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The Best Boat Loans

Where Can You Get the Best Boat Loans?

For many, nothing compares to the feel of a boat on the open lake or ocean waters. Boating embodies a deep-seated connection with the elements, a sense of adventure, and a unique lifestyle that captivates people around the world. Boats offer a retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, whether you like to escape to serene waters and relax, or explore hidden coves and coastlines.

To help people achieve owning the boat of their dreams, many companies now offer boat loans through online applications. The surge in popularity of online boat loans is dur to a number of factors. All of these can work together to help you qualify for a boat loan sooner and easier than ever before.

Thursday, February 29th

2024 Boat Loan Reviews

LightStream Review Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award 5 Star Rating


5 Star Rating Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

LightStream is an excellent choice for boat loans, emphasizing an inclusive credit evaluation process and competitive interest rates/terms for boat loans from $5,000 to $100,000. These loans come with no fees or prepayment penalties, and some loans can be funded on the same day. Client-friendly perks abound, such as a half-percent discount for automatic payments and a Rate Beat Program. With a stellar reputation, including an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, LightStream is our top pick for boat loans under $100,000.

Trident Funding Review 4.5 Star Rating

Trident Funding

4.5 Star Rating

Trident Funding is an excellent choice for boat loans from $25,000 to $2 million, recognized as the largest originator of yacht and boat loans in the U.S. They collaborate with over 50 financial partners, providing lending packages for new and used boats as well as refinancing. Prepare to meet stringent eligibility criteria, though, including a credit score above 600. The process here is streamlined, offering a quick rate estimate in advance and a detailed online application for those ready to buy. With an "A+" BBB rating and hundreds of positive customer testimonials, Trident Funding is one of our favorite options for luxury boat loans exceeding $25,000.

Excel Credit Review 4.5 Star Rating

Excel Credit

4.5 Star Rating

Orlando-based Excel Credit offers a personalized touch in the marine financing market, with boat loans ranging from $25,000 to an impressive $25,000,000. Despite a somewhat outdated online application process, filling out the form for the Quick Rate Quote allows a loan officer (maybe even the owner himself) to address your boat financing needs before you officially apply. Excel Credit, in business since 1993, maintains an "A+" BBB rating and a long list of satisfied clients (some of them even repeat customers), making this a great choice for straightforward boat loans.

Discover Review 4.5 Star Rating


4.5 Star Rating

Discover (yes, the credit card company) provides personal loans ranging from $2,500 to $40,000, and those funds can be used towards your boat purchase. These loans come with competitive interest rates and the terms span from 36 to 84 months. You'll love that there are no origination fees or prepayment penalties. Discover's application process is hassle-free, allowing you to check your loan rate without impacting your credit score. With approval, funds can be deposited into your account by the next business day, and borrowers praise Discover for competitive rates, excellent customer service, and a straightforward approval process. We're pleasantly surprised to recommend Discover as one of our preferred options for boat buyers who don't need more than $40,000 to finalize their purchase.

Upstart Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating

Upstart offers a unique approach to boat loans by considering factors beyond just credit scores, making it ideal for recent grads or those building credit. With over 2.7 million customers and $34 billion in originations, Upstart's impact is evident. Basic eligibility requires a FICO or Vantage score of at least 580, and funds can be deposited as soon as the next day. Available in 48 states, Upstart's loans range from $1,000 to $50,000 and very competitive APRs. With an "A+" BBB rating and over 40,000 five-star reviews, Upstart is a reputable choice for boat financing up to $50,000.

LendingTree Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating

LendingTree, a pioneer in online lending since 1998, offers a versatile marketplace for various financial needs, including boat loans up to nearly $1 million (new, used, or refinancing). Their extensive lender database provides transparency with detailed information and client reviews for each partner. The online application is straightforward, allowing you to enter details and receive up to five boat loan offers immediately. While LendingTree earns an "A+" BBB rating and lots of 5-star reviews from borrowers, some users have reported receiving spam communications after using the service. Nevertheless, it remains a trustworthy choice for those seeking multiple boat loan quotes from various lenders.

