Leases are available for most new vehicles. However, no vehicle lease is "easier" to obtain than another. Approvals are based on your credit standing. Banks require good to excellent credit for lease approvals. Expect to shop leases by term, mileage and down payment requirements. If you have credit issues, you may find that financing your vehicle offers more flexibility.
If you're looking for a car that will easily fit your budget, shop lease offers online. Vehicle manufacturers advertise lease programs on their websites. Individual dealers may offer additional leasing programs or discounts, as well. Check the terms of any leases you discover, comparing down payment requirements, mileage allowance and monthly terms. You can also change leasing terms to better fit your driving needs. Call a new car dealer if you want to increase your mileage allowance, change the term or decrease your down payment amount. A dealer can give you exact prices, which may differ from advertised prices.
You may benefit from checking your credit before applying for a lease to ensure that negative items haven’t been incorrectly reported to the credit bureaus. All of your accounts should be up to date, meaning you aren't behind on any of your credit or loan payments. You should also have established history on your revolving accounts to prove your credit worthiness. If you have no credit, you aren't likely to obtain a lease approval without a cosigner. Expect to prove your income and have at least two years with your employer and at your current address.
Obtaining a Preapproval
To determine if you can obtain a lease approval, apply to a participating bank. Check the manufacturer's website to submit your application online if you prefer to avoid a dealership. You may even receive an instant approval. If you find you can't apply online, many individual dealers also offer an online application process. Call a dealer or visit its website to find out how to apply. If you’re declined for a lease, you'll receive a letter from the bank stating why it declined your application. Use the letter to determine how to improve your credit and obtain a lease approval in the future.
If you can't obtain a lease approval because of your credit, consider pursuing a loan instead. Auto loan providers are more lenient than leasing banks. You may obtain an approval with a higher interest rate or with terms restrictions, such as a down payment requirement. You can apply for a preapproval before you visit a dealer, as well. If you can't obtain financing on your own at all, consider using a cosigner to secure your loan. You may still obtain a lease approval if you use a cosigner who has good to excellent credit. Or, you may also obtain low-rate financing for an auto loan.
- Edmunds.com; Tips for Subprime Borrowers; Warren Clarke; April 2009
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "What Should I Know About the Differences Between Leasing and Buying a Vehicle?" Accessed April 12, 2020.
- Merriam-Webster. "Lease." Accessed April 12, 2020.
- AARP. "To Buy or Not To Buy." Accessed April 12, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "What is a Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)?" Accessed April 12, 2020.
- LeaseGuide.com. "Capitalized Cost – Cap Cost." Accessed April 12, 2020.
- Autotrader. "Leasing a Car: Can You Negotiate the Price?" Accessed April 12, 2020.
- Edmunds. "The 'Residual Value' of Leasing." Accessed April 12, 2020.
- Federal Reserve. "Keys to Vehicle Leasing: Future Value." Accessed April 12, 2020.
- LeaseGuide.com. "Money Factor—Explained." Accessed April 12, 2020.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Financing or Leasing a Car." April 12, 2020.
- Federal Reserve. "Keys to Vehicle Leasing: End-of-Lease Costs: Closed-End Leases." Accessed April 12, 2020.
Shanan Miller covers automotive and insurance topics for various websites, blogs and dealerships. She has extensive automotive experience, including auction, insurance, finance, service and management positions. Miller has worked for dealer sales events around the United States and now stays local as a sales and leasing consultant for a dealership.