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Is Rent-A-Center Still Worth Using for Product Leasing?

Rent-A-Center is one of the popular locations for product leasing offline through its physical stores, usually requiring a few checks.

This option is almost synonymous with buy now pay later with no credit check when shopping offline but it operates on a lease model enabling users to rent items with the option to own them after full payments.

Not everyone fancies the options it provides with leased items usually costing high through its long-term payment plan. Still, it turns out most people skip understanding its contract fully before taking possession of a rented product.



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Tip: Rent-A-Center provides a platform that lets you purchase different kinds of products like electronics, furniture, appliances, and more through a lease-to-own model with part of the contract allowing you to own it after full payments or by utilizing its early buyout option.

It will be expensive to continue payments until the last day of the contract because it could lead to paying more than double the product’s price.


This platform is arguably the most popular provider of buy now pay later mattress, furniture, electronics, and appliance financing provider in physical retail stores, thanks to its thousands of outlets at various locations.

It is like using Acima or Progressive Leasing for financing online but has that closed-loop nature of Fingerhut hence, its original product pricing can be high when compared to retail platforms like Amazon or Wayfair.


Read more about Rent-A-Center

While one of the reasons it is so popular is because its retail stores are very common in most states, the softness in consideration for its product leasing is another why many people patronize the services of Rent-A-Center.

It does not rely on your credit score to determine your eligibility to rent any of the products in its inventory but rather, considers information such as verifiable income information, references, and personal details you provide.

Because of this method of approval, a lot of people qualify to get items on a rent-to-own term from most of its physical outlets.

When browsing through the products listed on its portal, you will see a term called ” Same as Cash Price” which is to tell you that the value after tied to this is the original costs if you are to pay upfront. 

Cash price is simply the amount you pay when you purchase a product without using any payment plan option. For instance, the full payment you make before Amazon delivers an item you ordered.

To understand this better, take a look at the image below of a laptop listed on the Rent-A-Center website:

Rent-A-Center Sample Product

If you are to pay the full cost for this on the same day (upfront), it will be the value stated after “Same as Cash Price” while the “Total Cost to Own” is how much total you will pay at the end of your weekly installments.

While the “Same as Cash” is supposed to be the market value of the product, the Rent-A-Center price is usually higher when you compare it with conventional retail platforms.

Here is an image showing what the same product will cost if you are buying it through Best Buy:

Rent-A-Center Compared with Best Buy Pricing

This means that Rent-A-Center’s retail price is at least 65% higher than market value pricing obtainable from shopping platforms.

Things will get interesting when you consider its installment payments because you are required to complete the total cost to own for the item to become yours (if you choose not to utilize its early buyout).

For instance, the laptop in the sample image will cost you a total of $3,526.83  in the 84th week for you to keep the product as yours.

While it is more than double its “same as cash” pricing at 125% higher, it is in fact 271.25% higher than the market value.

This means that if you are to buy the same product at Best Buy (at $949.99 per item) with the total payments made to Rent-A-Center in the 84th week, you will have three of those laptops plus some extra savings.

However, there is no doubt that it brings some convenience, especially if you plan to rent the product for a few days before returning it.

But if your intention is to keep paying the periodic installments to Rent-A-Center for the item to become fully yours at the end of the contract, it will best you opt for alternative buy now pay later options.

Best Alternatives to Rent-A-Center Online


Below are some of the top alternatives to Rent-A-Center you can utilize for financing online if you want to buy products through flexible payments:




There is almost nothing you cannot get when shopping on this platform and interestingly, you can pay monthly on Amazon using different options like Affirm, Citi Flex Pay, and Prime Visa Installment. If you prefer leasing, both Katapult and Acima can be used on Amazon through alternate routes.



Abunda is an interesting shopping gateway that lets you purchase products on the Amazon marketplace and spread the payments using PayPal, Klarna, Acima, PayTommorow, and others.



Wayfair is an online retail platform specializing in furniture, decor, and home goods. Offering an extensive selection, it provides customers with a wide range of options for furnishing and decorating their homes with options like Klarna, Katapult, Citizens Pay, and more for payment plans.

Best Buy

Best Buy

It is a leading electronics and appliance retailer, offering a diverse range of products including laptops, smartphones, home appliances, and entertainment systems. While you can use Progressive Leasing at Best Buy for financing, there are other alternatives like Zip and PayPal with even better offerings on the platform.



