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LightStream Review

Wednesday, May 18th

2022 Boat Loan Reviews

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


5 Star Rating
  • Boat loans from $5,000 to $100,000
  • Very competitive interest rates
  • Loan terms from 24-144 months *
  • Interest rate discounts when payments are made automatically
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

You may have heard of LightStream as a division of SunTrust Bank. While SunTrust recently merged with BB&T to form Truist, you can still expect an amazing client experience when obtaining a boat loan under the LightStream name.

Several factors considered to determine eligibility

LightStream prides itself on recognizing that there is no single definition for "good credit" when applying for a boat loan. That being said, to qualify for financing, it helps if you have several years of credit history across a variety of account types (major credit cards, vehicle loans, mortgage), a solid payment history with little to no delinquencies, and experience with saving money as demonstrated by investments, bank accounts, and/or cash down payments on real estate. The stability and sufficiency of your income and assets will also be taken into account when LightStream evaluates your ability to take on a new loan to buy a watercraft.

Fantastic interest rates and loan terms

This lender offers a wide variety of options for marine loans. Maybe you're buying a brand-new inflatable Highfield Classic for $5,000 and want to pay it off in a couple of years. Or, maybe you've got your eye on a pre-owned 21' Mastercraft for $75,000 and prefer to have a good long time to pay it off - say, six or seven years. Their interest rates are among the best we've found for these type of purchases - of course, the better your credit profile, the lower your interest rate may be.

Same-day loan approval and funding

Among providers of boat loans, LightStream stands out for how easy it is to apply and get a quick approval. The entire process can be done online with little to no hassle: check rates, apply from your computer or mobile device, and you could get a loan with no fees or prepayment penalties. You don't even have to provide any documentation on the boat you're buying. No marine survey or other collateral is required to secure the funding. You can choose the date you'd like your loan to be funded, and some loans can be funded on the very same day you apply.

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Interest rate discount

You'll get further client-friendly perks with LightStream that you may not find elsewhere. For example, your monthly payments will be discounted by a half-percent if you set them up to be automatically deducted from your bank account. In addition to saving you money, this helps ensure your payments are made on time, every time.

Impressive customer feedback

In addition, LightStream has a long track record of happy customers, within the boat-buying market and beyond. The company is "A+" rated and accredited by the Better Business Bureau, with nearly 150 years of experience under the SunTrust/BB&T/Truist umbrella. More compelling, however, are the reviews from boat owners who gladly recommend LightStream after having a flawless experience buying their own watercraft. It's difficult to find anyone with something bad to say about using this lender for a marine loan.

Best lender for boats under $100,000

Buying a boat can represent the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, and for boats priced at $100,000 or less, LightStream is the best way to make it happen. Their boat loans come with affordable interest rates, zero fees, and with a broad spectrum of repayment terms to meet any preference. Because of their fantastic reputation for quality customer service and transparency, LightStream is the obvious choice as our first-place selection for boat loans under $100,000.

* Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.93% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $303.90.

Where Can You Get the Best Boat Loans?

No matter what kind of watercraft you have in mind - from a simple fishing boat to a luxury yacht - you want financing that allows you to make it happen. While you could turn to your local bank for a loan, you might find a better offer elsewhere. There are a number of lenders who specialize in marine loans, and they might give you more competitive interest rates and terms.

What are the requirements for qualifying for a boat loan? That varies widely. Of course, it helps to have good-to-excellent credit. For high-end boats of $200,000 or more, expect lenders to have minimum credit score requirements of at least 700 along with the income and assets to support such a purchase. Also, for bigger boats, your loan approval process is likely to require a marine survey: just like buying a home, an inspection shows both you and the lender that it's a sound vessel.

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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.
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Continued from above...

On the other hand, for smaller watercraft, you may not need a boat-specific loan. These loans are usually structured as a traditional personal loan and are based solely on your creditworthiness, not on what you're buying. That's good news if you have less-than-perfect credit too: you'll pay more in interest on your marine loan, but at least you can still qualify as a borrower.

There are quite a few options out there for boat loans, and it can be challenging to determine which financial institution or lending service is the right one for your unique situation. To simplify your search for a marine loan, here are several factors to consider:

  • Loan amount. How much do you need to borrow to buy the boat? Some lenders only provide up to $50,000, while others have a minimum loan amount of $25,000 and go all the way up to $50 million. Make sure the provider you're considering is appropriate for the loan size you need.
  • Funding timeframe. If you already have a boat in mind and you live in a hot market, it'll be important to get your loan proceeds quickly. A few boat loan companies can have the funds deposited on the same day you apply.
  • Loan information. Does the company tell you upfront what you can expect in terms of interest rates, loan amounts, and any fees associated with the loan? Is it easy to get a preliminary quote?
  • Reputation. What do other boat owners say about their experience getting a boat loan from the service you're considering? Has the Better Business Bureau given the company a strong rating?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best providers of boat loans available today. We're confident that this information will help you get the financing you need to purchase the boat of your dreams!

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