Bad Credit Lease Options?

Both my wife and I and in credit repair mode, we both have scores in the low 500’s.

Currently my wife is at the end of her lease with VW for an Atlas. She paid on time the entire 3 years of her lease.

Will VW use her past good credit with them to offset her bad credit score and provide a lease on a new car? If not what are the best options for current credit dilemma?


You have a few options. Highly encourage you to attempt to finance a much cheaper used car (that you can live with) from a credit union.

If you MUST have a new 40k+ MSRP SUV, then there’s a good chance your Auto FICO scores are in decent shape if you have not missed any payments.

VW Financial will look at your FICO credit scores, specifically the Auto FICO to make a determination and those scores are usually slightly different.

For example, my Auto FICO scores have generally been higher than my general FICO 8 scores as I have a long history of financing/leasing cars and can secure the best interest rates.

Since you are in credit repair mode, I think getting as cheap of a usable vehicle as possible is probably the way to go.

This will help keep interest rates low.


Considering how much the market currently sucks and compound that with a very low credit score, your best option is likely to be not leasing a brand new car for a while.

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OP’s credit score and financial situation may not necessarily reflect each other. If he can afford an expensive new car comfortably - for example lease payment is less than 3%-4% of his regular net income - I don’t see any reason why not.

@Dsa If you are trying to simply be approved and ok with tier 3 rates, you will need to apply and see. Some of the LH dealers and brokers may be able to chime in but everyone’s situation is different unless there is a hard rule about your score does not qualify no matter what.

I don’t like to significantly overpay for things, even if I can afford them.

Nobody does but if it is the best alternative? I have a friend who swore off buying used cars after being stranded multiple times. Many people don’t even know what most of the warning lights mean in their dashboards and rush to their dealers. It sounds atrocious for car guys like us but there are probably other conveniences we overpay from time to time too.

A fool and his money are soon parted.

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You might have some equity in that vehicle so look into just buying it

A used car loan from a credit union, even if you overpay a bit in this market, on something that will be reliable long-term.

You are not lease candidates now based on your credit - ANYONE telling you otherwise is taking advantage of you.


Thanks everyone.

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So I’m looking to lease a car, but my credit is low (500s) and I don’t show a ton of income either.
That being said, I could prepay the entire lease and/or find a co-signer, but I’ve been told some companies won’t accept me regardless.
This seems a bit ridiculous, but I guess I’ll have to deal with it. Does anyone know what manufacturers will lease to me? Ideally, they won’t give a damn about credit and just let me pre-pay the lease as I’d prefer to avoid having to have a co-signer. I don’t even mind if I need to pre-pay and put up additional security deposits.
And no, I don’t want to buy a used car.

Do you know what is causing the low credit score? And do you know your auto 08/09 fico scores? I’d say the odds of a lender approving you on a lease is less than 5% if your auto-specific ficos are that low. It doesn’t matter to a lender that you can prepay the lease when you are in the lowest tiers that exist.

If you’ve had a prior repo you’ll need to wait until that drops off.

I don’t recommend anyone with challenged credit and low proof of income to attempt to lease a new car. Save yourself the brain damage and time spent trying to find a lender that will buy your current paper and take the time to build up your credit. You’ll save a ton of money.


If you have the liquidity to prepay a lease, have you considered financing a cheaper used and reliable car? You can always put a very large down payment on it and make low monthly payments over a short period to quickly build your credit.

I’d recommend three year old camrys or accords. Those are well below the 20k range and shouldn’t be too hard to secure financing with a large down payment.

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That answers that.

:point_up_2::point_up_2: What they said.

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Have you considered reaching out to VW regarding a lease extension, provided that your current payments are manageable? I believe the Atlas has an excellent warranty, at least when it first was released. That may have changed since but that wouldn’t have any impact on you. Depending on the length of the extension they will offer that could buy you some time to fix some credit issues as well as ride out the current market conditions.

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It still bears repeating. Individuals in credit building mode should not be trying to buy/lease cars during the most expensive car buying time in modern history.

Then again, maybe we can quickly infer what the true culprit for their poor credit is.

Just bad money chasing after bad. Gotta break that cycle somehow. Sometimes we have to make that “sacrifice” by deciding to do what needs to be done, and not what we want done.


Don’t waste time getting denied for a lease over and over again. It will hurt your score too.

Take whatever cash you would have used to prepay a lease and add the minimum loan amount from a CU that would approve you. Combine those two amounts and that’s your budget for a new car.


Do you have a car now? If yes, what make and model.

How much cash are we talking? $15k?

No clue, but if I were in your shoes I would not be looking at leasing a new car. Given current market conditions and your low credit score, leasing might end up being more expensive than financing a car through a credit union.

Why is that?

Don’t have a car as I’ve been living in NYC. Had a loaded 3 series lease prior and financed a 135i before that. In terms of cash I have the funds to buy a car if I wanted, even at $50k or more, but that’s not going to work for a variety of reasons.

Sounds like you have a non-problem. But a civic for two years while you build your credit and then lease the baddest car you can find afterwards?

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