Finance options for buying a car

Finance options for buying a car

Financing A Car
Financing A Car

The different finance options for buying a car

Purchasing your own car is an expensive endeavour. In fact, second only to buying a house, it may be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. Owning a car signals freedom and you can travel on your own time, getting from A to B your own way. However, before you get swept up in the romance of the wind blowing through your hair as you speed down the motorway, it is important to consider the different finance options for buying a car. Here is a comprehensive overview of the different options, with a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages.

Cash Vs Savings

With interest rates at an all-time low, it is possible that your savings have not produced the returns you had hoped for. Therefore, rather than leaving your savings to slowly devalue and borrowing the capital for purchasing a car, which will only result in a high rate of interest, you might want to consider using your savings to fund part or the entire cost of a car. However, this should only be an option for you if there will still be emergency funds left in your savings once the car has been bought. If you don’t have enough savings to cover the full cost of a car, using part of your savings can help you secure the largest deposit possible.

Credit card

Even if you do decide to use your savings to buy a car, it might be a better idea to use your credit card and pay the full amount off the following month. This is advisable, as you will be eligible for protection offered on credit card purchases. If you use your credit card to purchase something between £100 and £30,000, you are automatically covered by “Section 75” of the Consumer Credit Act. This means that in some cases, you may be able to get your money back from your credit card company if there is a problem with your purchase or the company you’ve purchased from.

Personal Loan

Personal loans are offered by banks and building societies to those with good credit ratings. For example, if you are a homeowner, many banks offer home equity lines of credit that can be used to purchase vehicles. These kinds of loans are a viable alternative to auto loans or dealership financing because, according to the loan professionals at BB&T, “home equity loans and lines of credit carry lower interest rates than typical auto loans and can be repaid over a longer term.” However, if you have a history of failing to make your loan repayments, be sure you don’t take out a loan that is secured against your home. This is essential so that you’re not putting your home at risk if you fall behind in repayments.

The advantages of a personal loan are that it is easy to set up and can cover the entire cost of the car or only part of it; the choice is yours. You can find a competitive fixed interest rate if you shop around. The disadvantage of a personal loan is that you may have to wait for the funds from your personal loan to appear. Consequently, other borrowing from your bank or building society may be affected.

Hire Purchase (HP)

Hire purchase is an agreement between you and the car dealer where you agree to finance the car through instalments, usually spread over 12-60 months. Often you’ll have to put down a deposit of 10%. The HP loan is set against the car, so you won’t fully own the car until the very last instalment has been paid. This form of financing is often competitive for new cars.

The advantages of hire purchase agreements are that they are quick and easy to arrange and the repayment terms are flexible, ranging from 12 to 60 months. The deposit is usually low, at 10%.

The disadvantage of a hire purchase is that you won’t actually own the car until your final payment. Over time the HP plan may work out to be more expensive in comparison to shorter-term agreements.

Personal Contract Plan

A personal contract plan is a type of hire purchase which normally involves a lower monthly instalment. With such a plan, you pay the difference between its sale price and its price for resale back to the dealer. Therefore, you don’t actually pay for the car upfront. This price is determined through an estimation of the yearly mileage. Personal contract plans have shorter terms than the HP plan, as they range from 12 to 36 months.

The advantage of the personal contract plan is a lower monthly payment and deposit. As with the hire purchase the repayment terms are flexible. The obvious disadvantage is that the car’s mileage and overall condition will affect the cost. You could find that you’ve paid more over time in comparison to the HP plan.

Personal leasing

A personal leasing plan is essentially an extended loan. You would agree with the car dealer to pay a monthly fee that includes maintenance costs. The catch here is that you will have to agree to not exceed a set mileage limit. When the agreed term is up, the car goes back to the dealer. Basically, you would pay to hire the car for a long period of time.

The advantage of a personal lease is that you have none of the stress or worries that car owners deal with such as the car decreasing in value. As with hire purchase and personal contract plans, the payment terms are flexible. The disadvantage of a personal lease is that the monthly cost is high, as maintenance is included and, unfortunately, you will never actually own the car.

Things to remember when choosing a finance option

Cash from savings: this will help you secure a higher deposit. A higher deposit usually means a lower interest rate.

Personal loans: always shop around for the best interest rate offered by banks and building societies.

Always make sure that whatever option you choose, it will suit you over a long period of time so that you don’t run the risk of falling behind in payments.