How do you lease a car with bad credit?

I have bad credit. I don’t want to buy a car, but I do want to lease one if possible. Can I lease a car with bad credit?

Answer
Don’t worry—even with bad credit, you can still lease a car.
Here are some ways to overcome bad credit and get approved for a lease:
  • Down payment: Just like you would if you were buying a vehicle, you can put down a lump sum payment at the beginning of your lease. This will not only improve your chances of qualifying for a lease but also may lower your monthly payments.
  • Cosigner: If you can’t qualify on your own, ask a family member or friend with good credit if they’d be willing to cosign for you.
  • Debt-to-income ratio (DTI): This is how much you owe to various lenders (for credit cards, mortgage, student loans, etc.) versus how much you make. The lower your DTI is the better odds you have of getting approved.
  • Choose a used car: The sticker price will likely be lower on a used car, so it will be easier to get approved with bad credit. You can always upgrade to a new car when your lease is up and you’ve improved your credit after making several on-time payments!
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Lauren Smith
Answered on Nov 22, 2021
Lauren has written for World Nomads, the Matador Network, Korvia Consulting, and once upon a time Three Fates Games. She graduated from Columbia College of Chicago with a BFA in Creative Writing. After graduating, she moved overseas and lived in South Korea where she spent her free time traveling and going on road trips with friends. She misses the rest stop potatoes and is trying to figure out how to recreate them at home. She's now based outside of Chicago and when she's not writing she spends her free time reading, playing video games, and exploring whenever she can.
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