When applying for loans, you can help your odds with lenders by knowing how your financial situation will affect your offer. You always need the proper documentation and a clear understanding of how your credit history will affect the interest rate you’re offered. When you apply for a loan, you may need specific documents to prove information like your income. These are the eight most important things to have when applying for a car loan:

Proof of income

Lenders need to know that the person they’re giving the money to is capable of making the payments. The best way to give them this reassurance is to bring proof of income like a pay stub from your employer. Your pay stub should be less than a month old and show your year-to-date income. What if you’re self-employed? Then you may need tax returns and bank statements to satisfy this requirement. Lenders may require two years of tax history but could ask for up to five. Lenders may also require bank statements from the past 3-5 months.

Proof of residence

A lender needs proof of residence to verify your address on the car loan application. You may be able to satisfy this requirement by bringing a piece of business correspondence you receive at home, like a utility bill. 


A government issued photo id is usually required for any banking transaction, including applying for a loan. Some forms of ID can include state issued ID card, drivers license, passports, or military ID. And if you plan to drive away in the car you’re applying for the loan; you need a valid driver’s license. 

Proof of insurance

Laws across the country dictate that all cars on the road must be insured and when financing a vehicle, the lender will require you to provide proof of insurance with coverages that meet their requirements. Your lender will review these coverage requirements with you as insurance will be required throughout the life of your loan. If you don’t have the coverage yet, shop around online or with your trusted insurance provider to get set up with a policy. This will also help in your budgeting process to know how much you can expect to pay for your insurance on your new car.

Financial History and Credit History Access

Lenders aren’t just concerned with your current finances; they’re interested in knowing all of it. They want to know your current debt-to-income ratio, credit history, and credit score. There is no documentation you need to bring for this, but understand that the lender will probably pull a credit report and ask about your current and past financial history.

Vehicle Information

When applying for a used car loan, you need a lot of information about the vehicle you’re trying to purchase. For example, the lender will want to know the price, year, make, model, mileage, original title, and any loans currently on the vehicle.  It’s recommended to get a comprehensive buyer’s guide or vehicle history report for the car you’re buying.

Trade-In Documentation

If you are trading in a car while buying a new one, you will need the title and registration for that car. Any other documents that could help determine the trade-in’s worth are essential. The trade-in’s value will impact how much financing you receive from the lender. 

Method of Down Payment

Sometimes, a down payment on a car can improve your financing options. You’ll want to be prepared to provide your down payment with cash, check, or debit card.

You can quickly get approved for a car loan by coming prepared when applying. If you want to improve your chances of getting a loan, consider consolidating multiple credit cards and paying off as much debt as possible beforehand and saving for a down payment.  

For information about vehicle loans at Kitsap Credit Union or to apply for one, visit our website at https://www.kitsapcu.org/personal-auto.html