Can Someone with Poor Credit Lease a Car?

With the help of a common financing plan called leasing, drivers can hire a car without making a purchase decision. Despite the fact that leasing has many advantages, it won’t help you avoid the consequences of having bad credit. Nonetheless, if your credit is less than ideal, don’t worry.

Before leasing a new car, there are a number of things you may do to raise your credit score. Numerous dealers also focus on low-credit options and leasing substitutes. No matter your credit score, Car and Driver is here to provide you with all the information you require to lease a vehicle, truck, or SUV. To find out how to rent the car of your dreams, keep reading.

What Is the Procedure for Vehicle Leasing?

Via a leasing agreement, clients can basically “rent” a car from a dealership. Customers can enjoy all the advantages of owning a new car at a lower cost than outright purchase. The following steps are typically included in the leasing process:


Make a budget and decide how much you can afford to pay before leasing a new car. It’s critical to get this stage right because cost is one of the primary factors that influence whether someone leases rather than buys. Decide how much you can afford to spend each month, then add the anticipated cost of insurance to that amount.

You can use one of the many online vehicle payment calculators to improve the accuracy of your predictions. A quote from an insurance agent based on your age, location, and driving record might also be useful.


You can start looking for a car once you have a general idea of your budget. Call the dealership and find out whether they offer lease options before you visit. Not all of them do, and finding out beforehand can save you a ton of time.

Look over the cars in person once you’ve located a dealership that provides leasing choices. Make sure the vehicles suit your demands by taking a few test drives.


Once you’ve found a vehicle you want, you can begin haggling over the price. The dealership will evaluate your credit rating and debt-to-income ratio if you need to apply for a car loan to make sure you can afford the payments.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that you and the dealership can discuss the specifics of your lease. To get your best monthly rate, make sure you speak with several dealerships.

A potential purchase is another issue to think about. At the end of the lease, several dealerships provide consumers the choice to purchase the vehicle. Verify that the dealership provides this choice if you desire it. You can leave the dealership with your new lease if your application is approved.

The lease’s details, including your monthly payment, down payment, interest rate, buyout fee (if applicable), and any other fees, will be laid out in a contract that is drawn up by your representative. Before signing, go over the entire document to make sure all the provisions are as agreed upon.


The down payment, which is made on the day the lease is signed, will be your first payment. You will then be required to pay the amount outlined in your lease agreement each month. As already said, leasing typically entitles you to lower payments than you would with an outright purchase.

Although these payments are less, you are still responsible for any connected expenses including car insurance and mechanic visits. To comply with the terms of your lease, make these payments on time.

Lease expiration

When your lease’s term is out, it’s time to deliver the vehicle to the leasing company. Make sure the car is in fantastic shape because you’ll probably have to pay for any damages that occurred while the car was in your ownership.

If a buyout option was negotiated when the lease was signed, you will have the option of buying the vehicle at the agreed-upon price and taking pleasure in your ride for many years to come.

What Credit Score Is Required for Vehicle Leasing?

Before you are allowed to lease a car, you must have your credit checked. Each dealer will have a different minimum credit score requirement, however the majority require a score of at least 661.

According to Experian’s Status of the Car Financing Market Q2 2022, this is on the low end, and many dealers seek scores of 700 and higher. Most lease customers, according to this survey, have scores of 741 or higher. This implies that when leasing a vehicle, most dealers search for a higher credit score than they might for a buy.

While these guidelines are generally applicable, every dealership has a unique leasing strategy. It’s crucial to contact a number of local car dealers to find one who will let you lease a car. Some could even specialize in getting vehicle loans for people with bad credit, although this can have additional downsides.

What Aspects Should You Take Into Account While Leasing a Vehicle With Poor Credit?

It will be more difficult for you to lease a car if your credit score is subprime or just above the threshold. Increasing pricing will be your biggest obstacle most of the time. This could entail a greater down payment, more expensive monthly payments, or higher financing fees.

These financing fees, which are also known as the money factor and are determined by credit scores, are comparable to the interest paid on a loan. Whenever your expenses rise, compare them to your monthly spending plan to be sure you can still afford the payments.

A dealership that offers “lease-here, pay-here” services is another potential pitfalls. These businesses specialize in providing low credit score customers with leasing solutions. These deals could appear alluring if you’ve had problems finding a suitable leasing arrangement.

Sadly, they frequently have fewer options and a number of disadvantages. The cars that are offered will frequently be older and cost more. As a result, you can overpay for an automobile that isn’t worth the price.

How to Raise Credit Scores Prior to Vehicle Leasing

When faced with a poor credit history, improving your credit score is typically your best course of action. Even though it could take some time, doing this eventually pays off and enables you to buy the car you desire at a reasonable price. You can take these simple steps to raise your credit score in advance of applying for an auto loan:

On time bill payment

One of the most crucial and obvious strategies to raise your credit score is to do this. If you often use a credit card, pay off the balance or make the minimal monthly payments.

Making sure you pay other expenses, like rent, on time doesn’t hurt either. Another element that influences your credit score is your debt-to-income ratio, which can be improved as a result.

Check Your Credit

Check to see whether your bank offers credit score checks that won’t lower your score. Use these to keep an eye on the condition of your credit and make any necessary corrections.

Also, registering for a credit monitoring service might be beneficial. These services can aid in the prevention of fraud, which could lower credit ratings.

Think About a Loan

Customers with low credit ratings may be eligible for credit builder loans from some providers. These loans come in a lump payment that you can utilize to pay off bills that are still due and raise your credit score.

They have low interest rates and let you demonstrate to creditors that you can efficiently manage your debt. Before you take out a loan, keep in mind that you will incur additional debt and have to pay interest on the amount you borrowed.

How to Boost Your Odds of Being Accepted Despite Having Poor Credit
You can do the following things to increase your chances of getting an auto loan approval if you decide to lease rather than repair your credit:

Think about a lease takeover

You are able to use a vehicle that has already been leased by another driver thanks to a lease takeover. Lease transfers and lease swaps are other names for this arrangement.

If you and your dealer can locate a driver who is prepared to forgo the remaining term of their lease, this would be an excellent alternative. Up to the predetermined lease expiration date, you’ll make the regular payments and have use of the vehicle.

There are a few negatives to a lease transfer. First off, you’ll only be able to use the car for the remaining term of the lease, which may be less time than you had hoped. Second, there’s a chance you’ll have to shell out more money for the transfer procedure. Last but not least, check the car’s condition to avoid having to pay for any damage the other driver may have made.

Locate a Co-Signature

Obtaining a co-signer may be beneficial if you’re having problems getting permission. There is a second person, frequently a good-credit-scoring spouse or relative. By providing a co-signer, you divide the cost of the lease and give the leasing company a safety net in case you are unable to make payments.

Make sure the co-signer is aware of the consequences because failing to make payments can also harm their credit.

What Alternatives Exist?

You still have options if you’ve exhausted all of your options and are still unable to be accepted. Most likely, purchasing a used car is better. The benefit of purchasing used is that the approval procedure will be simpler and the monthly payments will be lower.

You can do this to save money that could be used elsewhere. Whatever you decide, make sure to keep your credit score high so you’ll have more possibilities down the road.

Given all of these considerations, it is obvious that leasing a car with poor credit can be difficult, exhausting, and occasionally impossible. The majority of the time, waiting till your credit score has increased is your best course of action.

You’ll be able to lease the car you want at an affordable price thanks to this. Also, it will assist you in saving money that could be used elsewhere. Wishing you luck as you rent!