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A wise guide to…

Car Subscriptions

If you’re looking to get a car, a car subscription is a flexible option to consider. This is a relatively new product and how it works is explained below. To compare car finance and loan options complete a Choose Wisely loan search.

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Representative 99.9% APR. Representative Example: If you borrow £3,000 over 24 months at a Representative rate of 99.9% APR and an annual interest rate of 71.3% (fixed), you would repay 24 monthly payments of £238 per month. The total charge for credit will be £2,706 and the total amount payable would be £5,706.
Choose Wisely is a trading style of Choose Wisely Limited and is a free to use price comparison website. Choose Wisely Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a credit broker not a lender, firm reference number 730574 and is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office number Z3106681.

Table of contents

Written by Mark Grimley
Read time: ~5 mins
Published: 10th November 2020 Updated: 19th November 2020

What are car subscriptions?

A car subscription is an alternative, flexible way to obtain a vehicle and in the world of car finance, sits between lease contracts and daily rental hire. Much like how you may subscribe to tv streaming services like Netflix, a car subscription is very similar. You pay a monthly subscription but as opposed to receiving access to your favourite TV shows, you have access to a car. It’s key to note that you never own the car and at the end of contract you will have to hand the vehicle back.

How do car subscriptions work?

It will differ between providers but you will enter a contract which typically will be reviewed on a month by month basis and will stop when you either decide to cancel or swap the car.

Some car subscription services will provide you with a library of cars to choose from which will each be priced accordingly. Others may offer cars within different price levels. If you subscribe to a certain level you can swap cars each month as long as it's in the same level.

Car subscription providers will usually include the following with every new contract:

  • Manufacturer’s Warranty
  • Breakdown Cover (with Roadside Assist)
  • Road Tax and maintenance
  • Insurance (Beware as some will charge extra for this)

What are the benefits of car subscriptions?

When subscribing to a car service as opposed to buying a car outright there are a number of benefits:

  1. All car costs bundled into one payment

  2. Access to a brand new vehicle

  3. Flexibility to swap vehicles each month

  4. No long term contract

Car subscription services advertise all-inclusive, what does this mean?

When car subscription services advertise all-inclusive they are usually referring to all the additional car costs such as maintenance, tax etc. This won’t include fuel and in cases may not include insurance so make sure you completely understand what you are paying for before you commit.

What are the steps to getting a car subscription?

  • Browse the vehicle library on offer to pick your car. Most subscription services will have a range of vehicles spanning from small hatchbacks to more high performance cars.
  • Make an application - Complete an online application. It will then be assessed to check your incomes and outgoings and credit history to confirm you can afford your subscription. If successful your subscription will be approved.
  • Legals & cooling off period - this may not be the case with every provider so check before you apply but you will usually have a 14 day cooling off period where you can cancel the membership. Once this period is over your car will be delivered.
  • Delivery & collection - Most car subscription services will offer free delivery anywhere in mainland UK but this is not guaranteed. On delivery ensure you check the vehicle and are happy it’s in pristine condition before you accept it to avoid any surprises later on.

Why are car subscriptions more expensive than car finance?

With a car subscription most of the costs involved with running a car are included in the monthly payment. This makes it look more expensive than other car finance solutions but after you adding in all the additional costs this may not be the case. It is worth doing the maths before you commit.

Car subscription FAQs

What cars can I get on subscription?

This varies and is dependent on the provider and their pool of vehicles. Most services will offer a range of hatchbacks and SUV’s ideal for daily use. Some may even offer some high performance vehicles.

How often can I swap my car?

This will be dependent on the provider so be sure to check their T&C’s. Some providers will require you to have completed your first month's subscription, others may state a longer period (eg.89 days) before you can swap.

Are there any fines and charges?

You may be subject to fines and charges but only for the things you’d probably expect. This could be speeding, parking, congestion fines or any damage you haven’t had sorted

How much is a car subscription?

This all depends on the car you choose, the provider and the extras that are included.

Written by
Mark Grimley
Head of Partnerships & Take Control Author at Choose Wisely

Mark joined Choose Wisely in 2015. He continues to work in close contact with the providers, brokers and journalists operating in the world of consumer credit.

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Important Information.

All of the information in this guide is correct at the time of writing.

Rates shown are quotes based on your personal circumstances, are subject to status and are available to those aged 18 and over. Rates available range from a minimum of 3.9%APR to a maximum of 1575%APR Representative and loan repayment periods range from 3 to 60 months.

[*][†] Once accepted, your loan can be transferred to you in as little as 15 minutes. The time that it takes for the loan to show in your bank account will depend on your lender and your bank.

If you need financial advice you can visit stepchange, speak to citizens advice, call the national debtline or speak to moneyadviceservice.org.uk.

If you've been declined, please refer to your credit report to gain an understanding of why before making further applications.
Your score can be accessed for free via any of the main credit reference agencies such as Credit Karma, Clearscore or Experian.