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Do You Need a Deposit for a Car Loan?

Larissa F. Gasperi
Nov 8, 2023 5:17:31 PM

Navigating the intricate maze of acquiring a car can be an exhilarating journey, filled with visions of open roads and newfound freedom. Yet, amidst the thrill of choosing the perfect model and colour, a pressing question often arises: Do you need a deposit for a car loan? In today’s post, we’ll drive through this topic, ensuring you have all the gears in place to make an informed decision.

Understanding the Basics of a Car Loan 

Before we steer directly into the crux of deposits, let’s first understand the basic mechanics of a car loan. A car loan, in its simplest form, is a borrowed sum of money used to purchase a vehicle. Instead of paying the full price upfront, a buyer can take out a loan, and then repay it in periodic instalments, with interest. 


The Role of a Deposit in Car Loans 

the role of a deposit for a car loan

A deposit, often referred to as a down payment, is an initial upfront partial payment for the purchase of expensive items such as a car. It serves multiple purposes: 

  • Reduces Loan Amount: A deposit immediately reduces the principal amount you need to borrow. For instance, if a car costs $20,000 AUD and you put down a deposit of $5,000 AUD, you'd only need a car loan for $15,000 AUD. 
  • Lowers Periodic Repayments: A smaller loan amount typically translates to reduced periodic repayments, making it easier on your wallet in the long run. 
  • Builds Credibility: A deposit can act as a sign of commitment and can sometimes increase your chances of loan approval, especially if your credit history is less than stellar. 


Is a Deposit Mandatory? 

is a deposit mandatory

The short answer? Not always. Whether or not you require a deposit for a car loan varies based on several factors: 

  • Lender’s Policy: Different lenders have different criteria. While some might mandate a deposit, others might offer 100% financing. 
  • Your Credit Profile: Individuals with a robust credit history and a stable income might find it easier to secure a car loan without needing a deposit. Conversely, those with a patchy credit history might benefit from offering a deposit to increase their chances of approval or secure a more favourable interest rate. 
  • Type of Car: New cars often depreciate faster, so some lenders might request a deposit to offset this. Conversely, for used cars, which have already undergone a chunk of depreciation, lenders might be more lenient. 
  • Loan Terms and Conditions: If you're eyeing a longer-term loan or a larger amount, lenders might ask for a deposit to reduce their risk. 


Benefits of Opting for No-Deposit Car Loans 

  • 1. Immediate Ownership: One of the foremost benefits of a no-deposit car loan is the immediate ownership it offers. There’s no need to wait months or even years to accumulate enough savings for a down payment. This is particularly beneficial if you find yourself suddenly needing a vehicle due to changes in employment, living situation, or personal circumstances. 
  • 2. Flexibility: A no-deposit car loan can be a boon for those whose finances are spread across various commitments. Whether it's juggling between rent, bills, or other pressing financial obligations, the flexibility of not having to provide a hefty upfront payment eases the strain, making the dream of car ownership more accessible. 
  • 3. Leverage Cash Flow: By opting for a no-deposit car loan, you have the advantage of retaining your savings. This provides a cushion for unexpected financial challenges or opportunities, ensuring you have funds available when you need them most, from medical emergencies to spontaneous travel opportunities or investments.  

Potential Downsides 

downsides deposit car loan

  • 1. Larger Loan Amount: While skipping the deposit fast-tracks car ownership, it also means you'll be borrowing a more substantial amount. This increase in the principal amount can result in higher monthly repayments, making budgeting crucial to ensure you can comfortably meet your commitments without straining other financial aspects of your life. 
  • 2. Interest Costs: The mathematics is simple. When you borrow more, the interest, even if the rate remains the same, accumulates over a larger sum. Over the tenure of the loan, this can mean paying significantly more in interest than you would have with a deposit to reduce the borrowed amount. 
  • 3. Equity Concerns: Cars, especially new ones, depreciate quickly. Without an initial deposit to offset some of this depreciation, you might find that the value of your car drops faster than you're able to pay off the loan. This situation, often termed as being "upside-down" on a loan, means you owe more than the vehicle's current worth. This can be particularly problematic if you want to sell or trade in the car before the loan is fully repaid. 

Who Can Get a No-Deposit Car Loan?

This depends on the specific lender, but generally, anyone who:

  • Doesn't have adverse credit
  • Has a good credit rating
  • Has a stable job
  • Has the capacity to repay the loan

Why Does a Lender Require a Deposit?

Lenders will sometimes request a deposit for the following reasons:

  • First-time lend
  • Limited previous credit
  • No borrowing at this size of lend
  • Impaired previous credit
  • Lack of stability in employment
  • No property backing
  • Limited savings
  • Lack of stability in residence
  • Vehicle booking price
  • Or it is simply their policy

How Does a Deposit Benefit the Lender?

  • Shows Commitment: It shows your commitment to the loan.
  • Reduces Exposure: It reduces the exposure of the finance company as they have the security of the vehicle and in the event of a return, they will have closer parity to the money owed against the asset value.
  • Increases Affordability: It can reduce payments and increase affordability to the client.
  • Demonstrates Financial Stability: It shows the client has access to cash and is not living week to week.

Can I Get a No-Deposit Car Loan if I Have Bad Credit?

Yes, you can get approved for a no deposit bad credit loan depending on the lender your loan is submitted to. To get approved for a bad credit no-deposit car loan, a good first step is to reach out to your professional asset finance broker. One of the advantages of Ausloans' 40+ lender panel is that it includes lenders that offer no-deposit loans for applicants with a bad credit score.

How Does Zink Software Help You Increase Your Chances of Getting a No-Deposit Loan?

Our market-leading Zink technology can advise clients in a matter of minutes which lenders specific to the client's circumstances will lend to them and if a deposit is required or not. Zink's advanced matching technology protects you against applying to numerous places to find the best-suited loan, which in turn can ruin your credit rating as applying frequently is detrimental to credit scores. Each time you apply for a loan a record of the application is placed on your credit report. Frequent or consistent enquiries reduce your score and make you less attractive to a lender and could, in fact, increase the likelihood of a deposit being required.

Zink protects you from that with NO impact on your credit score.


While the allure of a no-deposit car loan can be compelling, especially when the urge to drive off in a new vehicle is strong, it's crucial to evaluate all aspects. Assess your financial situation, consider the long-term implications, and ensure you're making a choice that aligns with your financial well-being. 

Remember, the journey to getting a car loan is as significant as the destination—a brand new (or new-to-you) car. Whether you choose to put down a deposit or opt for a no-deposit car loan, being well-informed will always keep you in the driver’s seat of your financial journey. 


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