Frequently asked questions

Search for answers to our commonly asked questions.

What is the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA)?
The FLA is the leading trade body for the motor finance, asset finance and consumer credit industries in the UK. Last year, FLA motor finance members provided £39 billion for the purchase of vehicles. Over 93% of all consumer new car sales are currently paid for using finance from FLA member finance companies.
What is Specialist Automotive Finance (SAF)?
The FLA introduced Specialist Automotive Finance (SAF) in 2007 to help raise the standard of car finance information provided in showrooms for the benefit of car buyers. SAF is entirely funded by FLA member finance companies who want to increase confidence in car finance.
What is SAF Essentials?
SAF Essentials is free learning material that explains the basic concepts of motor finance, how the FCA regulates and introduces the key motor finance products used in the industry. To view the learning material please click here.
What is SAF Expert?
Originally known as ‘the SAF test’ or ‘SAF competency test’ - SAF Expert provides learners with intermediate level knowledge of 9 different motor finance products used by customers to buy or lease vehicles. The learning also covers the key FCA principles and rules for the sale of motor finance and other important regulations such as those relating to unfair trading and anti-money laundering.
What is SAF Advanced?
The only level-3 (A-level equivalent) professional qualification specifically covering motor finance. SAF Advanced has been developed for industry staff that seek to gain formal recognition of their motor finance knowledge. The course has been developed by the FLA in partnership with The London Institute of Banking & Finance to be a natural progression from SAF Expert.
What is SAF Approved?
SAF Approved provides recognition for firms whereby all of their customer facing staff, involved in the sale of motor finance, have passed the SAF Expert test.
Is SAF a regulatory requirement?
SAF is an industry standard, but is not a mandated qualification. The FCA noted in its 2019 review of the motor finance market that investments in staff training were linked to staff adequately assessing a customer’s needs and circumstances.
How should I prepare for the SAF Expert Test?
The test material can be studied on your tablet or smartphone, or from a printed copy of the learning material. You can study at your own pace and register to take the test when you feel ready.
What staff should take each of the different strands of SAF learning?
SAF Essentials - For new entrants or those with no experience of motor finance SAF Expert – For all customer facing staff involved in the sale of motor finance SAF Advanced - For industry professionals that wish to gain formal recognition for their motor finance knowledge
What happens if customers have a complaint or are not satisfied with a SAF Approved dealer?
When applying to the FLA to become ‘SAF Approved’, dealers make a commitment to adhere to the SAF Guidance Note. The Guidance Note asks dealers to act fairly, reasonably and responsibility when selling finance to customers in line with the FLA's Lending Code. The dealer’s commitment to the Guidance Note is captured on an annual compliance statement. SAF Expert and SAF Approved is audited by the FLA and its member finance companies. If the FLA receives a complaint from a customer regarding a dealer participating in SAF Expert, the FLA and the associated finance company will undertake a full investigation. An investigation may result in the removal of SAF Expert certificate(s)for individuals and SAF Approved status for the firm. Further action may be taken by the associated finance company.
Is there a test for studying the SAF Essentials training material?
SAF Essentials is designed to provide a basic understanding of motor finance for new staff. There is no test for SAF Essentials. Firms may wish to undertake their own assessments to check staff understand the information on the factsheets
How does my company register for SAF Expert?
For companies that are putting their staff through the SAF Expert training material and test, a guide for those setting up their account (administrator) is available here.
What is the process for taking the SAF Expert test?
If you are looking to take the SAF Expert test for the first time and would like more information about getting started, please view our user guide here.
I have a current SAF Expert certificate, do I receive an exemption for studying towards SAF Advanced
Learners that have a valid SAF Expert certificate receive an exemption from taking unit 1 of SAF Advanced. SAF Experts are therefore a third of the way to achieving the level-3 SAF Advanced qualification.
Do dealership staff have to take the SAF Expert test?
There is no mandatory requirement however FLA member firms are committed to high standards of customer service and sales practices, which can only be guaranteed by staff who hold a SAF Expert test pass.

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