If you’re buying a new or used car, it may be tempting to exaggerate or mislead on your loan application so that you can borrow more money and therefore buy a better car. What happens if you lie on a car loan application, though?
Being dishonest when applying for any kind of finance is not a good idea. This is a form of fraud and is illegal, meaning you could face prosecution if you are caught. You are also likely to find it more difficult to get any kind of credit in the future, because there may be a marker placed against your file. You might also lose the car.
More generally, if you borrow more than you can afford because you have lied in your application, then you are far more likely to get into arrears, which will also damage your credit rating.
The effect on your credit score
Lenders will check your credit file before they agree to a loan or other form of car finance. If the lender belongs to CIFAS, a fraud prevention organisation, they can check for any warnings against your name.
This can happen if there has been fraudulent activity, either by you or someone else who has used your details illegally. CIFAS members cannot simply refuse an application because a warning exists; they are obliged instead to make further checks. They may ask for further proof of identity.
If you knowingly lie on a loan application and this is discovered, it will thus make it much more difficult to obtain credit in the future.
Why lying is not a good idea
The reason for lenders requesting your financial information, such as income and outgoings, is so they can check affordability. Obviously, they want you to repay the loan, and want to do their utmost to ensure this happens.
It’s not only in their interests, however. Finance companies are very experienced in calculating how much to lend someone. If you lie on a loan or finance application, this calculation will not be accurate.
This means you might well find you cannot meet the repayments and fall into debt. If you fall into arrears, you are much more likely to be refused future credit. Any future borrowing is also likely to be at less favourable rates of interest.
Secured and unsecured loans
If you lied on the application for a secured car loan and then did not manage to make the repayments, the lender could repossess the car. In this scenario, you would have nothing to show for the payments you had made.
Unsecured loans are not protected by an asset, so the lender could not repossess the vehicle. If a borrower fell behind on payments, the lender may go to court to try and get their money back. If this happened, the fraud may well be uncovered during this process and this could lead to prosecution. It would at least make it much more difficult to borrow money in the future - especially at anything but a very high rate of interest.
A risky business
If you lie on a car loan application, you are taking a number of risks and committing a crime. The biggest risk is prosecution, and possibly even time in prison. It is therefore extremely important that you are honest when making your application. Being accurate in the information you provide is in your interests and that of the lender.
So, take care when completing your application and make sure that all the details you supply are correct. Even if you provide inaccurate information accidentally, you could still be deemed to have committed an offence.