BEST OF

Best Boat Loans in 2022: Finance Your Boat

Boat loans can be unsecured or secured by the boat. Compare financing options from online lenders, banks and credit unions.

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Setting sail on your own boat is a priceless experience. But unless you’ve saved a lot of cash, you’ll need a boat loan to make your dreams a reality.

Here are lenders that offer boat loans, plus information on how to finance a boat with a personal loan — including unsecured and secured loan options. Learn where to find boat loans and factors to consider before applying.

Best Boat Loans in 2022: Finance Your Boat

Our pick for

Unsecured boat loans

SoFi
Get rate

on SoFi's website

SoFi

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi

Est. APR

7.99-22.73%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

680
Get rate

on SoFi's website


Min. credit score

680

Key facts

SoFi offers online personal loans with consumer-friendly features for good- and excellent-credit borrowers.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Offers co-sign loan options.

  • Offers 0.25 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Offers unemployment protection.

  • Provides mobile app to manage your loan.

Cons

  • No secured or joint loan option.

  • High minimum loan amount.

Qualifications

  • Must legally be an adult in your state.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or visa holder.

  • Must be employed, have sufficient income or have an offer of employment to start within the next 90 days.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Fixed rates from 7.99% APR to 22.73% APR APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 8/1/22 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

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Lightstream
Get rate

on LightStream's website

LightStream

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Lightstream

Est. APR

4.99-19.99%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

660
Get rate

on LightStream's website


Min. credit score

660

Key facts

LightStream targets strong-credit borrowers with no fees and low rates that vary based on loan purpose.

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

  • Long repayment terms on home improvement loans.

  • Rate Beat program and Experience Guarantee.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

  • No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Several years of credit history.

  • Multiple account types within your credit history, like credit cards, a car loan or other installment loan and a mortgage.

  • Strong payment history with few or no delinquencies.

  • Investments, retirement savings or other evidence of an ability to save money.

  • Enough income to pay existing debts and a new LightStream loan.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: None.

  • Late fee: None.

Disclaimer

Rates quoted are with AutoPay. Your loan terms are not guaranteed and may vary based on loan purpose, length of loan, loan amount, credit history and payment method (AutoPay or Invoice). AutoPay discount is only available when selected prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. To obtain a loan, you must complete an application on LightStream.com which may affect your credit score. You may be required to verify income, identity and other stated application information. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $25,000 loan at 4.98% APR with a term of 20 years would result in 240 monthly payments of $164.71. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2022 Truist Financial Corporation. Truist, LightStream, and the LightStream logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

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FreedomPlus
Get rate

on FreedomPlus' website

FreedomPlus

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
FreedomPlus

Est. APR

7.99-29.99%

Loan amount

$7,500-$50,000

Min. credit score

600
Get rate

on FreedomPlus' website


Min. credit score

600

Key facts

FreedomPlus is best for debt consolidation, with low starting rates and direct payment to creditors.

Pros

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • Joint loan option.

  • Multiple ways to get a rate discount.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • High minimum loan amount.

  • No secured or co-signed loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 600; borrower average is 700.

  • Minimum debt-to-income ratio: 45%, excluding mortgage; borrower average is 23%.

  • Minimum income: None; borrowers have an average household income of $120,000.

  • Minimum credit history: three years.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: two.

  • No bankruptcy in the last 24 months.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1.99% - 4.99%.

  • Late fee: $15 or 5% of amount due, whichever is greater.

  • Unsuccessful payment fee: $15.

Disclaimer

All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank or MetaBank®, N.A., Members FDIC, Equal Housing Lenders. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Terms and conditions apply. Loans are not available to residents of all states. Minimum loan amounts vary due to state-specific legal restrictions – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. The range of APRs on loans made available through FreedomPlus is 7.99% to a maximum of 29.99%. APR. The APR calculation includes all applicable fees, including the loan origination fee. For Example, a four-year $20,000 loan with an interest rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34% would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost payable of $7,948.13. *To qualify for a 7.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan for an amount less than $12,000.00, and with a term equal to 24 months. Loan origination fees vary from 1.99% to 4.99%, though most loans will have a loan origination fee of 4.99%. **Adding a co-borrower with sufficient income; using at least eighty-five percent (85%) of the loan proceeds to directly pay off qualifying existing debt; or showing proof of sufficient retirement savings, could help you also qualify for the lowest rate available.

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Upgrade
Get rate

on Upgrade's website

Upgrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Upgrade

Est. APR

6.95-35.97%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

560
Get rate

on Upgrade's website


Min. credit score

560

Key facts

Upgrade offers personal loans plus credit-building tools; you'll need strong cash flow to qualify.

