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The Best Credit Unions for Motorcycle Financing

Rates are current as of the publish date.

You could finance a motorcycle through the manufacturer or dealer, a bank or credit union or through an online lender, but you might be surprised to learn that many credit unions have specific loans for buying a bike. Using data from Experian — one of the three major credit bureaus — LendingTree arrived at the top seven credit unions in the U.S. for motorcycle loans.

The top 7 credit unions for motorcycle loans
Why a credit union for a motorcycle loan?
What are possible downsides of a credit union motorcycle loan?
Benefits of comparison shopping for a motorcycle loan
Alternatives to motorcycle loans

The top 7 credit unions for motorcycle loans

Based off Experian data of the top credit unions that 1) offered the lowest average APR and 2) had relatively large portions of auto loan market share, here are the top seven credit unions LendingTree chose for new and used auto loans on motorcycles.

1. Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union offers banking and financial services to the members and family members of the U.S. military, Coast Guard and veterans. It has brick-and-mortar branches from D.C. to San Diego. APRs for new motorcycle loans start at 7.25%. Terms range up to 84 months. For used motorcycles, APRs start at 8.09% with terms up to 72 months.

2. Security Service Federal Credit Union

Security Service Federal Credit Union serves people in Texas, Colorado and Utah, as well as those at select military bases. It offers new and used motorcycle loans and requires a 10% down payment. APRs vary by location, but can be as low as 4.00%. Terms range from 7 to 72 months.

3. American First Credit Union

America First Credit Union serves counties in Utah, Arizona and Nevada. America First CU offers motorcycle loans on vehicles from dirt bikes to scooters to Harleys. For motorcycles under $20,000, terms go up to 84 months with APRs as low as 5.99% fixed or 4.99% variable. For motorcycles over $20,000, terms go up to 144 months at 5.99% fixed APR or 5.49% variable APR.

4. Alaska USA Federal Credit Union

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union is open to those who live in Alaska, Washington, California’s San Bernardino County and Arizona’s Maricopa County. Its new and used motorcycle loans can go up to 84 months and APR can be as low as 4.25%. It may require a 30% down payment, but allows you to add $300 to the loan for the purchase of safety equipment.

5. Digital Federal Credit Union

Digital Federal Credit Union serves people living and working in parts of Massachusetts and Georgia, as well as those who work for select employers in New Hampshire. You may not have to give a down payment; Digital FCU allows borrowing up to 120% of the motorcycle price. It offers motorcycle financing for new, used and refinancing with terms up to 60 months and APRs start at 5.25%.

6. State Employees’ Credit Union

State Employees’ Credit Union is for North Carolina state and county employees and their families. Motorcycle loans are available and auto loan terms in general can go up to 96 months; APRs start at 3.75% if you use payroll deduction or funds transfer pay.

7. Golden 1 Credit Union

Golden 1 Credit Union operates in California. It may not require a down payment. Its terms depend on the value and its APRs range from 7.24% to 15.55%.

Rates current as of 1/15/2019

Why a credit union for a motorcycle loan?

Credit unions may offer better rates than banks. There are several reasons for this, one being that they often have to compete with banks and they’re usually less well known than banks.

They’re usually convenient. If you already use a credit union for checking and savings accounts, or loans that are in your name such as a mortgage, then you probably won’t have to provide extra information such as proof of income or proof of residence for your auto loan application because the credit union would have this information on hand. A bonus is you may not need to learn how to navigate another online account or mobile app as well.

Most are extremely member-focused. Both banks and credit unions will do what’s best for their owners. The difference between being a member of a credit union and a customer of a bank is that as a credit union member, you’re an owner.

There are local branches. Unlike with an online-only bank, you can probably go into a local credit union location and make a payment or talk with a representative in person.

What are possible downsides of a credit union motorcycle loan?

Branch & ATM locations. Depending on the size of the credit union, it may only have a few branch and ATM locations in select areas, which could be inconvenient if you move.

Membership eligibility. To take out a credit union loan, you usually have to be a member of that credit union. Each one has different membership requirements — you may have to live in a certain region of the country or be employed in a certain industry (or be a family member to someone who is).

Benefits of comparison shopping for a motorcycle loan

When you’re in the market for a motorcycle, don’t forget that you’re probably in the market for a motorcycle loan as well. Just as you probably wouldn’t test-drive a single bike before buying it, you shouldn’t apply to only one lender. All credit pulls done for one industry (auto, mortgage, student) within 14 days count only as one loan inquiry, so don’t be afraid to do a few loan applications when checking rates.

Consider a few lenders, not just your credit union, so you might be able compare offers to see which is the best for you. It may be that the one with the lowest APR and shorter term suits you best, or the one with the lowest monthly payment fits your budget. (You could use this motorcycle loan calculator to play with amounts and monthly payments.) The thing is, you wouldn’t be able to compare loan offers if you didn’t apply for them.

On LendingTree, you can shop several rates at once with one credit check and get the lenders to compete for your business. Then once you have an offer you like, you could take it into the motorcycle dealership and use it as leverage to negotiate.

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Alternatives to motorcycle loans

  1. Other types of loans. If you already have a home equity line of credit or a home equity loan, you could use the cash from that to buy a motorcycle outright. You might also look into getting a personal loan instead of a motorcycle loan. Here’s an article to look at if you want to know other ways to finance a motorcycle.
  2. Cash. If you have enough cash to get what you want without a worry, then don’t bother to finance. Yet keep in mind that you’ll probably be paying more than the sticker price. Taxes, title and licensing fees vary by state and you might need a helmet and protective gear as well.
  3. Renting.  Maybe you just want to use a motorcycle a few times a year for special occasions. Renting could be best. This way, you’re only paying for the motorcycle when you use it and you don’t have to do maintenance.
  4. Leasing. If you like to always have the newest motorcycle in the bike lot or your dream motorcycle is a bit above your monthly price range, leasing could help you to afford it. You can check out this article for more information on motorcycle leasing versus buying.

Methodology: Chosen from Q4 2017 Experian data of the top credit unions that 1) offered the lowest average APR and 2) had relatively large portions of auto loan market share.

 

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