15 Car Finance Myths – Busted!

Rear view of Porsche with sunset

Car finance is a popular way for individuals in the United Kingdom to acquire their dream vehicles without the burden of a hefty upfront payment. However, car finance is rife with myths and misconceptions that often discourage potential buyers or lead them down the wrong financial path. 

This comprehensive guide will debunk 15 common car finance myths, providing clarity and valuable insights for anyone considering financing a car. So, fasten your seatbelt as we embark on a journey to separate fact from fiction.

  1. Car Finance Means Paying More in the Long Run
  2. Paying Cash Is Always Better Than Financing 
  3. Car Finance Is Only for New Cars 
  4. You Have To Get Car Finance Through a Dealership
  5. You Can’t Get Car Finance with Bad Credit 
  6. Car Loans Are Only Available to Those Over 21
  7. The Best Option Is the One With the Lowest Monthly Repayments
  8. Car Finance Is a Complicated Process
  9. Car Finance Negatively Affects Your Credit Score
  10. Car Finance Equals a Lifetime Commitment 
  11. Car Finance Always Requires a Large Down Payment 
  12. Car Finance Is Only for Individuals, Not Businesses 
  13. You Can’t Negotiate the Terms of a Car Finance Deal
  14. Car Finance Always Requires a Guarantor 
  15. You’re Stuck With the Same Lender Throughout the Agreement

1. Car Finance Means Paying More in the Long Run

One prevailing myth is that car financing inevitably results in paying more for your vehicle over time than cash purchases. While it’s true that car finance involves paying interest on the loan, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re losing out financially.

Car finance allows you to spread the cost of your vehicle over a specified period, typically 2 to 5 years. Yes, you’ll incur interest charges, but it’s essential to consider the bigger picture. Car finance often enables you to afford a better car than you could with a lump-sum payment. Additionally, fixed monthly payments make budgeting and managing your finances more manageable.

2. Paying Cash Is Always Better Than Financing

The idea that paying cash upfront for a car is the unequivocal superior choice is a common misconception. While there are undeniable advantages to paying in cash, such as avoiding interest charges, it may not always be the most financially savvy option.

Car finance offers unique benefits, including preserving cash for other investments or unforeseen emergencies. It also provides the flexibility to choose from a broader range of vehicles that might be out of reach with a one-time payment. Furthermore, if you can secure a low-interest car finance deal, the cost of borrowing may be relatively minimal, making it a cost-effective way to acquire your desired vehicle.

The choice between paying cash and financing depends on your financial situation, goals, and preferences. It’s advisable to weigh each option’s pros and cons carefully before deciding.

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3. Car Finance Is Only for New Cars

Some individuals mistakenly believe car finance is exclusively reserved for brand-new, off-the-production-line vehicles. This myth couldn’t be further from the truth. Car finance is a versatile financing option that can be utilised for both new and used cars.

The used car market in the United Kingdom is thriving, with numerous well-maintained, low-mileage vehicles available for purchase. Financing a used car can be financially prudent, as the initial depreciation hit has already occurred, making it a more cost-effective option than buying a brand-new vehicle.

Car finance caters to buyers’ diverse preferences and budgets, allowing them to choose between new and used cars based on their individual needs and financial circumstances.

4. You Have To Get Car Finance Through a Dealership

Contrary to popular belief, you are not obligated to secure car finance exclusively through a dealership when purchasing a vehicle. While many dealerships offer in-house financing options and may encourage buyers to finance through them, you can explore alternative financing sources and obtain a car loan independently.

Although not true for all dealerships, some will have agreements with lenders to earn them a commission for arranging finance deals. This means that you may be pushed into a finance deal with an unfavourable rate than if you were to shop around. 

Top-down view of vintage cars stored in a car dealership

5. You Can’t Get Car Finance With Bad Credit

Another prevalent myth is that individuals with bad credit are ineligible for car finance. While it’s true that lower credit scores may result in higher interest rates, there are car finance solutions tailored to accommodate individuals with less-than-ideal credit histories.

Many lenders specialise in bad credit car finance, offering opportunities for individuals to rebuild their credit by making timely payments on their car finance agreements. Additionally, some lenders consider factors beyond credit scores, such as income, employment stability, and overall financial circumstances, when evaluating eligibility for car finance.

