musical instrument financing comparison - monthly payments, rent to own, store credit cards, layaway, personal loan, progressive leases, and more!

Musical Instrument Financing: Payment Plans vs. Rent to Own vs. Credit

The obvious choice may surprise you!

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If you’re considering financing a musical instrument like a guitar, it’s important to look at the options you have available to you before making that important purchase. Going with the right financing option can save you loads of money on your purchase as well as help you to get the perfect instrument on terms you can comfortably afford. In this article, I’ll dig deep into the various options that are out there for financing music gear and discuss the pros and cons of each.

Some popular options for music store financing that I’ll discuss are:

  • Monthly payment plans
  • Progressive leasing
  • Music store credit cards
  • Traditional credit cards
  • Personal loans
  • Rent to own
  • Layaway (not a pay as you play option)

Among the choices we’ll discuss, my personal favorite is the monthly payment option. I prefer it for most scenarios because the monthly payment options I make use of don’t currently run a credit check, so my credit score doesn’t take a temporary hit during the application process. I also appreciate the simplicity of this option – all I need to worry about is making one payment monthly to ensure my purchase is paid off within the financing term. If you’d like to know more, you can check out the article I wrote on the best monthly payment plans for musical instruments.

Useful applications for Musical Instrument Financing

Getting the right financing on a musical instrument can help you get the perfect guitar, digital piano, drum set, microphone, or music studio recording gear. It’s also a great option for parents who want to finance an instrument their child will use in music class or for band practice.

An In-Depth Look at Musical Instrument Financing Options

Now let’s get into the good stuff. I’ll list off the pros and cons of each of these financing options as I see them along with some useful information to help you make the best choice depending on your needs.

PROSCONS
+ This option often doesn’t charge any interest, making it a smart, affordable choice for people of all credit types.
May not report to major credit bureaus to help build your credit history or improve your credit score.
+ Payment plans are a great option for people with bad or unestablished credit. Many companies that offer monthly payments won’t even run a credit check to get you approved..
+ The fee to set up a payment plan (if any) is typically small and one-time-only, often making it significantly more cost effective than the long term interest rates..
+ Payment plans are usually straight forward – you make your payments monthly and are paid off within the term. You shouldn’t have to worry about accrued interest waiting to be charged if you don’t pay off your promotional financing in full by the end of the promotion date..
+ Because many payment plans don’t run a credit check, financing this way shouldn’t have any negative impact on your credit score..
+ Allows you to get the instrument you need now and pay for it over time..
+ Payment plans offer a great opportunity to play an instrument that’s perfect for you while making affordable monthly payments..

Financing a musical instrument on a payment plan can give you a great combination of simplicity, zero interest, and easy payments – plus it allows you to own and play your instrument while you’re paying it off and in many cases, you won’t even need to have your credit pulled to qualify which saves you from having to take a temporary hit on your credit score. For all of these reasons, this is my personal top choice for financing a musical instrument.

Some popular stores that currently offer a music payment plan include:

PROSCONS
+ Progressive leasing often doesn’t charge any interest, making it a smart, affordable choice for people of all credit types.
May not report to major credit bureaus to help build your credit history or improve your credit score.
+ Progressive leasing can be a great option for people with bad or unestablished credit. Many of the progressive options I’ve looked into currently state that no credit is needed to apply for financing.  You may not own a financed musical instrument until it’s fully paid off.
+ Progressive leasing is usually straight forward – you make your payments monthly and are paid off within the term. You shouldn’t have to worry about accrued interest waiting to be charged if you don’t pay off your promotional financing in full by the end of the promotion date..
+ Allows you to get the instrument you need now and pay for it over time..

Progressive leasing tends to differ from rent-to-own in that it’s typically more accelerated and has a potentially clearer path to ownership. Many progressive leasing options offer 0% interest and no credit check financing applications. This makes progressive leasing a good option for people with bad credit as well as an appealing option to those who prefer straight forwards payments and potential cost savings for the duration of financing.

Some popular music stores that offer progressive leasing options currently include:

PROSCONS
+ May offer perks like cash back, gift cards, and zero interest promotional financing.
May not be available to you if you have poor or unestablished credit.
+ May offer longer terms. Some stores I looked into offer up to 48 month terms during promotional events. May start charging interest from the time of your purchase.
+ Can help build your credit and improve your score by reporting to major credit bureaus. May include deferred interest charges, which, when present, can add up, costing you more than other options if you don’t pay off your balance in full by the end of the promotional term.
+ Allows you to get the instrument you need now and pay for it over time. Applying for a store credit card may require a hard pull of your credit, which can potentially lower your credit score temporarily.

