What is a chattel mortgage?

A chattel mortgage is a common way for Australian businesses to finance vehicles and other assets. The term "chattel" comes from the Old English word "chattel," which means "movable property." It refers to a vehicle, automobile, or piece of equipment you want to acquire for your business.

So what is a chattel loan? It is similar to a secured car loan for personal use, except it only applies to items acquired for business purposes. If you're a gardener, for example, and you require a ute to transport your tools from home to home, you could be eligible for a chattel mortgage.

How does a chattel mortgage work?

The lender will supply the cash for you to purchase the vehicle, and you will take ownership at the time of purchase, similar to a secured car loan for personal use. As collateral for the loan, the lender puts a 'mortgage' on the car. The financing firm will remove the mortgage after the loan and any residual value (the final balance on the car) have been paid off. You can re-finance the Residual Value or trade the car in as an alternative.

Structure

A chattel mortgage operates in a similar way to a commercial loan in that you repay the loan in monthly, fortnightly, weekly, or other agreed-upon instalments. You can opt to use a residual value or "balloon" payment to offset your monthly payments. This is a lump payment set aside at the conclusion of the loan that allows you to do one of the following:

  • Trade in your car and start a new loan using the trade-in money to settle your account

  • Pay down the residual and gain full ownership of the vehicle

  • Refinance the residual value

Key features

  • Contracts with terms ranging from 12 to 84 months are available (1 to 7 years

  • The contract can have a residual value (balloon) applied to it, allowing the monthly repayments to be flexible and managed according to your budget

  • Interest rates that are fixed

  • Monthly payments that are predetermined

  • Costs are known ahead of time

  • It is possible to use a deposit (cash or trade-in)

  • When a car is employed for business purposes, a tax benefit may be available

  • On their next Business Activity Statement (BAS) a GST-registered client can typically claim the GST included in the car purchase as an input credit

  • The monthly repayment or the contract balloon sum are not subject to GST

  • Because the loan is secured against the car, cheaper interest rates are likely to be available

We can help you every step of the way.

Apply online or over the phone with the help of one of our friendly loan specialists.

Once we know your story we’ll find you the ideal loan for your needs and handle the application for you.

We even arrange settlement so all you need to do is pick up your car!

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Our experienced car loan specialist will find you the best value chattel mortgage for your situation.

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Reputable lenders

Lenders on our panel are rigorously vetted to ensure they offer excellent value and service, and have high ethical standards.

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Not just for ABNs

Loans for anyone who needs a work vehicle including sales reps, tradies or anyone who is mainly using their vehicle for work purposes.

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We take the hassle out of getting a chattel loan by doing the hard work for you.


Difference between chattel mortgage and lease

In certain situations, either a chattel mortgage or a lease may be the best option.

So which one is better for your company?

Lease

You pay for fair use of the car with an operational lease, which is akin to a long-term rental. The monthly payment is determined using the period and the number of kilometres driven, and it includes the vehicle's operational costs (registration, servicing, tyres, etc.). You just return the car at the end of the lease period - no hassles.

Chattel mortgage

You finance the automobile with a chattel mortgage and assume the risk of the resale value at the end of the period. Finance costs are included in your monthly payment, however, you must manage all car operational costs yourself (registration, service, tyres, and so on).

Who are chattel mortgages for?

A Chattel Mortgage may be used to finance a wide range of transportable equipment, although it is most commonly used to finance vehicles. A chattel mortgage is available to both businesses and individuals, as long as the vehicle is primarily employed for commercial purposes.

For individuals who are registered for GST on a cash accounting basis, a chattel mortgage can be a desireable option. This is because you can typically claim the GST from the vehicle's sale price as an Input Tax Credit (be sure to seek professional advice).

Pros and Cons of chattel mortgages

A Chattel Mortgage is a popular financing option for self-employed or small business entrepreneurs since it allows for a lot of repayment flexibility.

Pros

  • The interest rate for a secured loan is generally cheaper than for an unsecured loan consumer vehicle loan

  • Unlike a hire purchase or a finance lease, a chattel mortgage gives you ownership from the outset, making it appear in the books as both an asset and a liability (the loan).

