This car finance eligibility service is provided by Carbon Finance.
When you click Check my eligibility, you will be directed to Carbon who will help you find personalised finance deals.
The data you supply will be directly submitted to Carbon and be used to generate loan quotes from Carbon's panel of lenders.
Carbon's service only uses "soft searches" meaning there will be no impact on your credit score. Carbon is a trading name of Carbon Finance Limited and is registered at 6 Worcester Close, Lowdham, Nottingham, NG14 7WH and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
How to choose car finance
Cars are essential for many people to get around day-to-day, but they are a major expense. Whether you are buying your first car or replacing your old car, you need to have a plan of how to pay for it. Ideally, individuals would have enough in their savings to purchase a vehicle outright, but this is not always the case.
For those who can't pay for their chosen vehicle upfront, car finance is an alternative way to help them get the car they want. However, because there are several car finance products available, it can get confusing trying to understand the differences between them and the benefits of each one. What is suitable for one customer may not be appropriate for another, as the best car finance option for you will depend on your credit history and your personal circumstances, as well as the car you plan to buy.
Some of the types of car finance that are available include:
Personal loans are unsecured, which means they are not guaranteed by any asset. They are a flexible way of purchasing a car as the lender will transfer the money to your account, which you can use to buy your car and own it outright from day one. You will then repay the loan via monthly repayments. The personal loan amount you can apply for, and the interest rates you can receive, will depend on your income, your credit history, and other factors.
Because the loan is not secured against your vehicle, if you fail to make the repayments then the lender can't repossess it.
A Hire Purchase agreement is a type of finance that is secured against the car that you buy. Because the finance provider has the car as security, customers may find they can get cheaper interest rates from Hire Purchase rather than a personal loan, especially if they have a poor credit history. For the period of the agreement, the finance provider will own the car, although you will be its registered keeper. At the end of the agreement, you can pay an “option-to-purchase” fee to become the full owner of the car.
A Conditional Sale agreement is similar to Hire Purchase, but rather than paying an additional charge to become the full owner of a vehicle, an individual with a Conditional Sale agreement will automatically become the owner of the car after making the final repayment.
Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)
PCP finance has grown in popularity in recent years. Through this form of car finance, customers won't be paying for the full value of the car; instead they will only make repayments for the difference between the car's current value and the projected depreciated value of the car at the end of the agreed period. This means the monthly repayments tend to be lower than the other car finance options, which could enable people to drive a newer, more expensive car.
However, you may have to pay more interest for a PCP agreement, and you won't automatically own the car at the end of the contract. PCP does give you the opportunity to keep the car at the end of the agreement, but you will have to make a final “balloon payment” to do so. This payment is normally quite substantial as it is based on the car's current value that you haven't yet paid for- known as its Guaranteed Minimum Future Value (GMFV). Most PCP customers will return the car at the end of the agreement.
Again, as with Hire Purchase, the finance is secured against the value of the car, so failure to make the repayments means the lender could repossess the vehicle.
Car finance FAQs
How does car finance work?
Car finance is a way of purchasing a car if you can't afford to use your own money to pay for it upfront. Instead, you can spread the cost of the car over a set of monthly repayments using one of the car finance agreements described above.
How does this service work?
Carbon provides this car finance eligibility service. To see what products are available to you, you just need to fill in some details about yourself and how much you would like to borrow. Using this information, and your credit history, Carbon will consult their panel of lenders to see what car finance you can have and what the repayments would be for each option. Alongside each car finance product, you can see what your chances of getting accepted are. You will then be able to compare deals and apply for the one that best fits your requirements.
You will not be charged any fees for using this service.
Who are Carbon?
Carbon is a comparison site that was founded in 2018. Based in Nottingham, Carbon works with independent lenders and brokers to source a range of car finance deals for their customers.
Will using this service affect my credit score?
No. Although Carbon will use your credit file in eligibility checks to help them find appropriate car finance products for you, this is done using a 'soft search'. This type of search doesn't impact your credit score and won't be visible to any lender. A hard search will only be made if you actually apply for credit from a lender.
Who can apply for car finance using this service?
Individuals aged 18 and above looking to buy a new or used car can apply for car finance. Your eligibility for products will depend on your individual situation, your income, your credit history, and the car you want to buy, but there are many different car finance options designed for different needs. Even if you have a relatively poor or limited credit history, there may be a car finance option for you.
What's the difference between car finance and dealership finance?
Dealership finance refers to auto dealers that offer car finance for their own customers. Although this can be a convenient way to finance your car purchase, you are limited to the finance that the dealer is offering, you will often need to make a sizeable down payment, and dealers may add commission or fees to the total cost.
Sourcing your own car finance independently, from a direct lender or broker like Carbon, will offer you more choice and could result in a cheaper deal. You are also more likely to find a more flexible car finance option that better meets your requirements, as well as having the freedom to buy any car from any vendor, not just from a specific dealer.
What type of car finance is best for me?
The car finance product that is best for you will depend on your personal circumstances. Your credit score will be a factor in determining what car finance is available to you, and at what rates, but you should also think about whether you want to own the car at the end of the agreement as this will affect what car finance option is most suitable for you.
Should I get car finance or buy outright?
If you are able to buy a car outright, then this will be the cheapest option as you won't be paying any interest or fees associated with car finance deals. However, if you can't afford the car you want, and you can't wait to save up for it, then car finance can help you to purchase and start using a car immediately. There are different car finance options available, which you can choose from depending on your profile and your individual needs.
Can I get a new or used car with car finance?
You can apply for car finance whether you are wanting to buy a new or a used vehicle.
Where can I buy my car from using car finance?
If you are purchasing your car from a dealership, then you can often use any form of car finance. However, if you are looking to buy from a private seller, you may be more limited in your options and find that a personal loan is the only form of car finance you can use.
Are there any fees involved in car finance deals?
When you take out a car finance deal, you may be charged fees by the lender in addition to the interest charged on the loan. These should be clearly displayed by each lender, and will be included in the quoted APR. Some of the fees that car finance lenders may charge include one-off “up-front fees” at the start of the loan, and fees that are charged at the end of a Hire Purchase or PCP agreement if you want to own the vehicle for yourself.
If you return the car at the end of an agreement, you may need to pay extra charges for going over your mileage limit (PCP) or for excessive wear and damage to the vehicle.
Will I own my car if I buy it using car finance?
This will depend on the car finance that you use. If you take out a personal loan to purchase a car, then you will own it from the start. If, however, you buy a car through Hire Purchase or PCP, then the lender will own the car for the duration of the agreement. You will only own the car after making all of the final payments.
Can I pay off or end car finance agreements early?
If you want to pay back your loan or car finance agreement early, you will need to contact your provider. You should be able to pay back a personal loan early, although lenders may add an early repayment charge to the settlement figure.
If you have a Hire Purchase or PCP agreement, you can end it early through “voluntary termination”- if you have paid back more than 50% of the total cost of the loan or pay a lump sum to make up the difference. Your contract should explain the process for ending the agreement early and what fees the lender may charge, but the exact terms and settlement figure will depend on how much you have already paid and whether you want to keep your car or return it.
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