Can I Lease a Car Without a Down Payment?

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Contributing Writer

Bethany Hickey is a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. She is a content writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs, as well as the Poetry Editor for UM-Flint’s writing magazine.


, Contributing Writer - August 4, 2021

A down payment on an auto lease is called a cap cost reduction. It’s possible to qualify for a no-money-down lease deal, however, you may need good credit to make it work.

No Money Down Lease Deals

Most lessees are payment shoppers, meaning they’re looking for the lowest car payment possible. Lease deals almost always focus on the monthly payment, but often, they require a down payment to get a deal to a specific monthly payment. If you see a lease deal with a very low monthly payment – for example under $200 a month – it’s very likely that you need to put some money down to actually get that price.

There are some lease deals that don’t require much cash down upfront. These leasing deals that may not require a down payment if you qualify:

If you find a lease deal that doesn’t require a down payment, you may notice that you still have some money due at signing – this is typically considered a security deposit, and you may qualify to get it back at lease-end. Often, you’re required to bring at least the first monthly payment to seal the deal.

Right now, most automakers are requiring cash down on their lease deals. You may be expected to bring in anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 or more at signing.

Down Payments on Leased Vehicles

When you put money down on a car lease, you’re not reducing how much you pay overall.

The cost of a lease is predetermined, based on the average cost of the vehicle, its loss of value over time (called depreciation), and the amount of time you'll have the car. By putting down a cap cost reduction on a lease, you’re only prepaying what you owe – not reducing the total cost of leasing the vehicle.

Zero Down Lease Deal With Poor Credit

You may find it difficult to qualify for a car lease with bad credit. It may even be more difficult to qualify for a zero-down lease deal if your credit score is less than stellar.

Where there’s bad credit, there’s almost always a down payment requirement. This is because cash down reduces the risk for the leasing company and/or auto lender. Borrowers that have down payments historically have a higher chance of completing the lease/loan successfully.

Most leasing companies require a good credit score to qualify for a car lease, and good credit is usually defined as a score higher than 660, or even in the 700s. If your credit score is below 660, you may need the assistance of a bad credit auto lender to get your hands on a vehicle and may struggle to meet the credit score requirements of a leasing company.

Bad Credit Car Shopping

If you’re in need of a vehicle and your credit score is stopping you from getting behind the wheel, then let us help you at CarsDirect. We’ve created a coast-to-coast network of special finance dealerships that assist borrowers with poor credit. Once you complete our free auto loan request form, we’ll do the hard work of looking for a special finance dealer in your local area to help you get into a car loan. Get started now!

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, Contributing Writer

Bethany Hickey is a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. She is a content writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs, as well as the Poetry Editor for UM-Flint’s writing magazine.


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