Sears is another popular retailer where you can enjoy financing for its wide array of products, including appliances, clothing, and tools. The platform accepts Zip and Katapult as its buy now pay later options at checkout.

Ashley HomeStore

Ashley HomeStore

Ashley HomeStore is a popular furniture and home decor retailer. Renowned for its stylish and affordable offerings, Ashley HomeStore provides a diverse selection of furniture for living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms, along with accessories to enhance home interiors. It is one of the online stores that accept Acima, Concora Credit, and Synchrony for financing.

Understanding the Rent-A-Center Contract

Before you are given an item after your application at a Rent-A-Center location, you will need to sign an agreement of lease.

This document usually contains very important elements that you are expected to read and understand before you sign it.

Below are very important parts of that contract:


Cash Price

The cash price is the direct cost of the product if you are paying in full before you pick it up from Rent-A-Center.

This direct cost includes the entire retail amount, reflecting the total financial commitment required to acquire the item outright.

By settling the cash price upfront, you eliminate the need for installment plans or alternative payment methods, simplifying the transaction process.

This upfront payment ensures that no additional charges, interest, or fees are associated with the purchase, providing a clear and transparent financial arrangement.

Choosing to pay the cash price at Rent-A-Center allows you to take ownership of the desired product immediately, avoiding the complexities and potential long-term financial obligations linked to installment plans.


Rental Payment Options and Renewal Rate

Rent-A-Center offers an array of Rental Payment Options, providing customers with flexibility in managing their financial commitments.

These payment options cater to various preferences and budgetary needs, allowing individuals to choose a schedule that aligns with their specific payment frequency.

The available Rental Payment Options at Rent-A-Center include weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, and monthly payment schedules.

Customers have the freedom to select the payment frequency that best suits their cash flow and financial preferences.

The weekly option allows for more frequent, smaller payments, providing a manageable approach for those who receive weekly income. The bi-weekly schedule accommodates individuals who are paid every two weeks, offering a balance between frequency and payment size.

Semi-monthly payments occur twice a month, aligning with individuals who receive their income on specific dates within the month.

Monthly payments, occurring once a month, provide a convenient option for those who prefer a less frequent payment schedule.

Additionally, Rent-A-Center determines the Renewal Rate, indicating how much customers will pay for each rental payment option schedule.

This rate reflects the cost associated with renewing the rental agreement for the chosen payment frequency.

Understanding the Renewal Rate is crucial for customers in making informed decisions about their rental agreements, allowing them to assess the long-term financial implications and choose a payment option that best suits their budgetary considerations.


Down Payment

When opting for lease financing through Rent-A-Center, a downpayment is required, typically involving your initial periodic installment.

The specific amount of this downpayment varies, based upon both the value of the chosen product and the state of residence. This downpayment serves as an upfront contribution towards the overall cost of the leased item and is an integral part of the agreement.

The downpayment amount is influenced by factors such as the retail value of the product and any applicable state-specific regulations or requirements.

Higher-value items may entail a proportionally larger downpayment, while state regulations can contribute to variations in this initial payment across different regions.


4 to 6 Month Early Buyout Option

Rent-A-Center provides customers with an early buyout option, typically available within the initial 4 to 6 months of the lease term (the specific duration may vary based on the state of residence).

This unique feature allows renters the opportunity to acquire ownership of the rented item by making a payment equivalent to the ‘same as cash price’ stated in the lease agreement.

The early buyout option is a valuable offering for customers who wish to transition from the rental arrangement to full ownership sooner rather than completing the entire lease term.

By exercising this option within the specified timeframe, renters can enjoy the benefit of paying the same amount as if they were making a cash purchase (from RAC).

This equates to the original cash price of the product, eliminating the need for any additional fees, charges, or interest associated with continued leasing.


Cost of Rent

In the Rent-A-Center agreement, the term “rent cost” refers to the comprehensive amount that the lessee is obligated to pay for the rental of the designated device.

This includes all associated expenses tied to the leasing arrangement, providing a consolidated figure that represents the total financial commitment during the lease term.

The rent cost is inclusive of the base rental fee, any applicable fees, and additional charges associated with the selected device.


Early Purchase Option

Rent-A-Center extends an early purchase option to lessees who may have missed the initial 4-6 months early buyout window.

