The 5 Best RV Loans of 2020

The best financing for your next recreational vehicle purchase

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Recreational vehicles, or RVs, come in a variety of different styles and price points. Many RV owners use these vehicles to travel in comfort, but that comfort comes at a cost. In fact, RVs can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to more than $1 million.

If you’re looking at buying an RV, you may need to finance the purchase through an RV loan. It’s important to know, however, that not all banks offer funding for RVs; those that do often have strict loan limits and both vehicle and borrower requirements.

To help you find the best RV loans, we have compared more than 10 different lenders, looking at factors such as interest rates, loan availability, maximum loan and repayment terms, and even the types of vehicles financed. The following are our recommendations for the best RV loan lenders and why we picked each one.

The 5 Best RV Loans of 2020

Alliant Credit Union: Best Overall

Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union

Through Alliant Credit Union, you can borrow up to $300,000 for your RV purchase, and same-day funding is available in many cases. Interest rates are competitive and refinance loans are also offered, earning Alliant our overall top spot for the best RV loans.

Pros
  • Part- and full-timers accepted

  • Wide range of loan terms

  • Same-day funding available

  • Refinancing also offered

Cons
  • Membership required

  • Online info is limited

Our top pick for recreational vehicle (RV) loans goes to Alliant Credit Union. It offers a variety of competitive RV loan products for a borrower who plans to live in their vehicle either occasionally or full-time with fast funding.

Though membership is required in order to obtain one of these loans, becoming a member is easy: you’ll just need to be an employee of (or retire from) one of Alliant’s partner companies, have a family member who is already an Alliant member, live in certain communities, or be a member of certain partner organizations. If none of these apply to you, you can simply support Alliant’s partner charity and you’ll be eligible for membership.

RV loans through Alliant Credit Union are available to both part- and full-timers. While many lenders only offer loans to those who use their RV recreationally, Alliant accepts applicants who plan to live in the vehicle full-time.

Loans are offered up to $300,000 with repayment terms as long as 20 years. Rates are competitive and range from 4.24% APR to 5.24% APR with an auto-pay discount. There are no prepayment penalties or fees involved with an Alliant RV loan. Refinance loans are also available to qualified applicants, and both original and refi loans are offered to borrowers in all 50 states.

Same-day funding is possible in many cases, and loan pre-approval is available if you’re still shopping around.

As a membership-based banking institution, there is some information that Alliant does not publish online. For instance, they don’t specify things like down payment requirements for RV loans or loan-to-value (LTV) limits for refinancing. Also, potential borrowers are not able to rate-shop without joining the credit union.

Southeast Financial: Best for Bad Credit

Southeast Financial

Southeast Financial

Our top pick in terms of RV loans for those with subprime credit is Southeast Financial, through its Credit Challenge Program. This offers financing to those with a minimum credit score of only 550 and also accepts borrowers with previous bankruptcies.

Pros
  • Credit score minimum of only 550

  • Low-income requirements

  • Previous bankruptcies are OK

  • Excellent consumer ratings

Cons
  • Financing only available up to $75,000

  • Full-time and park model units not allowed

  • Prior positive installment loan history required

  • Not a lender, but an aggregator

Getting approved for a competitive loan can be tough if you have poor credit or a past bankruptcy. Through Southeast Financial, however, borrowers with bad credit aren’t just accepted—there’s an entire loan program dedicated to them.

The Credit Challenge Program offered by Southeast Financial offers to connect borrowers with credit scores as low as 550 to banks willing to offer them RV loans. Past bankruptcies are allowed as long as they’re discharged, with stable income requirements of only $20,000 to $30,000.

Recreational vehicles accepted for collateral can be as old as 15 years and loans are offered up to $75,000. Repayment terms range from 60 to 180 months, and there is no penalty if you pay off the loan early. Loans are only available for recreational vehicles, however; if you live in a park model or in a motorhome full-time, this loan isn’t for you.

In order to connect a poor-credit applicant with a loan product, Southeast Financial will look at past installment loan history. This means that if you haven’t had an installment loan before—or if it wasn’t repaid as agreed—you may have trouble getting approved (or snagging a lower rate). On that note: Southeast Financial does not publish partner rates when it comes to non-prime loans, though it does offer to reduce your rate down the line once creditworthiness has been established.

