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How Long Does it Take to Get a Car Loan?

How long it takes to get a car loan depends on the lender and your credit. Banks certainly are not known as the fastest-moving of institutions, and auto loans are no different. Credit unions have less bureaucracy to slow them, but are often behind in the technology department. Below, we’ll look at the wait times to expect when trying to get a car loan from a variety of different types of lenders, as well as the role your credit plays in the length of the approval process.

At the Bank…

Large national banks have a habit of sending loan applications to another office for final approval. This is meant to insulate the bank from making loans they should not make for various investment or risk-based reasons. The process can take a few hours or a few days, depending on whether the other person is in the office or not. Local or regional banks and credit unions may have a faster process because the person taking your application usually makes the final decision. Even if they send the application for final approval, the process is quicker because the approving officer has fewer applications to look over each day. Go here to learn more about auto loans from banks.

At the Dealership…

If you are applying for a loan at a dealership, the process can take from a few minutes to several hours. The finance manager will take all of your information and submit it to several lenders. That can take an hour or more. Waiting for the nod from these lenders can take another hour or so. So, there you will be for 2-4 hours. This is why it’s a good idea to line up your financing before you ever hit the dealer lot. Not only will it subtract hours from the approval process, it will be one less thing to worry about when choosing your vehicle.

On the Web…

You also have the option to apply for a car loan online. There are many lenders whose entire loan process is handled electronically, making for a faster response. Here at Motive Auto Finance, we enable you to submit your application online (here), and we will place it with a lending specialist in your area who can help you get the best auto loan from a lender in your area.

The Role of Credit

A second factor that can slow down your loan approval is your credit. If you are on the edge of the lender’s approved credit score range, they may ask for additional information, delaying the approval process. This is typically more of an issue at a bank rather than a dealer or online lender. In order to speed up the process, be sure to ask your bank or dealer what documentation to bring so you won’t run into such an issue. If you apply through us, your lending specialist can give you this information.