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Applying for pay as you go car finance: What documents will I need?

Embarking on the journey of acquiring a vehicle through Pay As You Go (PAYG) car finance can be an exciting venture. It's a path filled with the promise of flexibility and tailored payment plans. However, before you can enjoy the benefits of this innovative financing model, it's crucial to understand the documentation required to get started.


Navigating the world of car financing can be a bit of a maze, especially when you’re considering options like Pay As You Go (PAYG) car finance. It’s a bit different from your usual finance deal, and it’s essential to know what you’re getting into and, crucially, what documents you’ll need in your toolkit. So, let’s break it down together.

What is pay-as-you-go car finance?

First off, what exactly is PAYG car finance? It’s a type of finance plan where your payments are, quite literally, as the name suggests – based on how often you use the car. It’s perfect for those who might not have a consistent cash flow or are looking to control their finances more tightly.

Now, it’s a bit different from your standard HP (Hire Purchase) or PCP (Personal Contract Purchase). The key difference lies in the flexibility and potentially the eligibility criteria, which can be a bit more relaxed compared to traditional financing. However, remember that every silver lining has a cloud; PAYG might come with higher interest rates or fees, so it’s always good to weigh the pros and cons.

Who can apply for PAYG car finance?

The beauty of Pay As You Go car finance is its inclusivity, catering to a wide range of individuals. However, just because it’s accessible doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all. There are certain criteria and nuances to understand:

Standard eligibility

The basic requirements are straightforward:

  • Age: Generally, applicants must be at least 18 years old. This is a standard legal requirement for entering into financial contracts in the UK.
  • UK resident: You should be a legal resident of the UK. Lenders need this assurance for credit and legal reasons.

Credit history considerations

  • Broader acceptance: One of the appeals of PAYG finance is its openness to those with less-than-perfect credit scores. If you’ve had credit hiccups in the past, don’t let that deter you.
  • Credit checks: While more forgiving, most lenders will still conduct a credit check. This isn’t just about your score; it’s to understand your financial history and behaviour.

Employment and income

  • Proof of income: Whether you’re full-time, part-time, self-employed, or even on a contract basis, you’ll need to prove you have a regular income. This reassures lenders that you have the means to make repayments.
  • Employment status: While having a job is beneficial, some PAYG finance options may also cater to those receiving certain types of benefits or pensions. Each lender’s criteria can vary, so it’s worth checking.

Unique circumstances

  • Self-employed individuals: If you’re self-employed, you might be used to jumping through hoops for financial products. PAYG car finance can be more accommodating, but you’ll need to provide evidence of your income, which could be through bank statements or tax returns.
  • People rebuilding credit: If you’re working on improving your credit score, PAYG finance can be a stepping stone. It not only gets you the car you need but can also help rebuild your credit profile, provided repayments are made on time.

What about students and young drivers?

  • Young drivers: For young drivers, especially those without a long credit history, PAYG finance can be an option. However, it’s important to consider the affordability and the potential impact on future financial commitments.
  • Students: If you’re a student with a part-time job or a stable income source, you might be eligible. However, the key is to demonstrate financial stability and the ability to meet the repayment schedule.

Documents you’ll need when applying for PAYG finance

Securing PAYG car finance is like piecing together a puzzle – the right documents can make all the difference. Here’s an expanded rundown of what you’ll typically need:

Identification documents

  • Valid photo ID: A current driving licence or passport is crucial. It’s not just about proving who you are; it’s also about confirming your age and residency status.
  • Proof of age: Often, your photo ID will cover this, but some lenders might require a separate document, especially if your primary ID doesn’t include your date of birth.

Financial documents

  • Proof of income: This isn’t just about showing you have a job. It’s about demonstrating stability and reliability. Recent pay stubs, tax returns, or even a letter from your employer can serve this purpose.
  • Bank statements: These offer a window into your financial health. Lenders will look for regular income deposits and how you manage your finances – are you constantly in your overdraft, or do you have a healthy balance?
  • Credit history: Even though PAYG lenders may be more lenient, they’ll still peek at your credit history. It gives them an idea of how you’ve handled debt in the past.

Proof of residence

You may be asked to show utility bills or a lease agreement. These should be recent – usually within the last three months. They confirm your current address, which lenders need for background checks and for legal documentation.

Employment verification

Not all lenders will contact your employer, but they like to have the option. Providing employer contact details adds another layer of verifying your income and employment status.

But wait, there’s more!

In some cases, the lender might ask for additional documentation. This could include:

  • References: Think of these as character witnesses for your financial behaviour. A reference from a landlord or a long-term employer can provide lenders with additional confidence in your reliability.
  • Proof of insurance: Before you drive away, lenders want to ensure that the car is insured. This isn’t just about protecting their assets; it’s also a legal requirement.
  • Trade-in documents: If part of your deal involves trading in another vehicle, you’ll need its registration documents, any outstanding finance details, and potentially its service history.

