What options are there when it comes to buying music equipment online?

Guide to Musical Instrument Finance – What Are Your Options?

What options are there when it comes to buying music equipment online?
Image by Megan Rexazin on Pixabay

The Hard Baroquer is a home musician that has pursued music as a hobby for nearly 20 years. An intermediate guitarist, beginner bassist and even sometimes dabbling on the harmonica, he is always learning something. In his free time, he runs The Hard Baroquer blog.

By The Hard Baroquer

So, you’re looking to buy a musical instrument – it could be a guitar, it could be a keyboard, it could be a saxophone. It could be for you, or it could be a gift. The cash you have to spend may be limited – does it really need to be out and out cash purchase that requires saving up to get the instrument you want? Let’s take a look at what options are available to someone buying their next musical instrument, since there’s loads of easy ways to buy things these days.

Buy in cash

This method is as old as the hills: save up money every month until you have enough to make the purchase and then pay for it one shot. The benefit is that when you buy the instrument outright and can do what you want with it. You’re not tied down to anyone or to any agreements. It’s yours there and then.

The downside is that unless you always have loads of money in the bank, you’ll be saving up and it will take you a long time to get to the amount you want. And if any other big costs or bills come along the way, you’ll find yourself starting from scratch. Such is life that this is inclined to happen to you over and over again.

That can be frustrating!

Pay with credit card

Assuming you’re old enough to have a credit card, and that there’s a high enough credit limit to make the purchase (musical instruments get very expensive, very quickly) this is a convenient way to pay for the item in one shot, since most music retailers will accept credit card payments.

Just make sure you can make the repayments. It’s good advice to make the purchase on a zero percent purchase credit card (0% interest on any purchases you make), otherwise you could be paying a large percent interest for quite some time. It’s also good advice to pay off the purchase as quickly as possible – don’t pay just the minimum payment as that will take some time to clear off.

Think of it like saving up, but after you’ve bought your musical instrument.

PayPal Credit®

More and more online music shops are accepting PayPal Credit®. If you don’t know, it’s a credit system from PayPal – they give you a credit limit and purchases are interest free for four months. This allow you to split your music gear purchase into four monthly payments. If your credit card isn’t zero percent on purchases, then this is a great alternative.

Buy with a finance plan

Many retailers have finance options allowing you to pay off your purchase in instalments over a longer period – such as nine months, 12-months 18-months even 36-months. For bigger purchases, this is definitely the way to go.

The upside is huge – the longer the payment plan, the smaller the monthly payments. At time of writing, PMT priced an Epiphone Les Paul at £499 to buy it in cash, but on finance with 10% deposit (£49.90 is what you pay upfront) becomes an affordable £15.53 per month for 36 months.

An example from PMT of a 36 month finance plan for musical equipment

The downside is there’s a minimum purchase amount to qualify for finance and this varies by retailer (but assume £300+) and you’ll need a credit score that can pass a credit test. The other downside is that unless you’re opting for a 0% interest finance plan, you’ll pay interest on you purchase of between 15-20%.

Our example above used their interest rate of 15.88%, so over the course of three years you’re paying your finance provider £608 for a £499 item. Thankfully PMT V12 finance offer has 0% APR finance too (for a 9-month period, which means your musical instrument is split into ten payments: your deposit (a 10% minimum, but you can increase it to reduce your monthlies) and 9 more payments after that. Use this option to pay no more than the price of your gear.

Some retailers have 0 deposit finance plans, allowing you to buy your gear and pay for it in instalments, without putting anything down upfront at all!

While that is a really attractive proposition, that does mean the APR is going to be a little higher.

How to buy an instrument on finance effectively

Finance plans are something of a zero-sum game. If you want low payments, you’re tied to a creditor for a while, or you need as large a deposit as you’re allowed. If you want a small – or no – deposit, you’ll pay more in the long run.

That being said, use finance as a tool, not a crutch to help you manage your payments; not to buy something out of your budget. Your best bet is to pay as big a deposit as possible and sign up for as short a contract as possible with 0% APR finance. Make use of PayPal Credit if it’s available.

A good tip is to add ‘0 finance’ when searching for any product, in order to try make sure retailers with that offer to show up in your search.

Music retailers with finance plans

There’s no end of choice in where to buy your music gear from, but we’ve looked at some of the biggest retailers – Andertons, PMT, Gear 4 Music, Sweetwater, Guitar Guitar and GAK – and compiled their finance offers to help you understand what’s kind of payment help is available to you.

RetailerFinance ProviderMinimum order valueFinance termAPR Representative
AndertonsV12£3009 months0.0%
AndertonsV12£30018 months10.0%
AndertonsV12£30024 months10.0%
AndertonsV12£30024 months115.9%
AndertonsV12£30036 months115.9%
AndertonsV12£30036 months10.0%
AndertonsV12£30036 months13.9%
PMTV12£5569 months0.0%
PMTV12£55624 months15.9%
PMTV12£55636 months15.9%
PMTV12£2506 months Buy Now Pay Later219.9%
PMTV12£2509 months Buy Now Pay Later219.9%
PMTV12£25012 months Buy Now Pay Later219.9%
PMTPayPal Credit£1504 months30.0%
PMTPayPal Credit£1505 months +317.9%
Gear 4 musicV12£25024 months18.9%
Gear 4 musicV12£25036 months17.9%
Gear 4 musicV12£25048 months16.9%
SweetwaterSynchrony BankEligble products24 months Sweetwater Card0.0%
SweetwaterSynchrony BankEligble products36 months Sweetwater Card0.0%
SweetwaterSynchrony BankEligble products48 months Sweetwater Card0.0%
SweetwaterSynchrony Bank$1003 months40.0%
SweetwaterSynchrony Bank$4006 months50.0%
SweetwaterPayPal Credit$99+6 months30.0%
SweetwaterPayPal Credit$99+7 months +325.5%*
SweetwaterPayPal Credit$98.99 or less1 month0%
Guitar GuitarV12£37512 months9.9%
Guitar GuitarV12£37524 months9.9%
Guitar GuitarV12£37536 months9.9%
Guitar GuitarV12£37512 months Buy Now Pay Later10%
Guitar GuitarPayPal Credit 4 months0%
GAKV12 £25024 months15.9%
GAKV12 £25036 months15.9%
GAKV12 £25048 months19.9%
GAKPayPal Credit£994 months30%
GAKPayPal Credit£995+ months319.9%
GAKPayPal Credit£996 months316.9%
GAKPayPal Credit£9912 months316.9%
GAKPayPal Credit£1996 months316.9%
GAKPayPal Credit£19912 months316.9%
GAKPayPal Credit£19918 months316.9%
GAKPayPal Credit£19924 months316.9%
GAKPayPal Credit£19936 months316.9%
1 Selected items only
2 Includes £29 settlement fee
3 Users must be eligible for PayPal Credit
4 Includes $10 processing fee
5 Includes $15 processing fee