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4 min read. Published 11 October 2022

Writen by Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She has a specialization in helping readers with the ins and outs of securely borrowing money to purchase the car they want.

Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are dedicated to helping their readers to control their finances by providing precise, well-studied information that break down complex topics into manageable bites.

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For many people, leasing is an affordable way to get in the driving seat of an all-new vehicle. Leases offer lower monthly installments and can eliminate some of the other costs related to car ownershipwhich includes repair costs, which the dealer generally covers. But to take advantage of the lower payments that come with a lease, you have to qualify. The process of leasing a car for bad credit can be more challenging. What is the credit score you need to have to be able to lease a car? If you are looking for a lease on a vehicle your credit score is an important aspect of the equation. Dealers prefer customers with excellent credit scores with better interest rates . However, should you have a poor a score, they may not lease to you at all. The credit score required to lease a car varies from dealer to dealer. A prime score ranges from 661 to 780. Prime scores comprise 65 percent of the total financing, according to the Experian report. Scores that are below this, ranging from 601 to 660 are considered to be non-prime. scores between 501 and 600 are considered subprime. The lower end of 17 percent financing is subprime. The better you score on your credit, the more favorable the leasing offer you will be offered. But, you can get a favorable lease offer when you have a credit score of the 670 to 739 range. This is because lenders take into consideration your income, work history, and current credit obligations in determining whether you qualify. The median credit score for those leasing cars as of the second quarter of 2022’s was 736, according to Experian. Even though a low score, will not necessarily keep your from leasing, it may be required to make an additional down payment or pay higher monthly installments for a lease. The drawbacks of leasing a vehicle when you have bad credit Taking steps to improve your overall credit score however, you could still lease a car prior to repairing it — just be aware of these possible pitfalls. A high cost credit score can mean that you’ll need to do more to qualify for the . For example, the dealer might require a . The lease agreement could also include a higher interest rate, known as a money factor or lease leasing terms. This can increase the cost of the monthly lease payments beyond what you can manage. There is no equity when you sign the lease , you walk away with zero equity at lease’s expiration. This means you won’t have any cash or trade-in value to apply to the purchase or new lease. With a higher monthly payment it is possible that you won’t be able to save enough to finance a lease. Strategies to increase your chances of approval for your lease If you’re thinking of leasing a car that has bad credit, there are some things you can do to increase the likelihood of getting approval. Make a large down payment To show your prospective lender that you’re dedicated to paying off your lease, ensure that you are paying higher than your minimum down. This is known as capitalized cost reduction. The more money you provide as a down payment the less your monthly payments will be. Get a loan cosigner One way to gain approval is by . Cosigners provide a layer of security for the lender. The cosigner takes responsibility for the lease, and their credit is affected if you do not pay. If you fail to make lease payments the cosigner is responsible for this. If you’re looking to cosign make sure you choose a trusted family member or friend with a stronger credit history than you. Aim to lower your debt-to-income ratio. Lowering your debt-to income ratio is also a red signal for leasing firms. Your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, is defined as your monthly payment multiplied by your monthly income. If you have low credit score, you’ll want to reduce this amount by paying off the debt, refinancing to lower rates, or by increasing your income. It is also possible to consider a . They allow you to consolidate multiple debts into one payment, which makes them much easier to manage. You can utilize a credit card to see where you currently stand. Shop around When looking for a car lease, shop through a variety of dealerships and leasing firms to determine which one offers the best deal to customers who have bad credit. Since each dealership assesses lease offers differently It is possible that you could receive a more favorable lease deal than you anticipate — and perhaps at less. You can also try to of your lease, though you may not have the leverage if you are a person with bad credit. You can negotiate the buyout price, which is the price you’d have to pay to purchase the vehicle at the end of the lease contract. The price is usually not negotiated after the lease ends therefore, you must discuss it prior to the lease expires when you think you’ll decide to buy the car. It is also possible to negotiate the vehicle’s annual mileage allowance when you know you will likely be driving for a long time. Another option to lease a car with bad credit If you cannot obtain a lease or a one with favorable terms, a transfer of lease may be an alternative. Companies such as SwapALease and LeaseTrader specialize in matching those who wish to end a lease with those who would like to lease. Lease takeovers are still subject to a credit check to qualify however, the terms may be more favorable and without a down payment. Another alternative is . There are a few dealerships that provide used vehicles for lease So you might have look around for an area-specific dealership that provides this option. If you do, note all the terms and how much you will pay during the lease. It is possible to get a better deal by purchasing an older car. There are also “lease here and pay here” dealers who provide in-house financing for cars that they lease. The drawback is that leases often come with a far higher price tag and steeper monthly payments. Furthermore, the lease payment terms are typically not perfect. In some cases, you may be responsible for covering the costs of any required maintenance on the vehicle. The selection of cars available at lease here, pay here dealers could be older or more limited. In the end, even though it is possible to lease a car with bad credit, you may not be able to get a competitive lease offer. This could mean a bigger down payment, more frequent monthly payments or an automobile that isn’t the first option. If you have time, taking steps to boost your credit score can be the key to an improved lease contract in the future. Look around and modify the terms of your lease regardless of the credit rating, to get the best deal.


Writen by Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers in navigating the ins and outs of securely borrowing money to purchase a car.

Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to control their finances through providing concise, well-researched, and well-constructed facts that break down otherwise complicated subjects into digestible pieces.

Auto loans editor

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