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Financing versus leasing a vehicle

September 23, 2022

An image of several vehicles for sale at a car dealership in Markham

You might be debating between leasing or financing a car when looking for a new car.

When deciding between financing or leasing a new vehicle, there are various factors to consider, such as personal preferences and finances. However, depending on your financial situation, both options can be significant.

Suppose you’re looking for a new car and debating between financing it or leasing it. In that case, it can be helpful to go through the mechanics of leasing or to finance a vehicle to make the best decision for your financial situation.

How do leasing and financing work?

With a car lease, you pay a monthly fee to the dealer for the use of the car during the lease term. Once the lease term is complete, you can either buy the vehicle for an additional lump sum payment or return it to the dealership.

With financing, you will buy the car and take out a loan to purchase the vehicle. The car has a secured loan attached to it. If you can’t make the payments and default on the loan, the lender can repossess the vehicle. You will own the car fully when you pay the loan in full.


With a lease, you never actually own the car. Instead, you’re paying the dealership monthly to use it for a set period. Once you are at the end of the lease term, you can buy the car or return it to the dealership.

With financing, you’re buying the car and will own it, along with an auto loan that helped you finance the vehicle.

Upfront Costs

A significant benefit of leasing is that it often requires little or no money. In many cases, you can get into a leased vehicle for less than it would cost to finance the same car. There is a lower down payment required upfront.

With financing, you’ll usually need a larger down payment. The downpayment amount will affect your monthly loan payments and interest rate.

Monthly Payments

Leasing usually comes with lower monthly payments than financing. That’s because you’re only paying for the use of the car during the lease term, not the entire purchase price.

With financing, your monthly payments will be higher since you’re paying off the entire purchase price of the car plus interest.

Interest Rates

Interest rates on a lease are usually higher than those on a loan. That’s because the risks are higher for the lender. For example, you might damage the car beyond normal wear and tear, leaving the dealer with nothing to show.

With financing, the interest rates are usually lower since the car serves as collateral for the loan. If you can’t make payments and default on loan, the lender can repossess the vehicle and sell it to recoup their losses.

Credit Checks and Finances

Your decision to lease or finance a car may depend on your financial situation. Typically, leasing requires more stringent credit checks and a better credit score.

An auto loan helps you finance the car. There are various options for lenders who may offer auto loans to those who have a less-than-perfect credit score. 

End of Term

You can buy the car or return it to the dealership at the end of a lease. However, if you decide to buy it, you’ll need to pay the agreed-upon purchase price, which is often higher than the car’s original sticker price.

If you return the car, you may be charged for any damage or excess wear and tear beyond usual. You may also be responsible for any unpaid lease payments.

With financing, you own the car outright once the loan is paid.

Resale Value

You must return the leased car to the dealership at the end of the lease. However, you might have the option to purchase the vehicle at the end of the term.

With financing, you own the car and can sell it whenever you want. But since it’s yours, you’re also responsible for all repairs and maintenance.

The decision between Financing and Leasing a Vehicle

Leasing a car can be an excellent option for those who want a new car every few years, as it often comes with lower monthly payments. But financing can be a better choice for those who plan to keep their vehicle for a long time, as it usually has lower interest rates. Other factors to consider are the amount of money you’re willing to put down and the lease or finance term you choose.

There is not one clear-cut answer for everyone on whether to lease or finance a car; rather, it depends on many factors. Your preferences and financial situation can determine whether it is better to lease or finance a car.

Contact KSSP Partners LLP in Markham for all your Financial Planning Needs

Talk to an experienced advisor to get advice on your business and personal financial planning. At KSSP Partners LLP, our advisors can provide for your individual and business needs. To learn more about how KSSP Partners LLP in Markham can provide you with the best tax planning expertise, contact us online or by telephone at 289-554-5997