The heyday for scooters and mopeds in the United States was in the early part of the decade when gas prices skyrocketed past four dollars per gallon, but even with lower gas prices, Americans have held on to their love for them as a commuting alternative or for just zipping around town while being environmentally conscious. With fuel mileage exceeding 60 to 70 miles per gallon, they are inexpensive to operate and cheaper to insure.
At the low end, a new scooter can be driven off the lot for around $2,200. That can get you about 155cc, enough power to zip along at 65 miles per hour, but maybe a little too slow for many freeways. At the higher end, you can spend up to $8,000 for a more powerful 300cc engine that carries you at 85 miles per hour.
At either end of the spectrum these machines are cheap enough to buy with cash after saving for a year or two, but if you are short of cash and need a scooter right away, they are fairly easy to finance. There are actually several ways you can finance a scooter or moped whether you have good or bad credit. Of course, your creditworthiness will determine what kind of financing you can qualify for and how much you will pay in interest.
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Dealer Financing Options
Most of the major scooter manufacturers offer some sort of financing through third-party lenders. Vespa offers financing through Sheffield that is similar to auto financing with up to 60 month terms and rates currently range from a low of 3.9 percent to a high of 12.9 percent. Just like an auto loan, the Vespa scooter is secured with a title lien. If you have great credit, then there might be no down payment necessary, but with less than good credit, you may need to put down $500 to $1,000.
Yamaha’s financing comes in the form of a credit card issued by WebBank. The standard APR can currently range from 15.99 to 23.99 percent.
Kymco offers several options to cover most credit situations. It has an EasyPay option which allows you to pay for the bike over 90 days with no interest. You just need to show proof of income and a checking account to apply. It has a deal with Nextep to offer 12 to 24 month financing for borrowers with no or bad credit. If you have great credit you can currently get financing for 36 months, zero down, and a 1.9 percent APR. If you have really good credit, Nextep offers a leasing program in which you lease-to-own. That would be the best option if you are going to use the scooter for business purposes.
Many of the lenders that finance other types of powered vehicles, such as motorcycles, snowmobiles, and ATVs also finance scooters. These are usually the same companies that partner directly with the dealers, but you can do your own shopping around to see if you can find a better deal. Many of these lenders offer unsecured installment loans, which typically come with higher APRs, but they are friendly to buyers with low credit scores.
Can I Use a Personal Loan for a Scooter?
If you’re committed to financing your auto purchase with a loan, it is always recommended you check with your bank or credit union or shop around for a scooter or moped loan. While it may be difficult to find a bank that specifically offers scooter financing, some may offer it under motorcycle financing. If your credit isn’t good enough to qualify for an inexpensive bank loan or some of the better dealer financing offers, your best bet might be a personal loan.
Online lenders such as LendingClub and Prosper offer fairly priced unsecured loans. You should try to save as much as possible for a down payment to reduce your monthly payment. Personal loans are unsecured, which mean you need to be able to qualify with your credit and proof of stable employment and income.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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