Finance Lease

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A finance lease is a type of business equipment finance in Australia. A finance lease is used for long-term high-value assets — e.g. medical equipment or heavy machinery — and provides greater owner benefits for a borrower than an operating lease.

Finance Lease Details

Asset ValueHigh
Lease PeriodLong
Ownership BenefitsFull
Upgrade OptionsNo
Similar FinanceBusiness Loan

Why is a finance lease unique?

Both types of lease allow a business to access business equipment through regular finance repayments. The main difference between a finance lease and other types of lease is in ownership at the end of the lease term — a finance lease will allow a borrower to take ownership of the asset.

Finance Lease Overview

OwnershipOwnership of the property is transferred to the borrower at the end of the lease term.
Residual PaymentsA balloon/residual option for the lessee to purchase the property or equipment at a specific price.
Running costs & administrationThe borrower is responsible for all associated costs with owning and using the asset during the lease.
Accounting and TaxThe asset is listed on the business’s balance sheet. Lease payments are listed on profit and loss statements. Payments are generally tax-deductible.

What is a Finance Lease?

A finance lease allows a borrower to have the use of an asset (business equipment) and the benefits of ownership, while the lender retains actual ownership of the asset until the end of the lease. As all risk is transferred to the borrower, a finance lease will often have lower interest rates than other types of equipment finance.

How does it work?

The lender will purchase the asset on behalf of the customer, who then pays the lender a fixed monthly lease rental — plus interest — for the term of the lease. At the end of the lease, the asset is often purchased by the business at an agreed price, or returned to the lender. 

The asset is listed on the business’s balance sheet, and lease repayments to the lender are generally tax-deductible. A finance lease uses fixed-rate payments, which ensures that repayments will stay the same regardless of changes to interest rates. 

However, as the business takes full responsibility for the asset, it will also need to consider any additional costs such as repairs, maintenance, or servicing. 

With a finance lease, you’ll pay close to the full value of the asset over the agreed term. Your lender will decide at the start of the contract how much they expect the asset to be worth by the end, and your final payment will be based on that anticipated value.

Who would use it?

A finance lease is often used for high-value assets — such as medical equipment or business machinery — which the borrower intends to take ownership of at the end of the lease. The business will also benefit by claiming tax on its finance lease payments. 

The business will have both the use of business equipment and the benefits of ownership, while the lender will have actual ownership of the asset. This means you’ll be responsible for any maintenance and repairs, but it also means there is very low risk to the lender — which often results in lower rates. 

Most businesses use a finance lease to purchase expensive assets while still maintaining operating cash flow and working capital. Residual payments are set at the start of a lease, which means a business can also profit if the asset’s value is higher than initially assessed.

Benefits of a Finance Lease

Pros Cons
  • Flexible contract terms 
  • Fixed interest rates and monthly lease rentals 
  • Your equipment does not sit "on your books" as an asset/liability 
  • Tax deductions for the lease payments may be claimed 
  • As the GST contained in the equipment's purchase price may be claimed back by the lender, only the equipment's price exclusive of GST is financed, lowering monthly payments 
  • Your business won’t own the asset, which means you cannot use it for business tax benefits
  • Even though you’re leasing the asset instead of using a loan, you still might pay interest
  • Difficult for new businesses without plenty of supporting documentation

How to apply

You can apply for a finance lease the same you would for most equipment finance applications. You can apply for an operating lease with:

  • Banks 
  • Finance brokers 
  • Non-bank lenders 
  • Specialist asset finance lenders 

The speed of approval for your application will depend on:

  • The type of asset or assets you wish to finance 
  • The value of those assets 
  • Your time in business 

Finance Lease Interest Rates

Finance lease interest rates will vary between lenders, however they will generally be lower than low-value-asset lease options and fit-out finance. This is due to the value of the assets available under this lease option, which include high-value machinery and equipment which can serve as collateral on the loan amount. 

Your personal and business financials will be taken into account when assessing your application, along with the type of asset you wish to finance and its age.

Finance Lease Interest Rates in Australia

Lowest Average RateAverage rate for machinery
From 4.49%From 5.00%

Finance Lease Summary

The main benefit of a finance lease is flexibility at the end of the lease term. In general, the cost of the asset will be spread across the lease repayments, and will include a residual amount determined by the lender at the start of the contract. 

At the end of the lease, you’ll have the option to purchase the asset and assume full ownership. If the asset is worth more than the residual, the business will profit from the purchase. 

Finance Lease Summary:

  • Generally offers ownership at the end of the lease 
  • Doesn’t require a deposit or security — other than the asset financed 
  • Your equipment does not sit on your books as an asset or liability 
  • Immediate access to your business equipment once purchased 
  • Repayments may be tax-deductible 
  • Responsible for maintenance and running costs 
  • Responsible for repairs and damage 
  • Rental payments can be tailored over the term of the agreement 
  • Fixed repayments over a set term 
  • Residual value of the asset is calculated upfront 

Finance Lease FAQ

What is a finance lease and operating lease?

A finance lease and operating lease are both used to acquire business assets. Generally, a finance lease will allow full ownership over high-value assets at the end of the lease, while an operating lease is used for low-value assets such as laptops, where the borrower does not plan to own the asset at the end of the term.

What is a finance lease on a car?

A finance lease for a car is a form of business vehicle finance. While it may be a suitable option for some, there are generally loans and lease options available to businesses which provide superior benefits to a finance lease. The most popular example is a Chattel Mortgage.

How can I calculate the cost of a finance lease?

You can use an equipment finance calculator to quickly estimate the cost of various types of leases and loans for business equipment. Keep in mind that rates and terms will vary both between lenders, and borrower profiles.

What is a finance lease good for?

Generally, a finance lease is most suitable for high-value assets which a business plans to own at the end of the lease period. A finance lease is increasingly popular when considering medical practice fit-outs, as it allows professionals to finance valuable equipment and machinery without needing to pay for the asset upfront.