Organising your documents

Applying for PAYG car finance doesn’t just require having the right documents; it’s also about presenting them in an organised, accessible manner. Here’s how to ensure your documentation is in tip-top shape:

Create a checklist

Before you start gathering your documents, create a checklist. This list should include every document mentioned by your lender. As you gather each item, tick it off the list. This methodical approach ensures nothing gets missed.

Digital and physical copies

In today’s digital world, it’s likely that you’ll submit your application online. Scan all your documents and store them in a secure, easily accessible digital folder. Make sure each file is clearly labelled (e.g., “Passport_JohnDoe”, “BankStatement_March2024”). Have a backup of your digital documents, either on a cloud service or an external hard drive. This guards against technical mishaps.

💡 Some lenders might still require physical copies. Keep them in a neat, organised file or folder. Use clear sleeves or dividers to separate different types of documents.

Ensuring validity and currency

Regularly check the expiry dates on your IDs and other time-sensitive documents. A document that’s expired can derail your entire application.


If you’re submitting physical documents, ensure they’re clean, uncrumpled, and legible. It’s not just about making a good impression; it’s about ensuring there are no unnecessary delays due to illegibility.

Organise the documents in the order they’re likely to be needed or in the order requested by the lender. This makes it easier for the lender to process your application.

Updating information

Life changes – maybe you’ve moved house or changed jobs. Ensure your documents reflect your current situation.


While accessibility is important, so is security, especially for sensitive documents. Use secure, password-protected folders for digital files, and keep physical documents in a safe place.

The pay-as-you-go application process

Embarking on the application journey for PAYG car finance can be an exciting venture. It’s a path filled with anticipation, preparation, and a few crucial steps. Here’s how to navigate this adventure with confidence:

1. Gather your documents

This is where your organised document folder, digital or physical, comes into play. Ensure everything on your checklist is present and accounted for. Double-check expiry dates and the relevance of your documents.

2. Choose the right lender

Not all lenders are created equal. Spend time researching various lenders who offer PAYG car finance. Look for reviews, interest rates, terms and conditions, and any additional fees. Compare different lenders to find the one that best suits your needs. Consider factors like customer service, flexibility, and the specifics of their PAYG finance options.

3. Filling out the application

When filling out the application form, whether online or on paper, accuracy is critical. Ensure all information is current and correct. Provide detailed information wherever required. Half-filled forms or missing details can lead to delays or even rejection of your application.

4. Submitting your application

Once you’ve filled out the application form, go through it once more. A second look can often catch mistakes you might have missed initially. Submit your application along with all the required documents. If submitting online, make sure your internet connection is stable. For physical submissions, ensure that your documents are neatly organised and presented.

5. The waiting game

The response time can vary from lender to lender. It might take a few days or a couple of weeks. Use this time to prepare for the next steps, like considering insurance options for your new car. Keep an eye on your emails or post for any communication from the lender. They might require additional information or clarification.

6. Responding to queries

If the lender contacts you with queries or requests for additional documents, respond promptly. This shows your keenness and helps keep the process moving smoothly. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if you don’t understand a request from the lender. Clear communication can prevent misunderstandings.

🚗 Read more: How Does Pay As You Go Car Finance Work?

7. Receiving the decision

✅ If your application is approved, you’ll receive an agreement outlining the terms of your finance. Review this carefully. Ask questions if anything is unclear.

❌ In the case of rejection, don’t lose heart. Ask the lender for the reason. This information can help you improve your chances in future applications.

You’re approved! What’s next?

There are several important steps to take next to ensure everything goes smoothly.

1. Understanding & signing the contract

Before you put pen to paper, read through the entire contract. Look out for the interest rate, repayment terms, any penalties for late payments, and clauses about vehicle maintenance and insurance obligations.

Once you’re completely comfortable with the terms, go ahead and sign the contract. Ensure you keep a copy of the signed contract for your records.

2. Arranging insurance

Before you can drive your new car, it needs to be insured. Shop around for the best insurance deal that fits your needs and budget. Remember, having comprehensive cover is often advisable. Provide your lender with proof of insurance. This is typically a requirement before you can take possession of the vehicle.

3. Setting up payments

The most convenient way to make your repayments is often through a direct debit. Set this up with your bank to ensure payments are made automatically on the agreed dates. Familiarise yourself with the payment schedule. Know exactly when each payment is due and ensure there are sufficient funds in your account to cover each payment.

4. Vehicle collection

Once all the paperwork is in order, you can arrange to collect your vehicle. This might be from the dealership or a specific location arranged by your lender. On collection, inspect the vehicle thoroughly. Check for any damages or issues and ensure they are noted and addressed before you leave. Remember that your ability to make payments may be tied to the vehicle’s condition and your driving behaviour.

5. Maintaining your vehicle

Keep up with regular maintenance to ensure the vehicle remains in good condition. This might be a requirement of your finance agreement. If any issues arise with the vehicle, address them promptly. Neglecting vehicle problems can lead to bigger, more expensive issues down the line.

6. Monitoring your finances

Make sure your budget accommodates the regular car payments along with other vehicle-related costs like fuel, maintenance, and insurance. If your financial situation changes and you anticipate difficulty in making payments, contact your lender immediately to discuss your options.

Apply for pay as you go car finance today

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