If you’re concerned about your credit score and want to lease a GM vehicle — Chevrolet, GMC, Buick or Cadillac — there are a few things you should know.
1. GM Financial is the leasing company: All General Motors vehicle lease programs are captive to GM Financial. If you lease a GM vehicle, GM Financial will be your leasing company. GM dropped Ally Financial and U.S. Bank lease programs in early 2015.
2. GM Financial uses FICO Auto Score 9: GM Financial uses Transunion’s Auto Score 9 to determine credit score — effective Jan. 3, 2018. Features specific to this score include: third-party collections that have been paid off no longer have a negative impact; medical collections are treated differently than other types of debt. Unpaid medical collections will have less of a negative impact on FICO Score 9; rental history, when it’s reported, factors into the score—this may be especially beneficial for people with a limited credit history.
Auto Score 9 is specifically catered to the auto finance industry. A traditional credit report offers a glimpse of a consumer at a snapshot in time, Auto Score 9 offers an expanded view of credit data with up to 30 months of historical information. This includes available information on each loan account, including payment history, such as dollars paid, amount paid vs. minimum due and the total amount borrowed over time.
3. Don’t rely on Credit Karma: Many people seem to use their Credit Karma app to monitor their credit score. While this tool can be useful, be sure that auto financing institutions are definitely NOT using Credit Karma. Credit Karma what’s called a Vantage Score system, not your FICO score. Your Vantage Score and FICO score are calculated differently. Your Credit Karma score is usually, but not always, significantly better than the reality.
4. GM lease approvals (and interest rates) are based on a tier system: To get the lowest lease payment based on credit, you need a 700+ credit score to get Tier A1 approval. If your score is 660-699, you get a Tier A2 approval. Each notch down the tier system can increase your payment a minimum of $50, depending on the vehicle, money down, etc.
It’s important to remember, this tiering system is based, specifically, on Transunion’s Auto Score 9. Consumers can get access to this score by signing up at MyFICO.com. Consumers will also be able to access their FICO® Score 9 for free through lenders who adopt the score and participate in the FICO® Score Open Access program.
Here’s the GM Financial Lease tiering system:
Tier FICO 09 Score
B3 539 and below
5. GM Financial doesn’t like late payments: The changes in GM Financial’s tier approval system are fairly new. But one thing is for sure, if you’ve been 30 or more days late on your current or previous GM Financial lease or loan — even once — it could be held against you when you apply for your next GM Financial approval.
For more information about GM Financial’s credit requirements, click here.