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Can you buy a car with a credit card?

Can you buy a car using a credit card and could it be a good option for you? Our guide explains all you need to know.

By Verity Hogan

Published: 13 October 2023

Is it possible to buy a car using a credit card, just like you’d pay for a new pair of shoes or a meal? Is it a good or bad idea and how does it compare with other forms of car finance? Our guide has the answers.

Can you buy a car using a credit card? 

Yes, it’s possible to use a credit card to pay for a car, in part or in full. As with other forms of car finance, using a credit card allows you to split the cost of a car into monthly repayments, which may make it easier to plan your budget. 

There are pros and cons to doing this, compared with other forms of car finance (more on that below) and it’s worth noting that not all car dealers will accept a credit card as payment or even as part-payment for a car.

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How does buying a car with a credit card work?

Buying a car with a credit card works like any other credit card purchase. If the car costs less than your card limit, you can simply hand over your card or enter your card details online. If the car costs more than your credit card limit, you’ll need to pay the remaining amount in cash, with another debit/credit card or with another form of finance. 

Once you’ve received your credit card bill, you can start repaying the balance. You can set up a direct debit to pay this automatically if you’re worried you might forget.

Why buy a car with a credit card? 

There can be several benefits to using a credit card to buy a car, depending on your individual circumstances and financial history: 

Interest-free repayments 

If you switch to a new credit card you may be offered a period of time during which you are charged a 0% interest rate, usually for the first 12 months. So you could divide the car’s cost by the number of interest-free months you have available. This calculation will give you the monthly payment that you’ll need to make to pay off the entire balance before you have to start paying the standard rate of interest. 

Flexibility 

There’s no reason why you should only pay the same amount each month. If you have a month where you work more overtime or get a bonus, for example, you could decide to pay more towards your debt. 

Overpaying in the months when your finances are healthier could allow you to pay less in the months when your budget is more stretched. Keep in mind, however, that you should always pay the minimum amount required by the credit card company.

Payment protection 

Credit cards are covered by the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Under Section 75, if you have an issue with a car you’ve bought on your credit card, you could be entitled to a refund. Terms and conditions apply, but you could get a full refund on a purchase of between £100 and £30,000.

Do UK car dealers accept credit cards? 

Yes, some car dealers in the UK accept credit cards, but not all of them do. Other dealers might accept them but won’t let you put the full car purchase amount on your card. This is usually because the card companies charge the dealers additional fees when processing  transactions. Dealers can be charged a handling fee of up to 3% of the total balance, a fee they’re not allowed to pass on to buyers.

What are the pros of buying a car with a credit card? 

There are some advantages to buying a car with a credit card, including: 

  • You might not have to pay interest if you have a credit card with a 0% interest rate

  • Some cards offer extra rewards like cashback, air miles, and shopping vouchers

  • Your purchase will be protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974

What are the cons of buying a car with a credit card? 

There are also some negatives to consider when using a credit card to buy a car, such as: 

  • You might not qualify for a 0% interest credit card or a high credit limit 

  • Your interest rate may be high once the 0% period ends 

  • Not all dealers accept credit card payments

What are the alternative ways to buy a car on finance?

There are several types of car finance that allow you to spread the cost of a car over a period of time rather than buying it outright. The most common are hire purchase (HP) and personal contract purchase (PCP). You could also consider taking out a personal loan, or leasing a car (also known as personal contract hire or PCH).

Is buying a car with a credit card right for me? 

Buying a car with a credit card might be a good option for you if you have the discipline to make your repayments on time, and the monthly payment amount fits into your budget. You’ll also need to have a credit card with a limit that’s high enough to cover the price of the car you want. 

However, it’s not the right option for everyone. Buyers with no credit history or a bad credit score might struggle to qualify for a credit card with a 0% interest rate period and standard credit card interest rates can be significantly higher than with other types of car finance.

An easier way to find or sell a car

You’ll find lots of used cars for sale at Cazoo, all available to buy through our trusted dealers.

Cazoo makes selling a car just as easy – just enter a few details for an instant online valuation. If you accept the offer our partners will get in touch to arrange payment and collection of your car at a time that suits you.

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