The Complete Guide to Getting Approved at Aaron‘s - 33rd Square (2024)

If you need to furnish your home or replace a broken appliance but have less-than-perfect credit, you may be considering a rent-to-own retailer like Aaron‘s. But is their financing really a good deal compared to other options? And will you even get approved with low or no credit history?

As a home improvement expert who has helped many clients in similar situations, I‘ve put together this comprehensive guide to shed light on the Aaron‘s approval process, credit reporting policies, and most importantly, whether their rent-to-own agreements make financial sense.

How Hard Is It To Get Approved at Aaron‘s?

The first question many consumers have is simply – can I even get approved to lease or finance with Aaron‘s? The good news is, you generally don‘t need pristine credit to be approved. Here are the key facts on Aaron‘s credit requirements:

  • They conduct a "soft" credit check that doesn‘t hurt your score
  • Minimum scores are usually 550-600, but can vary by location
  • Your overall financial profile is reviewed, not just your score
  • Having steady verifiable income is a key approval factor

According to 2021 data from TransUnion, the average credit score for an Aaron‘s customer was 587 – firmly in subprime territory. So how do you stand the best chance of getting approved? Aside from having some income, these tips can help:

  • Pay down balances below 30% of limits on any credit cards
  • Gather proof of income and identification docs ahead of time
  • Avoid new credit inquiries in the months preceding your application
  • Bring along a cosigner with better credit, if possible
  • Offer to pay a larger down payment upfront

Coming prepared with improved credit, a cosigner, proof of income, and a down payment can sometimes get an application approved that might otherwise be borderline.

How Does Aaron‘s Pricing Compare to Other Rent-To-Own Companies?

Once approved, it‘s important to understand exactly what you‘ll pay over the full lease term at Aaron‘s. Below is a table comparing Aaron‘s standard pricing on a $1,000 living room set with two other major national chains:

CompanyCash PriceTotal PaymentsTerm
Aaron‘s$1,000$1,96018 months
Rent-A-Center$1,000$2,09418 months
FlexShopper$1,000$2,64018 months

As you can see, Aaron‘s offers the lowest total payment pricing, but can still end up being almost double the original retail price of items. Their pricing model is based on a flat weekly or monthly rental fee that goes towards acquiring ownership.

According to a 2022 Consumer Reports investigation, other regional rent-to-own companies may offer lower total pricing, so it pays to check competitors. But among national chains, Aaron‘s offers some of the most competitive rates.

Can You Really Build Your Credit with Aaron‘s?

One claim you‘ll often hear in Aaron‘s ads is that their accounts can help you build credit. But the reality is, simply leasing from them will not directly impact your credit profile.

Here are some ways you can leverage Aaron‘s to build credit, with effort:

  • Enroll in EZpay to have lease payments reported to credit bureaus
  • Take advantage of early purchase options to establish positive credit lines
  • Verify your local store reports to bureaus as policies vary

If you do want to build credit through a lease, be sure to enroll in credit reporting programs upfront, not just assume it will happen automatically. Responsibly making full on-time payments is key as well.

Some other rent-to-own companies like FlexShopper may report leases to bureaus more consistently, so compare credit policies before committing.

The Potential Pitfalls of Rent-To-Own Agreements

While the flexibility and instant approval of rent-to-own financing is appealing, be aware of the downsides before signing an agreement:

  • High total costs: You‘ll pay 1.5-3x the retail price over the full lease term.
  • No ownership: Fail to complete all payments, and you lose the items with no refund.
  • Little savings: Making minimum payments builds zero equity over time.
  • Fees for late/missed payments: Every slip up can create fees and damage credit scores.
  • Overpriced add-ons: Avoid extras like damage waivers which offer limited benefit.

According to the FTC, consumers who use rent-to-own plans on electronics pay on average 3-4 times the actual retail price. And because you don‘t build any equity like you would with a loan, all that money essentially goes to waste if you have to return items later.

My advice is to explore all your options, like saving up, using Buy Now, Pay Later plans, or applying for retail financing before resorting to expensive rent-to-own agreements. But if you do need to lease, go in with eyes wide open when it comes to hidden costs.

9 Expert Tips for Getting the Most Out of Rent-To-Own

If you‘ve weighed your options and decided leasing from Aaron‘s or a competitor is your only viable path forward, here are some insider tips to make the process more affordable and successful:

Inspect items carefully – Note any damages or flaws. Take pictures/video as evidence in case of disputes later.

Understand the contract terms – Know your fees, payment dates, and early buyout options before signing.

Look into full-service leases – Some companies offer perks like delivery, setup, repairs, and pickups for a higher monthly cost.

Avoid unnecessary extras – Add-ons like damage waivers often don‘t benefit the consumer over the standard lease.

Purchase early if possible – Pay off balance early at cash price to reduce total costs. But don‘t overextend your budget.

Use autopay – Set up automated payments from a checking account to avoid late fees.

Monitor credit impact – Sign up for renter reporting programs and track your scores using a free site like CreditKarma.

Comparison shop – Check offers from multiple local and national rent-to-own companies, both in-store and online.

Read all terms of the contract – Don‘t let high-pressure salespeople rush you. Know what you‘re signing up for.

Renting appliances or furniture can make sense in emergency situations but shouldn‘t be the first choice for everyone. As a home improvement expert, I always advise exploring the most affordable solutions first. But if you do rent, going in informed and savvy can save you hundreds or even thousands over the lease term.

Alternatives to Building Credit With No Credit History

If your ultimate goal is simply to build credit, using a rent-to-own lease should not be your first option. Despite ads claiming you can build credit, it will require time and effort on your part to make that happen. Instead, consider these alternatives:

Secured credit cards – Make a deposit, and your limit equals your deposit amount. Responsible use means guaranteed approval and credit building.

Credit builder loans – Deposit funds in a savings account and repay in installments to establish payment history.

Ask to be added as an authorized user – Get added to a spouse or family member‘s established card to benefit from their good history.

Retail store cards – Department store cards tend to be easier to qualify for and can help build your score. Just beware high interest rates.

Become an energy utility co-payer – Have a roommate or family member add you as a co-payer on any utility bills so you can build a positive payment record.

Opt into credit reporting programs – Services like RentTrack report rent payments to bureaus when landlords allow it.

Review credit reports regularly – Monitoring your reports frequently can help you dispute and correct any errors that may be dragging down your scores.

With some diligence and effort, these options can help establish a solid credit history and scores allowing you to qualify for better credit products down the line.

Summing It All Up

As you can see, getting approved with Aaron‘s isn‘t overly difficult, but their rent-to-own agreements have pros and cons consumers should weigh closely. While they market credit building services, it will require work on your part to benefit.

My guidance as a home improvement pro is always to explore the most affordable financing options first before considering expensive rent-to-own plans. But if you do lease from Aaron‘s, going in informed on costs, contract terms, and credit impacts is crucial.

Hopefully this guide has provided enough facts and tips to empower you to make the smartest decisions for your unique situation. Don‘t hesitate to reach out with any other questions!

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