Should I Buy or Lease my Car While I’m in the Military?

If you’re in the military, you know that you can be asked to relocate at any time. So, you may be hesitant to commit to the sort of long-term payment plan that is usually associated with the purchase of a vehicle.

You may also have second thoughts about leasing. Would your contract allow you to take the car out of state if you’re relocated? The truth is that both may be better options than you think. It really comes down to what your credit looks like.

When Leasing Makes Sense

How Easy Is It to Get an Auto Loan Through a Traditional Lender?

Are you the type of person who has to drive the newest cars? Are you okay with always having monthly payments? A “yes” to these questions could mean that leasing is right for you. And the good news is that most leasing companies offering military auto loans are national, so it could be possible for you to move your leased vehicle from state to state if you’re relocated.

Also, active duty military personnel are protected by the Service Member Civil Relief Act (SCRA) which states that you are allowed to get out of a lease if you:

  • Entered into the lease prior to joining the military.
  • Are being deployed
  • Are involved in an overseas Permanent Change of Station (PCS).
  • Are undergoing a PCS from a state outside of the continental U.S. (Alaska, Hawaii) to the continental U.S.

Just keep in mind that you’ll probably be qualified for a lease only if your credit score is at least fair (above 620) and if your monthly income meets the requirements of the leasing company.

When Buying Makes Sense

If your credit history is preventing you from leasing, you may still be qualified to finance a vehicle. There are lenders and dealers who work with bad credit financing available who are special finance experts and they’re able to work with all types of credit. Also:

  • As an active member of the military, you may be able to get reduced interest rates.
  • You’ll be able to negotiate your loan terms in order to make your monthly payments affordable.
  • Once you pay off the loan, you’ll own the car and not be burdened with payments until you need to replace the vehicle.

Just remember, not every dealership that works with bad credit is ideal. For example buying from a Buy Here Pay Here dealer could be a bad call given you must pay your financing at the dealer. Especially if said dealer is outside Fort Benning and you end up assigned to Fort Hood.


If you decide that buying is the right option for you, but you’re unsure as to how to go about obtaining your auto loan, Auto Credit Express can help. We appreciate and respect all that you do and sacrifice for the good of our country and we want to make your car buying experience as easy as possible. Fill out our fast and secure auto loan application to get started today.

Posted on November 11, 2014 by in Military
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