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8 Best Semi Truck Financing Options of 2023
Your choice of loans for commercial trucks depends on the vehicle, your credit and your business’s history.
Ryan Lane is an editor on the small-business team and a NerdWallet authority on student loans. He spent more than a decade as a writer and editor for student loan guarantor American Student Assistance and was a managing editor for publisher Cell Press. Ryan’s work has been featured by The Associated Press, USA Today and MarketWatch, and he previously co-authored the U.S. News & World Report Student Loan Ranger blog. Email: <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”">email@example.com</a>.
Sally Lauckner has over a decade of experience in print and online journalism. Before joining NerdWallet, Sally was the editorial director at Fundera, where she built and led a team focused on small-business content. Her prior experience includes two years as a senior editor at SmartAsset, where she edited a wide range of personal finance content, and five years at the AOL Huffington Post Media Group, where she held a variety of editorial roles. She has a master's in journalism from New York University and a bachelor's in English and history from Columbia University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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You can get semi truck financing from many lenders, including some that focus entirely on big rig lending. Like any small-business loan, the best commercial truck loan will be the least expensive one you can qualify for that meets your needs.
If you want the lowest rate possible: Bank loans offer some of the best interest rates out there, but require good credit and can take a long time to fund. Learn more.
If you need funding fast: Alternative commercial truck loans typically offer faster financing than bank loans and may have looser qualification standards. Learn more.
If you want an industry expert: Direct commercial truck loans come from lenders who specialize in semi truck financing. Learn more.
Here are banks and alternative lenders that offer semi truck financing, as well as details on how to qualify and when to consider leasing vehicles instead.
How much do you need?
We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.
Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.
Banks that offer semi truck financing
Bank small-business loans typically have low costs, but approvals can be time-consuming and tough. Consider these banks if your credit is good (a score in at least the high 600s) and your company has been around for multiple years.
Wells Fargo commercial truck loan
Best for: Multiple funding options.
Wells Fargo has a commercial vehicle program that offers multiple types of semi truck financing, including term loans, equipment lines of credit and standard and open-ended leases, allowing you to find the option that best fits your business’s needs.
Wells Fargo business loans are available for trucks, trailers and specialty vehicles, such as tow trucks or cranes. Repayment terms depend on the vehicle. For example, truck loans can last from 12 to 84 months, while terms for a speciality vehicle are 36 to 84 months.
U.S. Bank truck loan
Best for: Faster bank approvals.
U.S. Bank commercial truck loans are part of the bank’s equipment financing program, which is common among lenders. Loans can be up to $1 million. But there’s also a faster process for funding up to $150,000, making U.S. Bank a good choice for companies that want to work with a bank, but avoid the usual paperwork that comes with it.
You can get preapproved for up to $500,000, if you’ve yet to find the specific truck you need to finance and want to shop with financing in place. Terms range from 24 to more than 60 months.
Bank of America commercial truck loans
Best for: Low-cost truck loans.
Bank of America business loans include semi truck financing with its equipment loan program starting at an annual percentage rate of 6.5%, as of this writing. You’ll need at least two years in business and $250,000 in annual revenue to qualify.
Commercial truck loans range from $25,000 to $750,000, with terms lasting up to 60 months. Typically, vehicles must weigh more than 2.5 tons to qualify. Bank of America offers a business auto loan for lighter trucks.
Alternative semi truck financing lenders
Alternative online lenders aren’t banks, but their interest rates may be comparable if your business has strong credit. They can also fund faster than banks. If you need to purchase or fix a semi truck in a hurry, look at these options.
Best for: Same-day funding.
Balboa Capital is an alternative lender that offers same-day funding for semi truck loans up to $500,000. Box trucks, refrigerator trucks and other light- and heavy-duty vehicles are eligible.
You must be in business for at least a year with a minimum annual revenue of $100,000 and FICO score of at least 620 to qualify.
First Capital Business Finance
Best for: Startup trucking companies.
First Capital offers multiple commercial and semi truck financing and leasing programs — many of which have flexible requirements. For example, funding is available if your company is a startup or doesn’t have a commercial driver’s license.
First Capital also offers loans if your credit score is as low as 540, but with more mileage and vehicle restrictions than its other options. If you’re able to make a down payment of at least 10%, you can get financing with no minimum credit score.
If you want to work with a company with deep expertise in the trucking business, these direct lenders offer decades of experience. They may be more flexible compared with other financial institutions because they lend their own money. But compare rates to make sure you're getting the best deal.
CAG Truck Capital
Best for: Borrowers with bad credit.
CAG Truck Capital has offered truck loans for over 40 years, financing all types of commercial trucks, including sleepers and private sales. It also offers engine overhaul financing, if your current big rig is in need of major work.
