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What are boat loans?

Getting out on the water is a favourite pastime for many Australians, but those who have their own boat are in the minority. Boat loans can help finance the purchase of a new or used boat through a private or commercial sale. And if you need a boat for business rather than just leisure, you can also find boat loans available for that purpose.

Are boat loans a type of car loan or personal loan?

Boat loans are a specific type of personal loan. They work in much the same way as personal loans for other purposes, such as buying a car

When it comes to both boat loans and car loans, they follow a similar financing structure in that a lender will provide the borrower with a specific amount of money relative to the cost of the vehicle, which will be paid back by the borrower over a predetermined period of time.

Why do people use boat finance in Australia?

People use boat loans when they want to make a marine purchase but don't have all the capital finance available. Boats can be expensive so it's no surprise that you may need some additional funds to acquire what you want. 

Because of the high value you may find that this type of personal loan will offer a larger amount for you to borrow and you could also benefit from longer repayment terms. Depending on what sort of loan you get, you may also be required to make a balloon payment when the loan term finishes.

What types of marine vehicles can I finance?

There's a wide variety of marine recreational vehicles that may be considered for boat finance. Some of these include:

  • Boats
  • Yachts
  • Dinghies
  • Jet boats
  • Sailboats
  • Powerboats
  • Jet skis
  • Motor cruisers
  • Other marine leisure craft

What are the main features of boat loans?

Secured vs unsecured

When you take out a personal loan for your boat, you will need to choose between a secured or unsecured personal loan. If you choose a secured loan, one that has either the boat or another asset you own as collateral, you are more likely to be offered a lower interest rate. This is because the lender will have the guarantee that, should there be a problem with repayments, the boat or other asset could be sold to pay off the outstanding amount. If you opt for an unsecured loan, interest rates will generally be higher as the lender will have no absolute guarantee of being paid back. It's also possible that you may be approved to borrow more with a secured loan.

Fixed rate vs variable rate

Your interest rate will either be fixed or variable. Loans with fixed interest rates will have regular repayment amounts. On a variable interest rate, however, your repayment amount may go up or down depending on movements in the financial markets.

Extra features

There may be some loan features that are important to you, such as the option to make unlimited extra repayments or access to a redraw facility. Keep in mind that some credit providers may charge for use of these features.

Fees and charges

Be sure to factor in fees and charges to get a better idea of the overall cost of the loan. You'll find that the comparison rate includes most the main fees charged, but might not include them all. Common fees include:

  • Establishment fees
  • Ongoing monthly fees
  • Late payment fees
  • Redraw fees
  • Early repayment fees

Do I need a good credit score to get a boat loan?

The amount you need to borrow on a boat loan will likely be substantial - generally as much as, or often more than, what you would borrow to buy a car. For this reason, your credit history will impact a number of factors when it comes to getting approved for a boat loan, including:

  • The loan amount - Borrowers with excellent credit scores are more likely to be considered for a higher loan amount than those with lower credit scores.
  • The interest rate - Excellent credit score borrowers will also be likely to access a more competitive interest rate than those with a substandard credit history.
  • The lender - Some lenders may not be willing to provide such a loan to borrowers with a history of irresponsible credit behaviour.

If you have a bad credit score, consider taking some time to build it back up before applying for another financial product.

How much can I borrow with a boat loan?

With so many different kinds of marine vehicles eligible for a boat loan, the size of the loan one might want to take out will vary widely from one borrower to the next. For example, a borrower who's looking to buy a jet ski won't need to apply for a loan nearly as big as a borrower who's in the market for a luxury yacht.

You'll find that most personal loans have a minimum loan amount of around $1,000, while upper limits can often be more flexible. It's important to do your research to find out which lenders may offer your required loan size.

Lenders will factor in your income, credit score, and whether you're interested in a secured or unsecured loan when deciding how much they are willing to lend you.

How long does it take to pay off a boat loan?

Depending on the amount borrowed, and whether it's a secured or unsecured loan, the typical loan term for a boat loan ranges from one to seven years.

A longer loan term will generally mean cheaper regular repayments, but more money spent on interest charges over the life of the loan. A shorter loan term, on the other hand, will likely mean your repayments are more expensive, but you'll pay the loan off earlier and in turn save money on interest charges.

Ultimately, the length of time it will take you to pay off your boat loan should be determined by what repayment amount will fit comfortably into your budget.

If you choose a longer loan term, but feel you may want to make additional repayments down the line in order to pay it off sooner, ensure the loan product you choose allows for extra repayments.

How can I compare boat loans?

Once you have a good idea of how much you will need to borrow to buy your new boat, you can start comparing your personal boat loan options to find the best boat loan for you.

You might like to start by using RateCity's boat loans comparison table on this page. It will allow you to filter down your search results by lenders, security type, extra features, loan amount and credit score.