Currently, Southeast Financial holds a 4.3 out of 5-star rating through TrustPilot, with more than 2,400 consumer reviews. The company also holds an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

Bank of the West: Best for Good Credit

Bank of the West

Bank of the West

Bank of the West (through Essex Credit) offers competitive rates on loans up to $2 million for a variety of recreational vehicles, as long as borrowers have a credit score of 700 or higher.

Pros
  • Loans up to $2 million

  • Repayment terms range from four to 20 years

  • Financing available to non-U.S. citizens

  • Available in all 50 states

  • Many different vehicle types allowed

  • Rates as low as 3.99%*

Cons
  • No pre-approvals

  • Mileage maximums for used/refinanced RVs

  • Park models not accepted

  • Credit score of 700+ required

  • Loan fees apply

Bank of the West, also known as Essex Credit, was founded in the U.S. in 1874. This bank offers highly competitive interest rates and a variety of flexible RV loan products to customers in all 50 states, as long as they have a good credit score (specifically, a score of 700 or higher). For creditworthy borrowers, this lender provides access to rates starting as low as 3.99% APR (up to 9.49% APR).

RV loans through Bank of the West are available from $10,000 all the way up to $2 million, with repayment terms ranging from 48 to 240 months. Loans are very inclusive as well, and are offered for a variety of different vehicles and uses.

For instance, RV loans are offered to both part- and full-timers where many other lenders only offer loans to recreational owners. Loans include a variety of recreational vehicles such as Class A/B/C motorhomes, fifth-wheels, travel trailers, pop-ups, truck campers, and even certain horse trailers. Park models and tiny homes are some of the only exclusions.

Financing is available to both new and used vehicles from model year 2009 onward. Mileage limits are 60,000 for gas engines and 100,000 for diesel engines, whether you’re buying used or refinancing. Down payments range from 10% to 30%, depending on the purchase amount, and added expenses—such as taxes, title fees, warranties, and loan processing fees—can be rolled into the final loan, as long as maximum LTV limits are met.

Since the loan being offered by Bank of the West is contingent on collateral, pre-approvals are not available. Loan approval can take one to two business days before you’ll get a credit decision, and then there is an additional wait of 9 to 12 business days for RV loan applications to be processed—so it’s definitely not the fastest lender around.

It’s also important to note that there are fees involved with a loan from this bank. There are no application fees or prepayment fees, but Essex Credit does charge loan processing fees.

LightStream: Best for Quick Funding

LightStream

LightStream

Our top pick for quick RV loans is LightStream, which offers funding up to $100,000 as early as the day you apply.

Pros
  • Same-day funding available

  • No fees or prepayment penalties

  • Loans starting at just $5,000

Cons
  • Low loan maximum

  • Repayment terms top out at 84 months

If you’re looking for a competitive RV loan that offers quick funding, LightStream is the best option. This lender—which is part of the SunTrust family—can provide RV loan funding as soon as the same day you apply.

Loans through LightStream are offered starting at $5,000, enabling borrowers to purchase smaller or more affordable recreational vehicles than many other lenders will allow. LightStream will only lend up to $100,000, however, and repayment terms are limited to between 24 and 84 months.

Interest rates range from 4.79% APR to 12.39% APR, depending on the loan amount, repayment term, and borrower’s creditworthiness. An auto-pay discount of 0.50% is also offered. There are no prepayment penalties or fees to worry about with a LightStream RV loan, either.

If you want to save even more, LightStream also has a Rate Beat Program, which offers an interest rate 0.10% lower than a competing lender. Certain terms apply (you must have been approved for a loan with the same terms no more than one business day earlier, for instance), but this gives borrowers a great way to snag even lower rates.

SunTrust: Best for Large Loans

SunTrust

SunTrust

If you’re planning to buy a luxury motorhome with a larger price tag, SunTrust would be our suggested lender. They offer loans as high as $1.5 million, with a competitive APR and terms up to 240 months.

Pros
  • Seven-figure loans offered

  • Long repayment terms, if needed

  • Competitive, fixed APR

  • No points, processing fees, or service charges

Cons
  • Not intended for the average RV purchase

  • The vehicle’s title is held as collateral

  • Not offered in all states

  • Warranties/sales tax cannot be rolled into the loan

If you’re looking at purchasing a luxury recreational vehicle or motorhome, you will need an RV loan that can accommodate a much higher price tag. SunTrust motorhome loans are designed to provide financing for newer (10 years old or less), luxury recreational vehicles starting at $100,000 and going all the way up to $1.5 million.

