Rent-to-own stores, also called lease-to-own stores, can have bad reputations. While there are indeed fees and risks to consider when buying on a lease-to-own plan, rent-to-own stores can allow you to buy what you need without accruing credit card debt or having to come up with the money to pay for an item upfront. Some rent-to-own stores don’t even require credit checks, making their products accessible to just about anyone. This article details what you need to know about rent-to-own websites.
How Do Rent-to-Own Companies Work?
As the name suggests, rent-to-own stores allow you to rent products, such as large appliances, electronics, and furniture, for low monthly payments. As soon as you make the final payment on the product, it’s legally yours. The idea is that you rent the product until you own it, but if you decide you no longer want it, you can return it without continuing to make the monthly payments.
Rent-to-own options can be attractive because most places don’t require a credit check and rent-to-own monthly payments are usually lower than other repayment plans or credit card payments. However, rent-to-own is not cheaper than paying upfront; leasing fees will be included in your monthly payment. It simply provides a way for you to get the things you need now and pay for them in installments over a longer period of time.
When deciding whether to sign a rent-to-own agreement, consider your financial situation, the amount of the potential monthly or weekly payments, any additional fees, the total cost of the lease, and how urgent your need for the item is. If you can easily afford the monthly payment, are fine with the additional cost associated with renting to own, and need an item immediately, rent-to-own stores may be worth considering.
Keep in mind that if you miss payments during the leasing period, your item can be repossessed. You may be charged late fees or have to pay off the remaining cost of the loan, depending on the company’s policies. Missed payments may also be reported to the credit bureaus, damaging your score.
When Should You Choose Rent-to-Own Instead of Purchasing an Item Outright?
Since the overall price of rent-to-own products is almost always higher than if you were to pay retail, many people will say that it’s smarter to purchase the item outright instead of renting. While that might be true, it isn’t always a feasible option for everyone. Sometimes, renting just makes more sense for your circumstances. You might want to consider a rent-to-own option if:
- You want to try out a product before committing to buying it. If it turns out that you don’t like it, simply return the item to the rent-to-own store and try something else. If you do decide that you want to buy it, you can even return it to the rent-to-own store and purchase it for an overall lower price at another store. (Be sure to double-check the rental agreement before trying this tactic.)
- You only need the item for a short amount of time, or you need to temporarily replace something that’s currently being repaired, such as a washing machine or vacuum cleaner.
- You have low credit. Most rent-to-own stores don’t require a credit check or are willing to accept low credit scores.
- You don’t want to be put on a payment plan. Some stores offer payment plans with little or no interest, which are usually based on your credit. However, the required monthly payment is also sometimes based on your income, and if you’re already living paycheck to paycheck, the payment might be too high for your budget.
- You don’t want to charge the purchase to a credit card. With rent-to-own, as long as you make your monthly or weekly payments on time, you won’t have to face high interest charges.
The List of Legitimate Rent-to-Own Online Stores
If you think that a rent-to-own option is right for you, there are several legitimate, reputable online rent-to-own stores that can help you get the items you need. Below, we have the details for some of the most popular rent-to-own stores online, ordered starting with the best overall options.
- Selection: Fitness and sports equipment, mattresses, furniture, appliances, TVs, musical instruments, tires and wheels, baby and children’s products, and more.
- Credit check required? Yes, but FlexShopper does rent to customers with bad credit. Shoppers can apply online to see if they qualify for a FlexShopper lease.
- Approval requirements: FlexShopper has a few general requirements for applying, including the following:
- Customers must be 18 years or older.
- Customers must earn at least $1,000 per month.
- Customers must live in the U.S. but not in New Jersey, Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Wyoming.
- Customers must have a bank account that’s been active for at least 90 days.
- Late payment penalties: Fees can be assessed for late payments, although the exact amount can vary.
- Perks: FlexShopper offers customers benefits including:
- No long-term commitment. Each lease is 52 weeks or shorter.
- No money down.
- Early purchase option. Each lease agreement will list an Early Purchase Option amount, and customers can purchase their product at any time by paying that amount.
- Instant spending limit. Customers can start shopping as soon as they’re qualified.
- Start shopping at FlexShopper
Our article also lists the sites that are similar to FlexShopper.
- Selection: Appliances, electronics, fitness equipment, furniture, jewelry, lawn care products, music equipment, and tools
- Credit check required? No
- Approval requirements: LeaseVille doesn’t run credit checks, but does require that customers meet the following criteria:
- Must earn at least $1,000 per month.
- Must have an active checking account (not a prepaid debit card) that has been open for at least three months and:
- Has no overdrafts or instances of insufficient funds within the past 30 days
- Makes five or more transactions per month
- Receives $500 in deposits per month
- Unless self-employed or receiving benefits like SSI or long-term disability, the customer must be employed at the same job for six months or more.
- Late payment penalties: Not disclosed online. However, keep in mind that payments will be automatically taken out of the checking account.
- Perks: LeaseVille offers customers many benefits, including:
- No down payment (though the company does require a setup fee — typically $40 or less — before the order is shipped)
- Customers can own their items in a year or less
- Two available early pay-off options: 90 days or 120 days same as cash
- Start shopping at LeaseVille
- Selection: Appliances, audio equipment, electronics, fashion, furniture, and video games
- Credit check required? Yes, but the company does rent to those with bad credit. Customers can apply for instant approval at Rent Delite’s website.
