How To Finance a Used Car

Written by Danny Collins
Last updated: June 9, 2023

Used cars come in all shapes and sizes, and while one person’s idea of the perfect car might be fast, sleek and expensive, someone else might prefer a vehicle that’s more practical, reliable and affordable.

When it comes to buying a used car, there are a few things you need to consider before you make your purchase, and the process can seem daunting. There are so many things to think about: the make and model of the car, how much you want to spend, what features you need or want. But one of the most important decisions you’ll make is how to finance your purchase. Here we will give you an overview of the best deals and options available when financing a used car.

Considerations for used car financing 

Getting a used car is a great way to save money, but it’s still a major purchase, and it’s important to get the best deal possible. When you finance a used car, you can spread the cost of the vehicle over several years, making it more affordable each month. When you finance a used car, you can spread the cost of the vehicle over a number of years, making it more affordable each month and helping you organize your finances in a more efficient way.

There are a few reasons why you might want to consider financing your used car purchase. First of all, it can be a more affordable option than buying a car outright. You may also be able to get a better interest rate on a used car loan than you would on a new car loan. And finally, financing can give you more flexibility when it comes to choosing your car. You can choose a car that might be out of your price range if you were paying cash but is within reach when you spread the cost over several years.

Why should we be aware of financial options for purchasing a used car? 

Financing a car is a major decision, and it’s important to be aware of all your options before you commit. When you finance a used car, you’re taking out a loan to cover the cost of the vehicle. This means that you’ll have to make monthly payments on the loan until it’s paid off. If you don’t have the cash to buy a car outright, financing is often your only option.

But not all loans are created equal. There are a variety of different lenders out there, and each one offers its terms and conditions. It’s important to shop around and compare interest rates, loan amounts, and other features before you commit to anyone’s loan. Another thing to consider when financing a car is the type of car you’re buying. Not all lenders offer loans for used cars, so you may need to go through a special financing company if you’re not buying a new vehicle. Make sure you understand the terms of the loan before you sign anything.

However, before you move forward with the financing, you should run a vehicle check to discover what kind of agreement they signed before, which will allow you to verify the pending finance. By doing this check before you purchase the car, you can be sure that there are no surprises down the road.

What are the types of car finance available in the UK, and how do they work? 

There are a few different ways to finance a used car, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at some types of car finance available in the UK. The most common types are:

Hire Purchase (HP)

A Hire Purchase is an agreement between a buyer and a seller, where the buyer hires an item from the seller for a specific length of time. The buyer pays for the item in instalments, and at the end of the agreement, they become the legal owner of the item.

With HP, the procedure begins with selecting a vehicle that you like and signing an HP agreement. You must make a down payment during this stage. According to the provisions of the contract, you agree to make monthly payments to the lender for an agreed period. At the end of the term, you’ll pay off the final balance and keep the car for the rest of your life. It’s worth noting that a hire purchase agreement does not include any balloon payments after the contract.

If your lender issues a used car Loan agreement HP, you may only take possession of the car after paying off the entire obligations. The finance company will be the legal owner until then. Ask the seller to settle or cancel the transaction if necessary.

Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)

PCP agreements are more complex than HP agreements. It’s similar to renting a car for an extended amount of time. You can use the car without any restrictions until the contract expires. You may return the vehicle and pay the resale value to keep it with you after the contract has ended.

With PCP, you also make monthly payments to the lender for an agreed period. But at the end of the term, you have the option to buy the car outright or return it to the lender. If you decide to buy the car, you make a balloon payment. If you decide to return it, you don’t have to make a balloon payment.

PCP has requirements such as a contract duration of three to five years. To take PCP, you must first pass a credit check and pay an advance payment. Furthermore, calculating the total amount you will spend throughout the whole contract length is frequently greater than personal contract hire.

To summarize, If you bought a vehicle with PCP, you have three alternatives: return the automobile, exchange the automobile, or refinance the car. In all of these cases, the legal property of the vehicle will be held by the finance organization. Based on this reality, purchasing a used car is always risky, and there are legal limitations to reselling the vehicle with outstanding finance. This is why it is important to make all the necessary checks on the car before signing any contract.

Personal Contract Hire (PCH)

The Personal Contract Hire (PCH) contract is a sort of leasing in which you may use a car for up to four years. Now, it accounts for 11% of all new vehicle finance loans, making it a fantastic choice if you drive a new vehicle frequently and want to keep your monthly payments low.

PCH is a good option if you want low monthly payments and don’t mind returning the car at the end of the contract. With PCH, you don’t have the option to buy the car outright at the end of the term. It’s very similar to PCP, but it doesn’t have a balloon payment at the end of the contract. You simply return the car and walk away at the end of the contract without any extra payments.

