August 21, 2023
4 mins

Bank Loan vs Asset Finance

Key take away points:

  • 10 things to consider when investing in assets for your business.
  • 10 reasons why a business might choose asset finance over a bank loan when investing in assets.
  • Making the right choice for your organisation.

10 Things to Consider When Investing in Assets for Your Business

In case you’re not familiar, let’s start with a short summary of asset finance.

Asset finance involves borrowing funds from a lender to purchase assets for your business, but unlike a loan, the funds are secured against the assets themselves. The most common types of asset finance are Hire Purchase – where you will eventually own the asset – and leasing which means you can use the asset for the duration of the agreement but will not own it (unless you choose to buy it at the end of the term for an additional fee).

Asset finance helps businesses to acquire the equipment, technology, vehicles, furniture, property, machinery (and more) that they need to operate, grow, and succeed, while spreading the cost over time and keeping working capital in the business.

You might be asking yourself, why don’t I just borrow the money from my bank, pay for the asset outright, and pay the loan back over time? A traditional bank loan is certainly an option, and in some cases might even be the right course of action, but it’s important to understand that asset finance has several benefits to offer.

Here are 10 reasons why a business might choose asset finance over a bank loan when investing in assets.

1. Asset finance is unsecured

One of the biggest attractions to asset finance over a bank loan is that asset finance is usually an unsecured product. Banks will often want collateral such as the directors’ homes and other valuable assets so that should you default on repayments, they can recoup some of their money. With asset finance, the funds are secured against the assets themselves, so if you default on the agreement they can reclaim the financed assets, but your personal assets won’t be at risk.

2. Asset finance contracts are fixed

As long as you keep to your payment schedule an asset finance lender will not cancel the agreement. In some loan arrangements the bank reserves the right to recall the loan in full at any time – so make sure you understand all the fine print of any contract you sign.

3. Bank loans may be subject to variable interest rates

An asset finance agreement will be subject to fixed interest rates, so you will always know what your monthly or quarterly repayments will be so you can budget accordingly. Unless you manage to secure a fixed-rate loan, your bank could increase rates at any time.

4. Bank loans can have strict lending criteria

Some banks insist on strict terms and conditions when lending to businesses which can be unrealistic for businesses to keep to long-term.

5. Banks are limited as to how much they can lend

Banks are generally more limited in terms of how much they can lend to a business when compared to asset finance providers. In some situations, a finance intermediary like Bluestone can arrange bespoke asset finance arrangements using multiple funders to ensure you get the funding you need.

6. Faster application process

Bank loan applications can be time consuming, especially for less established businesses as there are several stages to the application process and waiting lists can be lengthy. In many asset finance cases, funding can be secured in a matter of hours and in your bank account within days.

7. Asset finance can be used for a wider range of specialist assets

Some banks can be particular about the types of projects they will lend money for, and some specialist businesses can struggle to secure funding for some types of assets. Asset finance can be used for a huge range of assets and complex projects as there are lots of specialist funders who are experts in niche assets or unusual sectors.

8. Avoid tying up lines of credit unnecessarily

No one has a crystal ball, and it is wise to keep as many lines of credit open for your business as you can. That way, should you want to invest in a development project, settle tax bills, or boost cash flow, you will have the option of a bank loan.

9. Why buy assets you won’t be using forever? 

If you are planning on using the assets for as long as possible, it may make sense to purchase them outright with a bank loan. However, if you know it is more likely you will only need them for a specific period such as 3 or 5 years before needing to upgrade, why not spread the cost in line with their usefulness? If you lease the assets, at the end of the agreement you can either return the assets or pay a fee to buy them.

10. Unlock additional tax benefits

Spreading the cost of assets over time can unlock greater tax savings that would be available if paying for them with an upfront lump sum. Here is an example tax relief illustration* on a £50,000 purchase.

SCENARIO A: Tax relief when paying for assets outright (using a bank loan to cover the cost)

TOTAL COST OF ASSETS = £50,000, plus any interest applied to the original bank loan.

SCENARIO B: Tax relief when using asset finance over a 36-month lease

TOTAL COST OF ASSETS = £59,494.68 - £14,873.67 (TAX RELIEF) = £44,621.01

So, in this illustration using asset finance rather than a bank loan has unlocked greater tax savings and the total cost of the investment is actually cheaper than it would have been when paying for it outright with a bank loan by at least £5,378.99.

Making the right choice for your organisation

As an ethical and FCA-regulated commercial finance intermediary, it’s our duty to ensure our clients make informed financial decisions, and to do this we need to understand the intricacies of your business.

Both a bank loan and asset finance can help you get the assets your business needs without parting with working capital and affecting cashflow, but we can help you work out if asset finance could be a viable alternative and if it could bring added benefits.

Contact our team today to discuss your investment plans or simply to learn more about how we could add value to your financial strategy.

*All figures provided as illustrative only. Actual finance agreements will vary depending on project cost, term of the agreement, interest rates, and the applicant's financial circumstances. From the 1st April 2023, tax rates increased from 19% to 25%. A reduced rate of 19% will apply to companies with taxable profits below £50,000. Companies with profits between £50,000 and £250,000 will pay tax at the main rate, reduced by a marginal relief providing a gradual increase in the effective Corporation Tax rate. Speak to your account manager for more details.

Article Tag/s:

Got a question about this article? Complete the form below to send us an enquiry and a member of our team will get back to you asap!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
A member of our team will contact you asap!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

By filling out this form, you agree to the terms laid out in our privacy policy


Get the latest in finance news delivered to your inbox.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

By filling out this form, you agree to the terms laid out in our privacy policy.

Our team are always here to help...

We know finance can be complex and often it's easier to talk things through. Drop us a message or give us a call 0330 135 8660 and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Get in touch
Explore how fast, affordable finance can help your organisation grow.
Finance for your organisation
Maximise your sales potential by offering your customers an alternative to paying with cash.
Finance for your customers
Top ↑