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Am I eligible for car finance?

Some frequently asked questions surrounding applying for car finance and eligibility.

Confused about car finance? Our sales executives can help.

Confused about car finance? Our sales executives can help.

At Arnold Clark, 81% of customers who apply for finance are approved by the finance company. So, if you’re over 18 and confident you can afford your repayments, there’s a good chance we’ll be able to find you suitable finance.

Who can apply for car finance?

Different lenders have different age criteria, but in most cases if you are between the ages of 18 and 79, you can apply for finance.

Do I have to have a full driving licence to apply for finance?

No, you do not. You will need a full licence if you intend to drive the car on your own, however you do not need one to apply for car finance. You will need to provide some form of identification so you will need a provisional licence or passport.

I think I may have been blacklisted in the past, am I eligible for finance?

There is no such thing as being blacklisted for finance. Your credit rating simply contains information about your credit history and a relevant score. If one finance company declines your application, this does not necessarily mean that you won’t be able to get finance elsewhere. The better your credit rating is, the more likely you are to be accepted by a greater number of finance companies.

Certain lenders specialise in lending to borrowers with a less than perfect credit history. There may, therefore, be some finance companies that would be willing to accept your application but you may find that you end up paying a higher interest rate with a specialist lender.

At Arnold Clark, we have a panel of 20 lenders, meaning you have lots of options when applying for car finance.

I am not British, can I apply for car finance?

Individuals of any nationality can apply for car finance or a car loan in the UK if they have a credit history in the UK.

What car finance do I qualify for?

There are four main types of car finance:

  • PCP (Personal Contract Purchase)
  • PCH (Personal Contract Hire)
  • HP (Hire Purchase)
  • Personal Loan

The type of finance you choose will depend on your circumstances and preferences, and you can find out more about each type in our car finance explanation article. The lender your finance application will be given to will depend on your circumstances as well as the car you choose. When you speak with one of our sales executives in branch and decide which type of finance you would like to apply for, the process will begin to find the most appropriate finance company from the range of over 20 finance companies we have access to.

Do I need to be working to be eligible for car finance?

You may be eligible to apply for car finance if you’re not working, but as you will be required to show proof of annual income, you may be less likely to be accepted than someone in full-time employment.

You may be eligible if you are retired or self-employed. In these cases, proof of income may be required.

What is a guarantor loan and why would I need it?

A guarantor loan is a type of unsecured loan that requires a third person who is not financially linked to you, known as a guarantor, to sign the contract agreement. You might need a guarantor if you’re young and have a limited credit history, or a lender may ask for one based on your credit history. The loan would work in the same way as any other car loan, but at the point of signing the documents you would need a guarantor to co-sign them. By signing the agreement, the guarantor is agreeing to pay back the loan should you default on repayments.

If I get car finance, how much can I afford?

This is your own decision and nobody should influence that. You need to assess your finances and other household expenditure to make sure you can afford the monthly repayments, insurance, road fund licence, fuel and maintenance of a car on top of everything else. The finance company will also assess how much they believe you can afford to repay when deciding on how much to lend.

Once you have decided what payments you can afford, you can check which cars are within your budget by using our car finance payment calculator.

What can I do to improve my chances of being accepted for car finance?

When applying for any finance it is advisable to ensure all of your personal details are correct and that you are registered on the electoral roll.


Arnold Clark Automobiles Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and acts as a credit broker, sourcing credit to assist with your purchase from a carefully selected panel of lenders. All services are provided on a non-advisory basis.

About the Author

Nicole Ferguson

Staff writer at Arnold Clark

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