Many financial institutions offer semi truck financing. But if you find a company that specializes in big-rig lending, you might find more favorable terms and an understanding of what trucking companies look for when buying equipment. Learn about the best fleet financing companies, and find out what distinguishes these organizations from their competitors.
Quicklook: Best semi truck financing companies
- Best for freight factoring: eCapital
- Best for custom financing: TAB Bank
- Best for trucking industry experience: Truck Lenders USA
- Best for lending solutions: Triumph Business Capital
- Best for financing for owner-operators: CAG Truck Capital
- Best for new businesses: U.S. Bank
- Best for 640+ credit score: Commercial Fleet Financing
- Best for seasonal repayment plan: Wells Fargo
8 best semi truck financing companies
Let’s review the top semi truck financing options so you can evaluate which one is right for you.
eCapital helps companies access funds early through a process called freight factoring. As a customer, you can also qualify for a line of credit and asset-based lending. While eCapital serves many industries, it specializes in trucking. As a result, the company understands the nuances of acquiring new vehicles and the unique financial challenges trucking businesses may face. Companies seeking flexible financial solutions often find eCapital an ideal lender. This commercial fleet financing organization offers financial support solutions to all kinds of businesses.
Best for: Freight factoring
- Uses money owed to you by customers to finance new equipment
- Reduces total cost of the loan
- Offers fast funding via outstanding invoices
- Includes pre-approved line of credit for up to $2,500 per truck in your fleet
- Provides instant bank transfers, even on weekends and holidays
- Funding entails paying percentage of invoice value
- Isn’t a loan in the traditional sense
- Some customers find customer service take too long
Lending: Up to 90% of accounts receivable
TAB Bank is an online bank designed for the trucking industry, though it does have attractive accounts for a variety of customers. When seeking financing, you have many options with TAB Bank, including accounts receivable financing, asset-based lending, equipment financing, business term loans and invoice factoring.
Best for: Custom financing
- Specializes in the trucking industry
- Same-day credit decisions
- Competitive trucking equipment financing rates
- Easy-to-use mobile app
- One physical location (most transactions are completed online)
- Some users report long hold times to speak to representatives
Lending: Up to $25 million
Truck Lenders USA
Truck Lenders USA has been in the commercial trucking finance business for decades. As a direct lender, the company has the flexibility to create financing that works well for unique needs and circumstances. With lending services in 48 states, this financial institution is also an excellent option for large, multi-location businesses. And the great part about the service is that you can get approved within a few hours, even if your credit score isn’t the best.
Best for: Trucking industry experience
- Quotes available online
- Custom financing options
- History of positive reviews
- Application approval within hours
- Requires a credit score of 675 or higher
- Only available for vehicles that are seven years old or newer
- Must be in business longer than two years
- Minimum: $15,000
- Maximum: N/A
Triumph Business Capital
Triumph Business Capital, a division of TBK Bank, is a full-service solution for financing needs within the trucking industry. The company specializes in the transportation industry, offering expertise and unique lending options. It can help companies avoid credit-based lending through invoice factoring.
Best for: Lending solutions
- Asset-based lending
- Same-day funding
- No hidden fees
- Good for new or used equipment
- Loan terms from two to five years
- Hard credit pull on your application
- Fees can largely vary depending on the client
- Minimum: $250,000
- Maximum: Up to $20 million
CAG Truck Capital
CAG Vehicle Capital offers financing options for everything from completing an engine overhaul to purchasing a new semi truck. Owner-operators with limited or poor credit find that CAG Vehicle Capital offers loans when other financial institutions won’t.
This financial institution specializes in owner-operator financing because of its focus on start-up businesses, which generally have a limited credit history. And if you’re looking for commercial truck loans for high-mileage vehicles, you’ll find it from this lender. High-mileage or used truck loans for older vehicles can be challenging to acquire, especially with limited credit history.
Best for: Truck financing for owner-operators
- Eligibility for all types of over-the-road semi trucks
- Loans with built-in approved overhaul funding for high-mileage vehicles
- Useful for purchasing high-mileage trucks
- Good for borrowers with a history of financial issues
- High interest rates
- Brief waiting period before financing arrives
- Down payments of as little as 10% for experienced owner-operators
- Can be as high as 35% down if you have a credit score under 600
Work with a lender whose name you recognize and may use for personal banking. U.S. Bank offers lending options for big rigs with loans to cover multiple equipment purchases using one lending contract. It requires low or no down payment.
Apply for pre-approval online with a quick credit decision on loans of up to $500,000. Businesses can finance up to 125% of the value of a new truck, allowing them to bring in money for other business expenses at the same time.
Best for: New businesses
- Up to 125% financing
- Flexible repayment terms
- Online approval
- Pre-approval options
- Flexible payment options
- No upfront rates
- Higher minimum amounts
- Loans typically capped at $1 million
Lending: Up to $1 million
Commercial Fleet Financing
Commercial Fleet Financing has been specializing in truck financing since 1995. It specializes in financing fleet needs and construction equipment.
Businesses find that the approval process is fast with no hidden fees. Select from a variety of repayment terms while securing competitive truck financing rates. Commercial Fleet Financing employs trained loan specialists and does not require a personal guarantee. If something happens with your business, you won’t have to make it up with your personal finances.
