New car subscription service aims to reduce what you pay for wheels


Getting a car can be a hassle.

If you’re not paying cash outright for a cheap used vehicle, then you’re typically either locked into a monthly that can last from five to even eight years, or you’re locked into a lease for 36 months.

But what if there were another way to get into a vehicle when you need it — without the long-term commitment of monthly payments that go on and on?

Turns out there is and it’s a new app called Fair!

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Getting a ‘Fair’ deal on a used car

Available for both iOS and Android, Fair is a new approach to car ownership.

Instead of being locked into a three- to eight-year process to own a pair of wheels, you can jump in and out of gently used recent model year cars with just a tap of your phone.

Here’s how it works: The process begins with you scanning your driver’s license to get “pre-qualifed” for a monthly payment.

What this means is Fair will run a “soft” check of your credit and use data analytics to determine exactly what kind of payment you’re good for each month, up to $500.

Once you’re approved, the Fair app will find cars in your area and only select the ones with the best price.


fair app

All the vehicles you’re shown come from the used car lots of local dealerships, and they’re all less than six model years old with fewer than 70,000 miles on them.

When you identify a vehicle you like, simply link your bank account up to the Fair app for payment and sign on the dotted line directly on your phone!

fair app signature

A one-time start payment is required. Fair says this payment is based on the vehicle’s value and due at signing.

Once you’ve got your wheels, you have three days to decide if you like the car or not. If you don’t, simply return it within 72 hours to the dealership and your start payment will be refunded.

There’s no long-term commitment. No longer need a vehicle in your life? Just give five days of notice and turn it back in — and you’re done with your payment.

That means you could, in theory, jump in and out of different vehicles every couple of weeks if you wanted to! Though you would have to pay a new start payment every time.

All Fair vehicles come with a limited warranty and routine maintenance and roadside assistance is included standard as part of your monthly pricing. Optional month-to-month auto insurance is also available.

So how much do people actually pay for a car on Fair?

The average monthly payment is $360, Fair CEO Scott Painter tells CNBC.


Though Painter says he’s seen people get everything from a Nissan Versa subcompact for $125 a month to a McLaren 570S Coupe for some $4,000 a month!

Where is Fair available?

Currently, Fair is only available in nearly two dozen cities in 12 states. Cities include:

  • Austin
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Nashville
  • Northern Virginia
  • Phoenix
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Sacramento
  • San Antonio
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

Florida and Georgia will be next on the list, and a full national rollout is expected by the end of the year.

Clark’s take

Fair isn’t the only service to explore car subscription as an alternative to traditional ownership.

Manufactures like BMW, Cadillac and Volvo, among others, all have their own subscription models — though many of them have a laser focus on fancy wheels.

“There have been lots of experiments geared toward the high-end market, but now it’s moving down in price range to appeal to millennials,” money expert Clark Howard notes.

New data shows the average monthly payment for a new car in the first quarter of 2018 was $523. And that’s likely to go higher as interest rates continue rising.

When you consider that, Fair could be a deal for someone who only sporadically needs wheels in their life.

“It all depends on the numbers if a car subscription service — rather than owning — will work in your life,” Clark says.

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