LightStream Personal Loans Review 2019Good For: Debt Consolidation, Home Improvements, and Good Credit
When it comes to loans, there’s a lot to like about LightStream. This lender is among the best out there, especially if you have good credit and need to borrow an above-average amount of money. LightStream personal loans are also ideal for many borrowers interested in consolidating credit card debt or undertaking a big home improvement project. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg compared to this company’s other offerings. So let’s take a deeper look at LightStream lending and everything that makes this institution so attractive.
About LightStreamBased in San Diego, California, LightStream is the online consumer-lending division of SunTrust Bank, which is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. LightStream specializes in helping people who’ve maintained good credit get quick, convenient loans with highly competitive rates. In fact, LightStream’s Rate Beat program promises to deliver qualified lenders with the lowest rate possible. Plus, in many cases, approved borrowers can gain access to funds the same day they request the loan. And if that’s not enough to win you over, LightStream even offers a $100 guarantee^ that your loan experience will be the best one of your life.
LightStream Loan Rates & Terms
|APR range||4.99% - 17.49% w/AutoPay1|
|Available loan terms||24 to 144 months1|
|Loan amounts||up to $100,000|
|Time to fund||As soon as the same day**|
|Fees||Origination fee: None|
Late fee: None
Prepayment fee: None
|Soft Credit Check?||Varies|
|Best for||Borrowers with good credit, long credit history, co-signers, debt consolidation, home improvements|
Click “Check Rates” to apply to LightStream
How Does LightStream Work?
For qualified borrowers with credit scores above 660, LightStream offer loans that range from $5,000 to $100,000 with APRs that typically span from 4.99% to 16.99% with AutoPay*. Borrowers can also choose repayment plans from as little as two years all the way up to 12 years depending upon the purpose of the loan. Plus, LightStream never charges late fees, prepayment fees, or origination fees, and they can usually fund loans the same day an application is approved.
With the exception of student loans and business loans, there are virtually no other restrictions on what you can or can’t use a LightStream personal loan for, though most people tend to apply the funds toward medical bills, debt consolidation, home improvement projects, or an auto refinance effort. However, depending upon which state you live in — and how you plan to use the money — the terms of your loan could vary significantly. Yet LightStream is committed to beating competitors rates by at least one-tenth of a percent if you can verify you were approved by another lender. For these reasons, most LightStream personal loan reviews are exceedingly positive.
LightStream targets people with good to excellent credit. In determining whether you qualify for a loan, LightStream will pull credit reports from Equifax and Experian. The lender doesn’t provide a range of credit scores that are needed to qualify.
If you do qualify for a LightStream loan, you’ll find that the APRs are competitive. For instance, a 36-month loan for $10,000 carries an APR of 4.99% to 11.99%, with monthly payments of $299.66 to $332.10. The money is available the same day you submit your application.
LightStream Pros and Cons
- The APR is as low as 4.99% with AutoPay* if you sign up for the autopay option.
- You can qualify for up to $100,000.
- LightStream will match the APR of any other lender by 0.10 percentage points if the other lender’s rate meets certain terms and conditions.
- Loan terms are up to 12 years*.
- You can get your money the same day.
- No fees or prepayment penalties are charged.
- Interest rates are higher on longer-term loans.
- Interest rates are 0.50% higher if you don’t pick the autopay option.
- Only borrowers with good or excellent credit will qualify.
How LightStream Compares
If you have excellent credit, you’ll qualify for a loan with an APR that most other lenders can’t match. Plus, LightStream doesn’t charge fees or prepayment penalties.
Benefits: With a starting APR of 4.99% with AutoPay*, LightStream’s annual percentage rate is one of the lowest you’ll find from any provider of home improvement loans. On top of that, the range of repayment periods is broad — two to 12 years*. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that you can get your money the same day as you’re approved.
LightStream holds its own against most other loan providers, but what about two of the most popular lending institutions in the country? Let’s see how LightStream stacks up against SoFi and LendingClub.