- Approval requirements:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must have a debit card (not prepaid) or a credit card for payment
- Must have a steady, provable source of income
- Must provide an email address
- Late payment penalties: Not specified, but the Rent Delite company website advises customers to call or e-mail a customer service representative if they happen to miss a payment, and the representative can discuss the available options.
- Perks: Rent Delite offers customers benefits including:
- Ability to own items in a year or less
- Early payoff; Options vary depending on the state and the amount the customer has already paid toward the lease. To request an early payoff quote, contact Rent Delite’s customer service department.
- Instant approval; customers can start shopping immediately after approval.
- Start shopping at Rent Delite
- Selection: Appliances, computers, electronics, fashion accessories sporting goods, and more
- Credit check required? Yes; YuKeep consults with consumer reporting agencies during the approval process. However, a high credit score is not a steadfast requirement at YuKeep, and it will consider applicants with bad credit.
- Approval requirements: YuKeep customers must be at least 18 years old and meet the following criteria:
- Must have a provable source of income
- Must have either a prepaid card or an active bank account
- Late payment penalties: Not specified; late payments may depend on the specific financing plan that the customer chooses.
- Perks: YuKeep offers customers benefits including:
- Lease or rent options, which allows customers to return the product or buy it out.
- No long-term commitment. Most leases are only five months, but if a customer plans to buy the product, the lease can be extended by an additional seven months using the Flexible Lease Ownership payment plan.
- Early purchase allows customers to buy the product before the end of the lease term if desired.
- Flexible lease payments. The customer’s monthly payment amount is based on the frequency of their income and how much of a deposit they want to include in the lease.
- Start shopping at YuKeep
Online Stores That Offer Extended Payment Plans
If none of the sites listed above fit your needs, consider one of the following options. These websites, while not rent-to-own websites, provide extended payment plans, and they’re very similar to rent-to-own in the sense that you can get the item right away and pay for it over time.
HSN (Home Shopping Network)
- Selection: Fashion, shoes, jewelry, beauty, home, kitchen and food, electronics, crafts, toys and games, and more.
- Credit check required? Yes, although HSN doesn’t specify a minimum credit score needed to qualify for FlexPay.
- Approval requirements: Home Shopping Network doesn’t disclose any particular requirements for FlexPay. However, the company does state that a credit score may be reviewed before a customer is approved.
- Late payment penalties: FlexPay is set up to automatically bill each monthly payment from your credit or debit card. Because FlexPay defaults to automatic payments, the store does not specify any late payment fees.
- Perks: Home Shopping Network offers several benefits including:
- The ability to pay for purchases over a period of up to five months.
- No interest charges or fees for FlexPay.
- FlexPay is available for all credit card types and PayPal accounts.
- Start shopping at HSN.com.
- Selection: Home, furniture, and patio; clothing, shoes, and jewelry; health and beauty; sports, fitness, and outdoors; tools and home improvement; babies and kids; toys and video games; electronics and office; automotive; gifts, crafts, and holidays
- Credit check required? No, not for Fingerhut Credit.
- Approval requirements: Fingerhut offers numerous payment options with varying requirements, but to qualify for Fingerhut Credit, customers must:
- Earn at least $25,000 a year annually.
- Have a valid checking or savings account, a payroll card, or a prepaid debit card.
- Late payment penalties: Late fees can run up to $38.
- Perks: Fingerhut provides many perks for customers, including:
- Automatic review for credit line increases.
- A huge assortment of name-brand items available for Fingerhut Credit financing.
- Early payoff programs are available.
- Start shopping at Fingerhut.
- Selection: Home, furniture, and patio; clothing, shoes, and jewelry; health and beauty; sports, fitness, and outdoors; tools and home improvement; babies and kids; toys and video games; electronics and office; automotive; and gifts, crafts, and holidays.
- Credit check required? Yes, but Gettington doesn’t specify a minimum credit score needed to qualify for financing approval.
- Approval requirements: Gettington does not disclose specific approval requirements for financing options, but the company will review the customer’s credit history when they apply.
- Late payment penalties: Late fees can run up to $38.
- Perks: Gettington offers numerous perks for customers, including:
- Automatic review for credit line increases.
- Flexible payment options with low monthly payments available. Monthly payments are determined by the amount of the balance.
- Minimum payment is 5.5% of the account balance or $20, whichever is greater.
- Credit/extended payment plans are available for every item on the site.
- Start shopping at Gettington.
Rent-to-Own Stores to Avoid
Based on online reviews from Consumer Affairs and reports from the Better Business Bureau, we recommend being cautious when signing a rent-to-own agreement with one of these companies:
- Colortyme (Customer rating: N/A; BBB rating: A+)
- Bestway Rent-to-Own (Customer rating: N/A; BBB rating: F)
- Rent-A-Center (Customer rating: 1.4 stars; BBB rating: C+)
- Aaron’s (Customer rating: 1.4 stars; BBB rating: A+)
- Rent-2-Own (Customer rating: 1.4 stars; BBB rating: A+)
While certain popular online rent-to-own stores may require some extra caution, there are plenty of legitimate rent-to-own stores that allow you the opportunity to get what you need with low monthly payments. Sites like FlexShopper and LeaseVille are known for their wide selection of products, and they both offer leasing options with no money down, early payoff options, as well as short-term leases that let you own your item in under a year. For similar options that are not technically rent-to-own sites, consider HSN or Fingerhut — both sites offer buy now, pay later options with flexible payment plans. If you do decide that rent-to-own is best for you, just be sure that you don’t miss a payment. Otherwise, you could damage your credit or be charged with a fairly significant late fee.