Car buyers checklist
Once you have familiarised yourself with the types of products available, this section of the website will help you to understand a bit more about the process of applying for car finance.
There are many ways to arrange your finance but always ask about the full range of products available from the dealership when you are choosing the type of car you want.
If you are a business user you should seek professional advice on finance, particularly if your business is eligible for tax incentives.
You should also consider a Car History Check, which could reveal very important information on a car’s background before you buy it. For example, if you are buying a used car it may have previously been involved in a road traffic accident or finance may still be owed by the previous registered keeper.
For a list of commonly asked questions and questions you should ask your dealer, go to the FAQ page.
Where to get car finance
You should consider all of the options available to you and seek advice before taking out motor finance. This will ensure that your finance agreement suits your personal circumstances and the type of car you are buying.
Staff at car dealerships will have received expert trained on specialist car finance products and will be able to advise you on the key features and benefits of different finance plans. For example, you may wish to lease/rent your next car rather than buying it outright. Dealership staff will be able to advise you accordingly. Our Finance Decider will also help.
Motor finance agreements are provided by specialist finance companies, who may be a member of the FLA. There is a directory of FLA members, as well as information on the protection provided to car finance customers in Consumer Protection.
The car dealership providing finance may also be ‘Approved’ under the FLA’s Specialist Automotive Finance (SAF) initiative. SAF Approved dealers have voluntarily raised the professional standards and knowledge of staff involved in the sale of finance and for the benefit of customers. Look out for the SAF Approved logo in your local dealership.
If you’d like to find your nearest SAF Approved dealer, the online SAF Approved dealer directory enables you to search in your area. All you have to do is enter your postcode and/or a key search term into the directory and the contact details of the ten nearest SAF Approved dealers will be displayed, along with a Google map of their locations.
Other advantages of arranging finance at the dealership include:
- quick and simple to organise, often while you wait
- wide range of products with flexible deposits and repayments
- fixed interest rates
- access to special promotions, such as 0% finance or cashbacks
You can also apply for motor finance from banks, building societies and other direct finance providers.
Find out more about all the types of finance available in Car Finance Options.
What to take with you
If you arrange your motor finance at the dealership where you are buying the car, it may be possible to drive away the same day. However, by law, the dealer will have to make certain credit and identity checks.
The lender will have to check your identity. Therefore, you must take with you your driving licence, which should show your current address. If your driving licence is a photocard licence, the dealer will ask to see the counterpart too.
All lenders will carry out a credit check to ensure that you can afford to repay the finance and that you have a suitable financial background. As part of the check, lenders will search your record at at a licenced credit reference agency.If you are refused credit you can ask the lender for the name of the credit reference agency and then apply to see your credit file. You can ask for any incorrect information to then be removed or amended. Click here for FLA’s Guidance on credit scoring.
If your credit score is poor, the car dealer may be able to find another lender willing to finance your vehicle. However, the finance agreement offered to you may include a higher charge of interest because of the risk to the finance company