(1) Generally an initial partial payment on a purchase or loan. A loan covers the rest of the price. The larger the down payment, the smaller the loan. (2) The portion of a home’s purchase price that is paid in cash and is not part of the mortgage loan. This amount varies based on the loan type, but is determined by taking the difference of the sale price and the actual mortgage loan amount. Mortgage insurance is required when a down payment less than 20 percent is made. Source: HUD (3) A fee in some vehicle leases that charges consumers to give back their leased vehicles.