Three Practical Options for Car Finance
Buying a new car is a big decision. For most people, their car is the second biggest purchase they make in their lives, with the most expensive purchase being their home.
However, unlike a home – which can increase in value and can even be considered to be an investment – a car is something that loses value rapidly, even from the moment it is driven away from the showroom. This means that you have to think carefully about how you will finance the purchase.
There are a few ways that you can finance the purchase of a car; here is a quick look at the most commonly used options:
Option No. 1 – A Personal Loan
A personal loan is one of the most common ways of buying a car.
- Good Credit Rating
If you have a good credit rating then a personal loan from a highstreet bank or lender is probably the cheapest option since you can get a competitive, fixed interest rate loan spread over several years.
If you opt for this option, make sure that it is not secured against your home, because this means that if you fail to make repayments your home could be at risk. This is called a ‘secured loan’.
You are often more likely to have your application accepted if you apply to the bank that you hold your current account and credit cards with, but it is worth shopping around and seeing what APRs other lenders have to offer.
Personal loans can be a good option for people who do not have a deposit to put towards their car purchase because the amount available can often cover the entire purchase.
- Poor Credit Rating
If you are unfortunate enough to have a poor credit rating, then a personal loan from a ‘high street’ lender will probably not be feasible.
A good value option for you could be car finance with a guarantor, where a friend or family member support your loan application.
Option No. 2 – Specialist Personal Contract Plan
Personal contract plans are a ‘car-focused’ type of hire purchase.
Instead of paying for the car outright you pay the difference between the purchase price of the car and the amount you would get if you resold the car to the dealer at the end of the contract.
With a personal contract plan, you typically put down a ten percent deposit; you then pay a relatively low monthly payment plan for the duration of the contract, and the contract will usually last between one and three years.
At the end of the contract, you have the option of either buying the car outright for the resale price or to hand it back to the dealer.
A lot of people use personal contract plans on a rotating basis, returning the car and taking out finance on a new car every few years. This means that for a relatively low fee they enjoy driving a brand new car, and don’t have to worry about the stress of maintenance on older cars.
Check out this really helpful Telegraph guide to car finance and the options available by clicking here.
Option No. 3 – Hire Purchase
Hire purchase agreements are similar to personal contract plans, but at the end of the contract, you own the car.
A hire purchase agreement can run for between one and five years. There are fixed interest rates available, so you have the luxury of knowing what your monthly payment will be for the duration of the contract.
With a hire purchase plan, you will be required to put down a ten percent deposit. You are essentially leasing the car for the duration of the agreement, and if you do not keep up with the repayments you will have to return the car to the dealer. Once the contract is up, the car is yours to keep.
- The Citizen’s Advice Bureau has compiled a list of the important information surrounding Hire Purchase agreements.
- The Sunday Times has also explored some of the alternative forms of finance which are currently available:
An Important Reminder
When you are working out how much you can afford to pay, remember that in addition to the car finance repayments you will need to cover:
- parking space fees
- general maintenance
- other running costs
Many people overlook the hidden costs of running a car, and that is why they end up in difficulties.
Remember that if you don’t keep up repayments on a loan secured on your car, the car will be repossessed.
Make sure that you can afford the repayments, with a buffer in case your personal circumstances change, before you commit to any large, long-term agreement.