The 5 Best RV Loans of 2020

Finance the vehicle you want

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Our Top Picks

Recreational vehicles (or RVs) have always been a great way to get out on the road and off the beaten path. And more and more, people have been trading in flights for road trips and hotels for RVs. (They happen to be ideal for family bonding, after all!)

If you’re ready to get out on the road in an RV of your own, there are a number of lenders that specialize in financing recreational vehicles. To help you choose the best RV loans for your needs, we compared top lenders, based on factors like available loan amounts, repayment terms, and APRs. Here are our top picks.

Best Overall: LightStream

LightStream
LightStream

LightStream is a consumer lending arm of SunTrust Bank (now Truist Bank) that offers unsecured, fully amortized personal loans that can be used to purchase RVs and motorhomes.

Borrowers aren’t charged any fees and there are no prepayment penalties, allowing you to pay off your RV early while saving on the cost of the loan. To qualify, prospective borrowers should have a minimum credit score of 660 and an income stable enough to cover the monthly payments owed in the timeline established with the service provider and the new RV loan payment.

Borrowers can use LightStream to finance all types of RVs with loans ranging from about $5,000 to $100,000 and repayment terms from two to seven years. As of November 2020, APRs range from around 4.29% to 11.89% for borrowers who sign up for the lender’s 0.50% autopay discount. Like other RV lenders, however, the lowest rates require excellent credit. While LightStream doesn’t offer a prequalification process, you can check the APR range for the loan size and term you need.

Once approved, borrowers can receive their loan funds as soon as the same day—assuming it’s a business banking day and certain information and documentation are received by 2:30 p.m. EST. Borrowers can also take advantage of perks like the rate beat program and a loan experience guarantee, as well as a customer support team that’s available Monday through Saturday. 

Why it's a fit for Treehugger: Overall, LightStream is our top pick because it offers unsecured RV loans with flexible sizes and repayment terms.

Best for Full-Time RVers: Bank of the West

Bank of the West

Bank of the West

Available in all 50 states, Bank of the West is an excellent lending option for those who plan to live in their RV full-time. Secured RV loans are available starting at roughly $10,000 and there is no maximum loan amount, so it’s a flexible option regardless of whether you want a more affordable starter model or a more feature-rich RV experience. If you want an even smaller loan, the bank does offer basic personal loans for less than roughly $10,000. And, repayment terms of up to 20 years are offered.

Bank of the West requires a minimum credit score of about 700 to qualify for an RV loan—higher than some other lenders—and cosigners are not permitted. While Bank of the West does not disclose the range of APRs available, the representative we spoke with shared that they are competitive. What’s more, prospective borrowers can apply entirely online or by phone, making this option convenient for applicants nationwide. 

Why it's a fit for Treehugger: We love Bank of the West because of the bank’s expertise in the RV lending space and its willingness to work with RVers who plan to live in their camper full-time.

Best for Bad Credit: Southeast Financial

Southeast Financial

Southeast Financial

Southeast Financial specializes in loans for recreational vehicles in every state except Alaska and Hawaii. Unlike most lenders, Southeast Financial does not have a minimum credit score requirement, making it our top pick for borrowers with bad credit. Instead, the lender evaluates an application on a case-by-case basis, including factors like location, requested loan amount, and the type of RV being purchased. 

That said, loans are generally available to applicants with a credit score of at least 550 and a minimum annual income of roughly $20,000—lower than many other lenders with comparable loan offerings. Plus, applicants can get an instant rate quote without a hard credit check, and borrowers who aren’t approved can get credit assistance to help them qualify for a future loan.

Qualified applicants can borrow between about $10,000 and $4,000,000 and will be offered repayment terms up to 20 years, making it easy to find a loan that fits your needs. As of November 2020, the lender’s maximum APR is not disclosed on its website, but rates start at just 4.49% for the most qualified applicants. Once approved, borrowers can expect to receive funds within three to five business days after loan documents are signed, though this can vary.

Borrowers can use loan proceeds to purchase new RVs, Class A and C motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, and pop-ups, as well as preowned units as old as 15 years. Keep in mind, however, that Southeast Financial RV loans are not available for borrowers who intend to live in their RV full-time.

