Will leasing a car affect my credit score? If so, say I paid the entire lease up-front would it make a difference?
The Federal Reserve defines a lease as, "A contract between a lessor and a lessee for the use of a vehicle or other property, subject to stated terms and limitations, for a specified period and at a specified payment."
Generally speaking, a lessee will lease assets that depreciate in an effort to preserve capital and level out cash flow. It is certainly possible for a two parties to create a lease where the lessee makes a lump-sum payment at the start of the lease, but this is not customary because doing so defeats one of the purposes of leasing.
Vehicle lessors report the account activity of leases to the credit reporting agencies, generally speaking. This means that if you are current on your lease payments this will tend to boost your credit score. I am guessing that you may be thinking, "If I pay all of my lease payments in advance, that will really boost my credit score because if some is good more is better."
Unfortunately, that is not how credit scores work. Time is a key component. Repeated positive behavior is another. Paying a lease in one lump-sum is a one-time event. It will be a tiny blip on your credit report and score. Making routine, on-time payments on a variety of accounts over several years will increase your score meaningfully.
See the Bills.com resource Time it Takes to Improve Credit Score to learn more.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.