SuperMoney Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating

SuperMoney is a reputable referral platform for boat loans. With accolades from Forbes and others, it has offered a user-friendly experience since 2013. The platform prioritizes user privacy, refraining from selling information to third parties. SuperMoney excels at connecting users with a vast lender network, but you should understand that it doesn't directly fund boat loans. SuperMoney maintains an outstanding user rating, making it a reliable starting point for those exploring boat financing options.

First Approval Source Review 3.5 Star Rating

First Approval Source

3.5 Star Rating

Georgia's First Approval Source provides personalized assistance for boat financing. They offer a unique approach, using human expertise to build custom packages, including insurance and warranty protection if desired. To explore their services, an online form is available, but direct contact is recommended for a quicker response. First Approval Source does not sell customer data, and it's the recommended lending option by BoatUS for boat loans under $25,000. Plus, First Approval Source now has 75+ five-star reviews from satisfied borrowers. Give First Approval Source a call if you'd like to skip the internet entirely and get right to receiving concierge-like service for your marine loan process.

SoFi Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating

SoFi is a big name in fintech, with more than two million members and $50 billion in funded loans. Boat loans range from $5,000 to $100,000, and you may even qualify for same-day funding. A standout offering is SoFi's "Unemployment Protection" program, allowing you to pause loan repayments if you lose your job through no fault of your own. The application process is quick and easy, but it seems that their claim of "no origination fees" contradicts the fine print, which mentions potential fees of 0 to 6%. Make sure to understand these details before you sign. Despite this, SoFi holds an "A+" BBB rating and has received thousands of positive reviews, making it a decent option for your boat loan needs.

Upgrade Review 3 Star Rating


3 Star Rating

Established in 2017, Upgrade offers boat loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. The application process is straightforward, but borrowers need to be cautious of origination fees (1.85% to 9.99%) deducted from loan proceeds. Despite positive customer reviews and an "A+" from the BBB, the high origination fees and interest rates earn Upgrade a "just average" rating. While it gets praise for lending to people with lower credit scores, Upgrade's drawbacks impact its overall appeal for boat loans.

Compare the Best Reviews

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One key driver why online boat loans are so popular is the unparalleled convenience they offer. Today's consumer value efficiency and simplicity in their lives. Online boat loans provide a streamlined application process, allowing borrowers to complete the entire transaction from the comfort of their homes. Gone are the days of cumbersome paperwork and time-consuming visits to brick-and-mortar banks or other lending institutions.

Another thing that sets online boat loans apart is the speed of approval and disbursement of funds. Traditional lending often involved lengthy approval processes, causing delays that could hinder the timely purchase of a boat. Online lenders leverage technology to expedite the approval process, letting you receive a quick decision on your loan - and get quick access to your funds.

Securing a boat loan involves navigating through various financial waters, understanding the intricacies of marine financing, and ensuring a smooth sail towards ownership. Whether you're dreaming of a luxurious yacht or a modest fishing boat, here's what you need to know as you explore the world of boat loans.

Boat loans are specialized loans designed to finance the purchase of a boat. They function similarly to auto loans, with the boat itself often serving as collateral to get you a lower interest rate (a secured boat loan). Lenders assess your credit score, income, debt-to-income ratio, and the type of boat you're purchasing when determining your eligibility. A higher credit score usually results in better loan terms, including lower interest rates.

Lenders offer fixed or variable interest rates, and the loan term can range from a few years to more extended periods. Longer loan terms can result in lower monthly payments but may lead to higher overall interest payments. Shorter terms may mean higher monthly payments but lower overall costs. Also, many lenders may require a down payment, usually ranging from 10% to 20% of the boat's purchase price. A larger down payment can lead to better loan terms and increased chances of loan approval.

Beyond the loan amount, you should consider other costs associated with boat ownership, such as insurance, maintenance, storage, and docking fees. These should be factored into your budget to ensure a realistic financial plan.

