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LightStream Personal Loans: 2018 Review

March 13, 2018
Loans, Personal Loans, Personal Loans Reviews
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

4 stars out of 5

NerdWallet rating: 4.0 / 5.0
Good for: Good credit, debt consolidation

LightStream stands out by giving borrowers with excellent credit low interest rates on unsecured personal loans that can be used for almost any purpose. The lender offers loan amounts and repayment terms that are among the highest and longest compared to its peers.

Lightstream could be a good fit if:

  • Your credit score is 660 or higher
  • You have several years of credit history with a variety of credit accounts and a strong record of on-time payments
  • You have stable income plus assets, such as stocks and bonds, that help prove your ability to save money
  • You have a co-signer; LightStream takes joint applications for every loan type and allows one party to have a credit score lower than the minimum

LightStream loan rates and terms

Loan amounts$5,000 - $100,000
Typical APR3.09% - 14.24% APR with autopay; 3.59% to 14.74% APR without autopay
Origination feeNone
Time to fundingAs soon as the same day
Repayments2 to 7 years
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 apply on 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, completed the online loan application process with sample data 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’s personal loans can be used for almost any purpose, including debt consolidation, home improvement, auto purchase or refinance, medical and dental costs, preK-12 education, adoptions, and weddings.

The lender’s model is based on the idea that what you buy determines the interest rate you pay. No other online lender offers interest rates tailored to a specific purpose. Earnest and SoFi allow high loan amounts and offer low rates to those with excellent credit, but they don’t differentiate based on loan purpose.

If you meet LightStream’s high credit standards, you may qualify for an unsecured auto loan with an APR starting at 3.09%, a home improvement loan with an APR as low as 4.99%, or a debt consolidation loan with an APR starting at 5.89%. Your rate may differ based on the loan amount, term and your credit profile.

LightStream recognizes that a loan to pay off existing debt is inherently riskier than, say, one for buying a new car, says Todd Nelson, the company’s business development officer.

Rate beat program: LightStream says it will beat a competitor’s interest rate by 0.10 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.

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.

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

Loan example: A borrower with excellent credit who takes out a $30,000 loan with a repayment term of 48 months at 13.9% APR would make monthly payments of $774, according to NerdWallet’s personal loan calculator.

How Lightstream compares




3.09% to 14.24% (autopay)

Loan amounts

$5,000 - $100,000

Loan terms

2 to 7 years

Best for

Good credit, debt consolidation, home improvement


6.0% - 15.0%

Loan amounts

$5,000 - $100,000

Loan terms

3 to 7 years

Best for

Good credit, high income, debt consolidation


5.49% - 18.24%

Loan amounts

$5,000 - $75,000

Loan terms

3 to 5 years

Best for

Good credit, short credit history

Compare rates on NerdWallet. Click to see estimated rates from multiple lenders.

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.

NerdWallet recommends comparing loans to find the best rate for you. Click the button below to see estimated rates from multiple lenders on NerdWallet.

Before you shop for a personal loan:

Updated March 13, 2018.

Personal Loans Ratings Methodology

NerdWallet’s ratings for personal loans awards points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks, no origination fees, payment options, short time to funding, interest rate caps of 36%, and absence of prepayment penalties. Features are considered for their positive impact on consumers’ credit history and financial health. We only review 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.

5 stars out of 5— Among the very best for consumer-friendly features

4.5 stars out of 5— Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features

4 stars out of 5— Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features

3.5 stars out of 5— Good; may not offer something important to you

3 stars out of 5— Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features

2.5 stars out of 5— Poor; proceed with great caution

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