back to articles | May 31, 2023 | Moses Mwangi

Categories:   Auto Loans & Financing   

Paying Cash vs. Financing a Car: How to Pay for Your Next Car

What is the best financial decision when it comes to a car purchase? That is one of the most puzzling questions for many prospective vehicle buyers. Generally, car buyers have two options when it comes to paying for a new or used car; cash or financing.


What is the best financial decision when it comes to a car purchase? That is one of the most puzzling questions for many prospective vehicle buyers. Generally, car buyers have two options when it comes to paying for a new or used car; cash or financing.

Choosing between the two can be challenging and requires weighing several pros and cons. This article guide will help you determine which option is best for you by looking deeper into the pros and cons of paying cash vs. financing a car.

Paying cash for your next vehicle

Buying a vehicle can be really fun when you have cash to pay for it. Cash payment offers one of the simplest and cheapest ways to pay for a new or used car. However, note that paying cash is only ideal if you have enough savings to pay for the total cost of a car purchase.

It doesn’t necessarily mean using actual dollar bills, but you will have to pay for the total cost of the car upfront. Below we’ll look into the pros and cons of paying cash for new or used car purchases.

The pros of paying cash

Paying cash for a new or used car isn’t for everyone, but there are a few benefits that could make it worth writing that huge check. Here are the top merits of paying cash for your car.

1. It involves straightforward processes

Paying cash ensures you do not have to spend time shopping for car loans. Also, this process involves less paperwork than loan financing. Generally, you only need to pick the vehicle you desire and can afford and pay in full.

2. You get to enjoy discounts

In most cases, car dealerships offer discounts to individuals who pay cash. The trick to getting a good discount lies in proper negotiation. This discount reduces the amount you end up paying for the car, allowing you to buy your vehicle at a cheaper price.

3. Involves a one-time transaction

With cash payments, you will not need to worry about interest rates and monthly auto loan payments. Cash payment involves a one-time transaction. This one-time transaction means you will spend less money. Therefore, you can direct your extra funds to meet other financial goals.

4. Allows you to purchase a vehicle within your means

Full cash payments ensure you can only buy a vehicle you can afford. That means you will not spend beyond your capability. This car purchase within your means facilitates better financial management.

5. You get to enjoy the benefits of full car ownership

Paying cash allows you to own your vehicle outright, meaning you can make any upgrades you need or trade it in. Also, if you are buying a used car, you do not need to worry about mileage limitations.

The cons of paying cash

Despite the many merits of cash payments, there are also limitations. Here are a few reasons why paying for cash isn’t the best option for everyone.

1. It requires a significant upfront investment

Paying cash for your vehicle purchase will need you to use a significant amount of money upfront. This upfront money is not always available as not everyone has tens of thousands in savings.

As a result, you may need to put off purchasing a vehicle until you have saved enough funds, which may take months or years. If you need a car urgently, waiting to save the necessary funds can be frustrating.

2. You reduce your savings

If you have saved enough funds for your next vehicle, using that saved-up cash will reduce your savings by a significant margin. This reduced savings might put you in a tight financial spot in case of an unforeseen event.

3. You lose your investment opportunity

One of the best ways to use savings is by investing. However, purchasing your car using your savings eliminates this investment opportunity, which may reduce your chances of earning an extra income.

For instance, if you invest your saved-up money in a mutual fund, you can get a 10% return on investment each year. You can save the rest if you spend at least 5% of the returns on a car loan. However, using all your savings to pay for a car means you lose out on such investments.

Financing for your next vehicle

One of the most common ways to finance a car is through car loans, either secured or unsecured. With secured loans, the lending financial institution will use your car as collateral, while there is no need for collateral in unsecured loans. The financing option, like cash payment, has several pros and cons. Below we’ll look at the pros and cons of using the financing option to pay for your next car.

The pros of financing a vehicle purchase

The financing option is ideal for anyone who does not have enough funds to cover a full upfront cash payment for a car purchase. Here are the pros of using the financing option.

1. Allows you to own a vehicle faster than saving

Saving to own a vehicle involves a process that can take months or even years. However, with the financing option, you can own your vehicle after loan approval. This process is incredibly faster than saving.

2. Ensures you can build your credit history

A good credit score is essential as it helps increase your chances of getting a higher loan. The financing option of vehicle purchase through car loans allows you to build your credit history. Note that you can only build your history positively if you make regular monthly payments.

3. It frees up your saving for investment

Opting to use the financing option will free up your saving. You can use these savings to make investments that will bring you more income, and in turn, you can utilize the extra income to pay off your debt.

Cons of the financing option

Acquiring an auto loan is one of the most effective ways to afford a vehicle, but it has drawbacks. Here are some cons of financing a car.

1. You will pay more for the vehicle

The biggest downside to financing a vehicle is that you will end up paying more in the long run compared to cash payment. Interest rates on auto loans add to the overall cost of the car. However, you can always shop for auto loans with the best interest rates.

2. Your risk your credit score

If you fail to make on-time auto loan payments, you might hurt your credit score. A lower credit score means you will have trouble securing other loan types. Above all, loan defaulting can make you lose your vehicle ownership.

Paying cash vs. financing a car: Which is best for you?

The best way to pay for your next car depends on your situation and attitude toward debt. Cash is ideal if you have enough savings to pay for the full cost of a car purchase. However, if you do not have any savings, the financing option may be a better choice. All in all, it all comes down to your current financial situation.

Bottom Line

The decision on which is the best way to pay for your next vehicle is not very straightforward. You will need to weigh the pros and cons of cash or the financing option. Make sure to go for the choice that best fits your financial situation.