Whether you’re eyeing a brand-new Nissan Qashqai or a used Volkswagen Golf, hire purchase (HP) is one of the most popular auto financing options in the UK, up there with personal contract purchase (PCP). The model allows you to spread out the cost of car ownership over time and secure the keys to your dream car, without hefty upfront costs.

You’ve probably come across the term when researching automotive finance options. But what is hire purchase exactly, and how does it pave the way to affordable, stress-free car ownership? In this guide, we’ll unpack everything you need to know about hire purchase, breaking down all the moving parts so you can navigate the auto finance landscape with confidence.

Hire purchase explanation

Hire purchase is a finance option that combines the benefits of car ownership with the practicality, affordability and predictability of structured payments. It’s one of the simplest types of auto finance and spreads out the cost of the car, plus interest, over a set period of time, usually between one to five years.

Think of it as a well-planned road trip. You get to enjoy the ride but instead of absorbing the entire journey cost upfront, it’s broken down into manageable pit stops, i.e. monthly payments.

How HP agreements work:

  1. Choose your car

This is the fun part and involves researching vehicles, scheduling test drives and choosing your dream car. It’s always a good idea to crunch your number before you start the search to get an idea of how far your budget will stretch and what types of vehicles you can realistically consider.

  1. Make an initial down payment

Most HP agreements start with a down payment, though this isn’t always essential. That said, it’s generally in your best interest to make an initial deposit as it will help bring down your total loan balance and minimise your monthly payments, as well as interest costs. If you already own a car, trade ins can be a great way to raise cash for a deposit.

  1. Monthly instalments

After making a deposit, the remaining cost of the car is spread out across fixed monthly instalments. These payments cover both the cost of the car and interest applied by the lender.

  1. Ownership

Unlike personal contract hire (PCH) where you hand back the keys at the end of the agreement, hire purchase steers you towards full ownership. Once the final payment is made, the car becomes yours outright.

Hire purchase explained: a closer look at the benefits

Easy, affordable and predictable, it’s no wonder HP is one of the most popular auto finance options in the UK. Here’s a little more information to help explain what hire purchase is and why the model wins over so many Brits:

Budget-friendly beginnings

Thanks to affordable down payments, hire purchase allows you to kickstart your car ownership journey without depleting your savings. This sets you up for success on the road to car ownership.

Predictable payments

Monthly HP instalments are fixed which makes budgeting easy. No surprise expenses, just predictable monthly payments.

A road to ownership

One of the top benefits of hire purchase is the option to own at the end of the agreement. After your contract has expired, the car is yours to keep.


Whether you’re eyeing a zippy commuter, sleek convertible or family-friendly SUV, hire purchase offers loads of flexibility when it comes to makes and models. You’re free to choose a vehicle that best suits your budget, lifestyle and driving preferences.

New or used

Can you use hire purchase for a used car? Absolutely! As well as the flexibility to choose different makes and models, HP agreements offer the freedom to finance new or used vehicles. Auto finance isn’t just for showroom cars. Analysts estimate a huge 1.5 million used cars were financed by British motorists in 2023, with agreements worth £23 billion. The trend is set to continue in 2024 as Brits continue to use HP agreements to fund used car purchases.

Factors to consider when opting for Hire Purchase

Now you know more about what hire purchase is and how the model works, let’s take a closer look at some important factors to consider before committing to an agreement.

Understand interest rates

Like any financial agreement, it’s important to understand the interest rates applied to your hire purchase deal. Over time they will have a big impact on the total cost of your loan.

Evaluate your budget

While hire purchase makes car ownership accessible, it’s essential to carefully evaluate your budget before committing. Crunch your numbers to ensure your monthly instalments align with your financial situation.

Check for early repayment options

Some HP agreements allow for early repayment, an option that can potentially reduce the overall cost of your loan.

Factor in depreciation

All cars depreciate over time and vehicles financed using HP are no exception. Be sure to factor this into your decision making process if the value of the car at the end of your HP agreement is important.

Start your journey to ownership with My Car Credit

If ownership is your ultimate goal, hire purchase could be your ticket to ride. As covered in our hire purchase explained guide, the format is easy to understand and offers lots of flexibility when it comes to makes and models. Plus, you’ll enjoy the stability of structured payments which takes the stress out of budgeting.

At My Car Credit, we’re committed to helping Brits secure the best auto finance deals, including Hire Purchase agreements. Contact us today to find out more about how to qualify for HP finance and kickstart your journey to car ownership. Our friendly team is always happy to chat, answer questions and give you the full hire purchase explanation.

As well as hire purchase, we specialise in industry-leading deals on other car finance options, including popular models like personal contract purchase (PCP) and personal contract hire (PCH).

Give us a call on 01246 458 810 or email us at enquiries@mycarcredit.co.uk to find our more.

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Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 12.4%, annual interest rate (fixed) 12.36%, 47 monthly payments of £196.44 followed by 1 payment of £206.44 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,939.12, total amount payable is £9,439.12.

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