What Is Lease Cash?

This promotional tool might slightly decrease the cost of your lease.

Cadillac Escalade in dark red driving on paved road with sunlight and mountains in the backgroundCadillac

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Leasing a car might seem like a bad deal to some people, since lessees pay a monthly fee without actually owning a vehicle. However, a car lease can appeal to those on a strict budget or those who want the newest rides. To help sweeten the deal for bargain hunters, automakers and dealers often offer lease deals to reduce monthly car payments. One such promotion is called lease cash, which is a general term to describe the various ways an automaker can reduce the asking price of a car, thereby reducing those monthly lease rates as well.

Lease cash is called different things by different companies: cash allowance, for example (in the case of General Motors, which owns brands including Chevrolet and Cadillac), or bonus cash (in the case of Stellantis, which owns brands such as Jeep, Dodge, and Alfa Romeo). These promos are usually specific to leasing and aren't available if you were to finance a vehicle purchase. For those looking to lease a vehicle, there are some important things to know about lease-cash deals.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon X4 in bright blue driving along canyon roadJeep

How Lease Cash Works

Lease cash is an incentive that often reduces the manufacturer's suggested retail price and therefore the capitalized cost of a vehicle. The capitalized cost is the final agreed-upon figure in the purchase agreement and includes the vehicle's price plus other services of the lease, such as paperwork and any acquisition fees, among other things.

Sometimes, lease cash applies directly to the capitalized cost. Other times, the amount could be sent to you in the form of a check. While that check may not automatically reduce your monthly payments, it can help with overall costs, operational expenses such as maintenance, or a balloon payment, which is a larger, one-time payment due at the end of the lease term..

It's important to check out the fine print of these lease-cash promotions, as you might have to meet certain credit conditions or need to pay through the automaker's financial program in order to reap the benefits. Offers with appealing deals might also feature lower mileage restrictions or higher fees for exceeding the mileage cap.

Chevrolet Trailblazer Activ in gold parked on dirt in desert landscapeChevrolet

Benefits of Lease Cash

One of the biggest advantages of a lease-cash incentive is that it can often be combined with other promotions, such as rebates, subsidized interest rates, or subsidized residual values. This can help lower monthly car payments even further, meaning it's often financially advantageous to incorporate as many of these deals as you can.

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Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad is an award-winning automotive journalist who has contributed to several automotive, electric vehicle, luxury lifestyle, and technology publications. His work isn't just limited to the written word, as he's also hosted YouTube videos and podcasts. Having grown up in the '90s, he has a strong sense of attachment to that era's style, though he also loves to geek out about the modern, futuristic tech and powertrains rolling out today.