Next, you can use RateCity's personal loan calculator to get a repayment estimate. Simply enter your preferred borrow amount, loan term, interest rate and credit rating to see how much your weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayments might be. You might like to enter different interest rates or loan terms to see how it might affect the overall interest payable and the total cost of the loan.

Once you've shortlisted your preferred credit products, consider reading the product disclosure statements (PDS) for specific information on loan costs, any significant benefits and risks, and any fees and charges that may apply, before submitting your loan application.

How do I apply for a boat loan?

To apply for any kind of personal loan, most lenders will require that you:

  • are at least 18 years old;
  • are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or have a valid visa;
  • are employed or receiving regular income;
  • earn a minimum income (dependent on lender), and;
  • have a good credit rating.

When you make a personal loan application, you’ll typically need to provide:

  • Proof of identity (driver’s licence, passport etc.)
  • Proof of income and employment (payslips, tax information)
  • Details of any other financial commitments
  • Details of additional assets (particularly for secured loans)

To get started on your boat loan application, consider the following steps:

  1. Search and compare competitive rate boat loans using RateCity's comparison table on this page. Use the search filters to find products that best suit your needs.
  2. Use RateCity's personal loan calculator to get a repayment estimate to ensure your repayments will fit within your budget.
  3. Read the product disclosure statement (PDS) of your preferred loan product and check that you meet the eligibility requirements.
  4. Apply online.

Frequently asked questions

Is a personal loan a variable or fixed-rate loan?

Depending on the personal loan lender, you may be able to choose between a fixed and a variable interest rate. But, there are a few distinct differences between the two, so it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before deciding on what’s right for you.

A fixed interest rate loan gets you the convenience of knowing exactly how much you need to repay each fortnight or month. On the other hand, you generally won’t be able to make lump sum or advanced payments to close your personal loan early - or at least not without a penalty.

With a variable interest rate personal loan, you may be able to get a longer loan repayment term, with the option of paying off the loan early. You typically won’t need to pay any additional charges for an early full repayment either. The potential disadvantage with an interest rate that can change is that your repayment is not entirely predictable, as it can fluctuate with the market. However, you’ll likely have more options as more lenders offer a variable interest rate personal loan.

What is a personal loan?

A personal loan sits somewhere between a home loan and a credit card loan. Unlike with a credit card, you need to sign a formal contract to access a personal loan. However, the process is easier and faster than taking out a mortgage.

Loan sizes typically range from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, while loan terms usually run from one to five years. Personal loans are generally used to consolidate debts, pay emergency bills or fund one-off expenses like holidays.

Can I merge my personal loan with my home loan?

Yes, you can refinance your home loan and, in the process, merge or consolidate your personal loan and home loan. By doing so, you can lower the number of debts you have, and you may also reduce the total interest you have to pay.

However, you should consult a financial advisor or a mortgage broker to confirm that you are decreasing your total outstanding debt, including interest payments. The repayment term for a home loan can be much longer than that for a personal loan, and by merging the two, you could be repaying a higher amount over the full term.

Should I get a fixed or variable personal loan?

Fixed personal loans keep your interest rate the same for the full loan term, while interest rates on variable personal loans may be raised or lowered during your loan term.

A fixed rate personal loan keeps your repayments consistent, which can help keep your budgeting consistent. You won't have to worry about higher repayments if your rates were to rise. However, on a fixed loan you’ll also potentially miss out on more affordable repayments if variable rates were to fall.

Does refinancing a personal loan hurt your credit score?

Personal loan refinancing means taking out a new loan with more desirable terms in order to access a more competitive interest rate, longer loan term, better features, or even to consolidate debts.

In some situations, refinancing a personal loan can improve your credit score, while in others, it may have a negative impact. If you refinance multiple loans by consolidating these into one loan, it could improve your credit score as you’ll have only one outstanding debt liability. Your credit may also improve if you consistently pay the instalments on time.

However, applying to refinance with multiple lenders could negatively affect your credit if your applications are rejected. Also, if you delay or default the repayment, your credit score reduces.

Can you refinance a $5000 personal loan?

Much like home loans, many personal loans can be refinanced. This is where you replace your current personal loan with another personal loan, often from another lender and at a lower interest rate. Switching personal loans may let you enjoy more affordable repayments, or useful features and benefits.

If you have a $5000 personal loan as well as other debts, you may be able to use a debt consolidations personal loan to combine these debts into one, potentially saving you money and simplifying your repayments.

What is a bad credit personal loan?

A bad credit personal loan is a personal loan designed for somebody with a bad credit history. This type of personal loan has higher interest rates than regular personal loans as well as higher fees.

What is the average interest rate on personal loans for single parents?

