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Best semi-truck financing in February 2024

Dec 22, 2023
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Financing is the next best option for small business owners who can't afford to purchase a semi truck with their own funds. Even if you buy one used, you'll likely spend a minimum of $50,000, which is still quite a bit for a new business to pay out of pocket. 

Between a down payment, interest and fees, semi-truck financing can be expensive. But it allows you to pay for the truck in installments, making it a quick way to grow and expand your business. 

Check out our top picks below for semi-truck financing and some tips to help choose the best lender for you.

Compare the best semi-truck financing in February 2024

LENDER BEST FOR MIN. CREDIT SCORE LOAN AMOUNT MIN. TIME IN BUSINESS
Credibly Bad credit 550 $10,000 to $10 million 6 months
National Funding Loan and lease options 600 Up to $150,000 6 months
Triton Capital Low rates 600 Up to $250,000 N/A
Bank of America Traditional bank Not stated $25,000 and up 24 months
CAG Truck Capital Industry expertise 600 Not stated N/A
Balboa Capital Fair credit 620 Up to $500,000 12 months
Truck Lenders USA Truck financing options 675 $15,000 to $250,000 24 months
Commercial Fleet Financing Quick application 640 $10,000 to $1,000,000 Not stated
TAB Bank Semi-truck banking and loans Not stated Not stated Not stated

A closer look at our top semi-truck financing options

Credibly: Best for bad credit

Overview: Credibly is an online lender that has helped over 30,000 U.S. small businesses with funding. Unlike traditional lenders like banks and credit unions, Credibly's loans are available to business owners with bad credit. The online application expedites the financing process. You can prequalify in 10 minutes, loans can be approved in as little as four hours and funded the same day. 

Why Credibly is the best for bad credit: Through its partners, Credibly offers unsecured and secured equipment loans from $10,000 to $10 million to small business owners who may not qualify for traditional business financing. This makes Credibly far more accessible than many other best bad credit business lenders

Who Credibly is good for: The minimum required credit score and lighter business requirements for a loan make Credibly a good option for business owners who struggle to secure low-interest financing elsewhere and are open to potentially short repayment periods. 

National Funding: Best for loan and lease options

Overview: Since 1999, online lender National Funding has funded over $4.5 billion in loans for more than 75,000 businesses. Its equipment financing loan is an unsecured loan designed to help business owners with the purchase of equipment. 

Why National Funding is the best for loan and lease options: It provides fast funding with no down payment requirements for loans and leases, including new or used semi trucks. National Funding also states it provides the lowest lease payments guaranteed or will pay $1,000 toward a qualifying lease.

Who National Funding is good for: Small business owners with fair credit will appreciate National Funding’s flexible options. Its loans also work best if you need to quickly purchase or rent a semi truck that costs less than $150,000.

Triton Capital: Best for low rates

Overview: Founded in 2008, Triton Capital is an online lender that offers business equipment loans. Qualified business owners could get fast funding one to two days after the loan has been approved, which can take between two and four hours. Unlike other lenders, Triton Capital allows borrowers to make payments monthly, quarterly, seasonally, annually and semi-annually. You can prequalify and apply for a loan without your credit being affected, as Triton Capital only does a soft pull. 

Why Triton Capital is the best for low rates: Triton Capital's interest rates start as low as 5.99 percent. The lowest rates are only available to borrowers with higher credit scores, but even their high end could be a good deal compared to other lenders. This is one of the few semi-truck lenders that gives you rates as a total interest percentage (TIP) instead of simple interest or annual percentage rate (APR). TIP tells you how much interest you’ll pay over the life of your semi-truck loan but doesn’t show the fees.

Who Triton Capital is good for: Triton Capital is good for established business owners with good or excellent credit who are able to meet the minimum annual revenue requirement of $350,000, which is higher than many other semi-truck lenders. 

Bank of America: Best for traditional bank

Overview: Bank of America’s products and services support nearly three million small businesses, and the lender states it’s the largest equipment financing company in the country. While applications can only be completed in person or over the phone, that inconvenience may be worth it if you get an offer with a low annual percentage rate (APR). 

Why Bank of America is the best for traditional bank:  Bank of America offers affordable financing to creditworthy borrowers and provides more loan details on its website than many other traditional banks. Equipment financing is available to business owners who have been operating for at least two years and earn a minimum annual revenue of $250,000. Funds are available within 10 business days of the application being approved. It doesn’t offer the fastest funding, but starting rates are relatively low for those who qualify. 

Who Bank of America is good for: Established business owners with good or excellent credit will get the most value out of financing their semi truck with Bank of America. 

CAG Truck Capital: Best for semi-truck industry expertise

Overview: Pennsylvania-based lender CAG Truck Capital has been in business for over 40 years. The company specializes in truck financing for both established businesses and new owner-operators in the trucking business. Its commercial truck financing is available to business owners with good, bad or no credit, and business owners can prequalify. If your business doesn't meet the requirements, you can find out without having your credit score impacted. 

