If you've had problems with your credit score before you might be worried that you're not eligible for a lease, as just like with any other finance product your credit history will be checked as part of the approval process. Please take a look at the guide below if you’re worried about having a low credit score and how this will impact your ability to lease a car. 

What is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a tool used by funders to help then decide whether you qualify for a particular financial service, for example a car lease.

There are four main factors that are considered when calculating your credit score; your payment history, the total amount of credit you owe, the length of your credit history and the types of credit you have.  

You can find out your credit score with any of the UK’s three main companies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

If you have been declined finance in the past or have declared bankruptcy, entered into an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) or have a County Court Judgement (CCJ) then you’re credit score will have be affected. Even if you’ve just made a late payment on your credit card then this will have an impact.

If you’re worried about your credit score being low, don’t be. There are leasing options available to you. After you’ve read through our guide just give our Sales Team a call on 0330 221 0000 to discuss the options available for you.

Why is My Credit Score Checked?

As part of your application process, the funder runs a credit check to find out your credit score. This helps them determine whether you are likely to be able to afford the lease payments. This is not only for their benefit but also yours, to make sure the lease doesn't put you into any financial difficulty.

What Do They Check?

In the UK there are three main companies that are used to check your credit score Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.  When you apply for a lease then the finance company you apply with will check your credit score with one of these companies.

When funders check your credit score, they are looking to confirm:

  • Your full name
  • Your current address
  • Your date of birth
  • Your financial history over the last few years, including; credit limits, mortgages, loans, overdrafts bankruptcies, CCJs or debt issues
  • Electoral roll information
  • Financial links to other people
  • Whether your identity has been used for fraud

How Long Does it Take to Check?

Most credit checks usually take between 24 and 48 hours, but if the funder asks for additional information then this will take longer.

We will let you know once your funder has completed the necessary checks and what the outcome of these are.

What Score Do I Need to Get Approved for Finance?

Most finance companies look for a credit score between good and excellent.

If your credit rating is below this then they may ask for additional information in order to see if they can approve your application. This may be in the form of more documents, for example your wage slips for a number of months so they can see proof of your income. Alternatively, they may ask for a higher initial rental payment.

Will Leasing Impact My Credit Score?

Yes, it will. Initially it may have a negative effect on your score as it is another line of credit being placed onto your file.

However, as long as you keep up the monthly payments on time and without issue then your lease should help gradually improve your overall credit rating as it shows you can make regular repayments without issue.

What Happens if I Don't Pass the Credit Checks?

If you do not get approved for finance, then the funder is not obligated to let you know why they have not accepted this.

If you feel the decision is unfair then you can appeal it. You would need a copy of your credit file in order to do this.

Alternatively, you may be able to apply again with a joint application or with a guarantor. For more information on either of these options then just click below.

Joint Application

Some of our funders may be able to offer a joint application.

This will usually need to be with a spouse or close family member.

With a joint application the finance company will look at both incomes combined and run credit checks on both parties.

Please note that if you are successful with a joint application then both parties will be responsible for the monthly payments for the duration of the lease.


If a joint application doesn’t sound right for you then maybe an application with a guarantor is.

A guarantor is a third party who guarantees that the payments will be made, and if the main applicant defaults, they will be responsible for the lease payments.

If you apply for finance with a guarantor, then they will usually need to be a close family member and will need to have a strong credit score.

Not all of our funders accept finance application with a guarantor, but we will let you know if this is an option for you.

Or the funder may offer you credit but with a higher initial rental payment. This is because it will reduce the amount you will be paying each month, making the payments more affordable for you and reducing the amount of credit you will hold with them once the initial payment has been taken.

One way that drivers who own their current vehicle choose to fund their larger initial rental payment is from the sale of their vehicle.  We work with carwow to help you with a quick and hassle-free sale if you want to sell your current car

For more information on the general lease process please look at our Personal Leasing Guide or Business Leasing Guide.

If you want to discuss your credit score and the leasing options available to you, please give us a call at 03302210000 and speak to one of our helpful Leasing Consultants.

Bad Credit Leasing FAQs

How Can I Improve My Chances of Leasing with Poor Credit?

There are strategies you can employ to increase your chances of leasing with poor credit, such as:

  1. Enhance your credit score: Take proactive steps to boost your credit score, such as making timely payments, reducing your debt, and rectifying any inaccuracies on your credit report.
  2. Save for a larger down payment: Accumulating a larger down payment demonstrates your commitment and may make leasing more attainable despite poor credit.
  3. Seek a co-signer: A co-signer with good credit can fortify your lease application and enhance the likelihood of approval.

Can Leasing a Car with Poor Credit Help Improve My Credit Score?

Leasing a car with poor credit can actually offer a chance to enhance your credit score. Making timely payments throughout the lease term demonstrates responsible financial behaviour and can have a positive impact on your credit history. By consistently paying on time, you have the opportunity to improve your credit score over time.

What is the Lowest Credit Score for a Lease?

There is no exact credit score that is used as a minimum across the board, it will depend on each lender. In some cases, if your credit score is below their minimum then you may still be able to lease a car, but it may require a higher down payment.

Is Leasing a Car with Poor Credit a Good Idea?

This will depend on your personal circumstances. If you would like a new car and have poor credit then leasing could be a viable option. It can help you enhance your credit score by making timely payments, and leasing will be made easier if you have saved up a solid down payment amount.

You will need to understand any potential risks related to leasing with poor credit though, such as the possibility of failing a credit score check or the lender repossessing your car if you miss a payment.

What Should I Do After I Lease a Car with Poor Credit?

Once the deal has been signed and you have your new vehicle, it’s important to do the following:

  • Ensure that you understand all of the terms of your lease deal, including how much the monthly payments are, any down payment amounts, the residual value, and any early termination fees.
  • Don’t miss any monthly lease payments, as failing to pay can affect your credit score and may default your lease.
  • Keep your car in good condition and avoid any bumps and scrapes, which will help you steer clear of any unwanted additional charges at the end of the lease term.

Peace of Mind

Check out one of our helpful guides or our explaination of leasing to get all your questions answered.

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