Many musical instrument suppliers offer a store credit card. This can be an excellent option for purchasing a musical instrument. I’ve seen some music store credit cards that offer up to 48 month promotional financing terms with no interest. The important thing to remember here is that many offers like this feature interest that accrues during the promotional term and will be charged in full if your balance isn’t paid off before the that term expires. So, for example, if you were to finance over a 48 month term and still owed one dollar after the promotional term expired, you could potentially have to pay all of the interest on the entire balance for that 4 year period. If the card you apply for doesn’t have a zero interest promotional period, make sure the interest rate is low or you could wind up paying significantly more for your musical instrument than you may have intended.

Some popular musical instrument suppliers that offer store credit cards include:

PROSCONS
+ May offer perks like cash back, points, gift cards, and a zero interest introductory period.
May not be available to you if you have poor or unestablished credit.
+ Can help build your credit and improve your score by reporting to major credit bureaus. Applying for a credit card may require a hard pull of your credit, which can potentially lower your credit score temporarily.
+ Allows you to get the instrument you need now and pay for it over time. May charge interest, potentially costing you more in the long run than other options.

Traditional credit cards can come packed with some pretty enticing features depending on your credit worthiness and the company you’re looking to get your card through. Things like zero interest introductory periods, points, cash back, gift cards, and more abound if you have great credit. It’s still important to look at the big picture though. If approved for a zero interest introductory term, figure out how much you’ll need to pay monthly to pay off your credit balance within the zero interest term and stick to it. Look at the perks versus the interest rate and decide if you’re really saving money and getting a good deal. If you shop around carefully, traditional credit can be a great way to finance that next musical instrument.

Here are some great resources for finding the right credit card for you:

PROSCONS
+ Can offer relatively longer terms that other financing options.
Personal loans may charge interest, potentially costing you more in the long run than other options.
+ Can report to major credit bureaus and help build and establish your credit. Applying for a personal loan may require a hard pull of your credit, which can potentially lower your credit score temporarily.
+ Can offer relatively lower interest than other interest based financing options..

Personal loans can be a great option for people with good to excellent credit, but might not be the best choice for people with poor or unestablished credit. You may notice that interest rates tend to be higher the lower your score is and this option not be available to you if you have a bad credit history. Personal loans can offer a low interest rate over a long term, which might make them appealing to some looking to make larger purchases.

Here are some helpful resources that can help you in finding the best personal loan for your needs:

PROSCONS
+ Some rent to own options may include extended care for your instrument so that if you have a problem with it while you’re renting, they’ll fix it as part of the agreement.
Rent to own can cost significantly more over the term of the financing than other options.
+ Rent to own often doesn’t require a credit check, making it a potentially good option for people of all credit types. May not report to major credit bureaus to help build your credit history or improve your credit score.
+ Allows you to get the instrument you need now and pay for it over time. You don’t own the items you are renting until you have fulfilled the terms of the lease.
+ Can allow you try out an instrument without the commitment to buy it..

Rent-to-own can help you get the musical instrument you need now, without the commitment to buy it down the line if you don’t like it. This makes it a great option for people who are unsure what instrument they would like to buy or those who would like to test drive a musical instrument before committing to it. While many stores that offer other financing options do have a window of time where you can return an item, rent to own often lets you send the item back at any time during the lease period. Some stores will also offer free repair and maintenance while you’re leasing a musical instrument from them. In some cases, rent to own can end up costing you a lot in the long term though, so if you’re using it as a purchasing option, be sure to add up the total cost and compare it to other options out there.

Here’s a list of some popular options for getting rent-to-own financing on a musical instrument:

PROSCONS
+ Available with no interest or fees.
Doesn’t allow you to own or play your musical instrument until you’ve paid it off in full.
+ No commitment to buy the instrument if you don’t like it in most cases. Rent to own can cost significantly more over the term of the financing than other options.
+ Often available without a credit check, making it a great option for people of all credit types. You might lose the item you put on layaway along with the money you’ve paid down on it if you fail to make timely payments.
+ May include free maintenance and repair as part of the rental agreement..

Layaway can be a great option for people who don’t want to pay any interest or fees on the item they’re purchasing. On the down side, you won’t have access to the musical instrument you’re paying on until you’ve paid off your balance in full. Some stores may also put your layaway item back on the shelf and might even keep the money you’ve paid down if you fail to make timely payments. If you opt to finance this way, it’s important to be on top of your payments and review the layaway terms and make sure you’re comfortable with them
before you make the commitment.

Here’s a useful list of popular music stores that offer a layaway option:

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