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What is a car finance balloon payment?

Find out how balloon payments work before comparing your car finance options.

If you’re looking at getting car finance, you may come across some dealers or lenders that offer a balloon payment option. This type of car loan can help reduce your repayments but require you to make a large lump sum payment at the end of the loan term.

While a balloon payment can help save you money initially, it’s important to understand how they work before you take on a car loan that offers one.

What is a balloon payment?

A balloon payment is a single, lump sum payment that is made at the end of a loan term to cover the remaining cost of the loan. It is commonly found as part of dealer finance, but is also offered on some car loans. The balloon payment amount is only payable at the end of the loan, meaning it can help reduce the size of your regular repayments.

What are the benefits of a balloon payment?

Balloon payments offer a number of advantages, including:

  • Repayment reduction. This is the main advantage of balloon payments. The amount is subtracted from the principal loan amount and your repayments are lowered as a result. This can allow you to finance your car purchase while still keeping your repayments affordable.
  • Flexibility of the balloon payment amount. The amount of the payment is generally flexible, so you can agree on the amount with the lender. A standard payment is a few thousand dollars, but can be more or less depending on the lender.
  • Business benefits. The increased amount of interest payable may have benefits to those borrowing for business purposes. You will be paying less principal and more interest, and as the principal is non-deductible this can work out in your favour in terms of tax.

What to consider when comparing car finance with balloon payments

Before opting for a balloon payment at the end of your term, ask yourself the following:

  • How much additional interest will be paid? While your repayments are lower, working out how much the lowered repayments are costing you in additional interest over the loan term is an important step. Are the long-term costs worth the short-term savings?
  • How will the balloon payment be paid? Do you have a savings plan to be able to pay off your balloon payment at the end of the loan term? Will you be refinancing or putting it on a credit card? Do you have an end-goal in mind for how you will manage the payment?

Example

John wants to borrow $18,000 for a car, with a loan term of 5 years. While this would normally mean he makes monthly payments of $300, plus interest, he chooses to include a balloon payment of $5,000. This means he only makes repayments on the remaining $13,000 (as well as interest on the entire loan amount), which works out to be $216.67 each month, plus interest.

Should you refinance a balloon payment?

Many dealerships make their money by refinancing balloon payments. If you’re coming to the end of your loan term and unable to pay your balloon payment outright, refinancing is an option to consider.

You should consider this as a new credit product and give it the same consideration as you would give before taking on any other loan. Remember that you don’t need to refinance with the same lender, so you should compare your refinancing options before you apply.

Want a car loan without a balloon payment? Compare now

Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Min. Loan Amount Max. Loan Amount Loan Term Establishment Fee
FAST QUOTE
Simplify Secured Car Loan
6.25% - 12.50%
$5,000
$500,000
12 - 60 months
$100 - $500
Eligibility: Must be 18+, a New Zealand resident or permanent citizen and have an income of at least $500 per month.
See how much you could borrow without affecting your credit score.
FROM 6.99%
The Co-operative Bank Unsecured Personal Loan
6.99% - 10.99%
$3,000
$50,000
6 months to 5 years
$155
Limited time offer: Pay a special rate of between 6.99% – 10.99% p.a when you borrow $3,000 or more. Offer ends 21 February 2022. Ts&Cs apply.
Floating-rate, unsecured personal loans
Kiwi Car Loans Secured Loan
7.45% - 19.95%
$5,000
$500,000
1 to 7 years
$195 - $995 depending on lender
Eligibility: Be 18+, an NZ citizen, permanent resident or have a work visa, and have an income of least $500 per week.
100% online secured car loans from $5,000
Lending Crowd Secured Car Loan
5.03% - 15.44%
$5,050
$200,000
3 or 5 years
$200 - $500 depending on the amount borrowed
Eligibility: Be a NZ resident/citizen and have a good credit score.
Borrow $5,050 to $200,000 for your chosen vehicle. 100% online with no paperwork or early repayment fees.
CarFinance2U Car Loan
8.95% - 23.95%
$5,000
N/A
1 - 5 years
N/A
Eligibility: Be at least 21 years old, have a valid NZ driver's licence and be an NZ citizen or permanent resident.
With a CarFinance2U secured or unsecured car loan you could get pre-approval for your next car in 30 minutes.
Nectar Unsecured Car Loan
8.95% - 29.95%
$1,000
$30,000
6 months - 4 years
$240
Eligibility: Must be 18+, an NZ citizen or permanent resident, have an income of $400 per week or more (after tax) and a stable credit history.
Unsecured car loans from $1,000 with payouts made within one day of approval. Applications entirely online.
Stadium Finance Secured Vehicle Loan
8.95% - 19.95%
$3,000
$100,000
Up to 60 months
Varies
Eligibility: Must be 18+ and must have disposable income of $300 per week
Secured loans from $3,000 and funds paid within one day of approval.
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