Lease Finance vs. Term Loan

Lease is defined as a contract under which one party i.e. the owner of the asset, hereby called The LESSOR, provides the asset for usage to another party i.e. The LESSEE for the period of time known as the term of lease which is mutually agreed upon by the two parties, and charges a consideration in the form of periodic lease rental payments, for the asset. The ownership of the asset is retained by the LESSOR.

Term Loan

The term loan is a type of financing, given by financial institutions such as commercial banks, development banks, and special institutions for lending money. Normally, it is of two types: Long Term and Short Term. The borrower takes the lump sum amount and agrees to return the amount along with interest thereupon. The whole amount is repaid within the stipulated time in installments including both principal and interest. There is a processing fee as a cost to acquire this type of financing. Generally, the term loan is obtained for financing large expansion or diversification of an organization. The borrower has to submit his financial statements and his net worth capacity so that the lender can assess the ability of the borrower in paying back the loan, on the assumption that their profit will increase over time.

Lease Finance vs Term LoanFor raising a business’s supply capabilities, or for purchasing an asset, or for any sort of expansion, the term loan is an easy option to arrange finance in a short span of time.

Lease Finance vs. Term Loan

In easier terms: Should I lease or should I buy?

Down Payment

While taking an asset on a lease, down payment is not required. Only a periodic lease rental payment is required which is lower as compared to the percentage of down-payment. Whereas in the case of a term loan, the borrower has to pay a small percentage in the form of down-payment (margin money) at the beginning of the transaction and an installment amount at the required time and the balance amount is financed by the loan.

The option of Buying the Asset

The lessee uses the asset up to the lease period and pays the rentals. He has the option of buying the asset at the end of the lease. Whereas in the case of loan financing, it is compulsory for the user to buy the asset as soon as he gets the loan.


No security, in any form, is required for lease financing. Whereas the borrowers need to pledge his existing assets as primary /collateral security in case of a term loan.

Presentation in Financial Statements

In Lease, the value of the asset is not included in the financial statements. Whereas in the case of loan financing, the asset appears on the asset side and a corresponding liability for loans appear on the liability side.

Tax Implication

In the case where the asset is purchased on loan, the user can claim interest on loan payment (which decreases every year due to part payment of principal also) and the depreciation of the asset (which decrease every year due to written down value effect). Whereas in the case of lease financing, the user can claim only lease rentals which are uniform during the lease period.

Cash Flow

Since there is no purchase of an asset in lease financing, the cash flow is limited up to the lease rentals. Whereas in the case of the term loan, the cash flow includes downpayment, loan received purchase of asset and installment paid at the required time.

Transfer of Risk Due to Asset Devaluation

In the case of lease financing, the ownership of an asset is not attached to the user, so the risk of asset devaluation is transferred to the lessor. Whereas in the case of loan financing, the user of the asset has to bear all the risk of asset devaluation due to change in technology

In a nutshell, leasing makes it easier to get the usage of an asset for less money. So, leasing sounds advantageous for the entrepreneurs who are not cashing rich. But if we take the long-run view, we see that we will always have a payment to make but no ownership. On the other hand, if we consider buying an asset through term loan financing, after a few year’s installment payments, the asset belongs to the owner and the periodic payments also stops. The lease finance does not have the risk of asset maintenance and devaluation whereas this risk exists in the case of a term loan. It is the ultimate user to decide his needs and to weigh the pros and cons and what best suits to his organization.

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Sanjay Borad

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Borad is the founder & CEO of eFinanceManagement. He is passionate about keeping and making things simple and easy. Running this blog since 2009 and trying to explain "Financial Management Concepts in Layman's Terms".

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