
- Secured or unsecured: If you are buying a new or near-new car, you could secure the loan on your vehicle and potentially access a more competitive rate.
- Loan term: Some lenders will offer different loan terms to others.
- Extra features: These include redraw facilities, extra repayments and pre-approval.
- Lender: Comparing lenders’ reputations and offerings might provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of what you could expect from your car loan.
RateCity’s car loan calculator may also assist with your comparison by providing an estimate of how much your repayments might be when comparing different features.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of credit union car loans?
Credit union car loans can differ between lenders when it comes to what they offer, but here are some of the potential benefits and drawbacks to consider:
- Fewer fees in general, or in some instances no fees
- More competitive interest rates
- Arguably better customer service
- Smaller range of products
- Fewer branches
- Fewer online services
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Find car loans from a wide range of Australian lenders that best suit your needs.
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How to get the best car loan rate before you visit the dealership
As our desire for a new set of wheels grows, Aussies looking to drive away in a new or used vehicle may be wondering what they can do to nab a competitive car loan rate. Here are RateCity’s tips for improving your chances of getting your best car loan.
Personal Finance Editor
Georgia Brown is a Personal Finance Editor and journalist for RateCity. Before venturing into the world of personal finance, she worked as a reporter for realestate.com.au and Smart Property Investment. She now works truly amongst personal finance, while also writing about other areas, such as sustainable finance and super.
Frequently asked questions
Where can I find lenders who offer no credit check car loans?
One thing to bear in mind is that lenders who offer no credit check car loans are likely to charge higher interest rates and higher fees than on car loans that include a credit check. Also, lenders who no credit check car loans might expect you to pay a higher deposit. You might also be expected to provide security.
Lenders regard no credit check car loans as riskier than other car loans, which is why it’s a niche product that often features special conditions.
Who provides bad credit car loans?
Lenders that provide bad credit car loans tend to be smaller challenger lenders rather than the bigger banks.
Bad credit car loans are a niche product. The bigger banks tend to focus on mainstream car loan finance for borrowers with better credit histories. That’s why smaller lenders tend to be the ones that provide bad credit car loans.
Bad credit car loans can have high interest rates and fees, so it’s important to compare options before submitting an application.
Can I get a no credit check car loan?
You may be able to get a no credit check car loan in certain circumstances, although it’s important to weigh up your options before doing so.
Most lenders refuse to provide no credit check car loans, because they don’t want to give loans to borrowers without first confirming that they have a track record of repaying debts. So any lenders that do provide no credit check car loans would take measures to protect themselves against the risk of default.
That’s why no credit check car loans have higher interest rates than other car loans. Also, borrowers often have to provide security and put down a larger deposit.
Can I get a car loan with bad credit?
Yes, you can get a car loan with bad credit, although you’ll probably find the process trickier and dearer than that experienced by people who have good credit histories.
You can find a number of lenders that specialise in bad credit car loans. However, make sure you compare bad credit car loans before you sign on the dotted line, because not all car loans are alike and having bad credit may mean you are more likely to be hit with higher fees and interest rates.
If you have bad credit, it’s important not to take out a car loan unless you can afford the repayments because a default could further damage your credit rating. Conversely, if you make all the repayments and repay the loan successfully, your credit rating might improve.
Where can I find lenders who offer no credit check car loans?
You might be better off finding a specialist lender who will look at your credit history and income, who will decide whether or not you are able to responsibility pay back the loan. Alternatively, you could contact a car finance broker.
What is a bad credit car loan?
A bad credit car loan is a car loan for borrowers who have ‘bad credit’ or a bad credit history.
Some lenders refuse to offer bad credit car loans, because they believe there is an excessive risk that bad credit borrowers will not repay their loans. However, other lenders are willing to provide bad credit car loans.
Generally, these lenders charge higher interest rates for bad credit car loans than ‘prime’ car loans, reflecting the higher level of risk. Bad credit car loans may also have higher fees than prime car loans.
However, the big advantage of a bad credit car loan is that it allows borrowers with bad credit to access finance. Another advantage is that it could help bad credit borrowers improve their credit rating, assuming they make all their repayments on time.
Can I get a car loan with poor credit?
Poor credit doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to get finance for your car purchase, though your options aren’t likely to be the same as someone with good credit.
In fact, a number of specialist lenders exist offering car finance for customers with poor credit, able to provide access to bad credit car loans.
However having a history of poor credit will likely mark you as a potential risk to lenders, so your car financing needs could see higher fees and interest rates. Alternatively, consider a secured car loan, which is a type of loan that uses the car you purchase as collateral, reducing the risk.
Other options include getting someone close to act as a guarantor for your car loan, or to talk to a broker about a personalised rate specific to your circumstances.
Do low interest no credit check car loans exist?
Some companies will advertise no credit check car loans, however under the Australian National Consumer Credit Protection act, credit checks are required by all responsible lenders, so such lenders are likely to have high interest rates. Depending on your income and credit history, you may qualify for a low interest StepUP loan from Good Shepherd Microfinance.
Do I need good credit to get a car loan?
You don’t need good credit to get a car loan, although the worse your credit history, the harder and more expensive it’s likely to be.
Some lenders will do business only with borrowers who have good credit. However, there are other lenders that are willing to offer car loans to borrowers who don’t have good credit. The catch, though, is that they may charge higher interest rates and fees, and also require more paperwork.
