How Long Does it Take to Get a Car Loan From a Bank?

by Jane Meggitt
You can get car loan approval within minutes.

If you apply online for a bank auto loan, it can take just a few minutes in order for you to get approval after the bank checks your creditworthiness. If you actually go to the bank, it could take a little longer only because you have to wait until a representative is available to help you and the person-to-person interaction also takes up time. If you have little credit history, or a spotty credit record, expect the process to take longer and the bank to want more proof of income and other evidence of your suitability to receive a loan. Before applying, have all the necessary documentation on hand.

Loan Restrictions

In order to receive a bank car loan, you ordinarily must be a U.S. citizen or hold permanent resident status. You might need to make a down payment. Loan amounts and term limits come into play. Banks might not finance the purchase of particular vehicles, including those that are rebuilt or salvaged. Models that have been eliminated might also be ineligible.

Preapproved Loans

If you already have a relationship with a bank, check out its requirements for preapproved loans. You can receive preapproval without naming the vehicle you intend to purchase, as you are still shopping around. After you fill out the form, whether online or in person, the bank runs a credit check. If you qualify, you generally have 30 days to decide on a car and complete the process.

About the Author

Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.

Photo Credits

  • Barry Austin Photography/Photodisc/Getty Images