Definitive guide to private vehicle finance in South Africa

Motorlease provides a safe, secure, and trustworthy platform for individuals who wish to buy and sell used vehicles privately. We know everything you need to know about second hand vehicle finance in South Africa.

With 30 years of experience helping facilitate the financing of privately bought second hand vehicles, we have the knowledge to help you. Here is a complete guide to private vehicle finance in South Africa.

What is Second Hand Vehicle Finance?

Second hand vehicle finance is a loan granted by the bank to you in order to help you buy a used vehicle from a private seller or a car dealer.

Second hand vehicle finance at a dealer
When you buy a vehicle and apply for finance through a dealership they have financial consultants available to help you apply. You are still applying to the bank for a second hand vehicle loan, but they will help you with the admin and they have also made sure that their cars are roadworthy and in saleable condition. The downside to buying through a dealership is that you will pay a premium for a car that you could find cheaper if you bought it privately.If you would like to buy from an approved dealer you should have a look at Constantiaberg Autos.
Private to private second hand vehicle finance

Private vehicle finance is a loan granted by the bank to you in order to help you buy a used vehicle from a private seller rather than a car dealer.

This can be quite a complicated process if you do it yourself as you will have to ensure the car is in financeable condition, try to arrange finance through a bank, arrange funds transfer, and so much more. This is where working with an organisation like Motorlease can help.

How can Motorlease help you?

Obtaining private vehicle financing through Motorlease helps reduce the burden on the buyer, and protects you from various potential risks when buying a private vehicle. Motorlease submits your application to multiple banks which is seen as one application. If you had to apply to multiple banks yourself, your credit score would drop with each application. Your personal bank does not always offer you the best financial deal. Motorlease negotiates with the banks on your behalf to ensure you get the best deal.

There are a number of benefits of working through an organisation such as Motorlease. These include helping reduce the costs of your vehicle finance, reducing the amount of admin and ensuring that you are protected when buying a car privately!

How does private vehicle finance work?

The process for obtaining second hand finance through a dealer is the same as if you buy a car privately, however, in that case the dealer will handle most of the paperwork and admin for you. We will focus on private to private second hand vehicle finance because this is where we can help.

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Start by finding a second hand car to buy

The first step is of course to find a second hand car that you want to buy from a private seller. Once you have found the car you want to buy and seen the car, you will then apply online. Once you have applied through Motorlease, we will get in touch with you and and guide you through the process to get your car financed.

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Where can I find a second hand car to buy?

When buying a car in order for it to be considered a private buy, you can buy from a private individual, a trust, a company, or a deceased estate. If you own a business, you are able to apply for vehicle finance with Motorlease through the business as long as you are buying from a private seller.

When you are looking for a vehicle to buy privately some of the best places to look are; GumtreeAutotraderFacebook Marketplace or Friends & Family.

Safety tips when buying privately

When meeting the seller of the vehicle, have someone accompany you. It is best to meet at a public location, just to be safe. You should also meet with the private seller during the day, to support the safety point above, but also to properly inspect the vehicle.

How do I apply for private second hand vehicle financing?

Applying for second hand vehicle finance through Motorlease is quite simple. You fill in our application form, and we will get back to you regarding your application. You will need to know the following information when applying:

When you are buying a second hand car the minimum salary you will need to qualify for finance is R7500p/m. Whether you are accepted or not with any salary will depend though on your other monthly expenses. When applying for second hand vehicle finance, you need to make sure that there is room within your monthly expenses for the amount of your finance instalment, vehicle insurance and the upkeep costs of a vehicle

In South Africa, the average credit score is between 583 to 613. A good credit score is between 681 to 766. The minimum credit score to buy a second hand car in South Africa would then be above 583. The best idea though, is to ensure that you maintain a favourable credit score at all times. Try to maintain a credit score of around 681 when you are hoping to buy a car.

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What happens after you apply for second hand vehicle finance?

Once you have applied for second hand vehicle financing through Motorlease, we will contact you and ask you for a few details and documents to ensure that you get the car you are wanting to buy.

You give us the seller’s contact details and we will get the information and documents that we need from them. We do all the running around for you!

