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What are the advantages and disadvantages of hire purchase?

Thinking about getting a car on hire purchase? As with any financial decision, it’s good to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages first so you can make the right decision for you.

What is hire purchase?

Hire purchase is a finance option that allows you to spread the cost of buying your car over a period of time rather than paying for it all in one go.

When you take out a hire purchase agreement, you normally agree to a deposit amount up front followed by monthly payment instalments over a fixed term. When the agreement comes to an end, and all the payments have been made, you may be asked to pay a one-off small final fee, and you then become the legal owner of the car.

For all intents and purposes, it’s as the name suggests – you hire the car for the length of the agreement, with the option to purchase at the end or, alternatively, part-exchange and upgrade to a newer vehicle.

How does hire purchase work?

Once you’ve decided on the car you want, you’ll know how much you need to borrow. Then, an affordable deposit amount can be agreed. In most cases, the deposit is usually 10% or more of the car, although at Hippo Motor Finance, all our vehicles come with a £0 deposit option.

Couple discussing finance

The balance that’s remains can then be paid off in fixed monthly instalments – usually over a period of one to five years depending on what’s affordable for you.

The larger the deposit you put down at the start, the lower your monthly payments will be.  And, of course, this works the other way too. If you make a smaller deposit, it’ll mean your monthly repayments will be more.

Repayments and interest

The monthly repayment amount is calculated by using the value of the car at the time you sign the agreement, along with the interest that’s due. Then it’s divided by the length of time you want the agreement to run over.

Most hire purchase terms run over a period of 12 to 60 months (one to five years). Naturally, the longer the term, the lower the monthly repayments.

Calculating payments

However, this way, you’ll also be paying it back over a longer period of time and it will be longer before you own the car outright too.

Interest rates available to you will vary, but your credit score plays a very important part in which deals you’ll be eligible for.

Usually, the better your credit score, the less of a risk you are deemed by the lender and so the less interest you’ll pay.

The end of the agreement

With many hire purchase agreements, at the end of the term when all the monthly repayments have been met, there’s a small ‘option to purchase’ fee. Once that has been made, you become the legal owner of the car.

Although the term of your agreement is fixed, it does allow for a degree of flexibility. So, if your financial situation changes, you can potentially pay in full and settle the agreement earlier on, depending on your contract’s terms and conditions.

Advantages of hire purchase

You can access newer, higher specification cars

When paying for a car out of your own pocket, you’re usually limited in choice by the amount you can or want to spend. With a hire purchase agreement, it becomes possible to afford a higher specification car and use it right away.

You can spread the cost over a fixed term

With a hire purchase agreement, you can spread the cost of the vehicle with monthly repayments. How long the term lasts is dependent on how much you can afford to pay back every month. There’s also flexibility in how much you’ll pay monthly, as you can pay a larger deposit amount for lower payments.

The interest rate is fixed

The interest rate will remain fixed throughout the term. This won’t change, no matter what the Bank of England’s base rate does. So you’ll know upfront exactly how much the car will cost over the length of your agreement and can budget accordingly.

Man with credit card

You’ll own the car at the end of the agreement

After paying the last instalment, the ownership of the vehicle will transfer from the finance company to you. At that point, you’ll legally own the car. You could also alternatively part-exchange it for a newer vehicle if you wished.

Option to pay off the loan early

Most hire purchase agreements allow you to pay off the balance early, reducing the long-term cost. Some, however, will require a minimum amount of monthly payments to be made first before they allow early repayment.

There are fewer restrictions

Unlike leasing a vehicle, there are no mileage or conditional restrictions that must be met with a hire purchase agreement, as the car becomes yours once the term has ended. However, you must remember that during the agreement, you’re not the legal owner of the car, so there could be stipulations on modifying the car until your agreement ends.

Disadvantages of hire purchase

The loan is secured against the vehicle

With a hire purchase agreement, you’re in a fixed contract. As you don’t own the car until the final payment is made, if, for any reason, you can’t afford to make payments, the finance company could take your car away.