This alternative opportunity allows users to seize ownership of the rented item and presents a distinct advantage, significant savings of up to 50% on pending payments.

In the event lessees are unable to utilize the early buyout option within the initial timeframe, Rent-A-Center’s subsequent early purchase option becomes a valuable alternative.

By exercising this option, users can experience substantial cost reductions, making it a financially advantageous choice compared to continuing with the standard lease payments until the end of the agreement.


Number of Payments and Total Cost To Own

In the Rent-A-Center contract, two crucial components are outlined: the “Number of Payments” and the “Total Cost To Own.”

The contract specifies that if a user successfully completes the required number of payments, they will have covered the total cost of owning the product.

This achievement marks the conclusion of the contract, and at this point, the product becomes fully owned by the user.

The “Number of Payments” signifies the count of installment payments that the user needs to fulfill as per the terms of the lease agreement. This figure is a key milestone, serving as a gauge for lessees to track their progress in meeting the financial obligations outlined in the contract.

The “Total Cost To Own” represents the comprehensive amount that includes the entire financial commitment required to transition from leasing to full ownership of the product. This figure includes all relevant costs, fees, and charges associated with the lease agreement.

Upon successful completion of the specified number of payments, which aligns with the contractual terms, the user reaches the point where they have covered the total cost to own.

As a result, the contract concludes, and the product officially becomes the full property of the user.

How Rent-A-Center Works

When you visit its web portal or any of its retail outlets, you are required to shop for any product you need from its inventory on a rental term which can become fully yours after you have completed the payments or utilize its early buyout option.


Rent-A-Center Process Flow

Below are the stages involved when renting products from Rent-A-Center and the activities that happen at each phase:


User Application for Rent

The platform is a location to rent products ranging from electronics, tools, appliances, furniture, and more.

When you decide to utilize its services, you will need to apply either through its website on a chosen product or at the checkout desk when you are visiting any of its in-store locations.

You do not need to give much when submitting your application as the process involves a few details.

To rent a product at Rent-A-Center, you are required to provide the following information:

Personal Info:
  • Name: Your full legal name.
  • Date of Birth: You must be 18 years or older to enter into a rental agreement.
  • Contact Info: Your current contact information, including phone number and email.


Income Info:
  • Verifiable Source of Income: Proof of a reliable and verifiable source of income.


Residence Info:
  • Contact Info for Landlord/Mortgage Company: Information to reach your current landlord or mortgage company.


  • 2-4 References: At least two references are required, and they should be individuals who are not only familiar with you but also have separate addresses.
  • Ideally, at least two of the references should be relatives.


First Installment Payment
  • You are required to make a downpayment before you can pick up the rented item from Rent-A-Center which can be through a credit card (especially for online applications) or by cash at its retail locations.
  • The initial payment is usually your first periodic installment and varies depending on the value of the product


Product Rent Decision Stage

After you have submitted the application, Rent-A-Center will start the approval process using the information you have provided.

Since most of its operations happen offline at its physical locations, the process at this stage is more traditional when it comes to verification of the authenticity of the details you have submitted.

Below are what happens at this stage:

  • Income source verification: on the application form, you will provide your employer information and this will be verified through a call to the provided contact number
  • Authentication of residency: to verify if this is correct, an RAC representative will put a call through to your landlord and may require a copy of your lease to know how long you have been and will be in that address
  • Confirmation of personal details: depending on the value of the product rented, they may contact between 1 to 2 of the references you have listed to know you better

This is a very important stage and if any of the above goes wrong, you may be denied to use its services.


Rent Approval Stage

If the details you submitted meet its requirements and the authentication is confirmed, you will then have the opportunity to pick up the product.

There are two last steps required at this stage before the item can be delivered to you if you are applying through its website or curbside (or in-store) pick-up if doing this offline.

You are required to read and sign the contract and make the downpayment. If everything is processed successfully, you will be given the product on rental terms.


The Repayment Stage

Once you have received the product, the contract will enter the repayment stage where you are expected to pay the periodic amount stated as your renewal rate.

The required total number of payments will also be indicated on the document and once you are able to complete the entire cost, the item can become yours on the last day of the contract.


4 – 6 Months Buyout Option

Rent-A-Center extends an early buyout option to its customers, providing the opportunity to transition from renting to ownership within the initial 4 to 6 months of the lease term.