Why it's a fit for Treehugger: Southeast Financial stands out because it makes it easy for anyone to get an RV loan—even if you don’t have great credit.

Best for Luxury Motorhomes: Truist

Truist

Truist

In addition to offering unsecured personal loans through LightStream, Truist (formerly SunTrust) offers secured loans for Class A and Class C motorhomes. Available in every state except Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont, these loans are focused on luxury rigs, with amounts ranging from around $100,000 to $1.5 million after the required down payment. A 15% down payment is required for loans up to roughly $500,000 and 20% for loans from approximately $500,001 to $1.5 million. 

As with some other providers, Truist only finances RVs used for recreational purposes—not as dwellings. What’s more, financed motorhomes can only be up to 10 years old, so this isn’t an option if you’re buying a vintage Airstream, for example. 

Truist RV loans are secured by the title of the motorhome or RV, so—unlike some lenders such as Alliant—a motorhome inspection is required. And, because secured loans pose less risk to the lender, Truist’s APRs are lower than for other lenders—ranging from roughly 4.74% to 5.74%, as of November 2020. What’s more, there are no points, service charges, or processing fees. 

That said, Truist does not disclose its minimum credit score requirements, so it’s difficult to know whether you’re likely to qualify. Likewise, when we contacted a Truist rep, they were unwilling to provide a minimum loan term. Still, terms range up to 20 years, making it a flexible option for RV loans. 

Why it's a fit for Treehugger: Truist is our top pick for luxury RV financing because it offers borrowers loans up to about $1.5 million.

Best for Refinancing: Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union

Alliant offers secured loans for new and used RVs in amounts ranging from about $5,000 to $300,000 and for terms between 10 and 20 years. The lender will finance with most established RV dealers and loans are available in all 50 states. As of November 2020, APRs range from just around 4.24% to 5.24%. Plus, Alliant offers RV refinancing at generally the same rates and terms available for purchases, making it an excellent option for people who want to improve the terms of their current RV financing. 

According to an Alliant representative, the lender doesn’t disclose the minimum credit score required to qualify for an RV loan. However, Alliant does share that it considers each applicant’s credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and income—among other factors. Alliant also offers a preapproval process that’s based on a soft credit inquiry, so you can see which terms you’ll qualify for without damaging your credit. 

Once approved, loan funds are typically available the same day, and, where appropriate, Alliant will send the money to your RV dealer via FedEx overnight. An RV inspection is not required prior to funding—Alliant relies solely on the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) values or the dealer invoice. Beyond the convenience of an Alliant RV loan, there are no prepayment penalties so you can pay off your loan early without having to add to loan costs.  

Why it's a fit for Treehugger: Alliant made our list because it offers RV refinancing with a low APR and no inspection required—plus, Alliant lends to full-time RVers.

How Do RV Loans Work?

Rv loans can be issued through a dealership or an online or traditional lender. Some loans are RV-specific, while others are just personal loans. Likewise, some RV loans are secured—or collateralized—by the RV itself, so the lender can repossess the vehicle if the borrower defaults on the loan. Unsecured loans, on the other hand, do not require collateral but typically come with higher interest rates.  

How Hard Is It to Get an RV Loan?

Approval requirements for RV loans vary depending on the lender, loan amount, and the RV you’re trying to finance. In general, though, applicants should have a fair credit score—or better—although some lenders, like Southeast Financial, specialize in serving applicants with poor credit.

What Are the Typical RV Loan Terms?

RV loans are typically available for between two and 20 years. However, repayment periods depend on the lender, the borrower’s qualifications, and how much you’re borrowing. Lower loan amounts generally come with a shorter repayment period (between two and three years), while larger loans are spread out over a longer term (up to 20 years). 

How We Chose the Best RV Loans

To evaluate the best RV loans, we compared lenders based on available APRs, loan amounts, and repayment terms. We also considered minimum qualification requirements, including credit score, income, and length of credit history. Finally, we looked at online reviews, the availability of customer support, and the overall convenience of applying for an RV loan with each provider.

We chose LightStream as the best overall RV loan option because of the lender’s flexible loan amounts and repayment terms. Not only can you borrow up to roughly $100,000, but loans are also unsecured so you don’t have to worry about an RV appraisal. This makes it easier and more affordable to start your RV adventures.