It will cost more overall

The interest charges on hire purchase means the final cost of your car will be more than if you were to purchase it outright. Monthly payments with hire purchase are also generally higher than for PCP or leasing deals.

Monthly payments are based on credit rating

As it’s a secured loan, hire purchase agreements are available to buyers with poor credit ratings. However, if you happen to have a poor credit rating or even no credit (for instance, if you haven’t borrowed in the past), you may not be eligible for the lower interest rate deals.

It can be expensive for short term agreements

If you’re looking for a short-term agreement, rather than one spread out over a number of years, choosing hire purchase can work out to be an expensive route.

Missing or late payments could affect your credit score

It’s usual for a hire purchase agreement to be registered with credit agencies. So if, over the term, you miss a payment or even make a late payment, it will be flagged on your credit report and may affect your credit score or even your ability to borrow in the future.

Hire Purchase advantages and disadvantages at a glance
AdvantagesDisadvantages
Simple to applyHigher total cost
Fixed interest ratesCar can be repossessed if you don’t make payments
Spread the cost over a number of yearsContract terms can be quite long
Own the car at the end of agreementWon’t own the car until final payment is made

There are always advantages and disadvantages to any financial decision. Whereas hire purchase is a great finance option to get your hands on the car you want straight away, it’s not always right for everyone.

Lady with keys

Before deciding whether hire purchase is the right option to finance your vehicle, it’s important to weigh up all the advantages and disadvantages alongside your own personal and financial circumstances to ensure you choose the best option for your needs.



Representative Example of Credit

We expect more than 51% of our customers to achieve this rate.

Loan Amount Total Cost of Credit Representative APR 60 Monthly Payments Deposit Amount Loan Term Total Amount Payable
£7,500 £3831 19.1% APR £188.85 £0 60 Months £11,331

All offers are subject to change at any time, you must be 18 or over and finance is subject to status, vehicle availability and terms and conditions apply. We can introduce you to a limited number of finance companies, a commission may be received. Failure to maintain payments may result in termination of your agreement and the vehicle being returned, this could affect your credit rating and make it more difficult to obtain credit in the future. All prices correct at time of publication.

We purchase a wide variety of vehicles from all over the country to ensure the best quality and value for our customers, all of our cars go through a thorough inspection process and if they do not meet our standards we do not sell them. We endeavour to inform our customers (where possible) the provenance of the vehicle they are buying and as such we will always inform you if the vehicle has previously been either an ex fleet or hire car. Should your vehicle be an ex hire/fleet car please do not be concerned as we would never value this vehicle differently when you come to part exchange it and there is no difference to the CAP valuation either.

You should try and estimate the distance you will travel as accurately as possible to try and avoid excess mileage charges at the end of your contract.

All pictures and/or photos and car descriptions on this site are for illustration and reference purposes only and are not necessarily the vehicle on offer. All offers are subject to change at any time and are subject to finance approval and vehicle availability. All prices correct at time of publication. E & OE.

Hippo Vehicle Solutions t/a ‘Hippo Motor Finance’ is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FRN 658076. We are a Credit Broker not a Lender and can introduce you to a limited number of lenders. We typically receive a fixed commission calculated by reference to the vehicle model, product or amount you borrow, for introducing you to a lender but this does not affect the interest charged on the agreement, all of which are set by the lender. All offers are subject to change at any time and are subject to finance approval.

We endeavour to ensure that all information including the specifications and finance availability are accurate. Whilst we make every effort to display correct information we are aware that errors may occur occasionally. We are not able, therefore, to guarantee the accuracy of all information especially when given to us by third parties. If you do require clarification of some information you have seen on our website, please email us at info@hippomotorgroup.com . This does not affect your statutory rights.

We are a broker not a lender and our registered office is Unit 26 Trident Park, Trident Way, Blackburn, BB13NU.