Credit is an integral part of financial stability in today’s society. It enables individuals to obtain loans for big-ticket purchases such as houses and cars, among other things. But building good credit requires a long-term strategy that involves responsible lending practices and timely payments on debts.

One question many people have regarding car ownership is if leasing a vehicle helps them build their credit. Leasing a car seems attractive because it allows an individual to drive a new vehicle without the high costs of purchasing one outright. But does leasing a car enhance a credit score?

There are no straightforward answers to the question, though several factors come into play when determining if leasing or financing impacts one’s credit positively or negatively. The following blog post explores the concept of how leasing affects credit and provides certain tips on how to use it effectively in order to achieve better financial outcomes.


  • Credit is necessary for financial stability and big-ticket purchases like houses and cars.
  • Leasing a car allows individuals to drive a new vehicle without high upfront costs.
  • Car leasing is a financing arrangement where individuals use a vehicle for a fixed period in exchange for monthly payments.
  • Better credit scores result in lower interest rates on leases.
  • Leasing requires a credit check, and payment history impacts credit scores positively or negatively.
  • Leasing has lower monthly payments and potential tax benefits.
  • The potential drawbacks of leasing include high costs, mileage restrictions, and wear-and-tear fees.
  • It’s best to weigh all factors involved and consult with financial experts or dealerships.

What Is A Car Lease?

Car leasing is a type of car financing arrangement where individuals use a vehicle for a fixed period in exchange for monthly payments. The leasing costs are lower than purchasing a new car outright, and the down payment required is usually less. Interest rates on leases depend on credit history, with better credit scores resulting in lower interest rates.

Lease terms vary depending on the individual agreement between the lessee and the dealership or finance company. Many people choose to lease cars due to their affordability. One potential benefit not immediately apparent is the opportunity to build a credit history through consistent, on-time payments over the lease term.

Does Leasing A Car Require A Credit Check?

The short answer is yes, but only if the individual makes timely and consistent payments throughout the lease term. Leasing a car gives an opportunity to show lenders that an individual is responsible for debt obligations, which improves creditworthiness over time. But buying vs. leasing comes with different running costs, such as maintenance expenses and depreciation value.

Insurance requirements vary between buying and leasing options. It’s worth noting that the length of the lease and payment methods affect how much impact it has on one’s credit score. It’s necessary to weigh all factors involved and consult with financial experts or dealerships who know the process without compromising an individual’s current financial status or long-term goals.

How Does Leasing A Car Affect Credit Scores?

There is a common belief that leasing a car positively impacts an individual’s credit score. The notion has a certain truth to it, but the leasing process itself does not directly contribute to one’s credit history. Listed below is how leasing a car affects credit scores.

  • Credit inquiries – The leasing company checks the credit report when a person applies for a car lease. The credit check is a hard inquiry and temporarily decreases their credit score by a few points.
  • Payment history – Payment history plays a significant role in determining credit scores. Making on-time payments on the lease have a positive impact on the credit score. Missed or late payments negatively affect the credit score.
  • Credit utilization – Leasing a car requires a down payment or extra fees, which the person chooses to pay with a credit card. Paying the fees increase their credit utilization, which is the percentage of the available credit they use, and negatively affects their credit score.

What Are The Benefits Of Leasing A Car?

Leasing a car is more affordable than buying one outright due to the lower monthly payments associated with leasing. But many people opt to lease a car because of its other benefits, such as lower monthly payments, tax benefits, and cheaper maintenance costs.

  • Lower monthly payments – People who lease a car only pay for the depreciation of the vehicle during the lease term rather than the entire cost of the car. It results in lower monthly payments compared to financing or buying a car outright.
  • Tax benefits – Leasing a car offer tax benefits depending on the lessee’s tax situation and the type of lease agreement. For example, the lessee is able to deduct certain or all of their lease payments as a business expense if they are using the car for business purposes.
  • Cheaper maintenance costs – Leased cars are new and covered under warranty for the length of the lease. The lessee does not have to pay for expensive repairs or maintenance out of pocket. Certain lease agreements include maintenance plans, reducing out-of-pocket costs even further.

Lower Monthly Payments

The most attractive benefit is lower monthly payments. Leasing a car is especially beneficial for people on a tight budget or seeking to save money in the short term.

Leasing costs include a down payment and monthly payments that are based on the vehicle’s depreciation over time. The average car lease payment is $506 per month, and the average lease term is 36 months, according to Investopedia.