Why CAG Truck Capital is the best for truck expertise: CAG Truck Capital specializes in providing semi-truck financing, including high-mileage truck loans with engine overhaul options. CAG also states it has on-staff certified diesel truck technicians who can help with financing and purchasing a semi truck. 

Who CAG Truck Capital is good for: CAG Truck Capital is willing to work with all types of business owners, including semi-truck drivers with no credit and limited time in business. If you can’t qualify for a low-interest loan from a traditional bank, need expert advice when buying a semi truck or are looking to purchase a used semi, CAG is worth a look.

Balboa Capital: Best for fair credit

Overview: Balboa Capital, a division of Ameris Bank, has funded over $7 billion in business loans nationwide. The lender has a variety of business loans available, including secured equipment financing for up to $300,000 or $500,000, depending on the collateral. 

As a top-rated business lender, Balboa Capital offers a quick online application. The company does not disclose how fast funding happens, but loan approval can take as little as one hour. 

Why Balboa Capital is the best for fair credit: The minimum credit score, time in business and annual revenue needed for Balboa Capital are fairly accessible compared to other lenders.

Who Balboa Capital is good for: Depending on the rates you’re offered, Balboa Capital could be good for business owners who have fair credit. It also accepts businesses that have been operating for at least one year.

Truck Lenders USA: Best for truck financing options

Overview: Truck Lenders USA, a direct lender, has been around since 1977. Business owners looking for semi-truck financing have their choice between two financing options: application only and commercial. 

Why Truck Lenders USA is the best for truck financing options: While some lenders offer one semi-truck financing option, Truck Lenders USA offers business owners the flexibility to choose between different types of loans for truck financing and leasing. When opting for its application-only process, which is an easier process, business owners can receive a loan between $15,000 and $75,000 with a term of 24 to 60 months for a commercial truck no more than seven years old. Opting for its commercial financing means you'll work closely with a representative to get the financing you need. Business owners can receive a loan between $75,000 and $250,000 with a term of 24 to 60 months for a commercial truck no more than seven years old. Jumbo leases of up to $1,000,000 are also available. Terms are 24 to 60 months, and a down payment and residuals of 10 percent to 15 percent are required. 

Who Truck Lenders USA is good for: Truck Lenders USA is good for semi-truck drivers with established businesses and strong credit who may want to explore several loan and lease options with one lender. 

Commercial Fleet Financing: Best for quick application

Overview: Commercial Fleet Financing has funded over $1.5 billion in transportation equipment loans. Loan amounts and rates are not disclosed, but terms range from three to nine years. Commercial Fleet Financing also has a sister company called Fresh Start Equipment Finance, which works with business owners who struggle to get approved based on credit requirements. 

Commercial Fleet Financing is the best for quick application: It offers a quick online application that can be approved in as little as two hours and funds received within 24 hours. This is faster than a lot of other lenders, including banks and credit unions. For loans below $150,000, you don’t need to provide tax returns, and some semi-truck business owners won’t have to provide a personal guarantee.

Who Commercial Fleet Financing is good for: Commercial Fleet Financing is good for business owners with good credit who want access to low financing rates, a fast application process and quick funding. 

TAB Bank: Best for semi-truck banking and loan

Overview: TAB Bank, an online bank, was founded in 1998. Business owners seeking funding can choose between various business loans, including business term loans, commercial real estate and equipment financing. The online application makes it easy and convenient to apply for a loan. 

Why TAB Bank is the best for semi-truck banking and loans: TAB Bank offers both business banking and lending products. They have over 20 years of experience working with the trucking industry and offer a checking account and invoice factoring services tailored for truckers. 

Who TAB Bank is good for: TAB Bank is good for semi-truck drivers who want business banking and lending to be done with the same financial institution. 

What is semi-truck financing?

Semi-truck financing is when you take out a loan or lease to help cover the costs of a commercial vehicle. Similar to other types of business loans, it involves taking out a lump sum of cash for a fee and then repaying it over time with interest.

Average semi-truck interest rates can range from 6 percent to 35 percent or higher. The lowest interest rates are reserved for business owners with the best credit who have been operating their business for more than two years and can show good and consistent annual revenue.

Depending on the lender, you may be able to apply for a term loan, which can usually cover any type of business expense. Or you may need to apply for equipment or commercial vehicle financing. 

How does semi-truck financing work?

When it comes to semi-truck financing, the borrower applies for a loan or lease through a bank, credit union or online lender. Depending on the lender, you may need to provide a down payment. Usually, the semi-truck acts as collateral, so you won’t have to provide an additional asset to secure the loan. 

You may have to provide a personal guarantee, which is a promise to repay the loan even if your business defaults on the loan. So even if you are registered as a limited liability company (LLC), a personal guarantee will still make you liable for repaying your business debts.

The application process and approval times can vary, with online lenders usually providing faster approval and funding times. You’ll need to provide specific information like semi-truck age and mileage. 