Pros

  • Secured and joint loans.

  • Multiple rate discounts.

  • Mobile app to manage loan payments.

  • Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Long repayment terms on home improvement loans.

Cons

  • Origination fee.

  • No option to choose your payment date.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 560.

  • Minimum number of accounts on credit history: 1 account.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 75%, including the loan you're applying for.

  • Minimum length of credit history: 2 years.

  • Minimum income requirement: None. Lender accepts income from alimony, retirement, child support, Social Security and other sources.

Available Term Lengths

2 to 7 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1.85% to 8%.

  • Late Fee: $10.

  • Failed payment fee: $10.

Disclaimer

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 6.95%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 1.85% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 24 to 84 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.59% APR (which includes a 13.94% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $341.48. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,293.46. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early.

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Upstart
Get rate

on Upstart's website

Upstart

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Upstart

Est. APR

5.42-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None
Get rate

on Upstart's website


Min. credit score

None

Key facts

Upstart is a good option for those who have short credit histories and promising financial futures.

Pros

  • Accepts borrowers new to credit.

  • Able to fund loans within one business day.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors with some debt consolidation loans.

  • Allows borrowers to choose and change payment date.

Cons

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No mobile app to manage the loan.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: None.

  • Minimum credit history: None, this lending platform accepts borrowers with credit history too limited to produce a FICO score.

  • Minimum gross income: $12,000.

  • Employment: Full-time job, full-time job offer starting in 6 months, a regular part-time job, or another source of regular income.

  • Must have U.S. residential street address where borrower resides (unless military personnel on active duty).

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Valid email account required.

  • Personal bank account with U.S. routing number required.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 8%.

  • Late fee: 5% of past due amount or $15, whichever is greater.

Disclaimer

Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Minimum loan amounts vary by state: GA ($3,100), HI ($2,100), MA ($7,000), NM ($5,100), OH ($6,000).This offer is conditioned on final approval based on our consideration and verification of financial and non-financial information. Rate and loan amount are subject to change based upon information received in your full application. This offer may be accepted only by the person identified in this offer, who is old enough to legally enter into contract for the extension of credit, a US citizen or permanent resident, and a current resident of the US. Duplicate offers are void. Closing your loan is contingent on your meeting our eligibility requirements, our verification of your information, and your agreement to the terms and conditions on the www.upstart.com website.The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 5-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 21.4% and 60 monthly payments of $24.62 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $14,775 including a $582 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 5-year rates offered in the last 1 month. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved. If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.

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Figure Personal Loan
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on NerdWallet's secure website

Figure Personal Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Figure Personal Loan

Est. APR

5.75-31.44%

Loan amount

$5,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

680
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. credit score

680

Key facts

Figure loans are an option for good-credit borrowers seeking a fast and fully online loan experience.

Pros

  • Soft credit-check with pre-qualification.

  • Offers 0.25 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Reports payments to all three credit bureaus.

  • Offers mobile app to manage loan.

Cons

  • May charge origination fee.

  • No option to choose or change your payment date.

  • No co-sign, joint or secured loan options.

  • Borrowers can only choose from two repayment terms.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 680; borrower average is 710.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 60% excluding housing expenses; borrower average is 39% including a Figure loan.

  • Minimum monthly cash flow (income minus expenses) of $1,000 after signing the loan agreement.

  • Must have a valid government-issued U.S. ID.

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Must be employed.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 0% - 3%.

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Laurel Road Personal Loan
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on NerdWallet's secure website

Laurel Road Personal Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Laurel Road Personal Loan

Est. APR

7.00-24.75%

Loan amount

$5,000-$45,000

Min. credit score

700
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. credit score

700

Key facts

Laurel Road offers medium to large online loans with an autopay discount, minimal fees and special terms for healthcare professionals.

Pros

  • Option to include a co-signer.

  • No origination fee.

  • Offers a .25 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Offers direct payment to creditors.

  • Able to fund loans within 24 hours.

Cons

  • High minimum loan amount.

  • Charges late fee.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 700 or 660 with a qualified co-signer.

  • Minimum credit history: Four years and two open accounts.

  • No more than three credit inquiries in the past six months.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 43% (including mortgage).

  • No delinquencies.

  • Have not filed for bankruptcy.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Employed for more than two years.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • No origination.

  • No prepayment.

  • Late fee: $28 after 15 days.

