How do I lease a car if I have bad credit?

1 min read

If you believe the ads on TV, leasing a car is very easy and anyone can do it. The reality is, if you have trouble qualifying for a loan to buy a car, it’s probably not going to be easy to lease a car.

Still, leasing a car is cheaper than buying a car, so leasing makes more sense if you are on a tight budget. However, be aware of the potential mistakes when leasing a car.

So, how do you lease a car with bad credit? Try these strategies to improve your chances:

  • It would be wise, if possible, to tune up your credit score before you apply for an auto lease. Your credit score is going to be the primary factor in qualifying for a lease, so do what you can to raise it. Check yours today for free at myBankrate.
  • Make sure you have some cash saved. It’s likely you’ll need a larger down payment (i.e., cash due at signing) than what the car ads tell you, or you’ll have to provide a security deposit.
  • If your credit is bad, expect to pay a higher interest rate, often called the “money factor” or “lease factor,” in leasing terms.
  • If you are having trouble leasing a car or getting an interest rate you can afford, you might try a lease transfer. Two well-known companies that arrange lease transfers are and These companies specialize in pairing people who want to get out of a lease with people who want to take one over. Lease takeovers still require a credit check, but the terms are often less strict and you can generally avoid the down payment requirement you’d have if you had gotten a conventional lease.