Getting a car lease with credit card debt is nearly impossible. Nearly – but not impossible. Before a dealer lets you drive off the lot, you have to qualify for the lease. That means the dealers run a credit check. The second they see your poor credit score, they will likely deny you the lease. Of course, credit isn’t everything, but it’s an important part of the process. Fortunately, you don’t have to settle for the dealer’s options and denial letter.
Check Your Credit Report
The first thing you should do is check your credit report. If you have bad credit, it might not be entirely your fault. Many times, mistakes are made on credit reports. These errors are essentially derogatory remarks. For example, if you’ve paid off an old debt, but the creditor hasn’t taken this off your report (or is still reporting it as “late”), then it’s going to negatively affect your credit report and score.
Get your free credit report from all three bureaus by visiting www.AnnualCreditReport.com
You can challenge any item on your report at any time by writing a letter to the credit bureau or using the bureau’s online dispute forms. Getting all erroneous items cleaned up will save you a major headache at the dealer.
Another option is to request the dealer pull a different credit report than the one he normally uses. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion all maintain an extensive report about your current and past payment history, but not all information will appear on all three reports. Ask the dealer which credit bureau he uses. Explain your situation, and request that he pull a report that is “clean” from another credit bureau.
There may be a dealer who uses TransUnion, for example. If a former creditor has reported something negative to TransUnion, but not to Equifax, your Equifax report will look better than your TransUnion one. Getting your dealership to pull a different credit report might mean the difference between driving off the lot and walking home empty-handed.
Find A Car Lease Assumption Seller
Sometimes, you just can’t get the dealer to “play ball.” If you can’t get a car lease to save your life, consider having one assigned to you. It takes a bit more work, but it’s definitely possible to get a lease this way. Lease assignment happens when someone signs a lease, but then decides that they no longer want the vehicle.
You approach the seller directly, and negotiate a lease assignment. You will take over the lease payments, and you’ll receive the vehicle as though it was leased directly to you from the car dealer. Lease assignment is often easier to get into because the credit requirements aren’t as stringent. Sites like Swapalease.com are invaluable for this kind of thing.
Work On Your Credit
There’s no way around it. You have to improve your credit to improve your odds of getting the car lease you want. Work on managing your credit by taking out small loans of various amounts. If you have an old credit card, start using it again. Charge up a balance, and pay it off within a month.
Take out small signature or secured loans with your bank. Then, pay a few months of interest on those loans before paying off the loan. As the loan sizes increases, you’ll notice more activity on your credit report. Your score should go up, and it should become easier for you to qualify for your next lease.
Gillian Kearney enjoys sharing her Money saving and personal finance tips through blogging. Visit the Monkey.co.uk website for more ideas.