If you’re concerned about your credit score, it’s advisable to explore lenders that specialise in bad credit car finance and assess your options before making a decision. With diligent research and consideration, it’s possible to secure car finance even with less-than-perfect credit.

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6. Car Loans Are Only Available to Those Over 21

A common misconception is that car loans are exclusively accessible to individuals over the age of 21. The age requirements for obtaining a car loan can vary depending on the lender and local regulations. While it’s true that younger borrowers, particularly those who have recently reached the legal driving age, may encounter some limitations and additional requirements, car loans are still within reach under specific conditions.

Key points to consider regarding car loans for individuals under 21 include:

  • Minimum Age Requirements: Many UK lenders establish a minimum age requirement for car loan applicants, typically around 18 years old—the legal driving age in the UK. This means that individuals who have reached the age of 18 are generally eligible to apply for car loans.
  • Credit History and Income: Age is one factor in lenders’ evaluations. Even younger borrowers can qualify for car loans if they demonstrate responsible financial behaviour, including a reliable source of income and a favourable credit history. Lenders often assess an applicant’s ability to make loan payments, which depends on financial stability rather than age.
  • Guarantors or Co-Signers: Younger borrowers without established credit histories or sufficient income may secure a car loan with the help of a guarantor or co-signer. A guarantor, usually an older individual like a parent or guardian, agrees to take responsibility for the loan if the borrower defaults, significantly improving the likelihood of loan approval.

It’s crucial to emphasise that age represents just one aspect of car loan eligibility. Lenders primarily evaluate applicants based on financial responsibility, creditworthiness, and the ability to repay the loan. Younger borrowers who meet these criteria and fulfil additional lender requirements can access car loans, enabling them to purchase vehicles and establish responsible credit histories.

7. The Best Option Is the One With the Lowest Monthly Repayments

Although better in the short term, it may cost you more overall. It’s a wise idea to look at the whole package – the higher your APR and the longer the loan, the more money you’ll pay back overall. If you can afford higher payments to save money in the long run, it’s a sensible idea.

Low monthly repayments appear to be a budget-friendly and appealing option for many car buyers. They can make it easier to manage your immediate finances and give the impression of affordability. However, looking beyond the surface and considering the broader financial implications is crucial.

The Total Cost of the Loan

When assessing car finance options, it’s essential to focus on the total cost of the loan rather than just the monthly payments. The total cost includes the principal amount borrowed and the interest you’ll pay over the loan term. Low monthly payments often result from extending the loan term, which might seem advantageous in the short term, but it can significantly increase the overall cost of the loan.

The Role of APR (Annual Percentage Rate)

The APR, or Annual Percentage Rate, represents the interest rate and additional fees associated with the loan. A lower APR typically means lower overall interest costs. In comparison, a higher APR can increase the total amount paid over the life of the loan. It’s essential to pay attention to the APR because it directly affects the cost-effectiveness of your car finance option.

The Impact of Loan Term

Choosing longer loan terms to achieve lower monthly payments can backfire in the long run. While it might make the car seem more affordable month-to-month, it extends the time interest accrues. Consequently, you’ll end up paying more in interest over the extended loan period, which can significantly inflate the total cost of the car.

8. Car Finance Is a Complicated Process

Misconceptions abound that car finance involves a complex, confusing process fraught with industry jargon and concealed fees. However, the reality is far more straightforward and accessible. Reputable car finance providers prioritise transparency and guide buyers in plain language.

Car finance has evolved, thanks to digital advancements, becoming streamlined and efficient. Many lenders offer online applications and swift approval processes, enabling borrowers to secure car finance within a relatively short timeframe.

In numerous cases, the entire car finance application process, including document submission and approval, can be completed online. Although specific timelines may vary based on the lender and individual circumstances, securing car finance typically takes just days or even hours—a convenient option for those needing a vehicle.

The key to successfully navigating car finance is conducting thorough research, asking pertinent questions, and selecting a lender with transparent terms and conditions. By doing so, buyers can embark on their car finance journey with confidence.

9. Car Finance Negatively Affects Your Credit Score

Some individuals believe that having car finance will hurt their credit score. However, car finance operates similarly to other forms of credit—assuming you meet repayment terms as agreed, there should be no detrimental effect. Consistently making timely payments on your car finance can be an effective means of enhancing your credit rating.