People who lease cars have several payment plans available to choose from, allowing them to pay less per month than if they were purchasing a car outright. Selecting a shorter lease period or reducing the mileage allowance allows people to reduce their monthly payment amount further.

Opting to lease a car provides an affordable alternative for individuals looking for reliable transportation without breaking the bank.

Scenario Down Payment Monthly Payment Lease Term Total Cost
Average Lease $4,000 $506 36 months $22,816
Low Down Payment $2,000 $580 36 months $23,080
Long Lease Term $4,000 $450 48 months $25,200
High Monthly Payment $5,000 $750 24 months $23,000
Luxury Vehicle $10,000 $800 48 months $49,600

Tax Benefits

The option to lease a car is financially advantageous in more ways than one. Another benefit of leasing a car is the potential tax benefits that have it. Individuals who lease a vehicle for business purposes are able to claim deductions on their taxes based on the percentage of time and mileage used for business purposes. It means that leasing options provide an affordable alternative to purchasing a car outright and offer cost savings through tax deductions. Leased vehicles are usually new or near-new models, so they qualify for added depreciation write-offs.

What Are The Potential Drawbacks Of Leasing A Car?

Leasing a car seems like an attractive option for people who want to drive a new car without the commitment of purchasing one. But it’s necessary to note that leasing comes with its own set of drawbacks. For example, most leases have annual mileage limits. The lessee faces extra fees if they exceed the limits. Here are other potential drawbacks of leasing a car.

  • High cost – The monthly lease payments are lower than monthly loan payments for a new car, though the overall cost of leasing gets higher over the long run. The lessee is paying for the depreciation of the vehicle over the lease term and any associated fees.
  • Long-term commitment – Leasing requires the lessee to keep the car for the duration of the lease term, which is two to three years. A lessee who wants to get out of the lease early has to face steep penalties and fees.
  • Insurance requirements – Most leases require the lessee to carry a higher insurance coverage, increasing their monthly expenses.

High Cost

It is necessary to recognize the potential drawbacks that arise when thinking about leasing a car. One drawback is the high costs associated with long-term commitment and financial obligations. Leasing allows for lower monthly payments and less money down upfront than purchasing a car, though hidden expenses, such as mileage restrictions or wear-and-tear fees, add up quickly over time. Breaking a lease early results in costly penalties, which is easy to avoid by purchasing a vehicle instead. It is key to carefully evaluate the budget and plans before entering any leasing agreement.

Long-Term Commitment

Another drawback to assess when leasing a car is the long-term commitment that comes with it. Leasing terms range from two to five years, meaning an individual is tied into a payment plan for an extended period. The long leasing term makes it difficult if a person’s financial situation changes during the lease term or if they want to upgrade to a different vehicle.

Ending a lease early results in costly penalties and fees, making it necessary to carefully evaluate the ability to commit to the lease terms before signing the contract. It’s best to weigh all factors involved in leasing versus buying a car and determine what works best for individual circumstances.

Tips For Leasing A Car That Builds Credit

It is necessary to note that leasing a car does not automatically improve credit scores. Making on-time payments positively impacts credit scores, although other factors, such as credit utilization and hard inquiries, make a difference. Here are three tips for leasing a car to build credit.

  • Make all lease payments on time and in full to establish a positive payment history and avoid late fees.
  • Avoid high credit utilization by paying any upfront costs, such as a down payment or fees, with cash or a check rather than using a credit card.
  • Assess opting for a lease agreement that reports payments to credit bureaus. It helps establish a positive credit history and potentially increases credit scores.


Leasing a car has positive and negative impacts on one’s credit score, depending on various factors. Leasing requires a credit check and consistent on-time payments, improving credit history. Though missed or late payments negatively impact credit scores. Leasing a car is more affordable than buying one outright, as it offers lower monthly payments and potential tax benefits.

It’s best to examine the high costs associated with a long-term commitment, such as mileage restrictions or wear-and-tear fees. Individuals must weigh all the factors involved and consult with financial experts or dealerships who know the process to guarantee they make sound financial decisions that align with their long-term goals.

Jeff Gitlen

Jeff Gitlen is a graduate of the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics at the University of Delaware. Gitlen has spent the past five years writing and researching on personal finance issues which include credit cards, student loans insurance, and other. His writing has been featured in top news publications among them are Bloomberg, CNBC, Forbes along with Market Watch.