LightStream Personal Loans: 2021 Review

Our Take
5.0
TalkFinance rating
The bottom line: LightStream’s low rates and zero fees make it one of the top lenders for borrowers with good or excellent credit.
Jump to: Full Review

on LightStream website

MIN. CREDIT SCORE

660

EST. APR

3.99 - 19.99%

LOAN AMOUNT

$5,000 - $100,000

Pros & Cons
  • No fees.

  • Competitive rates among online lenders.

  • Offers .5% rate discount for setting up autopay.

  • Special features including rate beat program and satisfaction guarantee.

  • No option to pre-qualify on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

Compare to Other loans
TalkFinance rating
TalkFinance rating
TalkFinance rating
CHECK RATE CHECK RATE CHECK RATE
EST. APR

3.99 - 19.99%

EST. APR

4.99 - 19.63%

EST. APR

6.95 - 35.99%

LOAN TERM

2 to 7 years

LOAN TERM

2 to 7 years

LOAN TERM

3 to 5 years

MIN. CREDIT SCORE

660

MIN. CREDIT SCORE

680

MIN. CREDIT SCORE

580

Full Review

To review LightStream’s personal loans, Talkfinance collected more than 40 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. Loan terms and fees may vary by state.

LightStream, the online lending arm of Truist Bank, offers personal loans that can be used for almost any purpose, including debt consolidation, home improvement, auto or boat purchase and medical costs.

Starting interest rates for excellent-credit borrowers are low — around 5% if you use autopay — and vary based on the loan purpose, term, amount and your credit profile.

LightStream allows borrowers to choose when they’re funded. It can deposit funds in your account as early as the same day, or up to 30 days after approval. Scheduling a later fund date can allow time to plan for your first payment or give you flexibility in aligning your loan with the start of a home improvement project or other large expense.

LightStream is best for borrowers who:

  • Have good or excellent credit (690 FICO or higher) and several years of credit history.

  • Are considering a personal loan for home improvement.

  • Want a large loan at a competitive rate.

LightStream at a glance

Credit building

 

 

 

  • Pre-qualification available only through partners.

  • Reports payments to three credit bureaus.

Affordability

 

 

 

  • APRs are low among lenders targeting similar borrowers.

  • No fees.

  • Rate discount for autopayments.

Loan flexibility

 

 

 

  • No option to change payment due date.

  • Does not offer direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Funds loans the same day.

  • Available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Transparency

 

 

 

  • Clearly discloses rates, fees and terms on website.

Customer experience

 

 

 

  • Offers limited customer contact channels and hours.

  • Offers limited financial education.

» COMPARE: Best online lenders

Where LightStream stands out

No fees: LightStream does not charge an origination fee, late fee or prepayment penalty fee.

Term availability: LightStream’s wide window of available repayment terms (two to seven years for most loans) gives borrowers the option to prioritize less overall interest with a shorter term or lower monthly payments with a longer term.

Special home improvement features: Borrowers with good or excellent credit looking to finance a home improvement project may qualify for extended loan terms up to 12 years, with no appraisals or home equity requirements. Longer repayment terms can make monthly payments more affordable on expensive home projects, like a kitchen remodel, solar panel installation or swimming pool addition.

The lender can also delay funding a loan for up to 90 days. Interest starts accruing once the loan is funded. Delaying it gives you more time to coordinate the remodel without additional interest.

Rate beat program: LightStream says it will beat a competitor’s interest rate by one-tenth of a percentage point, assuming you can show you are approved by the competitor for an unsecured, fixed-rate loan with the same amount, terms, purpose and payment method.

Satisfaction guarantee: LightStream offers $100 back for unhappy borrowers who have had their loan for less than 30 days. You must contact the company and fill out a questionnaire to receive the $100.

Where LightStream falls short

Hard credit check: LightStream displays annual percentage rate ranges for each loan purpose on its website, but the lender does a hard pull on applications that originate on its website. However, the lender uses a soft credit check to pre-qualify applicants through Talkfinance.

No direct payment to creditors: Unlike other lenders, LightStream does not send payments directly to creditors when you consolidate debts with a loan. Instead, borrowers have to keep track of their own repayments.

Limited customer service options: Borrowers who have questions are directed to an email form on the lender’s website. LightStream does not provide a phone number, chat option or social media account to contact.

How to qualify for a LightStream loan

  • Minimum credit score: 690.

  • Several years of credit history; excellent-credit borrowers have at least five, according to LightStream.

  • Multiple account types within your credit history, like credit cards, a car loan or other installment loan and a mortgage.

  • Strong payment history with few or no delinquencies.

  • Investments, retirement savings or other evidence of an ability to save money.

  • Enough income to pay existing debts and a new LightStream loan.

Loan example: A four-year, $20,000 loan with an 11.8% APR would cost $525 in monthly payments. You’d pay $5,200 in total interest on that loan.