Car ownership is a complex topic. In today’s world, it’s often unnecessary to own a car.
If you live in the city and have access to public transit, you can probably get by with just using rideshare services when you need to go farther than transit can take you. Plus, you always have the option to get a rental car for trips out of town.
But what if you want something in between car rental and car ownership? Traditionally, the only option available was to lease a car. This has certain advantages, since the monthly payments are generally lower than buying a car and you don’t have to worry about paying for maintenance.
On the other hand, leases still lock you into contracts that are typically 36 months. This can be annoying if you see another new car you’d rather drive or if you’re just done needing the car (such as when you move, for instance).
Is there something in between leasing a car and renting one? There is. It’s called Fair, and it’s revolutionizing how people get access to cars.
In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know about Fair, including its availability, cost, and sign-up process.
- What Is Fair Car Rental?
- How Does Fair Car Rental Work?
- Where Is Fair Car Rental Available?
- How Much Does Fair Car Rental Cost?
- How to Sign Up for Fair (and Save Money)
- Fair Car Rental FAQ
What Is Fair Car Rental?
Many people describe Fair as a “car rental” company, but this is a bit of misnomer. In many ways, Fair is more like leasing a car. The main difference is that you aren’t locked into the lease for as long and you have the option to “trade up” to a different car at any time.
Fair gives you access to a wide range of vehicles in exchange for a monthly payment (plus a one-time up front fee). Your payment doesn’t increase your ownership of the car as it would with an auto loan, but it also doesn’t require you to get any kind of loan to begin with. You also don’t need to get a hard credit inquiry, meaning that getting a car through Fair doesn’t impact your credit score.
How Does Fair Car Rental Work?
So how is Fair able to offer this service at all? The company has taken their innovative financing model and partnered with dealerships across the United States to make getting a car very easy. The only thing you need to get started is a valid driver’s license and a bank account.
You don’t have to provide your Social Security number or have a hard credit inquiry (though Fair does conduct a soft inquiry to get a general idea of your ability to make the monthly payments). A soft inquiry is the same kind that many utility companies or even prospective employers perform.
Once you add this information, Fair will be able to show you a list of cars that you can get access to along with the monthly price you’ll pay for each. You just pick the car you want, link your bank account, sign for it, and then go pick it up at the dealership.
Did we mention that you do all of this using an app on your phone? That’s right. You don’t have to do any paperwork, go to a bank, or deal with sleazy car salesmen.
Where Is Fair Car Rental Available?
If you’re excited to try Fair, you first need to be sure that the service is available in your area. Fair is available in over two dozen cities across the United States. Here are just a few of them:
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- San Antonio
- San Diego
For a full list, visit Fair.com.
How Much Does Fair Car Rental Cost?
Fair claims on their website that “you won’t find a lower monthly payment on a comparable loan or lease.” They refer to this as the Fair Guarantee. While this sounds nice, it doesn’t tell you much about what it will cost to get a car through Fair.
As with financing a car, the answer to how much it will cost depends on a few different factors. The first is your credit score. Keep in mind, though, that Fair checks your credit using a soft inquiry. This means that it won’t show up on your credit history.
Still, the soft inquiry does show Fair important information about how responsible you are in making payments on loans, as well as how much debt you have. They use these factors to figure out what kind of payment you can afford and how much to charge you.
Although the company “uses advanced data and analytics to determine eligibility, not just your credit score,” your credit score certainly plays a role in what you’ll end up paying.
To figure out how much you’ll pay, you first need to scan your driver’s license. Fair will then show a range of monthly payments that they believe you can afford based on your information. When you select individual cars, you’ll see the final amount that you’ll pay.
In addition to the monthly payment, Fair also requires a “Start Payment” for each car you get. This is a non-refundable fee, and it’s what helps keep the price of Fair low without having to lock you into a long-term contract. The Start Payment is based on the value of the vehicle you get, with higher-end and newer vehicles having higher Start Payments.
You’ll make the monthly payment each month that you have the car. The first payment is due 30 days after you take possession of the car. This sets Fair apart from a car lease, which is billed in advance. You can return the car any time you want — you’ll only pay for the time you’ve had it.
How to Sign Up for Fair
So how do you sign up for Fair? It’s a simple process that only takes a few minutes. First, you’ll need to download the Fair app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Once you have the app, open it and enter your phone number.
