Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)
A variation of a Hire Purchase agreement the Personal Contract Purchase, (or PCP) calculates the value of the car at the start of the agreement and this value is then deferred until the end of the agreed period. Usually referred to as the Guaranteed Minimum Future Value (GMFV) it is calculated using a number of factors. These include how old the car will be at the end of the agreement and how many miles it is expected to have covered.
What's important to note about this type of agreement is that the future value of the car is guaranteed by the lender so will not fluctuate. Deferring the GMFV to the end of the agreement in this way means that your regular monthly payments are smaller than those on a similar HP agreement so may help with budgeting.
There is in-built flexibility with a PCP plan. At the end of the agreed period you can decide whether you would like to own the car outright- which you can do by paying the deferred value (GMFV) - or returning the car to the lender and entering into a new car finance agreement. At this stage for instance you may wish to change car make and model.
When the Agreement Starts.
The amount you want to borrow, less any deposit payment and the value of any car you are part-exchanging is agreed upfront.
Your application for finance is then submitted to the relevant motor finance company and, when you pass their checks, the lender will pay for the car on your behalf.
During the term of the agreement, your monthly payments will cover the full price of the car plus interest, minus the guaranteed future value of the car.
When the Agreement Ends
You can choose to pay the guaranteed future value in full and own the car outright
Hand back the keys and walk away with no further obligation
Use the car as a trade in by using any existing equity (if of course, the guaranteed future value is lower than the current market value of the car) as a deposit for a new finance agreement. You may choose a completely new brand of car at this stage.
In the event that you wish to hand back the car, an excess charge will be applied if the forecast mileage (agreed at the start of the contract) has been exceeded.
It should be possible to fully or partially settle a PCP agreement but the specifics of this should be verified with your lender as each finance company may have different operating procedures.
Advantages of Personal Contract Purchase
Lower monthly payments than Hire Purchase (for a comparable car and term)
A low deposit at the beginning of the term.
Your agreement will be regulated which means there are legal obligations in place to protect your rights (assuming you don't opt out of the agreement)
At the end of the agreement term, you have flexibility to decide what to do with the car.
You will have a fixed monthly payment schedule which can help when budgeting.
Things to remember
It is best to be realistic about annual mileage as there will be a charge for each additional mile covered.
When the car is returned it has to be in good condition. Any damage is normally charged to you.