Essentially, Personal Contract Hire (PCH) is similar to contract hire, except that is reserved for private individuals. It is the most common form of contract hire in the UK, and means that the individual takes control of the car for the agreed contractual period.
When committing a personal contract hire agreement, you are ultimately agreeing to pay the difference between the retail value of the car, and the residual value (future value) of the car at the end of the agreement. In order to calculate this, the agreement will contain a strict regulation on mileage during the contract period, enabling the lease company to accurately estimate the car's future value at the time of the agreement.
Once the end of the agreement has been reached, you are then required to return the car and can walk away (subject to charges should you exceed your mileage restriction or return the car outside of the stipulated condition).
Many people gain financial confidence from the fact that PCH offers them fixed monthly payments, along with the guarantee that they will not have to worry about reselling the vehicle at the end of their finance term. Furthermore, it means that you can often gain access to premium and executive cars that would be out of reach if trying to buy outright.