Fair will then text you a verification code, which you’ll need to enter. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a screen like this one:
Tap “Next” to take a photo of your driver’s license.
You’ll be prompted to give Fair access to your phone’s camera:
You’ll then need to take photos of the front and back of your driver’s license against a dark background.
After you’ve done that, you’ll be able to see a summary of your information. Confirm that it’s correct, and then consent to Fair’s soft credit inquiry. Afterwards, the app will show you the max Fair believes you can afford to spend each month:
You’ll then be able to browse cars that meet your criteria.
Note that while Fair determines a maximum amount you can spend, you’re not required to spend that much (and probably shouldn’t).
The app also lets you filter by many other things, including mileage, color, and vehicle age.
Once you find a vehicle you like, tap on it to find out more details:
You can even see your Start Payment. Note that, just like with a down payment on a car loan, you can decrease your monthly payment by paying a higher Start Payment up front.
You can also lower the Start Payment if the default amount is too high, though doing so will result in a higher monthly payment.
If you’re happy with your selection, Fair can show you a preview of your contract:
If you’re ready to make your selection, tap “Next.” You’ll then need to enter your email address:
Fair will email you a verification code. Enter it onscreen:
Once you’ve done that, you can confirm the order details. Tap “Start Order” if you’re happy with them and want to proceed:
You’ll now need to enter your bank account or credit/debit card information. This is to make your Start Payment. Fair needs to verify that you actually have the funds to pay this amount before you can get the car:
After you’ve done this, you’re almost done. It’s just a matter of signing within the app. You’ll then receive an email with information about where to get your car.
Fair Car Rental FAQ
To wrap up this guide, we wanted to answer a few common questions that people have about Fair:
1. What vehicles does Fair offer?
Fair offers over 30 different brands of high-quality, pre-owned and certified pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs. All Fair cars have less than 70,000 miles, and many are nearly new.
Using a fleet of used cars allows Fair to offer lower prices than, for instance, leasing a new car. You’ll find everything from makers as diverse as Nissan, Honda, and BMW, with a vehicle priced to match your needs.
2. Does Fair include maintenance?
Fair contracts include routine vehicle maintenance, including filter changes, oil changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections. You’re responsible for all other maintenance costs.
3. Do Fair cars have a warranty?
Yes, all cars come with a limited warranty. You’ll be able to see the details when you go to get your specific car.
4. Does Fair offer roadside assistance?
Yes, all Fair cars come with roadside assistance included.
5. Does Fair include insurance?
By default, no. However, you do have the option to add insurance coverage to your vehicle through Fair. They bundle this with your monthly payment, saving you the hassle of paying two separate companies or shopping around for insurance quotes.
You are free to use another auto insurer, however. Fair also offers wear-and-tear protection, which protects you from additionals charges related to excessive wear and tear on your vehicle.
6. Can I get a refund of the Start Payment?
Fair has a 3-Day No Risk Return policy. This means that you can get a full refund of your Start Payment as long as you return the car within three days and have put less than 100 miles on it. Otherwise, your Start Payment is non-refundable.
7. Does Fair have a mileage limit?
Yes, the cars have a default mileage limit of 10,000 miles per year. You can pay for additional miles up front at a rate of $0.10 per mile. If you add more miles than you estimated up front, you’ll pay $0.14 for each additional mile.
8. Is my information safe with Fair?
While no system is ever 100 percent secure, Fair does the utmost to protect all your financial and personal information, using bank-level encryption to keep your data secure.
9. Does Fair have a minimum age?
You must be at least 18 years of age to use Fair.
10. Does Fair check my driving history?
Probably. The company does not explicitly say so, but given that they offer insurance quotes and have your driver’s license number, it’s likely. They would need to be able to access your driving record in order to figure out how much of a risk you’ll be to insure (and what price to quote you).
The company is understandably vague about the details of the algorithm that evaluates potential drivers, so we can only speculate in the end.
11. Can I use my Fair car for rideshare?
Get Started Driving Today With Fair
We hope this guide has shown you how easy it is to get a car using Fair. It’s a great option if you have limited credit history, can’t come up with the cash for a down payment, or don’t want to commit to a long-term lease or car loan. Visit Fair.com to get started driving today.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.