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Leasing has its own language. To decide whether or not to lease your next new car, it's important to understand the financial components.

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The contracts can look very complicated, thanks to their use of bizarre terminology and a host of fees that you may or may not have to pay. It's easy to get confused and pay too much if you don't understand how the various moving parts fit together.

Though you have possession of the car during a lease, it actually belongs to a financial institution, which might be a bank, an automaker's finance arm, or another type of finance company. Once you negotiate a price with the car dealer, the leasing company then buys it from the dealer for that agreed-upon price and leases it to you.

Acquisition Fee
Covers expenses such as obtaining a credit report and verifying insurance coverage.

Adjusted (or Net) Capitalized Cost
The total amount upon which the lease payments are based, including vehicle cost (minus any down payment) and any fees or other charges not paid up front.

Base Monthly Payment
This covers depreciation, any amortized amounts, and finance charges. Monthly sales/use taxes and other fees are added to determine the monthly payment.

Capitalized Cost Reduction
The same as a down payment when buying with a loan.

Closed-End Lease
This is a typical lease, where the consumer does not owe a difference if the actual value of the car at the end of the agreement is less than the residual value that was set at the beginning.

This is charged to cover the vehicle's projected decline in value during the lease term. Depreciation is calculated as the difference between the net capitalized cost and the vehicle’s residual value.

Disposition Fee (aka Disposal Fee) 
A fee charged to defray the cost of preparing and selling the vehicle at the end of the lease.

Early Termination
Ending the lease before the scheduled termination date, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. In most cases, you must pay an early termination charge.

Excess Mileage Charge
A fee, usually 10 to 25 cents per mile, for mileage in excess of the maximum specified in the agreement.

Excessive Wear-and-Tear Fee
Charged to cover damage on a leased vehicle beyond what is considered normal. It usually covers both interior and exterior damage.

GAP (Guaranteed Auto Protection) Coverage
This makes up the difference if your car is stolen or destroyed and you owe more money on the lease than your insurance company will reimburse. One type of coverage is a waiver by the lessor of the GAP amount if the vehicle is stolen or totaled. The other is a contract by a third party to cover the GAP amount.

Gross Capitalized Cost
The vehicle price on which the lease is based. Negotiate it.

The party to whom the vehicle is leased, i.e., you. The lessee is required to make payments and meet any other obligations in the agreement.

A person or organization that leases, offers to lease, or arranges for the lease of a vehicle.

Mileage Allowance (or Limitation) 
The fixed mileage limit for the lease term. This can be negotiated, but you may have to pay an excess mileage charge. You can pay for extra miles up front, but you won't get your money back if you don't use them.

Money Factor (or Lease Factor) 
A number, often given as a decimal, used by some lessors to determine the interest charge part of your monthly payment.

Purchase Option
Your right to buy the vehicle during or at the end of the lease.

Residual Value
The vehicle's estimated projected value at the end of the lease. It's set at the beginning of the lease and used in calculating your base monthly payment. The residual value is deducted from the adjusted capitalized cost to determine the depreciation. The vehicle's actual value at the end of the term may be higher or lower.

Sales/Use Taxes
States differ in which amounts are taxed and when the taxes are assessed. In a lease, sales/use taxes may be assessed on the base monthly payment, any capitalized cost reduction, or—in a few states—the adjusted capitalized cost. In most states, the sales/use tax on the base payment is paid monthly.

Security Deposit
An amount that can be used by the lessor in case you default or at the end of the lease to offset any money you owe.

This is a program or plan in which certain vehicles are subsidized by the manufacturer, such as for a slow-selling vehicle.