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What is a Car Loan?

Cars can be pricey, and not all of us have the cash lying around to pay up front. Luckily there are plenty of different financing options available - it's just a case of picking the right one. Car loans are, quite simply, loans designed to facilitate the purchase of a car.

Scroll down for a bit more info on the different types of car loan and finance options available, and fill in the form below to start comparing.

We compare the Top Loan Providers:

  • Sainsburys
  • Zopa Loans
  • Cahoot Loans
  • TSB
  • Everyday Loans
  • AA Loans
  • Nationwide
  • Santander

Applying for Car Finance

The simplest way of purchasing a new car is by paying the cash up-front. Unfortunately, this isn't an option everyone has. That's where car loans come in, and applying for one is simple:

1. Fill in the form below

First, we'll need a few basic details about you and about the amount you wish to borrow. This helps us make sure that we only find you suitable loans that you're likely to get accepted for, saving everyone time and effort!

2. Wait for a broker to get in touch

Once you've filled in the form, our expert panel of brokers will look through the details. One of our brokers will then get in touch with you to discuss your options, and help you pick the right loan. They'll also guide you through the final steps of the application process.

3. Start borrowing!

Now comes the easiest part - take out the loan you've selected, purchase your car and drive off!

Need more information? Click here to read our guides on loans.

Types of Car Loan

Use a Hire Purchase Agreement

A Hire Purchase agreement is one of the most common forms of car financing. It involves you paying fixed monthly instalments (with interest), either to a car dealership or to an independent financing company. A Hire Purchase agreement often requires you to pay a deposit of around 10% of the value of the car at the beginning of the contract. Repayment terms can be anywhere between 12 and 60 months, and the APR is typically fixed from the outset.

You can get pretty competitive rates from dealerships and manufacturers, but you should always bear in mind that you won't actually own your car until you complete the agreement and you pay the 'option to purchase' fee. As the car dealership or finance company remain the legal owner of the car, you are not allowed to modify or sell the car during the repayment period. In addition, as the loan is secured against the car, there is a chance that your car may be repossessed, should you fail to keep up with the payments.

Conditional Sales work in much the same way as a hire purchase agreement, only without the need to pay a fee at the end in order for you to own the car.

Use a Personal Loan

Another popular way in which people purchase new cars is through taking out a personal loan from a bank or financial organisation. The interest rate you are offered will depend entirely on your credit history. However, for people with a good credit score, this can often be the best way of purchasing a new car. If you fund the purchase of a new car with a personal loan, you become the legal owner of the car as soon as you pay the car dealership. As a result, you can modify the car as you please. In addition, you can also sell the car during the repayment period, which can be especially useful if you are struggling to keep up with your payments. For more information on unsecured personal loans, click here.

Use a Personal Contract

A Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) is a slightly more flexible variant of a Hire Purchase agreement. A PCP is a form of long-term rental, where you agree with the dealership on the amount you will use the car, both in terms of mileage and time. A PCP will often require you to pay a deposit of 10% and to pay fixed monthly instalments, which will allow you to use the car for an agreed amount of time. Following the end of this period, there is a degree of flexibility. You can keep the car, hand it back or upgrade. Should you wish to keep the car, you will need to pay a lump sum which will have been deferred from your monthly payments. Due to the size of this fee, the monthly payments for a PCP can be substantially cheaper than the monthly payments for a Hire Purchase agreement. It is important to remember that there will be excess charges if you exceed the agreed mileage or damage the car in anyway. Due to the vast amount of choice, in terms of both financing options and providers, it is crucial that you shop around when deciding how to purchase your new car, in order to ensure that you get the best and most appropriate deal. When buying a used car, it is also important to check that it is not subject to outstanding finance and thus owned by a dealership or finance company.

ME Expert Ltd is not authorised to provide advice and are introducing you to a regulated firm with whom we are not under a contractual obligation to conduct mortgage or general insurance mediation business with exclusively. You should ensure you provide any potential insurer with your full details and ensure that you are eligible to make a claim(s) in relation to the cover offered. ME Expert Ltd will receive a small payment for certain general insurance introductions which will not normally exceed £35.

MoneyExpert does not give advice on or recommend any particular insurance product or service or whether it is suitable for your personal circumstances. The information provided is to help you to make your own choice about how to proceed