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It’s your dream to travel the country in your spacious RV or have the time of your life out on the water. Unfortunately, if you’re like about 35% of the country, you have a subprime credit score. It may seem like, at least for the time being, you aren’t going to be able to obtain a loan to buy a new boat or RV.

First Approval Source has seen many different credit profiles come through, and we know through experience that you can still get approved for a loan with the right team behind you. Your first step is to use an online loan calculator so you can play with the numbers and see the impact that different conditions can have on your loan terms. It’s just always good to enter this process prepared.

With a subprime deal, you may receive a little higher rate than what you would have with excellent credit. But, there are ways in which you can lower your rate to something more favorable. Here are a few things you can do to ensure you can still acquire a recreational loan with bad credit:

Good news! You can still receive a boat or RV loan even if your credit isn’t the best.

What can you do?

Identify what made your credit drop

Sometimes a credit drop can happen unexpectedly without you even knowing how it happened. If you can identify the issue and address it, you can slowly improve your credit. If you can show the banks that you are making progress towards fixing the problem, it tells them that your credit issues may not be perpetual and can be fixed.



Paying down some of your debt

Debt to income ratio is one way lenders measure your ability to manage the monthly payments to repay the money you are borrowing. A high debt to income ratio is one of the more common reasons a customer will get declined. Even customers with a high credit score can get declined because of too much debt. The banks don’t usually budge on debt-to-income. They have specific rules and regulations in place to make sure they’re approving loans that can be paid off.

Working to get some of your debt paid off can improve your chances of approval. You could also provide proof of extra income to try to improve your debt-to-income ratio, as well. Anything you can do to improve your DTI will make the loan less risky for the banks to fund.

Be prepared to meet stipulations

You will likely need to meet some stipulations in order to get your loan approved (the banks don’t do anything just willy nilly!) This could include proof of income, improving your debt-to-income ratio, a higher down payment, or a number of other options. Sometimes (though this is no guarantee), you can even get an approval with a bankruptcy in your history, depending on the extent and/or amount of bankruptcies you have (and if you’re working with the right people). This seems like a hassle, but if you work with a resource like First Approval Source, this information can get to the banks quickly, and the process can run a lot smoother.

Don’t just accept the first offer you get!

Like we’ve already mentioned, when trying to obtain a loan with bad credit, you might receive a higher rate than someone who has prime credit. You may be tempted to accept the first offer that comes your way, but you don’t have to! You can try multiple banks in order to compare and get the best terms that you can. For subprime loans, comparing offers is crucial. Sometimes banks will even compete to get better terms because they want you to choose them!

Having relationships with multiple banks is one of the ways that First Approval Source is able to obtain approvals for so many subprime customers. Knowing the ins and outs of all the different bank programs allows First Approval Source to place our customers with the right loan that best fits their needs.

What if I do all that and still get declined?

Darn. Bummer. Guess you just have to give up, right? Wrong! It’s not the end of the world, and you can still work to get approved.

One way to do this is by just choosing a less expensive boat or RV. This makes it easier to put more down, have a lower monthly payment, and you could likely get a better rate. But, this is your dream vessel we’re talking about here! You don’t necessarily have to settle for something less.

The banks might require you to make a higher down payment. A higher down payment lowers the actual amount that is being borrowed. The bank sees less risk in approving the loan with less being borrowed. Your debt to income would be improved simply because you are not taking on as much debt. This can consequently lower that pesky rate we mentioned before. Again, less being borrowed…less risk for the bank…better rate!

Another way is by having a co-applicant. Adding a co-applicant that has solid credit can help improve your application. We’ve discussed the problems that a high debt-to-income ratio can give you. Including additional income in the form of a co-applicant can improve that ratio. With an improved DTI and a higher credit score on the application, the bank sees less risk in providing a loan. Less risk = better chances for approval.


Some lenders may not fund subprime loans. So finding a source that can work with less than stellar credit, like First Approval Source, is critical. But the moral of the story is that it is definitely possible to acquire a recreational loan, even with bad credit. You just need to let someone put a little elbow grease into it, and you’ll be out on the water or on the open road having a great time! For more tips for your next loan, click here. For more information on how you can obtain a subprime loan for a boat or RV, contact us and visit

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