Two motorcyclists riding down a country road

How to get a motorcycle loan in Iowa or Illinois

Choosing a motorcycle loan from a credit union can save you thousands of dollars.

Motorcycles are synonymous with freedom, coolness, and rebellion. Steve McQueen and James Dean, both bad-boy heartthrobs of their time, were motorcyclists. If you’re looking to up your cool factor, it could be time to buy a motorcycle. 

To make that dream come true you may need a loan to help finance your purchase. As you begin your research, you may discover that it's more difficult to obtain a motorcycle loan than a traditional car loan. Fewer banks offer a motorcycle loan option. In this article, we offer practical tips on how to obtain a motorcycle loan, specifically for those who reside in Iowa or Illinois.

1. Review your credit score

Before making a big financial decision such as purchasing a motorcycle, you should be aware of your current credit score. A credit score ranges from 300 – 850 and is calculated based on your past credit history, timely payments, and the number of credit accounts you have open. The score predicts your probability of repaying a debt. To get a low-interest rate loan, your credit score should be no lower than 660. If it is lower, it’s considered an unfavorable credit score. Lenders may offer higher interest rates or may not be willing to offer you a loan at all. 

You’re more likely to receive favorable loan rates if you have a high credit score. If you're already a Vibrant member, you can access your credit score and credit report any time by signing up for our free credit monitoring tool. It even includes a score simulator so you can see how much specific actions, like paying down debt or making payments on time, will increase your score. If you’re not a Vibrant member, you can get a free credit report from

2. Decide your budget

Once you know your credit score, you can decide your budget. This will help you determine how much you can put toward a down payment and an affordable monthly loan repayment amount. Financial blogs recommend that your monthly payments “shouldn’t exceed 15 percent of your monthly net income.” Establish a reasonable budget before starting to shop for motorcycles. 

3. Comparison-shop lenders

As with car loans, you can choose from different lenders for motorcycle loans. Do extensive research to see which lender is right for you.

Motorcycle loan lenders: 

  • Dealerships. Although most individuals buy their motorcycles at a dealership, dealer financing is not always the most beneficial option. In-house financing often have higher interest rates. In addition, their sales team tends to use aggressive tactics. This can pressure a shopper into signing an unfavorable loan.  
  • Manufacturers. Motorcycle manufacturers such as Harley-Davidson or BMW also offer online loans. Visit their websites to view loan options.
  • Credit unions. Many local and national banks don't offer motorcycle loans, and those that do often charge higher interest rates than they would for a traditional auto loan. Luckily for Vibrant members, our credit union offers the same rates for motorcycles, car, or truck purchases.

4. Choose a loan type

There are different ways to finance a motorcycle purchase, so consider your options carefully. Some lenders may charge higher interest rates for a motorcycle versus a regular car loan. Other lenders may offer different loans for new or used motorcycles. Some loans even specify which vehicles can be considered motorcycles. (For example, a scooter or ATV is not considered a motorcycle.) 

Another option for motorcycle shoppers is a personal loan. A personal loan differs from a motorcycle loan because the lender isn't going to repossess your motorcycle if you fail to pay (though they will pursue the debt in other ways). As a result, the interest rate for a personal loan, even for people with great credit, is usually higher.

Discuss the type of loan and motorcycle you want in advance with your lender. They can confirm if your desired type can be financed.  

5. Finalize your loan

Once you’ve decided on your motorcycle, loan type, and lender, you can move forward with completing your loan application. 

Many motorcycle enthusiasts believe they need to complete the application process while at a dealership. However, wise consumers know that dealerships tend to be high-pressure environments whose loans benefit the salesperson instead of the consumer. 

Resourceful shoppers will instead obtain a sales quote from the dealership and finance their loan at a local credit union instead. At Vibrant, you’ll work with a friendly, knowledgeable banker to decide which loan is the best choice for you. Unlike dealerships, you will not be pressured into purchasing an expensive warranty or unnecessary accessories. 

At Vibrant, you’ll also have access to different payment options. Funds can be transferred to your account to pay the dealership directly, or you can request Vibrant to send payment to the dealership. 

6. Apply for a motorcycle loan with Vibrant Credit Union

Vibrant Credit Union’s motorcycle loan process is streamlined and easy. Contact us to discuss loan options with a knowledgeable banker. We can’t wait to help you purchase the motorcycle of your dreams.




Q: How long does it take to apply for a motorcycle loan at Vibrant Credit Union?

A: Our motorcycle loan online application takes 15 minutes or less to complete. Once the application is submitted, you should receive a decision in just a few minutes.

Want to submit your application another way? Schedule a virtual or in-person appointment at your local Vibrant Credit Union branch or contact us over the phone to complete the quick, three-step application.

Q: Do I need to submit any personal information when I apply for a motorcycle loan?

A: Yes you’ll need to provide the following:

  • Full name 
  • Address 
  • Social Security number
  • Employment information 
  • Income
  • Citizenship status

If you’re purchasing a motorcycle, you’ll also need to provide: 

  • Vehicle make
  • Vehicle model
  • Model year
  • Mileage
  • Estimated price

Q: Does Vibrant Credit Union charge any fees to apply for a motorcycle loan? 

A: No, the application process is free!