We all know that credit scores play an important role in determining your eligibility for loans like mortgages and car loans, and RV loans are no different. Whether you’re getting your loan from a bank, a credit union, or straight from an RV dealer, you’ll need to pass a credit check to qualify.
But just how hard is it to get RV financing? We’ll cover the credit score requirements for getting a camper or recreational vehicle (RV), what interest rates you can expect, and how you can boost your odds of RV loan approval.
Table of Contents
What are the credit score requirements for most RV loans?
To get an RV loan, you generally need a credit score of at least 550, but many lenders have stricter requirements. Some will expect you to have at least a fair credit score (aka 580 or above) or good credit score (670 or above).
These scores vary because there’s no universal minimum credit score for RV financing. Like the case with other types of loans, individual lenders are free to set their own requirements. Some lenders only cater to borrowers with high credit scores, whereas others offer RV financing specifically for people with bad credit scores.
Which credit score do RV lenders use?
Most lenders use FICO scores when running credit checks on loan applicants. This means that companies will usually check your FICO score when you apply for financing for a camper, trailer, or RV.
Can you get an RV loan if you have bad credit?
Yes, you can get an RV loan with bad credit. However, you’ll have fewer loan options and you’ll be stuck with higher interest rates.
You have several options for places to go to finance an RV, such as banks, credit unions, online lenders, and RV dealerships. Banks tend to have stricter credit requirements, so your best bet is shopping around at credit unions and RV dealerships.
In the table below, we’ve listed several companies with loans that you can qualify for even if your credit score leaves something to be desired.
Companies That Offer RV Financing for Bad Credit
|Company||Loan Details||Minimum Credit Score|
|Southeast Financial||- Loan amount: Up to $75,000
- Loan term: 60–180 months
- Eligible RVs: up to 15 years old
|GreatRVLoan||- Loan amount: $10,000+
- Down payment: 10%
- Eligible RVs: up to 15 years old
|Good Sam||- Loan amount: Up to $50,000
- Eligible RVs: Up to 15 years old (20 years old for diesel pushers)
|My Financing USA||- Loan amount: $10,000+
- Down payment: 10%
- Interest rate: 7.95%–18.95%
If you have time to spare, consider taking steps to fix your credit before applying for an RV loan.
Even though you can get RV financing for bad credit, you’ll be able to get much better terms and save hundreds or thousands of dollars on interest if you wait to apply until your score improves.
What else do RV lenders look at besides your credit score?
RV financing companies don’t just care about your credit score and credit history. When deciding whether to approve your application, they’ll also consider other factors, including:
- Debt-to-income ratio
- Loan amount (the size of the loan you’re applying for)
- Down payment
- Age of the RV
- The type of RV (there are many different types, including towable RVs, camper vans, and motorhomes)
These factors can all play an important role in your RV financing application, but you can work them to your advantage.
If you’re struggling to meet a lender’s credit requirements, you may still be able to get approved for an RV loan by choosing a cheaper vehicle or offering up a larger down payment. If you have a steady job with a reasonably high income, you can emphasize that in your application as well.
What are typical RV loan interest rates?
Your credit rating won’t just influence whether you get approved for an RV loan—it’ll also factor into the interest rate and other terms you’re offered. As you might expect, people with higher credit scores usually get more favorable loan terms.
Below are examples of RV loan rates offered by different companies:
- My Financing USA: 4.74%–18.95% 1
- Good Sam: 5.12%–10.24% 2
- GreatRVLoan: 5.24%–17.95% 3
- Lightstream: 4.49%–11.89% 4
How much do RV loan interest rates vary by credit score?
Here’s a look at how your credit score may affect your RV loan interest rate, according to Good Sam, a major company offering RV financing:
How RV Loan Interest Rates Vary by Credit Score
|Loan Amount||Loan Term (Months)||Credit Score|
As you can see, your credit score has a major impact on your interest rate. Again, this means that if you can wait to get an RV until your credit score improves, the purchase will be much less of a financial burden.
Tips for financing an RV with bad credit
If you have less-than-perfect credit that’s making it hard to get the RV of your dreams, then don’t worry. There are several ways you can boost your odds of loan approval and spare yourself the sting of rejection.
1. Check your credit first
Regardless of the type of loan you’re applying for, it’s always a good idea to first review your credit reports and check your credit score so you’re not going in blind. You can access your credit reports from all three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Lenders are going to check your credit history and your credit score when you apply for an RV loan. Knowing what they’ll see will give you the opportunity to fix any problems with your credit.
In particular, you could have worse credit than you thought if your credit report contains errors, such as an overdue debt that belongs to someone else or a bill payment that was mistakenly reported as late. For optimal credit health, dispute the errors on your credit report with the credit bureaus if you notice any inaccuracies in your credit file.
2. Make as large a down payment as you can afford
The reason it’s harder to qualify for RV financing when you have poor credit is that from your lender’s perspective, there’s a higher risk that you won’t repay the loan. Making a larger down payment when buying an RV will offset some of this risk by reducing the amount you need to borrow and showing your lender that you take your financial commitments seriously.
Paying more upfront could also get you a lower APR (interest rate). Between the lower interest rate and the lower loan amount, you could end up saving a lot of money over the life of your RV loan.
3. Get prequalification before applying
Getting prequalified for RV financing is always a smart move. It’ll give you a solid idea of what financing you qualify for so that you can pick an RV that fits your budget.
Another advantage to prequalification is that unlike getting preapproved or submitting a formal credit application, it won’t hurt your credit score by triggering a hard inquiry.
4. Submit all your RV loan applications within 2 weeks of each other
Each time you submit a new application for RV financing, a hard inquiry will show up on your credit report and cause a small drop in your credit score. However, all your RV loan applications will be treated as a single inquiry as long as you submit them within 2 weeks of each other.
This is because many credit scoring models have a rate-shopping window or deduping period where they treat multiple inquiries of the same type as a single inquiry as long as they’re made within a certain time period (14 days for VantageScore and older FICO models and 45 days for newer FICO scoring models). 5 6
5. Prep your credit as far in advance as possible
You’d be amazed at the difference that a few months of credit prep can make to your loan applications. If possible, take steps to rebuild your credit in the months leading up to your RV loan applications.
Here are simple tips that will go a long way to improving your credit score:
- Pay all your bills on time: Your payment history is the most important factor influencing your credit score. Late payments can do a lot of damage to your score, whereas on-time payments can improve it.
- Keep your credit utilization low: Reduce your credit utilization rate (the amount of available credit you’re using) by lowering your spending on your credit cards or increasing your credit card limits.
- Use credit-building tools: Build up credit by taking out a credit-builder loan, getting a secured credit card, or signing up for Experian Boost.
Keep new credit applications to a minimum: Make sure you don’t have too many hard inquiries in the months leading up to when you plan to apply for RV financing.