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RocketLoans
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on NerdWallet's secure website

Rocket Loans

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
RocketLoans

Est. APR

5.97-29.69%

Loan amount

$2,000-$45,000

Min. credit score

640
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Min. credit score

640

Key facts

Rocket Loans offers online personal loans to borrowers with fair credit and over two years of credit history.

Pros

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • Competitive rates among fair-credit lenders.

  • Offers a 0.3 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Able to fund loans the same day.

  • Offers small loans of $2,000.

Cons

  • Charges origination fee.

  • Does not offer direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • No option to choose or change your payment date.

  • Borrowers can choose from only two repayment term options.

  • No co-sign, joint or secured loan option.

Qualifications

  • Minimum credit score: 640; borrower average is 710.

  • Minimum credit history: Over two years.

  • Minimum annual income: $24,000; borrower average is $85,000.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 40% or 70% including mortgage; borrower average is 14%.

  • Must be at least 18 years old (19 in Alabama and Nebraska).

  • Must provide Social Security number.

Available Term Lengths

3 to 5 years

Fees

  • Origination fee: 1% to 6%.

  • Late fee: $15 after 10-day grace period.

  • Unsuccessful payment fee: $15.

Disclaimer

All personal loans are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey state chartered commercial bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loans are unsecured, fully amortizing personal loans. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Please refer to our Disclosures and Licenses page for state required disclosures, licenses, and lending restrictions. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident alien at least 18 years of age (in Nebraska and Alabama a borrower must be at least 19 years of age). All loan applications are subject to credit review and approval. Offered loan terms depend upon your credit profile, requested amount, requested loan term, credit usage, credit history and other factors. Not all borrowers receive the lowest interest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have excellent credit, meet certain conditions, and select autopay. Rates and Terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Please refer to RocketLoans.com and our Terms of Use for additional terms and conditions.

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How do boat loans work?

A boat loan is an installment loan with fixed monthly payments typically over two to 20 years. You can get a boat loan from a bank, credit union or online lender.

Interest rates and loan terms vary based on the lender, the size of the loan, your credit score and income, and whether the loan is secured by the boat or unsecured.

Applying for an unsecured boat loan is typically fast, and some loans can be funded the same or next day after you’re approved. Lenders usually deposit the funds into your bank account, from which you can withdraw the money to purchase a boat.

Secured boat loans vs. unsecured boat loans

Boat loans can be secured by the boat or unsecured and backed by your signature. Here are basic differences.

Secured boat loans

Secured boat loans use the purchased boat as collateral. They may have higher loan amounts, longer repayment terms and lower rates than unsecured loans. The risk is that you can lose your boat if you default.

With a secured boat loan, you may also need to make a down payment, which means you’ll need cash upfront.

Secured loans work best for borrowers who don’t qualify for an unsecured loan, want a higher loan amount and are comfortable with the risk associated with secured loans.

Unsecured boat loans

An unsecured boat loan doesn’t use the boat or anything tangible as collateral. Without that backing, rates on unsecured loans may be higher and terms shorter.

Approval for an unsecured boat loan is based on factors like your credit score, income and existing debt.

If you default on an unsecured loan, you may not lose the boat, but you’ll still face consequences, including a damaged credit score and wage garnishment if the lender takes you to court.

Pros and cons of secured and unsecured boat loans

Pros

Cons

Secured boat loans

  • May carry lower interest rates and longer terms.

  • If you have a low credit score, you may have an easier time qualifying.

  • You may need to have cash on hand for a down payment.

  • If you fail to repay the loan, the lender can seize your boat.

Unsecured boat loans

  • No collateral is required, so you won’t risk losing your boat.

  • Interest rates may be higher and terms shorter.

  • You’ll need a strong credit score and solid finances to get the best offer.

  • If you fail to repay the loan, the lender can take you to court.

How long are boat loans?

Repayment periods for boat loans vary depending on the type of loan you choose.

Unsecured personal loans typically have shorter repayment periods — two to seven years. If you choose a secured boat loan, your term can be as long as 20 years.

Keep in mind the term you choose affects the interest you pay. Shorter terms have higher monthly payments but carry less interest.

For example, a four-year, $30,000 boat loan with an annual percentage rate of 15% will have monthly payments of $835 and cost $10,076 in interest. The same loan with an eight-year repayment term will have monthly payments of $538 and cost $21,683 in interest.

Use NerdWallet’s boat loan calculator to calculate your boat payments.

What is the average interest rate on a boat loan?

Boat loan interest rates vary by lender. An unsecured boat loan will have an annual percentage rate ranging from 6% to 36%. See the table below for average unsecured interest rates based on your credit bracket.