The specific timeframe for this early buyout option varies based on the state of residence and is subject to the terms stipulated in the lease agreement.

During this specified duration, renters who opt for the early buyout can make a payment equivalent to the same as cash price, allowing them to acquire full ownership of the rented item.

This means that the amount paid for the early buyout mirrors the original cash price of the product stated in the contract.


Early Purchase Option

For Rent-A-Center customers who miss the initial 4-6 months early buyout opportunity, the company offers an alternative through its Early Purchase Option.

This feature allows lessees to proceed with the purchase of the rented item, presenting an advantageous opportunity to save up to 50% on pending payments.

In situations where lessees are unable to utilize the early buyout option within the initially specified timeframe, Rent-A-Center’s subsequent Early Purchase Option becomes a valuable avenue for cost-effective ownership.

By choosing this option, users can realize substantial savings, offering a financially prudent alternative compared to adhering to regular lease payments until the lease agreement’s conclusion.


Total Payments and Ownership

The total payment is a comprehensive sum representing the aggregate amount paid by the customer throughout the lease agreement.

It includes all periodic installment payments made as per the agreed schedule, providing a holistic measure of the lessee’s financial investment in the rented item.

At the end of the contract, you would have completed the required total payments needed for the product to become yours and if you have not defaulted, the contract will end and you can then keep the item.

As explained in the section about Rent-A-Center, the total payments made at this stage will be able to buy up to three of the products rented because, in reality, the cash price presented by RAC is at least 65% higher than the market value of the item when buying it from a conventional retailer like Walmart or Ashley HomeStore.

However, this may be due to the nature of its operation considering that you enjoy flexible financing with free repairs and some others when needed.

Rent-A-Center is best if you want a product just for a few days but if you want long-term installment for items, you may be better off using alternate buy now pay later services.

Frequently Asked Questions on Rent-A-Center


Below are some of the top frequently asked questions regarding the use of Rent-A-Center for product rentals:


What is Rent-A-Center?

Rent-A-Center is a rent-to-own company that provides consumers with the option to lease various household items, furniture, electronics, appliances, and other products.

Instead of outright purchasing these items, customers can enter into rental agreements with RAC, making periodic payments over a specified period.

At the end of the lease term, customers typically have the option to acquire ownership of the rented item.

Can Rent-A-Center press charges?

Yes, Rent-A-Center can press charges if you fail to comply with the terms of your contract.

The rental agreement serves as a legally binding contract that has various terms, including payments, taxes, fees, installment amounts, early buyout, EPO, cost of ownership, late fees, and more.

Essentially, it outlines your commitment to fulfill payment obligations promptly or to return the rented merchandise.

Crucially, the agreement stipulates that you do not own the product as it is rented, and it remains the property of Rent-A-Center until you use any of its early purchase options or satisfy the cost of ownership detailed in the rental contract.

By affixing your signature, you express your understanding and agreement that failing to make payments while intending to retain possession of the merchandise constitutes theft or deception, constituting a felony offense. In such cases, you may face criminal charges.

What is Rent-A-Center Benefits Plus?

Rent-A-Center Benefits Plus is a program designed to provide members with a range of money-saving opportunities on everyday purchases.

As a Benefits Plus member, you gain access to various perks and discounts, extending beyond Rent-A-Center purchases.

These benefits include additional coverage on Rent-A-Center acquisitions and opportunities to save money on various expenses such as medical bills, hotel reservations, automotive services, grocery shopping, and more.

Essentially, RAC Benefits Plus enhances the overall value of membership by offering a comprehensive suite of money-saving benefits across a diverse range of products and services.

Is Rent-A-Center worth it?

Whether Rent-A-Center is worth it varies based on individual circumstances and financial considerations.

For those in immediate need of essential items but lacking the funds for an upfront purchase, Rent-A-Center provides a convenient option. The flexibility in payment plans can be beneficial for individuals who prefer spreading out the cost over time rather than making a lump-sum payment.

One notable advantage is that Rent-A-Center typically does not require a credit check, making it accessible to individuals with limited or poor credit history. This accessibility can be particularly appealing to those who may face challenges obtaining credit through traditional means.

However, it is crucial to carefully assess the total cost of ownership. While the flexibility in payments may be attractive, the cumulative amount paid over the lease term usually exceeds the retail price of the item. Individuals should weigh the convenience of immediate access against the long-term cost implications.