If you meet the lenders loan eligibility requirements and are approved, you’ll receive financing to purchase your semi truck and will begin repaying the loan based on the terms laid out in your loan agreement.

Types of semi-truck financing 

Business owners have different types of semi-truck loans available to them when purchasing a semi truck, including commercial truck loans, equipment financing, equipment lines of credit and SBA loans.

Commercial truck loans

This is a term loan that can only be used to purchase a commercial vehicle, including a semi truck. Borrowers make payments for the term of the loan, and once all payments have been made, they own the commercial vehicle.

Equipment line of credit

A business loan for purchasing or repairing equipment you can reuse once you repay any borrowed amounts.

Equipment financing

This is a term loan that can be used to purchase equipment for your business, such as machinery and vehicles. Borrowers repay the loan within a certain period by making fixed payments. Similar to a commercial truck loan, at the end of the loan term, the borrower owns the equipment.  

SBA loans

SBA loans are backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration and offer borrowers caps on interest rates. A few different types of SBA loans can be used for semi-truck financing, including:

Pros and cons of semi-truck financing

 
 

Pros:

  • Fixed, monthly payments make the purchase of a semi truck more affordable.
  • Spreads out the cost of a large purchase
  • Accessible to startups and bad-credit borrowers
  • Fast funding, depending on lender
  • Tax deductions on loan interest may be available

Cons:

  • High purchase cost
  • High interest and loan fees
  • Personal guarantee makes you liable if your business defaults
  • Down payment may be required
  • Requires time in business 

Who should get semi-truck financing? 

Many business owners turn to semi-truck financing when they don't have the funds available to make such a large, expensive purchase. If you're looking to start or grow your business, semi-truck financing could be the most viable option. Not only does it allow you to pay off the semi truck over time, but it also has the potential to build your business credit score, reduce out-of-pocket startup costs and free up your business's cash flow.

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Bankrate Insight

As you search for a lender, be on the lookout for red flags and other indicators of predatory lending, such as: 

  • Unclear terms. Make sure your total loan, repayment schedule, interest rates and other costs line up with what you were expecting.
  • High-pressure tactics. Don’t rush into a loan just because an aggressive lender is eager for you to sign a loan agreement. Try to work with lenders who give you time to look over a loan agreement and compare with other lenders.
  • Double sales tax: Make sure you don’t pay sales tax twice for a leased semi truck you decide to purchase. 
  • Hidden fees: Watch out for unexpected fees like origination, prepayment and maintenance fees. Look over your contract carefully. If there are excessive fees and penalties, get a few more loan offers and compare.
  • Advance fee loan scam: Lenders shouldn’t ask for any upfront payments before an application is reviewed and approved. This type of fraud typically targets borrowers with low credit.

Where to get semi-truck financing

If you're interested in where to find semi-truck financing, loans are available through banks, credit unions, direct lenders and online lenders. Loan eligibility requirements will vary as well as loan amounts, terms, interest rate, fees and funding time.

How to manage a semi-truck business loan

Managing your semi-truck loan payments comes with effective money management for your business as a whole. You can start by using projected revenue from your current contracts with trucking companies, warehouses or other clients. Work in your loan payments as a line item alongside other business expenses. That way, you can track where the loan payments fit in and what expenses you need to cut when revenue dips. 

Other strategies for managing business funds include automating your loan payments for timeliness and staying aware of all debt obligations. Many lenders like to see revenue of at least 1.25 times greater than your debts, called the debt-service coverage ratio.

Alternatives to semi-truck business loans

While getting a semi-truck loan makes the most sense for financing a truck, you can also use other business loans. The main feature to look for is a high enough loan amount to cover the entire semi-truck purchase. Some alternatives to consider:

  • Business term loan — A standard business loan with potentially high loan amounts and fixed repayment terms, such as two or five years.
  • Business line of credit — Similar to a credit card, a secured or unsecured line of credit is a revolving credit line that borrowers can withdraw from when they need to cover short-term business expenses. 
  • Equipment lease — A type of rental agreement that lets you pay a monthly fee to use the leasing company’s semi truck, possibly with an option to buy at the end of the lease. Insurance costs can be higher when leasing.

Frequently asked questions about semi-truck financing

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To choose the best semi-truck financing, we researched banks, online lenders and direct lenders. We looked for lenders with relaxed eligibility requirements and programs that are specifically geared toward helping business owners secure financing to cover the cost of a semi truck. We then considered features that make loans affordable and accessible to businesses with different characteristics and needs, including interest rates, whether the loans are secured or unsecured, minimum annual revenue and fees. Additionally, these lenders were evaluated for notable qualities such as funding speed and nontraditional eligibility criteria.
 
When evaluating lenders, we use a 22-point scale to measure quality in five key areas: Accessibility, affordability, transparency, customer service and flexibility. Based on the results, lenders are given a rating between 1 and 5:
 
  • 4.5 or higher: Outstanding
  • 4 to 4.5: Excellent
  • 3.5 to 4: Good
  • 3.5 and under: Average