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How to find a zero-deposit PCP that will save you money

  • PCP deals with no deposit could see you pay less than list price
  • Bear in mind the total cost of finance over the contract
  • Haggle to get the best deal on your next new car

Shop around for car finance deals and you could get the car you want well within budget – whether you have cash to splash on a deposit or not.

There are some great zero-deposit Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) schemes that can secure you the keys to a brand new car for a rock-bottom overall price.

You can lose out if you don’t do your homework, though, as the dealer is less likely to give you a deal with low interest rates or big discounts without a deposit, as it will take them longer to claw back their money.

We’ve searched through a number of schemes to help you find the deals that not only get you a new car without parting with any cash in the showroom, but also leave you quids in at the end of the deal. Check out what you can get for your money using our finance calculator.

Look out for no-deposit, 0% APR offers

PCP spreads the cost of a car into an upfront deposit (which can sometimes be reduced to £0), a number of monthly payments and an optional final payment that lets you take ownership of the car.

How much you pay is determined by how much the car costs to buy and what it'll be worth at the end of the term, and you effectively pay the difference between these two amounts. Your monthly payments are set by how much deposit you can lay down at the beginning.

Suzuki is one of the few car companies to offer no-deposit, 0% interest deals. For as little as £149 a month you could bag a Swift supermini over a 48-month term with a final payment of around £4,000.

Even if you’re able to put down a chunky deposit you won’t save any money on the Swift – with an identical total cost at the end of the scheme.

This means that should you have a few thousand pounds to hand you could put this into a high-interest bank account and after 48 months have gained enough in interest to brim the Swift with fuel a few times, or take the family out for a posh meal.

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Mazda can better this, though, offering a £500 discount on the 2 supermini whether you put down a deposit or not.

This means that, unless you haggle on the list price with the dealer, you’re better off financing a 2 with no deposit than paying in cash. And there’s the prospect of an extra £250 or so in interest if you have the £3,475 deposit to hand and are disciplined enough to leave it in a three-year ISA*.

Keep an eye out for dealer contributions

Offers with 0% APR might seem like the holy grail, but don’t write off a deal just because it charges interest as big manufacturer or dealer discounts can mean these could bag you more car for your money. Take the Renault Clio 1.2 75 Play; this model costs £12,675, with 6.1% APR inflating the total cost of a three-year PCP scheme to £14,126*.

Add £2,093 of ‘dealer deposit contribution’ to the mix, though, and you’ll pay £638 less than if you bought the Clio in cash*. You could also spend even less by putting down a deposit in this case, thanks to reduced interest payments.

Put down a £1,500 deposit and you’d save a further £82 in interest charges over three years – with a £3,000 upfront payment the savings go up to £239.

Note how long the finance lasts

Not all deals – especially zero-deposit offerings – will squeeze the most out of your money. Those with higher interest rates and durations of more than three years often mean you’ll have to pay a greater premium for the privilege of not having to part with any cash on day one.

The entry-level Hyundai i20 1.2 S, for instance, may have a list price of just £9,995* (after a £1,000 discount available to cash and finance buyers), but opt for a zero-deposit PCP and you’ll have paid £11,809.05 after 49 months – an 18.2% premium – thanks to an interest rate twice as high as some loans.

Work out how much you need to pay overall

If you want to make sure your money goes as far as possible, keep an eye out for any dealer or manufacturer contributions but also the total amount payable figure (minus any contributions).

You might be able to get a £500 contribution from Honda off the price of an HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC, however, 5.8% APR means you’ll have paid an extra £2,516.69 – more than 10% of the car’s list price – if you buy it at the end of the 37-month PCP.

Don’t forget to haggle

Whichever deal you end up going for, it’s always worth haggling to make sure you’re getting the most for your money. Try pushing for a lower interest rate or ask for a servicing pack, optional extras or a free tank of fuel to be thrown in.

Still not sure on what way to buy? The following articles could help:

Car finance: which option is right for you?

Non-deposit car finance – does it exist?

How to buy a brand new car for the cost of a monthly mobile phone bill

Top 10 new cars for £99 per month

New car finance vs used cars