Get a copy of your credit report and score to find out how bad your credit is. It may not be as bad as you think, or you may be able to pay off some old debts to improve your score. Get a free copy of your credit report from the website Annual Credit Report. The site was established by the nationwide credit bureaus to offer free reports under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. View and print your report from the website or follow instructions on the homepage to order by telephone or mail. Instructions will be included on the report for ordering your credit score separately.
Compare your score with national standards for "good" and "bad" credit. According to Bankrate.com, credit scores range from a low of 300 to a high of 850, with 620 generally recognized as the cutoff for good credit. However, with Harley-Davidson dealers using a variety of lenders, it is possible to be get credit with scores under 620.
Review your credit report for old debts that you can pay off so you can raise your credit score. Even an increase of a few points could mean the difference between receiving financing and being denied. Review your report for collection items, charge-offs and judgments. Contact the creditors or debt collectors to resolve these issues. Also make payments to bring all your current obligations up to date. Allow 60 days for your credit report and score to be updated after the payments. Pull your credit report and score again to confirm the updates. You are eligible for three free reports every 12 months from Annual Credit Report.
Get money for a down payment. Use your savings or other means to accumulate as large a down payment as possible--at least 10 percent but preferably higher. A large down payment could offset your bad credit.
Call Harley-Davidson dealerships in your area. Ask for the credit department. Then ask if the company has experience obtaining financing for bad-credit borrowers. Explain your credit situation, if asked. Make a list of the dealerships willing to help you obtain financing. Visit several as you shop for the best deal--even if that means applying for financing at more than one dealer. The multiple credit inquiries on your report over a short period of time won't hurt your credit score, according to Bankrate.com. Accept one of the loans if you are approved, and drive off with your new Harley-Davidson.