How Long Does it Take to Get Approved for an Auto Loan?

Nowadays, it is much faster and easier to get approved for an auto loan than it has been in the past– especially with a good credit score. You can be approved in minutes. The bigger question to consider is what you should do before seeking an auto loan approval?  As in most financial decisions, forethought and preparation will serve you well. 

What to do BEFORE You Apply 

Save a bundle by shopping around for a loan with the best terms. The time you spend shopping can rightly be viewed as earning extra income. If you have shopped around and selected the best loan available, you can easily save hundreds of dollars on your car loan. This is especially true if you consider the total cost of the car loan, not just the monthly payments alone.

As your financial advocate, MCCU is here to direct you and assist with all your financial questions and with your pre-approved car loan needs.

Determine Your Budget 

As you determine your budget, you should also have a global view, considering the total cost of the loan as well as the monthly charges. You could be paying way too much for your car in interest over the life of the loan with smaller monthly payments. 

Buying a car is not an investment generally; it is a living expense that quickly loses value with time and use. The longer you make payments for that car, the more you will be paying money for an item of lesser value.

There are different opinions about what percentage of your income should go towards your car expenses but a general rule is 15%. That 15% of your income includes more than just the monthly payment. It encompasses all car expenses like gas, insurance and maintenance. Be prepared and realistic about your car budget before you talk to a car dealer. Do not allow a dealer to determine what you are able to pay. 

Check Your Credit Score 

Arm yourself with the knowledge of where you stand with your credit score. You do not want the sales person to present information you do not know about. 

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After checking out your credit report, you can decide if now is a good time to buy your car or if you should improve your credit score first. You should get errors on your credit report fixed before you apply for a car loan. 

The Application Process 

We recommend obtaining a pre-approved car loan before you start looking so you can stay within your budget and make your whole car buying experience a success.  
We will ask for:

  • Proof of identity, ex. Social Security number, Driver’s License
  • Proof of residence and how long you have lived there
  • Proof of employment, income and how long you have worked there

With your pre approved loan in hand, you will be prepared to make that car purchase and you will not be obligated to sign off on the loan should you decide not to; thus giving you options. 

Getting Preapproved with Your Financial Institution

Your car buying experience will be more enjoyable and you can approach the process with confidence with a pre-approved loan from MCCU. 

With a pre-approved loan, you will know:

  • How much you can afford to spend
  • Your chances of obtaining a lower interest rate are increased
  • You have more power to negotiate the price
  • You can act as if you are a cash buyer

The approval process at MCCU takes just a few minutes whether you apply on line, in person or on the phone. Call today and discover how easy it will be.

Getting Approved for Financing at a Dealer 

You could jump right in, select your car, and let the dealer quickly provide the financing you need and drive away in your new car, but the financial ramifications may not be the most advantageous for you. 

The time you spend researching your options and obtaining a pre-approved loan first will pay off in the long run. Your knowledge combined with another loan option to consider will give you more negotiation power and help you make an informed car buying decision. 


If you have any questions about auto loans, our Member Representatives are ready and willing to assist you. Give us a call (816) 246-0002 or apply for an auto loan online today.

Apply For An Auto Loan Today!