A motorcycle loan is a specialty form of personal finance that allows you to borrow money for the purchase of a new or used motorcycle. Motorcycle loans are available from banks, credit unions and online lenders, and can be secured or unsecured. Like other forms of personal finance, they can have fixed or variable interest rates and repayment terms that range from two to seven years. Many lenders require a down payment, while others don’t. Manufacturer financing is also available through certain motorcycle companies, such as Harley-Davidson, and can reduce your upfront costs.

Whether you’re looking for an unsecured or secured loan, your credit score and income will determine whether you get approved, what rate you’ll receive and what the maximum loan amount will be. The best motorcycle loan rates are usually reserved for those with excellent credit, which is typically defined as a FICO score of 690 or higher. It’s possible to find loan options for borrowers with fair or bad credit, but the interest rates will be higher.

If you’re concerned about your credit motorcycle loan credit union, there are steps you can take to improve it before applying for a motorcycle loan. For example, paying down other debt can help you boost your credit scores and lower your debt-to-income ratio, which lenders use to calculate your loan eligibility. It’s also a good idea to create a budget and to make sure you can afford your monthly payments before committing to a loan.

Some online lenders offer preapproval for motorcycle loans, which can be helpful if you know the type of bike you want to buy and your budget. To obtain preapproval, you’ll likely need to provide the lender with your ID, social security number and proof of income. The lender will then perform a soft pull of your credit to see what your credit score is and to estimate the interest rate and loan term you’ll be offered if you’re approved.

Before shopping for a motorcycle loan, it’s a good idea to check with financial institutions where you already do business. Banks and credit unions may offer special interest rate promotions on motorcycle loans. Moreover, some lenders may work with dealerships to offer customized motorcycle loan packages for their customers.

Another option is to consider adding a co-borrower to your loan application. This can boost your credit score and give you more buying power. However, keep in mind that any late payments on the loan will affect both you and your co-borrower’s credit scores. Alternatively, you can also save for a down payment to help reduce your upfront expenses. This will allow you to qualify for a smaller loan and pay less in interest over time.