How's your credit?

Score range

Estimated APR

Excellent

720-850.

10.6%.

Good

690-719.

15.5%.

Fair

630-689.

19.6%.

Bad

300-629.

25.6%.

Source: Average rates are based on aggregate, anonymized offer data from users who pre-qualified in NerdWallet’s lender marketplace from Jan. 1, 2022, to July 31, 2022. Rates are estimates only and not specific to any lender. The lowest credit scores — usually below 500 FICO — are unlikely to qualify. Information in this table applies only to lenders with APRs below 36%.

Secured loans may have lower APRs, with many lenders offering single-digit rates. If you're not sure what credit bracket you fall into, check your credit score for free on NerdWallet.

Where to get a boat loan

In addition to getting a boat loan from an online lender, you can also get a secured boat loan from a bank, credit union or marine lending specialist. Here are some examples.

Secured boat loans from banks

You’re more likely to find secured loans from banks. Banks may offer perks to existing customers, like discounts and favorable loan terms. If your bank offers boat loans, it’s a good place to start.

Bank of the West

Bank of the West offers boat loans in all 50 states, but not in Washington, D.C. You can submit your application online. You'll then be assigned a sales representative who will work with you to close the loan.

Loan amount: $10,000 to $5 million.

Rates: 4.24% to 10.49%.

Terms: 4 to 20 years.

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank’s boat loans are available in the 25 states where the bank has branches. You may have to visit a branch to close a boat loan, but the bank says it can make same-day preapproval decisions.

Loan amounts: $25,000 to $150,000.

Rates: Starting at 5.24%.

Terms: 1 to 20 years.

USAA

USAA works primarily with military members and their families. Though you can apply online, you must call USAA to complete your application.

Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.

Rates: Starting at 6.20%.

Terms: 1 to 15 years.

Truist

Truist Bank has locations primarily along the East Coast, and existing account holders can apply by phone. Those without accounts will need to apply in person.

Loan amounts: Starting at $3,500.

Rates: 6.30% to 8.52%.

Terms: Up to 20-years.

Secured boat loans from credit unions

Credit unions can offer low-rate secured boat loans to their members. These not-for-profit lenders may look past a low credit score or rocky credit history on a loan application and consider a borrower’s whole financial picture, including the relationship with the credit union.

Your local credit union is a good first stop, though national credit unions also offer boat loans. Navy Federal and First Tech, for example, both offer boat loans with 15-year repayment terms with rates starting below 10%.

Loans from marine lending specialists

Marine lending specialists are financial service companies that act as brokers to find you a boat loan. They secure funding through outside sources such as banks.

Boat loans from marine lenders may have similar rates and repayment terms to personal loans. One advantage might be the ability to work with a specialist who understands the boating business, according to the National Marine Lenders Association.

These loans must be secured by the boat and require down payments from 10% to 20% of the purchase price.

How to get a boat loan

To get boat financing directly from a lender, you’ll need to apply for a loan. Most loan applications are online and require you to submit personal information like your name, address, contact information and Social Security number. You may also need to submit proof of identity, employment and income.

If you’re applying for a secured loan, you’ll want to have information about the boat on hand, including the builder or manufacturer, model, model year and purchase price.

Once you submit your application, you’ll wait for an approval decision. If you’re approved, you may need to visit the bank or credit union to close the loan and receive funds. Unsecured personal loans, especially from an online lender, can typically be closed online and funded the same or next business day.

Can I get a boat loan with bad credit?

Borrowers with bad credit may still qualify for a boat loan. Some online lenders offer unsecured personal loans specifically to borrowers with bad credit.

Secured loans from a bank or credit union may also be a smart option for borrowers with bad credit since approval decisions rely less on their credit.

Alternatives to boat loans

Financial experts don't recommend personal loans for discretionary purposes, particularly if you already carry credit card or other debt. If you can’t afford to buy a boat today, or you’re not quite ready to make the commitment, here are some alternatives.

Save up for the purchase. Consider holding off and starting a savings plan toward buying a boat. You may be able to negotiate a cheaper price by paying with cash, and you’ll avoid paying interest on a loan.

Join a boat club. For a one-time fee and ongoing monthly or annual dues, boat clubs provide access to a fleet of boats for their members and guests.

Consider peer-to-peer rentals. Similar to renting a house on Airbnb, you can temporarily rent a boat through a peer-to-peer rental marketplace, such as Boatsetter or GetMyBoat.

Last updated on April 19, 2022

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.

Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.

This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Boat Loans in 2022: Finance Your Boat

Frequently asked questions