How To Get A Harley With Bad Credit

How to get a harley with bad credit

If you have a low credit score but have a good income you may qualify for the Harley-Davidson motorcycle of your dreams.

Learn how to get a Harley with bad credit below.

Understand Credit

Everyone over the age of 18 has a credit score in US. Your credit score is determined by multiple factors such as:

  • Your payment history and whether or not you pay your bills by the due date or you pay late.
  • Length of credit or simply how long you had your oldest credit card, and the average age of all your credit cards combined.
  • Types of credit you have such as mortgages, auto and motorcycle loans, student loans, credit cards, etc.
  • Debt-to-credit ratio or how much you have borrowed compared to how much credit is available to you. Creditors expect you to use less than 30% of your total available credit.
  • Inquiries which is the number of times you have applied for new credit in the last two years.

According to a recent FICO report, 68 million Americans have bad credit. Experian says that 21% of Americans have really, really bad credit.

  • Excellent: 781-850
  • Good: 661-780
  • Acceptable: 601-660
  • Poor: 501-600
  • Bad or Subprime: 300-500

You can obtain a free copy of your credit report once per year from It is a good idea to check your credit regularly to make sure it does not have any errors. If you do find an error on your credit report, you can dispute it.

Debt Collectors

Debt Collectors generally work for a Collection Agency or directly for the company with which you had an account. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act is a federal law that governs what debt collectors can and can not do in the United States.

Down Payment

An average downpayment on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle will require 10% to 20% down of purchase price. This means that if you are buying a $10,000 bike, you will need to put down between $1,000 and $2,000 down.

Monthly Payments

The monthly payment will depend on four factors: the cost of the motorcycle, how much you put as a down payment, the length of the loan, and the interest rate that the bank offers.

As a buyer, you can control most (if not all) of these four factors. For example, to lower your payment you can:

  • Select a less expensive motorcycle lowering the purchase price
  • Give more money down which also lowers the purchase price
  • Choose a shorter or longer term of loan depending on how much you can afford
  • Interest Rate is the hardest of the factors to control. The dealer will offer you an interest rate and you can try to negotiate the rate down by asking for discounts or a difference financial institution. However, the most effective method would be trying to get the loan from your local co-op bank, credit union.

Credit Approval

Your credit approval odds will depend on your credit score and report. The dealer will do as much as they can to get you approved as it is in their best interest to sell you the motorcycle.

However, the dealer ultimately does not have your best financial interest in mind.

For example, many dealers when they run your credit will apply to multiple financial institutions for approval. Generally, they do not show you all the credit offers. Some dealers may only offer you the financial institution that gives the dealer an incentive. This is why it is important that you also apply for motorcycle loans on your own and know your options.

Motorcycle Financing Offers

You have many choices when it comes to financing your Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Manufacturer Financing

Manufacturer financing is what happens when you apply for a loan at the dealership. This type of financing is done by Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS). While this option is the most convenient as all the work is done by the dealership, it may not be the cheapest financing offer to get a Harley with bad credit.

Retail Bank Financing

Most banks such as Chase, Bank of America, and Capital One offer financing for automobiles and motorcycles. The dealer may choose to apply you for a loan with one of these banks while they are applying to Harley-Davidson Financial.

In some circumstances, loans from retail banks may be a cheaper option in terms of interest rates. Make sure you understand the terms of the deal and compare all of the options available to you.

Online Bank Financing

In recent years new financing offers are available when seeking a loan for a motorcycle. Companies such as SoFI, Upstart and LendingTree offer motorcycle loans.

Applications with these companies are generally done online and you will know whether you got approved within minutes or a few days.

Here are the 5 Best Motorcycle Loans of 2022 according to Nerd Wallet.

Credit Union/Co-op Financing

Most people do not know or do not bother with credit unions. However, this is unfortunate as many will offer the best rate you can get.

The process of applying for a loan with a credit union varies from union to union but generally, you can apply online. Some credit unions may require you to be a certain profession or live in a certain area. A few of these credit unions may even require that you are a current banking customer before applying for a loan.

If you know ahead of time that you will need a mortgage, auto or motorcycle loan, you should join your local credit union, deposit a small amount of money into the checking account and establish a relationship with the credit union. This will allow you to apply for credit which if often cheaper than retail banks and manufacturer financing.

An example of a national credit union is PenFed. They do not require you to be in a union and are available to all US citizens.

Term of the Loan

Harley-Davidson manufacturer financing offers loans as long as seven (7) years.

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