Unlike some other high-loan lenders, SunTrust does not have a published minimum credit score requirement. They also don’t charge loan processing fees, even on high-figure loan products, which saves borrowers money. There is a 15% to 20% down payment requirement, depending on the total loan amount, and your RV’s title will serve as collateral to secure the loan.

SunTrust offers fixed interest rates between 4.74% APR and 5.74% APR, with loan repayment terms of up to 240 months. There are no points, service fees, or processing charges to worry about, however, and you can apply for a loan online in less than 15 minutes.

Neither sales tax nor any optional warranty costs can be rolled into the loan, so you’ll need to keep that in mind. Loans aren’t available in Alaska, Hawaii, or Vermont, either, and SunTrust will only finance RVs that are used for recreational purposes—so you can’t live in the motorhome full-time.

SunTrust is a hybrid of multiple different banks that have joined forces over the years (now under the Truist umbrella since its 2019 merger with BB&T), though the bank’s oldest roots date back to 1891. Truist currently holds an S&P rating of A- in terms of financial strength, with a stable outlook.

What Is an RV Loan?

An RV loan is a financial product designed to help finance the purchase of a recreational vehicle. RV loans are typically offered for motorhomes, fifth-wheels, travel trailers, pop-up campers, and even horse trailers in some instances.

Lenders may offer RV loans to a variety of borrowers; some RV owners live in their vehicles full-time while others only use them recreationally throughout the year. In order to find the right lender, you’ll need to decide how you plan to use your RV and choose a lender that accepts those types of borrowers.

How Are RV Loans and Car Loans Different?

While RV and car loans both provide financing for a wheeled purchase, there are many differences. For example, RV loans may include trailer-style vehicles that do not have their own engine, such as fifth-wheel trailers.

RV loans also allow for much larger loans; this is important since RVs are often hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some RVs can cost well into the millions. You won’t typically find an auto lender willing to hand over that kind of funding.

Lastly, auto lenders don’t typically care how often you’re using your vehicle when they approve you for a loan. RV lenders, on the other hand, will often exclude certain borrowers depending on whether they plan to use the RV part- or full-time.

What Is a Good Credit Score for an RV Loan?

As with any loan product, the better your credit score, the better the rate you’ll typically be offered. In order to qualify for the best RV loan rates, you should aim for a credit score of around 700 or higher.

Of course, there are many lenders who also offer RV loans to those with bad credit. While there may be certain income requirements and higher interest rates, borrowers with scores of 550 or higher can often get approved for RV financing.

How Hard Is It to Get Approved for an RV Loan?

Getting approved for an RV loan depends on a variety of factors, such as the vehicle you’re looking to purchase and how often you plan to use it.

If you’ll be using your RV for full-time use, you may find it more difficult to find a competitive lender than if you were using it part-time. Borrowers with credit scores of 700+ will also find it easier (and faster) to get funding.

Many lenders have steady income requirements and may request income verification before loan approval. However, the actual income amount required will vary from one lender to the next.

As with most financial products, borrowers will need to be at least 18 years old. Some lenders have higher age requirements as well. You can typically expect banks to require you to be a U.S. citizen, though some lenders will finance purchases for non-U.S. citizens as long as they reside in the U.S.

How We Chose the Best RV Loan Providers

In order to provide this list of the best RV loans and lenders, we compared more than 10 different financial institutions. We looked at not only their history and consumer ratings, but also their availability and the ease with which consumers can apply for funding. We also compared loan repayment terms, interest rates, credit score requirements, vehicle limitations, and loan minimums/maximums to help you find the best possible loan for your unique RV purchase.

Article Sources

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  1. TrustPilot. "Southeast Financial." Accessed October 9, 2020.

  2. BBB. "Southeast Financial." Accessed October 9, 2020.

  3. Georgia Encyclopedia. "SunTrust Banks." Accessed October 9, 2020.

  4. S&P Global. "S&P Ratings affirms Truist Financial following BB&T/SunTrust merger." Accessed October 9, 2020.