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LightStream Personal Loans: 2019 Review

April 19, 2019
Loans, Personal Loans, Personal Loans Reviews
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.
5.0 NerdWallet rating

Good for: Good credit, debt consolidation

LightStream stands out by offering some of the highest borrowing amounts and lowest rates, plus no fees, on its unsecured personal loans.

LightStream could be a good fit if:

  • You have good credit. LightStream requires a minimum credit score of 660 plus several years of credit history, a strong record of on-time payments and a variety of credit accounts.
  • You have a co-signer. LightStream allows joint applications, and one person can have a credit score lower than the minimum.
  • You are consolidating debt or funding home improvements. LightStream offers low rates and long repayment terms, making it an option for either loan use.

LightStream loan rates and terms

Loan amounts$5,000 - $100,000
Typical APR3.99% - 16.99% (with autopay)
FeesOrigination fee: None

Late fee: None

Prepayment fee: None
Time to fundingAs soon as the same day
Repayments2 to 7 years; up to 12 years for home improvements
Soft credit check?In some instances
How to qualify
  • Minimum credit score of 660.
  • No minimum income specified.
  • No debt-to-income ratio specified.
Best forBorrowers with good credit and long credit history, co-signers, debt consolidation
Click "Check rates" to get started with LightStream.

» MORE: Read our review of LightStream auto loans

LightStream personal loan review

To review LightStream, NerdWallet collected more than 30 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives and compared the lender with others that seek the same type of customer or offer a similar personal loan product. Loan terms and fees may vary by state.

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

Rates vary based on the loan purpose, so you could get a different rate for debt consolidation loans, car loans or home improvement loans. Your actual rate depends on the loan amount and your credit profile.

Best of 2019: NerdWallet recognized LightStream among our list of Best Personal Loans of 2019 in the categories of good credit and home improvement.

» MOREPersonal loans for good credit

Home improvement loans: Borrowers with 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. Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000, with interest rates between 4.99% to 13.29%.

Longer repayment terms can make monthly payments more affordable on expensive home projects, such as a kitchen remodel, swimming pool or solar panel installation.

» MORE: Compare home improvement loan options

Hard credit check: LightStream carries out a hard pull on loan applications, which can temporarily hurt your credit score. However, the lender uses a soft credit check to pre-qualify applicants if you apply through NerdWallet.

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 a regular fixed-rate loan with the same amount, term, 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.

How LightStream compares




3.99% - 16.99% (with autopay)

Loan amounts

$5,000 - $100,000

Loan terms

2 to 7 years

Best for

Good credit, debt consolidation, home improvement


5.74% - 16.79% (with autopay)

Loan amounts

$5,000 - $100,000

Loan terms

2 to 7 years

Best for

Good credit, high income, debt consolidation


6.99% - 18.24%

Loan amounts

$5,000 - $75,000

Loan terms

3 to 5 years

Best for

Good credit, short credit history

Click “Check Rate” to pre-qualify and receive a personalized rate from multiple lenders on NerdWallet.

SoFi offers the same borrowing amounts and a similar APR range to LightStream, but borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 680 to qualify and typically have annual revenue of at least $100,000.

Earnest also requires a minimum 680 credit score, but carries slightly lower max loan amounts and a higher APR range than SoFi and LightStream.

How to apply for a LightStream loan

When you apply for a loan on LightStream’s website, you’ll be asked to select your loan purpose. You can then view the range of potential interest rates you might receive for that purpose. You can apply on your own or with a co-signer. Applicants receive a dedicated customer service phone number and email address if assistance is needed.

NerdWallet recommends comparing loans to find the best rate for you. Click the button below to pre-qualify and receive a personalized rate from multiple lenders on NerdWallet.

Before you shop for a personal loan:

NerdWallet’s ratings for personal loans award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks, no fees, transparency of loan rates and terms, flexible payment options, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus, and financial education. We also consider the number of complaints filed with agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation of any sort for our reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

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