How Does Vehicle Finance in South Africa Work?

By Klenam JU •  Updated: 07/02/24 •  6 min read

Automobile loans are pivotal in South Africa. They enable people to buy cars when they otherwise could not make an outright purchase. In a country like South Africa, where transport is equally important as life or daily activity, this type of finance is very integral. Knowing how vehicle finance works in South Africa is crucial for any potential buyer. It allows them to make informed decisions so they can manage finances effectively.

The post presents vehicle financing in South Africa by explaining the mechanism, processes, key terms, and leading players in the industry.

How Does Car Finance Work?

South Africa’s vehicle finance is primarily available through installment sales and financial lease agreements. Installment sales and financial leases help you acquire a car on sale by paying for it over a specific period. Installments are paid monthly for one to own the car, whereas lease agreements are to use the vehicle for a fixed period and have the option to purchase.

The leading players in this field are banks, credit unions, and specialized financing organizations that charge different terms, interest rates, and repayment structures; therefore, a comparison is made so that purchasers can obtain the best option that suits their financial profile. The interest rates caused by an applicant’s creditworthiness, the amount applied for, and the repayment periods constitute significant factors that significantly affect the overall cost of the loan.

What is Vehicle Finance?

It is, in essence, a monetary solution that makes it easier for an individual to secure a car. The vehicle cannot be paid for entirely during purchase but is paid for over an agreed period. Ownership of a vehicle is, in other words, brought within your reach. There are two types of vehicle finance in South Africa: installment sales and financial leases.

An installment sale is, in effect, the most straightforward form of financing where an agreement is made where the buyer agrees to pay for the vehicle in periodic, usually monthly, installments over a predetermined period that could be anywhere between one to six years. The car’s ownership remains with the seller until the payments are entirely made and are passed on to the purchaser once the costs are all complete or payment is rendered in full.

On the other hand, a financial lease is where the buyer uses the vehicle for a specified period against regular payments. At the end of the period, most commonly, the buyer can purchase or return the car or get a new one on lease.

Applying for Vehicle Finance

Any application for vehicle finance in South Africa comes with some steps that the lender requires to understand one’s financial stability and capability of paying back the amount borrowed. Here is an elaborate review of the application exercise:

Assessing your financial health before you decide to apply is handy. It means looking into your credit score and how much money you make monthly alongside your expenses and current debts. A higher credit score means you are more likely to get attractive loan terms. Utilize online calculators, indicating the amount you can comfortably borrow per your current financial state.

Select a vehicle that fits your budget and meets your needs. Consider factors such as the purchase price. Check the maintenance costs and insurance premiums as well. It’s wise to compare different models and dealerships to find the appropriate deal.

Different vehicle finance providers are available in South Africa, and they are provided by banks, credit unions, and specialized lenders. The interest rate and loan terms should be compared with repayment options. Lower interest is always offered for higher deposits, while a discount could be allowed for continuous customers.

Gather needed documents depending on the lender’s requirements. They are proof of identity, residence, bank statements, and evidence of income. The lender uses these documents to check and confirm financial stability and the ability to repay the amount borrowed.

Fill out the loan request form from your chosen lender. This is often available online or can be done at the dealership. Fill in the details accurately and attach copies of the requested documents. Some lenders may ask for a deposit at this stage.

Once you have applied, the lender shall review your financial background and creditworthiness. If your request is accepted, you shall get an offer describing all the agreement terms. Make sure to properly go through the offer because it should indicate the interest imposed on you. It also features the repayment schedule and whether there are any other charges. Once you have accepted the agreement, the agency pays the dealer the amount. Now, you can take your brand-new car home. 

Start making your monthly repayments according to the agreed schedule. Keep up with your settlements to avoid penalties and risk a bad credit record. And when you have repaid fully, the vehicle becomes entirely yours.

Best Auto or Vehicle Loan Providers in South Africa

One of the most important ways to ensure good terms and have a smooth purchase process is by choosing the right company for vehicle finance. Below is a summary of some of the top agencies of vehicle loans:

Wesbank Vehicle Finance

Wesbank remains popularly known for its all-inclusive vehicle finance options. These are appended with competitive interest rates and the flexibility of repayment alternatives. Its most minor salary requirement is R7,500 a month, making it accessible to a vast clientele case to access. Wesbank’s mobile app and its online tools make everything smooth. It is easier to use and makes the application process easier and more accessible. Uniqueness also comes with the bank’s one-of-a-kind W-shop service.

Absa Vehicle Finance

Absa offers customized vehicle financing at competitive interest rates starting from 9.25% over 24 to 72-month periods. Since the bank does not charge early settlement penalties on loans less than R250,000, there is flexibility when settling loans for clients. Also, working with their in-house insurers makes the process easier regarding insurance on financed vehicles.

FNB Vehicle Finance 

The First National Bank has various options for vehicle finance, such as dealership finance, private vehicle finance, and leisure finance. The minimum salary requirement is R6,000 a month, so it caters to different income groups. Dealership finance is for new and used vehicles up to 10 years of age. Private vehicle finance can be for those purchased through private sellers, while leisure finance is for purchasing other forms of recreational vehicles like motorbikes and caravans.

Keitzman Vehicle Finance 

Keitzman offers tailored vehicle finance with some of the country’s largest banks for pre-approval. Installment is provided at a low price. Also, with Keitzman, loan approval takes only a few hours. No need for a deposit further makes the process stress-free.