If you don’t have good credit and want a car loan immediately, you can search for lenders that work with bad credit borrowers. If you are able to wait, you can work to improve your credit score and then apply for a car loan once you have good credit.
How to get pre-approved for a credit union car loan?
Getting pre-approval for a credit union car loan can make the process and paperwork required to buy a car more streamlined and less stressful. You can apply for pre-approval for a credit union car loan, online or contact your credit union. You’ll be asked to provide relevant documentation regarding your income. After you submit your application, your credit union will review and evaluate it along with the documents you submitted. If you meet the eligibility criteria, your loan will be pre-approved for a specific amount.
With pre-approval for a credit union car loan in hand, you can negotiate your new car’s price with peace of mind you have the funds.
Are bad credit car loans legit?
Bad credit car loans are legit, although not all lenders and products are created equal.
Some car loan lenders refuse to do business with borrowers who have bad credit histories, but there are others that are willing to provide bad credit. There is a catch, though: some bad credit lenders are disreputable, while some bad credit loans have extremely high interest rates and fees.
That’s why it’s important to do your research and compare bad credit car loans before you submit an application.
Can I get a no credit check car loan?
Even if you have bad credit or no credit history there are loans that are available to you through specialised lenders. Some lenders in Australia advertise car loan offers without running credit checks, however, the Australian National Consumer Credit Protection act requires lenders to loan money responsibly, so credit checks are normally required by all responsible lenders.
What is a guarantor on a car loan?
A guarantor on a car loan is a third party, usually a relative or friend, who guarantees to meet the repayments of a loan for the purchase of a car, if the borrower/owner of the car defaults on the loan.
Guarantor car loans can be useful for people who would otherwise struggle in being accepted for credit to purchase a vehicle. These may include people with bad credit, students and young people who may have no credit history, as well as some pensioners.
Many lenders offer guarantor car loans, guarantor personal loans and guarantor home loans, because of the significantly reduced risk to the lender.
Can you get a chattel mortgage with bad credit?
Getting approval for a chattel mortgage with bad credit may be possible, given ‘chattel’ (usually a piece of equipment or car) is put up as security for the loan. That means if you fail to repay the loan, the creditor can recover the loaned amount by repossessing and selling the car or piece of equipment. This differs from unsecured car loans, where the asset is not tied to the loan and cannot be taken if you don’t meet the repayments.
Do banks do guarantor car loans?
Yes, some banks will be willing to provide guarantor loans, including Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Westpac and ANZ, though the terms for signing up to a banker-issued guarantor car loan may not necessarily be as good as another lender.
You should keep in mind though that these larger banks, because of their monopoly of the market, tend to have higher interest rates than the smaller lenders.
In comparison, smaller loan companies and credit unions tend to be more competitive in their battle for your business. There are plenty of lenders willing to lend to people with bad credit or no credit history who have willing guarantors.
What is a credit score?
Your credit score is a number that represents how credit-worthy you are. The higher your credit score, the more credit-worthy you are and the more likely you are to receive loans from credit providers.
There is no industry standard for credit scores – different credit reporting bodies use different methodologies. For example, Equifax gives consumers scores between 0 and 1,200; Illion (through the Credit Simple service) gives scores between 0 and 1,000; and Experian gives scores between 0 and 999.
When it comes to car loans, lenders tend to offer lower interest rates to borrowers with better credit score. There are steps you can take to improve your credit score, including paying bills on time and paying off existing loans.
How to get a chattel mortgage?
Both businesses and individuals may use a chattel mortgage, provided that the car is being used predominantly for business purposes.
To apply for a chattel mortgage, you need to first consider your options and choose a suitable lender that meets your requirements. Once you have selected a lender, you can apply for the loan online by filling out a form. If the lender doesn’t offer an online application process, you can either call them or visit their nearest branch.
After you’ve applied, the lender will ask you to supply documents that confirm your identification, income, job profile, etc. If everything is in order, most lenders will arrange the loan’s settlement, so all you need to do is pick up your car!
What is a chattel mortgage used for?
A chattel mortgage is usually used to buy an asset - such as a car - for your company for business use. Relatively similar to regular mortgages, a chattel mortgage structure is based on a lender providing you with funds to purchase an asset while registering their security interest on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) for the life of the loan. In this case, the asset is known as the chattel. After the loan has been repaid, you will have full ownership of the asset.
A popular finance option, a chattel mortgage is usually preferred by self-employed or small business owners, due to flexible options available for repayment. In some cases, you may get 100 per cent of the cost of the asset, which means that no upfront deposit needs to be put down.
However, it’s important to note that a chattel mortgage is not regulated under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act. It’s therefore important to seek advice about the product and fully understand the agreement terms before signing.
What is credit history?
Your credit history is a record of the dealings you’ve had with credit providers such as banks, credit card companies, mobile phone companies and internet companies. Your credit history records how successfully you’ve managed your repayments. It also records how many credit applications you’ve made and how many of those were rejected.
Credit providers refer to your credit history when deciding whether or not to extend you credit. Missing repayments is a bad sign; making too many applications or having applications rejected can also be a bad sign.
Credit infringements can remain on your credit history for five years – or seven years for serious infringements.