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Can I Get an RV Loan at a Bank or Credit Union?

Aug. 7, 2014
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Summer is here, and that means vacations, campouts and, of course, road trips.

But before you hit the open road or set out on a camping adventure, you may want a recreational vehicle. And before you can even set foot in your own RV, odds are you’ll need financing.

Can you just walk into your local bank or credit union and get an RV loan? What is the process? The Nerds will tell you everything you need to know.

How it works

The simple answer on getting RV financing? Yes, you can.

Most banks and credit unions — as well as independent finance companies — offer loans for recreational vehicles. The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association has a full list of companies that offer RV financing.

Borrowing to buy an RV is similar to using a loan to buy a car. Lending standards are more stringent than for auto loans, however. Your credit score will be an important factor in determining whether you get approved and at what rate. As such, it’s smart to shop for your financing before choosing your dream camper.

Do your research

Before you decide whether an RV is right for you, research what your monthly payment would be and see whether it’s feasible for your income. RV Trader offers useful online loan payment calculators.

Simply enter the estimated loan amount, interest rate and the amount of time you’d have to pay it off, or the term, and the calculator will do the rest. A RV loan’s annual percentage rate (APR) will vary depending on the size and duration of the loan, among other factors. As with cars, you’ll pay a higher interest rate to finance an older RV than a newer one. Additionally, the lower your down payment, the higher your interest rate.

After you’ve run the numbers and know what you can afford, you’re ready to approach a financial institution for a loan. Shop around to ensure that you’re getting a competitive rate.

Know the details

You’re probably familiar with financing a car, or even a home, but you may not be aware of some options applicable to RV loans. Camping World offers some tips:

  • Select RVs may qualify for federal tax breaks based on the loan interest you pay, similar to how the IRS treats mortgages on second homes.
  • RV loans can have terms of up to 20 years, making the monthly payment much more affordable and reasonable.
  • Banks and credit unions can also refinance debt on campers, which may help reduce your monthly payment.
  • If you discuss interest rates and financing options with your bank or credit union before approaching a dealer and pre-qualify for a loan, the sales chief may be willing to negotiate a better deal.

What’s next?

If you decide that a recreational vehicle is the perfect match for your lifestyle, let the Nerds help get you moving and make your summer road trip a reality. Check out the credit union finder tool, and to help you track down the best liability insurance for your needs, we have an online insurance platform for you, too.