The high prices of today’s consumer products have paved the way for companies like Rent-a-Center. Rather than require a customer to pay for a product outright, Rent-a-Center gives customers the opportunity to rent-to-own the latest electronics, furniture items and even appliances. While your credit score isn’t an issue with Rent-a-Center, you still have to go through an application process to start renting products.
No Credit Check Guarantee
According to Rent-a-Center’s corporate website, there are no credit checks conducted on consumers. In fact, Rent-a-Center boasts about how every consumer is preapproved. Consumers with bad credit or no credit at all can still apply with Rent-a-Center and be considered for products.
When you apply at Rent-a-Center, you will have to fill out an application at a retail location or online. You’re required to bring documentation proving your residential address, source of income -- such as paycheck stubs -- and two personal and confirmable references. Rent-a-Center will contact your employer to verify your income as well as the references you bring before approving your application. You can, however, be approved the same day -- as long as everything is verified. If you don't have an employer or verifiable references, Rent-a-Center may reject your application until you can furnish this information.
Rent-a-Center offers three payment options to consumers. The first allows you to purchase the product in cash, in full without worrying about an application. The second is a 90-day same as cash opportunity. This allows you to buy the product and start a rental contract, but for the first 90 days you won’t be charged interest or rental fees. The last payment option is the RAC Flex Plan. This plan allows you to make fixed payments weekly, bi-weekly or monthly to Rent-a-Center for a specified timeframe. Once your renting plan is up, you will own the product.
While Rent-a-Center doesn’t check your credit or consider your credit score to approve you for new products, a Rent-a-Center contract could harm your current score and credit history. As with any biller, if you miss payments or default on your contract with Rent-a-Center, your account could be sent to collections and a collection agency may report that negative activity to the credit reporting agencies; thus, impacting your credit score. So, if you plan on renting with Rent-a-Center, make sure you can make the payments and commit to the contract.
According to Consumer Reports, rent-to-own services, like Rent-a-Center are convenient, but they may be costlier than purchasing the same items with a credit card -- in fact Consumer Reports estimates consumers can pay up to 311 percent in interest. In addition, Consumer Reports states that the initial retail price of the product is higher than at other stores. That being said, if you can’t qualify for a credit card or traditional financing for the products you need, rent-to-own may be a viable option to consider.
Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.