CAG says it specializes in lending to borrowers with bad credit, including those with previous bankruptcies or current tax liens. Annual percentage rates start at 10%.
Commercial Fleet Financing
Best for: No personal guarantee.
Commercial Fleet Financing has been in business for more than 25 years, offering financing for semi trucks, trailers and other light- and heavy-duty vehicles.
CFF says it can make credit decisions within two hours and fund within 24 hours, offering a quick turnaround if you need funding fast. Depending on your time in business, CFF doesn't require a personal guarantee, protecting your personal assets if your trucking company is unable to repay the debt.
Truck Lenders USA
Best for: Borrowers with fair credit.
Truck Lenders USA has been in business since 1977 and offers financing for all types of trucks that are seven years old or less. Loans start at $15,000.
Truck Lenders USA says it can approve applications within hours, but it has tougher requirements than some other direct lenders. For example, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 675 and at least two years in business to qualify.
Can you finance a semi truck with bad credit?
If you have bad credit, you may still be able to finance a semi truck with an alternative or direct lender. Because the truck itself serves as collateral, these lenders may be more open to approving borrowers with poor credit histories, past delinquencies or bankruptcies.
But keep in mind that the lender will own the title on your truck and could repossess it if you don’t pay. Make sure you’ll be able to afford the payments on your new loan and all the other costs that will come with the truck, like fuel, maintenance, tires and insurance.
You may be able to opt for a longer loan term to help manage costs or seasonal payment plans that can fit into your cash flow.
Should you finance or lease a commercial truck?
If you’re in the market for a semi truck, equipment financing is often a better option than equipment leasing. Big rigs may cover a million miles before they require serious work. That means they’re likely to remain productive long past a five- or seven-year loan repayment term.
Still, commercial truck leasing can make sense in the following instances:
You’re a startup. Qualifying for a commercial truck loan can be difficult if your business lacks a track record. Develop a business plan that shows how your company will succeed and consider leasing a truck while you’re proving your concept before sinking a lot of equity into a truck of your own
You need to free up cash. Leases typically come with lower upfront costs — you may even be able to spread the sales tax over the lease’s term, depending on where you live — and smaller monthly payments. An option like freight factoring, in which you receive upfront cash in exchange for outstanding invoices, can help if you need ongoing capital as well.
You’re worried about longevity. Long-haulers have long shelf lives. But vehicles like delivery vans may face more wear and tear, and specialty trucks with complex parts may need more frequent repairs. If your trucks are consumer-facing, you may want consistently new models to make a good impression. Leasing can help in all these cases.
Determine your down payment. Knowing how much you can afford is a good start when buying any vehicle. It’s especially important for a semi truck that could cost six figures — even if you buy used. For example, if a lender requires a 20% down payment on a $100,000 big rig, you would need $20,000 on hand plus money for taxes, registration and other fees. Some lenders may offer no-money-down options, but you’ll need good credit to be eligible and will pay more overall by financing the entire purchase.
Find the truck you want — and lenders that will fund it. What kind of truck you need will have a direct impact on financing options. For example, some lenders may have vehicle age or mileage requirements. Others may not finance sleeper cab trucks or private party purchases. Do you need multiple trucks? A lender’s maximum funding amount may limit your options.
Compare loans. You can use multiple types of business loans to finance a semi truck, including those not specifically designed for big rigs. For example, a business line of credit could provide you with fast cash to fix up a truck. But opting for a commercial truck loan will keep that working capital available for other business costs, like paying drivers. Plus, the vehicle itself offers built-in collateral for lenders, so it may be easier to qualify for semi truck financing than other options.
Gather paperwork and apply. Commercial truck lenders have different application processes and requirements. Be prepared with details about your company (annual revenue, type of business), the vehicle you want to finance (type of truck, its mileage and age, the seller) and yourself (credit score, whether you have a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, and for how long). Shop around, even if you’re in a rush. Online and direct lenders can offer fast approvals so you have time to compare annual percentage rates.
Typical terms for semi truck financing can range anywhere from 12 to 60 months, or even longer. Ultimately, the repayment terms you receive will vary based on your qualifications, lender and the type of vehicle you’re looking to finance.
Some lenders, like First Capital Business Finance, do not require you to have a commercial drivers license, or CDL, to get semi truck financing. Others, however, may require you to have a certain length of time with a CDL.
Some semi truck lenders will accept scores as low as 540, whereas others will require good credit (a minimum score of 690). Although you can still get semi truck financing with bad credit, interest rates will likely be higher. The better your credit score, the more likely you are to get the most competitive rates and terms on your loan.
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