  • A chattel mortgage may have certain tax advantages. Depending on how often you use your vehicle or equipment, you may be eligible to claim an input tax credit up front, as well as interest and depreciation charges.

  • Repayments can be set in stone. They may also be tailored to fit your company's cash flow.

  • You can opt to make a balloon payment at the conclusion of the term. This allows your company the option of lowering monthly expenses by paying extra at the end of the term.

Cons

You must wait until tax time with a chattel mortgage to claim against your personal income tax return. You can only claim a fraction of the vehicle depreciation, interest, and operating costs if you want to claim business usage on a chattel mortgage. A novated lease, by contrast lets you claim the whole amount of the lease.

Chattel mortgage requirements

To qualify for a chattel mortgage, you must fulfil the following criteria:

  • At least 51% of the time, the vehicle should be used for business activities.

  • An Australian Business Number is required (ABN).

  • You must demonstrate that you can repay the loan on schedule.

  • Proof of your identity

  • Information about the car you wish to purchase

  • Your business's bank statement

What can they be used for?

A Chattel Mortgage is typically used when the funded asset will be used largely for commercial purposes (that is, the asset will be used for business more than half of the time). A Chattel Mortgage may be used to finance a wide range of transportable equipment, although it is most commonly used to finance motor cars.

Vehicles typically financed with a chattel mortgage

Small Vehicles

Large Vehicles

Machinery

Cars

Delivery

Diggers

Motorcycles

Vans

Forklifts

Work Vans

Trucks and Trailers

Mowers

Work Utes

Caravans

Tractors

 

Buses

 

If you’re ready to purchase a business vehicle, speak with one of our lending specialists today to get pre-approved for a loan before you hit the dealer showroom floor.

Consumer loan & chattel mortgage differences

Consumer Loan must have all relevant information for a customer to be able to make the most informed decision as to whether the loan product offered to them suits their objectives and their requirements. This means that all fees, charges and interest rates need to be clear on their contracts to ensure the loan product is suitable.

Business use loans, such as Chattel Mortgage contracts, do not have to provide any of this information and most Chattel Mortgage contracts will not even have the interest rate displayed on the contracts, and you are left up to your own accounting skills to determine if you are getting what you were told.

Why a chattel mortgage is good for business

A Chattel Mortgage is the most versatile kind of car loan. They come with flexible loan terms, from 1-5 years, the option for a balloon payment at the end, fixed or variable interest, and you can borrow the whole amount or reduce it through a deposit or trade in.

There are also potential advantages around GST and tax.

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Frequently asked questions

Generally a lower interest rate, low-doc options, the ability to claim depreciation on the vehicle, and the loan can be written under a company or trust name.

There can definitely be advantages for tax and GST but you need to discuss this with your accountant in relation to your personal situation.

Yes, every lender has different rules but many will lend for second-hand vehicles.

We have a quick application process and access to lenders who specialise in fast approvals. If your transaction is urgent, be sure to let us know.

Early is the method of payout figures that allows the lenders to discount fees and interest rates on Chattel Mortgages. Each and every lender may use a similar method, but most will not highlight exactly how it is calculated, or will they advise that the formula is too complex to explain. They have no regulation to display this calculation anywhere on their contracts or terms and conditions.

Unlike a Consumer Loan, that is required by legislation to display their early termination fees either on their contract or in their terms and conditions, this allows a lender that has provided a Chattel Mortgage to recover losses by retaining some of the interest when you go to terminate your Chattel Mortgage early and in most cases, you are much worse off paying your Chattel Mortgage off early than if you had a Consumer Loan and paid that off early.

This gives the lender some level of guarantee that they will at a minimum retain a certain amount of interest, whereas on a Consumer Loan, if the loan was paid within a shorter time frame, all the outstanding interest charges at the time of payout will be rebated and saved and the lender will only retain any early termination fee that they have explained in their contracts or terms and conditions.

This makes the business use loans, such as Chattel Mortgages a better proposition for the lenders and can give them the affordability to reduce interest rates and some fees, where it would not be economical on a Consumer Loan. If you planned on keeping the finance for the full term of the loan, you would be better off with a Chattel Mortgage with the reduced interest rates and fees, but if your intentions were to pay the loan out early, in most cases a Consumer Loan may be a better solution.

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