Additionally, consider the ownership options at the end of the lease term. Some may find value in acquiring ownership, while others may prefer exploring alternative purchasing options.

Comparing Rent-A-Center’s terms and pricing with other financing options or buy now pay later services is advisable to ensure that the chosen approach aligns with individual needs and preferences.

Can Rent-A-Center come to your house?

Generally speaking, Rent-A-Center does not randomly come to your house.

However, if there are issues with payments and you fail to fulfill the terms of the rental agreement, Rent-A-Center has the option to seek a court order. In such cases, the court order can allow them to enter your residence to retrieve the rented property that you received but have refused to continue the required installment payments.

Rent-A-Center’s ability to enter your house is based on legal processes and court-issued orders rather than random visits.

Will Rent-A-Center take you to court?

Rent-A-Center has the option to take legal action, including pursuing a court case, if there are issues with payments or if the terms of the rental agreement are not being met.

If you fail to make payments as per the agreed-upon terms and do not adhere to the conditions outlined in the rental agreement, Rent-A-Center may choose to take the matter to court to seek resolution.

However, legal action is typically considered a last resort, and Rent-A-Center may first attempt to work out a solution with you to address any payment issues.

If a resolution cannot be reached through negotiation or alternative arrangements, Rent-A-Center may escalate the matter to court to seek a judgment.

It Is important for individuals involved in rent-to-own agreements to carefully review and understand the terms of their rental contracts and to communicate with Rent-A-Center if facing challenges in meeting payment obligations.

Seeking legal advice in such situations can also be beneficial to understand one’s rights and responsibilities.

Are Rent-A-Center phones unlocked?

Yes, the cell phones rented through Rent-A-Center are usually unlocked and can work with any carrier of your preference.

This makes it a good alternative to SmartPay and similar services that work with specific carriers like Straight Talk and Verizon Wireless.

However, note that Rent-A-Center has software loaded onto the device that enables it to lock it in the event you stop your required periodic payments. In such cases, you will need a four digit PIN from RAC to unlock the cell phone.

What is Rent-A-Center the same as cash?

The same as cash on the RAC contract simply means that you will pay the retail price of the product when you decide to use its early buyout option.

You will avoid paying the rental costs and this option is only available within the first 4 to 6 months depending on your state of residence.

It is the only time you have to avoid the expensive nature of Rent-A-Center because, after this period, you may end up paying more than 100% of the RAC upfront retail price.

Why is Rent-A-Center so expensive?

Rent-A-Center is often perceived as more expensive than traditional purchasing due to the nature of its rent-to-own model. Several factors contribute to the perception of higher costs:

1. Convenience and Flexibility: Rent-A-Center provides immediate access to products without the need for a large upfront payment or credit check. The convenience and flexibility offered by this model may come at a higher overall cost.

2. Interest and Fees: Rent-A-Center typically charges a rental fee for the use of the item, and this fee can accumulate over the entire lease term. While this fee may be convenient for those with immediate needs, it can result in a higher total cost compared to purchasing the item outright.

3. No Equity Build-Up: Unlike traditional financing or outright purchases, rent-to-own agreements with Rent-A-Center do not contribute to building equity in the rented item. This lack of equity can make the overall cost of ownership higher when compared to other financing options.

4. Total Cost of Ownership: The total amount paid over the lease term, including rental fees, can surpass the retail price of the item. Customers may end up paying significantly more for the product over time.

5. Credit Risk: Rent-A-Center caters to individuals with limited or poor credit history, and the higher costs may reflect the increased risk associated with providing rental services without stringent credit requirements.

Does Rent-A-Center build your credit score?

Rent-A-Center does not report your payment history to credit bureaus, and therefore, renting from Rent-A-Center will not directly impact your credit score, whether positively or negatively.

Rent-to-own agreements with Rent-A-Center are often considered a form of alternative financing that does not involve traditional credit checks.

Where can I get more details about Rent-A-Center?

To get more details regarding how RAC works, you can visit its FAQ page.


While rent-to-own financing can be a good alternative to having an item you need, note that they can be very expensive when taken for the long term.

If you are getting products from Rent-A-Center, it is best if you need the item for a short-term (days or few weeks) else, you may want to consider better alternatives offered by several of the buy now pay later service providers.

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