LightStream Vs SoFi
*Terms are for unsecured loans and may vary for secured loans.
If you’re weighing your options between LightStream and SoFi, there are several factors to consider, but for the most part, LightStream will be a better choice for borrowers. With amounts ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, SoFi loans aren’t as large as LightStream’s, and SoFi requires a base credit score of 660 compared to LightStream’s minimum of 660. SoFi’s minimum APR of 6.99% is also higher than LightStream’s minimum of 4.99% with AutoPay*, but, on the other hand, SoFi’s maximum interest rate is also lower at 14.99% compared to LightStream’s 17.49%. SoFi can’t match LightStream with regard to length of loans, either. SoFi borrowers have three to seven years for repayment, whereas LightStream loans range from two to 12 years*. (Eight- to 12-year terms with LightStream are available for some loan purposes including home improvement and for loan amounts greater than $25,000).
» MORE: SoFi Personal Loan Review
LightStream Vs LendingClub
|Lender||APR Range||Loan Term||Loan Amounts|
4.99% - 17.49% w/AutoPay1
24 to 144 months1
up to $100,000
36 to 60 months
up to $40,000
Click to compare estimated rates on PrimeRates.
*Terms are for unsecured loans and may vary for secured loans.
By requiring a minimum credit score of only 600, Lending Club is far more lenient that LightStream when it comes to approving borrowers. There are, however, some tradeoffs. For instance, Lending Club charges APRs as high as 35.89%, and loans from this peer-to-peer service come with obligatory origination fees ranging from 1.00% to 6.00%. In additional, Lending Club charges late fees of $15 or 5% of the missed amount — whichever is greater.
» MORE: LendingClub Personal Loan Review
LightStream For Debt Consolidation
If your credit card bills are stacking up, you might want to consider simplifying your finances with a LightStream debt consolidation loan. This is among the most popular reasons people choose this lender. Between LightStream’s lengthy repayment plans and their Rate Beat program, it can be tough to find a better deal — just as long as your credit is good enough to qualify.
» MORE: Debt Consolidation Loans
LightStream For Home Improvement
Thanks to LightStream’s 12-year repayment plans, qualified borrowers can take out home improvement loans to without the need for any appraisals or home equity obligations. This means you can finally install that swimming pool, remodel your kitchen, or get those solar panels you’ve had your eye on, without worrying about high-interest, short-term financing. However, it’s important to note that only applicants with exceptional credit records will be approved for loans with the lowest rate and longest repayment terms.
Drawbacks of LightStream Loans
While the majority of LightStream loan reviews are positive, customers don’t give this lender great marks across the board. Some borrowers have issued complaints because LightStream conducts hard inquiries on applicants’ credit reports, which can negatively impact an individual’s credit score in the short term. Also, all loans with LightStream include fixed rates, whereas other lenders offer variable rates, which could result in reduced interest payments.
Another drawback: Someone with average or poor credit won’t qualify for a LightStream loan. In addition, you’ll need a valid Visa or Mastercard credit card for identity verification.
If you’ve worked hard to maintain a clean credit report, and now you’re interested in taking out a loan, LightStream is definitely worth a look. While not all applicants will get approved for a LightStream loan, those who do are likely to be satisfied with the terms they’re offered. And considering that LightStream will send you $100^ if the borrowing experience isn’t the best one you’ve ever had, what do you have to lose?
**You can fund your loan today if today is a banking business day, your application is approved, and you complete the following steps by 2:30 p.m. Eastern time: (1) review and electronically sign your loan agreement; (2) provide us with your funding preferences and relevant banking information; and (3) complete the final verification process.
^After receiving your loan from us, if you are not completely satisfied with your experience, please contact us. We will email you a questionnaire so we can improve our services. When we receive your completed questionnaire, we will send you $100. Our guarantee expires 30 days after you receive your loan. We reserve the right to change or discontinue our guarantee at any time. Limited to one $100 payment per funded loan. LightStream and SunTrust teammates do not qualify for the Loan Experience Guarantee.