The responsibilities of a private vehicle buyer

As the buyer of the vehicle you will be primarily responsible for getting the ball rolling on the sale, and the financing queries and requirements. We will need the following documentation/information from you during the process:

  • The documents listed above for the bank finance application and the vehicle licensing and registration process.
  • The contact information of the seller.
  • Your valid driver’s license.
  • Once your vehicle finance has been approved. We will contact the seller to arrange the next step. We will invoice the bank once the vehicle inspection has been done as well as having received the go ahead from our securities department. The bank will then draw up the contract for you as the buyer to sign and comprehensive vehicle insurance will need to be arranged.
  • Should a deposit be required, you will be required to pay the deposit to Motorlease via EFT.

This information will be used to make sure that the purchase of the vehicle is legitimate and that you qualify for vehicle financing.

The responsibilities of a private vehicle seller

As the seller of the vehicle their primary responsibilities will be providing information about the car being sold, it’s history, and relevant documents such as proof of ownership and a valid  Roadworthy Certificate.

Motorlease will make contact with the seller and ask relevant questions about the history of the second-hand car that they are selling. They will also obtain any relevant documents such as:

  • Clear copy of the seller’s ID and a FICA compliant proof of address.
  • Suitable proof of ownership and proof of purchase. (If the car is paid up then proof of purchase as well as a copy of the vehicle’s Registration Certificate will be required. If a settlement is owed to a financial institution, a copy of the vehicle’s settlement letter will be required.)
  • The seller needs to ensure that the vehicle has a valid roadworthy certificate as it is required by the licensing department to facilitate the change of ownership. The cost of the roadworthy certificate is not covered by Motorlease and it is the only cost that the seller is responsible for. 

Motorlease will schedule a time and place for a vehicle assessor to inspect the pre-owned vehicle to ensure it is in financeable condition.  Once the vehicle assessment has been concluded our securities department will then do full background security checks to verify the status of the documents and information supplied.


Once all of the above has been dealt with, we have invoiced the bank and you have signed your contract, we will submit all your documents to the bank for payout. The bank will send us the remittance.

We will keep you up to date during this whole process, so that you will know as soon as we have received the remittance. Once we have confirmation of the remittance from the bank we will contact the buyer and the seller to let them know. We then set up payment, and handover of the vehicle between buyer and seller is then arranged.

Vehicle Delivery and Handover

Once the payment from the bank reflects in our account, we then transfer the funds into the seller’s bank account through an internet transfer or we settle the amount with the finance company if settlement is owed on the vehicle.

A few things to note:

In terms of paying the seller, same day payments can be effected to most banks but can only be done from Monday to Friday before 14h30. With a same day payment it can take up to 2 hours for the funds to reflect in the car seller’s bank account.

Payments can only be made to current and savings accounts.

Once the payment admin is out of the way, the next step is for the buyer and seller to meet. The buyer and seller should meet at a central place so that payment can be made and the vehicle can be handed over to the buyer.

When you are at the handover stage we will have carried out sufficient background checks to ensure that you can safely take delivery of your vehicle.

An important note for the seller is that they need to keep the vehicle insured until it has been handed over to the buyer at which point insurance becomes the buyer’s responsibility.

Motorlease Private Vehicle Finance fees

When you are financing a vehicle bought privately there is a facilitation fee that is charged which covers the services that Motorlease provides as well as a cost for license and registration. Generally these fees are included in the amount to be financed. These fees apply to the buyer.

License and registration

When you buy a vehicle in South Africa, you need to ensure that the vehicle is registered in your name and licensed according to where you live. Motorlease will handle the entire licensing and registration process ( and associated costs) for you and we will also provide new number plates should you need them.

If you do not live in Gauteng or The City of Cape Town, Motorlease will appoint a facilitator to attend to the licensing of your vehicle. In the event that we are unable to arrange a facilitator in the area that you live, you will be required to license the vehicle yourself. You will be reimbursed for this once we receive proof of payment for the cost of the license and number plates.

You will be registered as the owner of the financed vehicle but the finance institution will hold the car’s registration ( or NaTIS document) until your finance is paid in full. The original Natis document will be sent to the finance institution for safekeeping and you will be sent a copy for your records.

How Motorlease Will Help You With Your Private Vehicle Financing

The process of buying a second hand car privately and getting financed might seem complicated. Don’t stress, at Motorlease we are here to help you every step of the way and to make the process as simple as possible.

If you know what second hand vehicle you want to buy and finance, the first step would be to apply for finance. Once you have applied for finance we will be in touch.

After our first call will we start the process outlined above. We will do most of the work for you, and will let you know when we need your help as the buyer.

If you have any questions before applying for second hand vehicle finance let us know. We are here to help, and look forward to helping you finance your next vehicle!