Best for: Credit scores of 640 or more
- Fast turnaround times
- Competitive rates
- Trained specialists handle loans
- Approval and funding in as little as 24 hours
- Requires a credit score of 640 or higher
- Requires at least two years of trucking experience
Lending: Up to $250,000
At Wells Fargo, you’ll find a division dedicated to financing for commercial trucks. Using Wells Fargo, you can find financial support for leasing equipment as well. One major drawback to using this lender is that you can’t apply for lending online. You’ll need to speak to a representative on the phone, which can make the process less convenient for business owners. However, it might be worth the extra effort as Wells Fargo offers competitive interest rates and flexible seasonal repayment options.
Best for: Seasonal repayment plan
- Strong industry reputation
- Flexible seasonal repayment options
- Many options for financing and leasing
- No online application
- Available rates and qualifications via representatives
Lending: Rates and qualifications are only available when you call and speak to a representative.
How does truck financing work?
Purchasing a semi truck requires ample capital, and depending on the age of your business, you might not have the cash flow to pay all cash for new equipment. If that’s the case, you’ll be looking at financing the purchase to reduce the financial burden you face when expanding your business or replacing worn-out equipment.
But if you’ve never taken out a commercial loan before, you likely have questions about how it works and what to expect. First of all, know that commercial truck financing is a form of equipment financing.
Here’s a look at the typical process for applying for and receiving financing.
- Apply for pre-approval for a loan with a commercial lender that offers equipment financing. This process will show the truck dealer that you have the credit required to purchase the vehicle. While applying for pre-approval, have important financial documents ready, including your most recent tax returns and motor carrier number.
- Ensure that you have commercial truck insurance in place and the capital required for the down payment. Your lender will also require that you have these items in place before finalizing your equipment purchase.
- Head to your preferred truck dealer to shop for the equipment that is right for you. If you plan to shop for used equipment, be sure that the lender covers that equipment type. Some lenders have strict rules for used equipment.
- Complete the loan application, receive the required funding (often within hours) and pay the truck dealer to purchase the equipment.
- Make sure you know the loan repayment terms as you’ll then need to begin repaying the loan each month. Watch for notifications of when your first payment is due to set up recurring payments accordingly.
Until you’ve paid the debt in full, the lender will hold the title to your equipment. This is collateral in case you fail to repay the loan. Businesses that default on a loan must surrender the equipment to the lender, which will then sell the equipment to pay off the debt and cover losses.
Semi truck financing factors to consider
As you seek out the best semi truck financing, consider these factors as you look to find the best option based on your needs.
Buying vs. leasing
The first step in evaluating how you’ll acquire new trucking equipment is to decide whether buying or leasing is right for you. This decision will impact the loan type you apply for.
Leasing a semi truck is similar to renting it from a company for a set period, such as 36 or 72 months. It involves a down payment, but one that generally is much smaller than what is required when purchasing a vehicle.
At the end of a leasing contract, you have the option to purchase the vehicle or return it to the leasing company. The main benefit leasing provides is that you have a lower upfront financial commitment compared with buying equipment.
The largest setback to leasing is that you will make payments each month on the equipment, but you won’t own it at the end. That means that you’ll be right back where you started once the leasing term comes to a close.
As you evaluate whether buying or leasing is right for you, consider the full cost of owning the vehicle, including loan payments, maintenance expenses and asset value once you’ve paid it off. Many semi trucks can stay on the road for up to 750,000 miles. While paying for the vehicle has a larger upfront cost, it might be worth it to own the vehicle in the end.
Current credit score
Your business credit score will impact whether a lender will pre-approve a loan. Companies with lower credit scores will also struggle to find competitive loan terms and larger loan amounts.
For the most favorable terms, companies should work to increase their credit scores to 650 or higher. Companies with a credit score of 700 or more will qualify for the best rates.
The best way to ensure a strong credit score is to avoid tax liens and delinquencies. Fewer negative marks against your credit will make you more attractive to lenders.
You cannot purchase a truck without proper insurance. Lenders require that you show proof of insurance before finalizing a loan. That way, the lender knows that its collateral (the equipment) is covered in case of an accident. Showing proof of insurance also proves that you are a trustworthy borrower with the know-how and means to repay the loan.
Many lenders only provide financing for new equipment. If you plan to purchase a used truck, be sure to review the qualifications with the lender. Even lenders that finance used equipment have specific requirements for the loan, including the truck’s age or mileage.
That’s because used trucks present more risk for the lender. The truck could break down and the borrower might decide not to fix it, leaving the borrower owing more than what the truck is worth.
Before heading to a used truck dealer, ensure that the lender will provide financing for the vehicle type, make, model and mileage you’re shopping for.
Financial support to fund your transportation business
Regardless of the equipment you’re looking to finance, you can find a lender to provide the capital you need for the loan. Preparing for the purchase by reviewing your credit and doing all you can to improve it will help you secure the most favorable terms. And if you can’t qualify for a traditional loan, freight factoring might be a good option based on your credit and business history.
To finance a semi truck with competitive loan terms, you’ll need a credit score of 650 or higher.
The interest rate for a semi truck will vary based on current trends as well as your credit score. But the average annual rate is 5%-30%.
First-time buyers should plan to put 20%-30% down on a semi truck purchase. Down payment requirements vary based on how long you’ve been in business and when you got your CDL.
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