Car finance FAQs

What is car finance?

Car finance is a credit agreement made between you and the lender which allows you to buy a car.

Car finance should be thought about in two stages:

1. Choose the type of deal you want: personal loan, lease, hire purchase or personal contract purchase (PCP).
2. Then choose the provider that offers the best deal for your needs.

What are the different types of car finance?

Personal loan – This is one of the most common ways to finance your new car. You‘ll borrow money from your bank/building society etc. When you buy the car, you’ll get instant ownership.

To find out more take a look at our guide to car finance.

Personal contract purchase (PCP) – With this method, you’ll pay a deposit (around 10%), then you’ll have fixed monthly payments. This is ideal if you’re flexible with what happens at the end of the agreement. The car will belong to the finance company during your contract, and you’ll only be paying off the depreciation. This is usually the preferred option for purchasing a new car as the monthly payments tend to be lower. However, once your contract comes to an end you’ll have three choices: 

  • Pay the remaining value of the car to keep it
  • Exchange the car 
  • Return the car to the supplier

For more information take a look at our guide to PCP.

Hire purchase (HP) - Similar to PCP, hire purchase requires a deposit and fixed monthly payments. The car is owned by the HP company. You’ll only be hiring it until you’ve made the final payment, after which you will own the car.

Take a look at our guide to hire purchase for more information.

Leasing - This option means you’re renting, and therefore will never have any ownership of the car. Unlike PCP, you won’t have the option to buy the car at the end of the contract. However, every two to three years you’ll be able to change the car you’re driving. This is a good way to drive cars that you usually wouldn’t be able to afford to buy. Effectively the payments you make only cover the car’s depreciation.

Am I eligible for car finance

At Confused.com we’ll allow anyone to see if they’re able to get finance within minutes. You just need to give us some information, and we’ll allow lenders to carry out a soft credit search to see if they can offer you a good deal. This will not affect your credit rating.

What if I have bad credit?

If you have a poor credit history, you can still apply for car finance – the company will look at your personal circumstances, such as your employment status, age, income and loan size, alongside your credit history . You’ll then get your exact interest rates and payments.

Can I part-exchange my car as a deposit?

Traditionally, car dealers will take your old car as part-exchange for the new one. Part-exchanging online is different. You’ll need to actually sell your car in order to use it as a deposit for your new car.

How does getting finance work?

To apply for car finance at Confused.com, you’ll need to enter some of your personal details alongside your budget and/or what car you want. This takes less than three minutes, and will enable our lenders to perform a soft credit search  for hire purchase deals and personal loans.

Each option will display the amount you’ll pay each month, the exact APR, and how much the total cost of the loan will be.

If you choose an unsecured personal loan, this’ll be transferred to your bank account and you’ll be able to use it to buy your desired car.

If you choose a hire purchase option, you’ll need to provide the details of the car and of your approved dealer. The money will be transferred to the dealer and you’ll receive the deeds to the car when you collect it.

If you choose a PCP, after you have given the details of the car you would like, the dealers will give you a deposit and the amount you can borrow.

This will depend on how much they think the car will be worth when you’re finished with it depending on how many miles you’ll be doing or how much the dealer predicts the car will lose in value. This will be paid in fixed monthly amounts.

Voluntary termination

Once you’ve paid 50% of the amount payable, legally you have the right to voluntarily terminate  (VT) your car finance agreement. Each finance company will have different terms and conditions. But providing you’ve kept up payments and paid a final agreed sum, you can give the car back and end your contract.

The car will have to be in a reasonable condition – if not, there may be some extra charges when you return it. 

What is APR?

Annual percentage rate (APR) is the interest rate applied to your loan. Essentially it’s the yearly cost of your borrowing – you’ll pay this on top of the sum you applied for. If you take out a long-term loan, the total amount payable will be more as you’ll be paying interest for a longer amount of time. 

What’s the difference between representative and exact APR?

Representative APR is the figure companies use to advertise their rates. Once a credit check has been taken into consideration, the lender will decide whether you’re eligible for the representative rate or a different rate.

By law only 51% of people are actually required to receive the advertised rate. So once your information has been checked, you will ultimately get your exact APR – which will be the amount you actually end up paying.

Confused.com will only show your exact APR, so the price you will see is exactly what you’ll be paying, with no hidden extras.

Will I see my representative APR on your website?

No. Confused.com is the only UK website to show you instant pricing with your exact APR, as long as you’ve entered all of your information correctly. The amount you see on our comparison page is the amount you’ll end up paying, with no hidden costs. 

How exact are Confused.com APRs?

Our research found that the majority of the public find the representative APR system to be confusing – 67% of those surveyed feel this way. We will only show you the APR you have been approved for. What you see is what you pay.

What is a reputable dealer?

A reputable dealer is a dealer who you can trust – they have a good customer base, and will be professional in manner. You get peace of mind when comparing car finance deals through Confused.com as we only work with reputable dealers.

What’s the difference between a soft credit check and a hard credit check?

There are two different types of credit checks. A soft credit search will be a background search. Examples of these searches could be checking your own credit score, a background check, and pre-approved loan offers. None of these will affect your credit rating.

A hard credit search would occur when you’re applying for a loan or credit card. These searches will show up on your credit profile and may affect your score, although in many cases only temporarily.

How quickly can I get a loan?

Every lender will be different. Some of our lenders can get you the funds within two days. However, it’s usual for the money to come through in about three to five days.

Is it cheaper to buy a car on finance or cash?

It will almost always be cheaper to buy a car with cash, and you should always make sure you add on your APR when calculating the cost of a car finance deal. For example: 

"Imagine a £10k car bought on finance over 12 months. It might sound great if you’re offered £1,000 off the ticket price, but if you're given a loan with an APR rate of 25% when you could have got a 5% loan then you'll still be out of pocket overall due to the difference in interest (by £750 to be precise - £11,250 vs £10,500)” 
 

Aside from APR are there any other hidden costs when taking out car finance?

There are no hidden extras on our website - what you see will be what you’re paying. However, if you go over your mileage limits or cause damage to the car and choose not buy it, you will have extra costs at the end of your agreement to cover the extra depreciation of the car.

Which is usually the cheapest car finance option?

The cheapest option would usually be a personal loan. There is no end of agreement charges for any damages or going over your agreed mileage, and the car is yours from right at the start of the agreement.

Can you buy second-hand cars on finance?

Yes. When you search for car finance with Confused.com just pop in the registration number of the car you’re looking at, then you can compare quotes from our list of top UK dealers.

Who can customers speak to at Confused.com to find out about the different finance options?

Our website offers comprehensive guides on car finance, so give them a read before you commit to anything. It’s a long-term investment that you need to be 100% sure about. Our comparison tool will also show you all the options available to you. If you have any further queries you can always send us an email.

Should you be encouraging people to take out car finance?

Finance is a great way to work out what you can afford and pay a fixed rate each month - unlike mortgage and credit card products, the rate isn’t variable. 

This option gives people with a stretched income more options. By making our comparison tool as quick and easy to use with the actual amount you will be paying onsite, the customer will know instantly if they can afford the repayments.

Ready to get a quote?

Compare finance options and see your exact monthly payments.

Looking for car finance?

Check what your monthly repayments are likely to be.

Car finance

Compare finance options and see your exact monthly payments.
White car icon on a blue background with list of pound symbols

Car finance calculator

Get car finance tailored to your exact needs
Compare loans
Dark blue icon with three pound symbols

Save even more

Buyer's guide to car finance

Let's take the confusion out of your finance options with this handy infographic.
buyers-guide-to-car-finance