The boat loan application process involves submitting personal and financial information, including proof of income and credit history. Be prepared to provide details about the boat you intend to purchase, including its make, model, and purchase price. And, if your boat is in the $200K+ range, you'll likely need a boat inspection called a "marine survey" : similar to the inspection that's required on a home prior to qualifying for a mortgage, your lender will want to know that the vessel is seaworthy before approving the purchase.

The good news is that most of this can be done online. You've got an ocean of opportunities out there as you work to get the seafaring vessel of your dreams, and all it takes is a few clicks to find your financing.

What should you look for as you decide where to apply for a boat loan? Keep these things in mind:

  • Loan structure. Is the boat loan set up specifically for boats (which is often more like a traditional auto loan), or is it a personal loan? Personal loans tend to have much higher interest rates. Also, be sure to note whether it's an unstructured (not secured by collateral) or structured (secured by collateral) loan: if you default on your payments, you will lose whatever you used to secure that loan (like the boat itself). Do you need to make a down payment?
  • Rates and fees. How much will your monthly payments be? How long is the loan term? What fees are charged beyond interest (like origination fees, processing fees, and so on)?
  • Available loan amount. How much does the lender let applicants borrow? Is it enough to cover the full amount for the boat you're hoping to buy? How long will it take to get the funds if you're approved?
  • Reputation. What have other boat owners said about the lender? Were there any (unpleasant) surprises at any point of the application process or after the loan was funded? Has the Better Business Bureau given the lender a favorable rating?

Securing a boat loan requires careful consideration of your financial situation, the type of boat you want, and the terms offered by lenders. To help you on your quest, the experts at Top Consumer Reviews have evaluated and ranked some of today's most popular sources of boat loans. By navigating these waters thoughtfully, you can set sail on your maritime adventure with confidence and financial peace of mind.

The Best Boat Loans Compare Boat Loans Compare Boat Loan Reviews What are the best Boat Loans Best Boat Loan Reviews

Boat Loan FAQ

Boat loans range from $1,000 to as much as $50,000,000. Your ability to qualify for a marine loan is heavily dependent on your financial situation, including your credit history, income and savings/investments, and the age and price of the watercraft you hope to buy.
On luxury watercraft, yes. If you're obtaining a boat loan of $100,000 or more, expect a down payment requirement of 10-20%, depending on the lender you choose. If you're buying a lower-priced boat, your funding will probably be structured as an unsecured personal loan and won't need a down payment.
What do you have in mind? If you're purchasing a million-dollar yacht, your boat loan will require a considerable amount of documentation, including a marine survey, prior to being approved. On the other hand, if you're taking out a loan to buy an inexpensive, used fishing boat, it'll likely be a personal loan that can be used for any purchase.
As long as you've entered your information accurately and you pass a credit check, your loan approval can happen almost instantaneously, though for higher loan amounts it may take a day or two. But, getting the funds for your loan won't necessarily be same-day, especially for more expensive boats that require a marine survey and other paperwork prior to funding.
On some boat loans under $100,000, you could be approved and have the money deposited to your account on the day you apply! On larger loans, expect the entire process to take at least a week or two, because your lender will likely request a marine survey that can take some time to arrange (similar to a home inspection when buying a house and applying for a mortgage).
It always helps. There are a few lenders who will approve you for a boat loan with poor to average credit, but you'll pay much higher interest rates. And, for luxury boats with price tags of $100,000 or more, you typically need a credit score of at least 700 to be eligible for a boat loan.
All boat loans will require a credit check, and further verification may require basic financial documents such as tax returns, bank statements, and proof of income. When buying a bigger boat - in price, size, or both! - your process is likely to include much more extensive paperwork, like a marine survey and a personal financial statement.
The most obvious fee is interest. Depending on the size of your loan, the lender you choose, and your credit history, you could pay as little as 3% or as much as 36% APR. Your boat loan may also come with a one-time origination fee, costs for a marine survey or other paperwork necessary before your loan is approved, and so forth. Be sure to get a fee breakdown before you sign on the dotted line with any provider of boat loans.
The Best Reviews of Boat Loans