If the used car you’re interested in is from PCH, it’ll be like an HP but with no obligation to buy at the end of the contract. However, you will have the option to settle the debt amount once you’ve paid down your loan. The legal ownership remains with the finance provider until you complete the deal.

How to find the best-used car finance deals for you?

The best way to find the best car finance deals is by shopping around and comparing different offers. Many car finance websites offer car finance calculators that can help you compare different deals.

You should also read the fine print carefully before signing any agreements. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of the deal before committing to anything. When you’re looking for a car finance deal, it’s important to remember that not all deals are created equal. You need to be sure you understand the terms and conditions of any agreement before signing up. 

Don’t forget to always check the history of the used car you’re interested in by running a free registration check before hand, providing an in-depth report on the car’s history and an outstanding finance check. If there is an outstanding agreement on the vehicle, you may not be able to purchase it until the agreement is paid off, and this could lead to some serious complications down the road.

When you’re looking for a car finance deal, it’s important to remember that not all deals are created equal. So it’s important to do your research and compare different deals before committing to anything. Don’t forget to always check the history of the car you’re interested in and make sure there’s no outstanding finance agreement. Shopping around for the best deal is the key to getting a good used car at a great price!


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I finance a used car?

Yes, it is possible to finance a used car. Many financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions, offer financing options specifically tailored for used cars. You can also explore dealership financing or online lenders for additional options.


  1. What are the advantages of financing a used car?

Financing a used car has several advantages. Firstly, it allows you to spread the cost of the car over a period of time, making it more affordable. Secondly, it provides an opportunity to establish or improve your credit history by making timely payments. Lastly, financing may enable you to purchase a higher-quality used car that you might not be able to afford upfront.


  1. How does financing a used car work?

Financing a used car involves borrowing money from a lender to purchase the vehicle and then repaying the loan over a specified period, usually with interest. You typically make monthly payments until the loan is fully repaid. The lender may require a downpayment and assess your creditworthiness before approving the loan.


  1. What factors should I consider when choosing a used car financing option?

When selecting a used car financing option, consider the interest rate, loan term, down payment requirement, and any additional fees or charges. Also, compare the financing options available from different lenders or dealerships to find the most favourable terms and conditions for your financial situation.


  1. What is the difference between dealership financing and bank financing?

Dealership financing refers to obtaining a loan directly from the car dealership, while bank financing involves borrowing money from a bank or credit union. Dealership financing may offer convenience and special promotions, but it’s essential to compare the terms with other lenders to ensure you’re getting the best deal.


  1. What credit score do I need to finance a used car?

The specific credit score required to finance a used car varies depending on the lender and other factors. Generally, a higher credit score improves your chances of securing a loan with better terms and lower interest rates. However, there are financing options available for individuals with lower credit scores as well.


  1. Can I finance a used car with bad credit?

Yes, it is possible to finance a used car with bad credit. Some lenders specialise in offering loans to individuals with lower credit scores. However, keep in mind that the interest rates and terms may not be as favourable compared to those with good credit. It’s important to explore your options and consider improving your credit before financing a car.


  1. How much should I budget for a used car loan payment?

The monthly payment for a used car loan depends on factors such as the loan amount, interest rate, and loan term. To determine an approximate budget, use an online loan calculator to estimate monthly payments based on these variables. Ensure that the monthly payment comfortably fits within your budget and allows for other necessary expenses.


  1. Can I negotiate the interest rate when financing a used car?

In some cases, you may be able to negotiate the interest rate when financing a used car. It can be helpful to shop around and compare offers from different lenders to leverage competitive rates. If you have a good credit history, it strengthens your position for negotiating a lower interest rate.


  1. Can I pay off a used car loan early?

Yes, you can generally pay off a used car loan early. However, it’s essential to review the loan terms and any potential penalties for early repayment. Some lenders may charge a prepayment penalty or have specific conditions for early repayment. Contact your lender to understand their policies and options for paying off the loan ahead of schedule.


  1. Can I refinance my used car loan?

Yes, refinancing a used car loan is an option that can help you secure a lower interest rate or change the loan terms. If your credit score has improved or interest rates have dropped since you initially obtained the loan, refinancing can potentially save you money. Contact different lenders to explore refinancing options and compare the terms and conditions.


  1. What documents are required to finance a used car?

The documents required to finance a used car may vary depending on the lender and the specific financing option. Typically, you’ll need to provide proof of income, identification, proof of residence, and information about the car you plan to finance. It’s best to check with the lender or dealership in advance to understand their specific documentation requirements.

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