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Car Leasing for Students

Nationwide Vehicle Contracts looks at the important factors students need to consider when looking to lease a car

Having a car whilst you are a student is not only a useful tool to get from A to B (especially if A is your home) but also a bit of a status symbol amongst your fellow students.

But remember that you are a student, and you won't exactly be flush with a lot of cash to buy yourself a car. So perhaps leasing a car would be a better and more viable option?

Can I lease a car if I’m a student?

Yes, you can - as long as you can meet the criteria required.

Firstly, you need to be over the age of 18. This is because a person under the age of 18 is considered to be a young person and cannot usually be legally held to a contract. And as a lease agreement is a form of credit and involves a contract, we are unable to offer lease agreements to drivers under the age of 18.

Secondly, you need to have a full UK driving licence to lease a car from Nationwide Vehicle Contracts. (A few funders allow a lease on a provisional licence but these a few and far between, as well as being a very complicated process.)

And finally, you need to have the minimum of a good credit score and the ability to afford and make the monthly rental payments. Many students will find that they have little or no finance history and therefore no real credit score, so planning ahead in previous years by setting up a Bank Account (preferably with Direct Debits that get paid), paying bills on time, and registering on the electoral roll, can help show that you are a responsible adult.

If you are unsure if you are eligible for vehicle finance, you can use our free and interactive Am I Eligible for Personal Vehicle Finance tool.

What are the advantages of leasing a car as a student?

There are quite a few advantages to leasing a car as a student.

With a lease, you get a brand new car that will not only impress your new student friends, but will also mean you probably won’t be spending a fortune to keep it running.

The lease car also comes with a full warranty, which will save you a lot of money should something go wrong with it.

Car leasing can help you with your student budget because the monthly payments involved in leasing a car is usually cheaper than those involved in buying one with finance. And, with fixed monthly payments, budgeting is easy as you know what is coming out every month.

And paying those monthly payments on time will help you build up a credit score.

Finally, Road Tax is included in a lease, so no worries about that popping its financial head up annually.

What are the disadvantages of leasing a car as a student?

Despite all these advantages, you need to be aware that there are disadvantages too.

As good as the monthly payments are, when adding them to the monthly costs of rent, books, food and nights out, will you still be able to afford a car whilst balancing your life?

And as you will have to insure it yourself with a fully comprehensive insurance plan, will you be able to afford that too?...and that's without adding in the cost of fuel and any servicing!

A lease contract, as it says on the tin, IS a contract, and they are not made to be cancelled at the drop of a hat. So those financial answers need to be given with a nod to the future.

And as a younger customer, finance providers often need larger deposits and initial payments - sometimes as much as 30% - in order to protect their investment in you.

Can I lease a car if I am an international student?

Simple answer to this is, probably no.

This is because to lease a car from Nationwide Vehicle Contracts in the UK, you need a UK Driving Licence and a UK Bank Account; unless you have those it won't be possible.

How likely am I to pass finance?

It depends on a lot of factors.

Like all applicants, you will have to complete our online Personal Finance Application Form where you will need to provide certain information in order to ensure that you are able to afford the lease you have applied for. This includes:

Personal details – Including marital status and number of dependants

Address details for the past five years – This information is used to verify your identity and may also be used to determine the credit histories of anyone you are financially connected with

Employment details for the past three years – This information is used to determine how your present income and expenditure is likely to evolve over the period of your lease

Your bank details – This information is used to determine how you have managed your existing accounts and your ability to make payments on time

Your monthly income and expenditure – This information is used to ensure you are comfortably able to afford the finance deal for which you have applied

As a student, and as part of your application, you may also be asked to provide additional information that will include information about how you will be able to afford repayments whilst affording to live!

The above information will look very daunting to a student, and they may look to a guarantor for help, but this may not be acceptable to the finance provider. It is dealt with on a case-by-case basis and although it is rare to be accepted, it is possible.

It is important to note that accommodation finance is forbidden by finance providers. This is when someone takes out a lease agreement on behalf of someone else, and includes a parent taking out a lease agreement on behalf of their son or daughter, or a close friend taking out a lease agreement for another person.

What should I look for in my lease car?

Think very carefully about what you will be using the car for, when you will be using it, where you will be driving it, and where you will be keeping it, along with all financial considerations.

There is no point in getting an SUV when you really could do with a City Car.

And there's no need to get the most up-to-date and expensive Infotainment system if you are using it to pop to and from college.

And are those 20" alloy wheels a necessity?

Cut your cloth accordingly when looking at which car to get. You really need a car that is economic but that suits your needs; a car that will not cause an insurer to throw their arms up in despair and see pound signs in their eyes; a car that will not look out of place wherever you live or attend university/college and therefore attract car thieves; and a car that you can actually afford to lease, run, and look after.

What other costs do I need to consider?

Besides living costs of your student life such as rent, food, books, and lifestyle, when it comes to your lease car you will also need to think about:

Fuel - From petrol and diesel to electricity, they all cost money.

Insurance - As a young person, insurers are not renowned for their generosity when it comes to quotes, especially if that young person is a first-time driver. So this could be a large monthly cost.

Servicing and other motoring costs - Unless you have a maintenance contract, you will need to think about the sudden costs involved in the likes of Tyres, Bulbs, Batteries, Exhausts, Cam Belts, Wiper Blades, Alternators & Starter Motors.

And keep an eye on any damage caused by you or your friends in the car when it comes to Fair Wear and Tear!