Like other types of personal loans, the average interest rate for personal loans for single parents changes regularly, as lenders add, remove, and vary their loan offers. The interest rate you’ll receive may depend on a range of different factors, including your loan amount, loan term, security, income, and credit score.

Can I repay a $3000 personal loan early?

If you receive a financial windfall (e.g. tax refund, inheritance, bonus), using some of this money to make extra repayments onto your personal loan or medium amount loan could help reduce the total interest you’re charged on your loan, or help clear your debt ahead of schedule.

Check your loan’s terms and conditions before paying extra onto your loan, as some lenders charge fees for making extra repayments, or early exit fees for clearing your debt ahead of the agreed term.

How can I get a $3000 loan approved?

Responsible lenders don’t have guaranteed approval for personal loans and medium amount loans, as the lender will want to check that you can afford the loan repayments on your current income without ending up in financial hardship.

Having a good credit score can increase the likelihood of your personal loan application being approved. Bad credit borrowers who opt for a medium amount loan with no credit checks may need to prove they can afford the repayments on their current income. Centrelink payments may not count, so you should check with the lender prior to making an application.

How much can you borrow with a bad credit personal loan?

Borrowers who take out bad credit personal loans don’t just pay higher interest rates than on regular personal loans, they also get loaned less money. Each lender has its own policies and loan limits, but you’ll find it hard to get approved for a bad credit personal loan above $50,000.

Can I get a bad credit personal loan with a guarantor?

Some lenders will consider personal loan applications from a borrower with bad credit if the borrower has a family member with good credit willing to guarantee the loan (a guarantor).

If the borrower fails to pay back their personal loan, it will be their guarantor’s responsibility to cover the repayments.

What do I need to get a fast loan?

Most lenders will need to you provide the following information in your application for a fast loan:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of residence
  • Proof of income
  • Details of any assets you own (e.g. car, home etc.)
  • Details of any liabilities you owe (other personal loans, credit cards, mortgages etc.)
  • How much you want to borrow
  • Over how long you want to pay it back
  • Purpose of your loan

Are there alternatives to $2000 loans?

If you need to borrow $2000 or less, alternatives to getting a personal loan or payday loan include using a credit card or the redraw facility of your home, car or personal loan.

Before you borrow $2000 on a credit card, remember that interest will continue being charged on what you owe until you clear your credit card balance. To minimise your interest, consider prioritising paying off your credit card.

Before you draw down $2000 in extra repayments from your home, car or personal loan using a redraw facility, note that fees and charges may apply, and drawing money from your loan may mean your loan will take longer to repay, costing you more in total interest.

Can you get an emergency loan on Centrelink?

When many lenders assess a borrower’s income to determine whether they can afford a loan’s repayments without ending up in financial stress, they may not count Centrelink payments as income for this purpose.

Before applying for an emergency loan, it may be worth contacting a potential lender to find out if they accept applications from borrowers on Centrelink.

Is it hard to improve your credit score?

It can be hard to improve your credit score, as it usually requires sacrifice and discipline, but hard doesn’t necessarily mean complicated. Some simple ways you can give your credit score a boost include closing extra credit cards, reducing your credit card limit, pay off any loans and make loan repayments on time.

As a general rule, the lower your credit score, the more remedies you can apply and the greater the scope for improvement.

Can I get a $2000 loan on Centrelink?

If more than half of your income comes from Centrelink benefits, it may be more difficult to have a $2000 loan application approved. Many lenders will check if you can afford a loan’s repayments on the income from your job before they’ll approve an application, and many won’t count Centrelink payments when assessing your income for this purpose.

Some lenders may offer $2000 loans to borrowers on Centrelink – consider contacting potential lenders to check before applying.

How long are $3000 loans?

Medium amount loans can be repaid between 16 days and 2 years. Many personal loans have terms between 1 year and 5 years, though some are as short as 6 months while others last for 10 years.

Generally, the shorter a loan’s term, the more expensive your regular repayments may be, but the less total interest you’ll pay. Loans with longer terms mean more affordable repayments, but more interest charges over the full term.

Do $4000 loans have no credit checks?

Many medium amount loans for $4000 have no credit checks and are instead assessed based on your current ability to repay the loan, rather than by looking at your credit history. While these loans can appear attractive to bad credit borrowers, it’s important to remember that they often have high fees and can be costlier than other options.

Personal loans for $4000 are more likely to have longer loan terms and will require a credit check as part of the application process. Bad credit borrowers may see their $4000 loan applications declined or have to pay higher interest rates than good credit borrowers.

What can I use a bad credit personal loan for?

Generally, bad credit personal loans can be used for the following purposes:

  • Debt consolidation
  • Paying bills
  • Buying vehicles
  • Moving expenses
  • Holidays
  • Weddings
  • Education

Some lenders restrict how their bad credit personal loans can be used as part of their commitment to responsible lending – be sure to check before applying.