Submitting multiple car finance applications within a short timeframe can impact your credit score negatively. To avoid this, it’s advisable to initially opt for soft credit checks, which do not leave a mark on your credit report. If you encounter rejection following a hard credit check, waiting at least 12 weeks before considering another hard check is prudent.

10. Car Finance Equals a Lifetime Commitment

Some individuals harbour the misconception that car finance represents a lifelong commitment, trapping them with the same vehicle indefinitely. However, car finance options, such as Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) and Hire Purchase (HP), offer flexibility and choices at the end of the agreement term.

With PCP, buyers can return the vehicle, upgrade to a new one, or purchase the car by paying the final balloon payment. On the other hand, HP allows buyers to own the vehicle outright after the final instalment. This flexibility empowers buyers to adapt to their evolving needs and desires, eliminating the notion of a lifetime commitment.

11. Car Finance Always Requires a Large Down Payment

While a down payment can be advantageous when securing car finance, it is not an absolute requirement, and the amount can vary based on financial circumstances and lender policies. 

A down payment reduces the loan amount, potentially leading to lower monthly payments and more favourable interest rates. Nevertheless, many finance options offer flexibility, allowing buyers to make a smaller initial payment or even opt for zero down payment financing.

However, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of different down payment amounts is essential. While a smaller or zero down payment may seem appealing initially, it can result in higher monthly payments and potentially a longer loan term, which may entail higher overall interest costs. To make an informed choice, buyers should consider their financial goals and select a down payment amount accordingly.

12. Car Finance Is Only for Individuals, Not Businesses

Contrary to the myth that car finance is exclusively for individual buyers, businesses of all sizes in the UK can access specialised business car finance options. Companies can benefit from tailored financing solutions to acquire vehicles for their operations, whether a sole trader or a large corporation.

Business car finance often comes with specific tax advantages and flexible terms, facilitating efficient cash flow management for companies. However, before committing to car finance for business purposes, assessing the company’s financial requirements and exploring the options available to ensure they align with business objectives is crucial.

13. You Can’t Negotiate the Terms of a Car Finance Deal

Negotiation is a fundamental aspect of securing favourable car finance terms. Many people mistakenly believe that car finance agreements are set in stone, but this is far from reality. When working with a lender, especially those with strong credit and financial profiles, there is room to negotiate various aspects of the agreement, including the interest rate, loan duration, and down payment amount.

To leverage negotiation effectively, it is advisable to collect multiple quotes from different lenders and use them as bargaining tools. Be prepared to ask questions and communicate preferences openly to reach an agreement that aligns with your financial objectives. Negotiation can often lead to improved terms, potentially resulting in significant cost savings over the life of the loan.

14. Car Finance Always Requires a Guarantor

While some individuals with limited credit histories or challenging financial circumstances may require a guarantor to secure car finance, this is not a universal requirement for all borrowers. Many lenders offer car finance without necessitating a guarantor, particularly if applicants have strong credit histories and stable financial situations.

A guarantor is a backup for the borrower in case of payment default, assuring the lender. However, if an applicant’s creditworthiness is robust, a guarantor may not be essential to qualify for car finance. To determine whether a guarantor is necessary, discussing your specific situation with potential lenders is vital.

15. You’re Stuck With the Same Lender Throughout the Agreement

The notion that buyers must remain with the same lender for the entire car finance agreement is inaccurate. In some instances, buyers may discover more favourable terms or lower interest rates offered by different lenders, particularly if their credit scores have improved or market conditions have changed.

Refinancing presents an option to replace the existing car finance agreement with a new one from an alternative lender.

Refinancing can lead to reduced monthly payments or a shorter loan term, potentially translating into long-term cost savings. However, it is essential to carefully evaluate the costs associated with refinancing, including fees or charges, to determine whether it constitutes a financially advantageous choice.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, debunking these 15 car finance myths paves the way for a clearer understanding of the options available to those considering financing a vehicle in the United Kingdom. By dispelling misconceptions and revealing the facts, buyers can make informed decisions that align with their unique financial needs and objectives.

Car finance is a versatile and accessible tool that empowers individuals and businesses to acquire their desired vehicles while managing their finances effectively. By exploring the diverse car finance options and understanding the truths behind these myths, you can confidently navigate the car finance landscape and embark on the road to your dream vehicle. Safe and informed driving! 

Get in touch and let us save you time, money and effort getting you the car of your dreams.
info@dorsiafinance.co.uk | 01522 420 420

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