The average car leasing credit score has fallen by one point year over year, according to the latest Experiential The data. While this sounds meager, it may signal a turnaround, as the average renter credit score has steadily increased over the past few years.
There is no universal minimum credit score required to lease a vehicle, but it is more common to qualify with a good credit score than a bad one. Good credit is generally considered to be a FICO credit score of around 670 or better.
In the most recent Experian State of the Auto Finance Market report, the trend has taken a turn and the average credit score for a rental car has fallen to 732 from 733 year over year. Meanwhile, the average credit score of a borrower who obtains a car loan rose to 726, up one point from the third quarter of last year.
This does not mean that you have to have a credit score in the mid 700s to get a lease or a loan, it does indicate that better credit scores are more and more common among borrowers, both for loans and for rentals.
In recent years, the average credit scores of borrowers who rent and those who take out auto loans have increased. The current drop in the average credit score for a car rental is the first drop in five years. Lease scores averaged 721 in Q3 2016, compared to 733 in Q3 2020 (currently 732). Average loan ratings continued to rise, from 714 in 2017 to 726 this year.
Having a score in the top credit rating range usually gets you the lease or loan that you are looking for. If you are struggling with a low credit score you may not be out of it, it just depends on which lender you are working with. However, tenants who qualify with lower credit scores are likely to face a higher money factor rate than someone with better credit.
Additionally, even if you qualify for a lease with a lower credit score (below 670), you might not qualify for the best lease deals or advertised prices you see. These rates are traditionally reserved for people with the best credit, that is, being a privileged or super privileged consumer, with credit scores ranging from 661 to 780, or from 781 to 850. These are the rating ranges highest credit ratings. But sometimes leasing is a better deal than buying, so it’s worth considering if you think leasing is right for you.
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