LightStream Auto Loans: 2020 Review

LightStream provides low-rate auto loans for purchases and refinancing, but only for borrowers with good credit.

Philip ReedAugust 25, 2020

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Auto loan reviews

LightStream
  • Auto loan refinancing

  • Auto purchase loan

The bottom line: LightStream is a good fit for those with excellent credit looking to buy a new or used car — either from a dealer or private party — or to finance a classic car, buy out a lease or refinance an existing loan.

Auto loan refinancing review

LightStream
Learn More

on LightStream's website

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

3.99 - 9.99%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

Pros

  • Low starting rates.
  • Available in all 50 states.
  • No vehicle or mileage restrictions.

Cons

  • Hard credit check required.
  • High minimum credit score required.

Best for borrowers with good credit looking for fast refinancing with maximum flexibility.

Full Review

To review LightStream, NerdWallet collected and compared more than 15 data points against other lenders that seek the same customer or offer a similar product.

LightStream, an online lending division of SunTrust Bank, offers auto loan refinancing and financing for auto lease buyouts, in addition to loans for new and used dealer purchases, private party purchases and classic cars.

LightStream auto loan refinancing may be a good fit for those who:

  • Have excellent credit. LightStream has a high minimum credit score requirement and offers low rates for borrowers with excellent credit (720 FICO and up).

  • Want fast funding. After loan approval, funds can be available as fast as the same day.

  • Like maximum flexibility. LightStream has no vehicle restrictions on make, model or mileage. Good credit customers may qualified for an unsecured loan that does not require a lien on the vehicle.

LightStream review details

LightStream is tailored to customers with strong credit and income — even promising to beat some competitors’ rates to get those customers. But loan decisions aren’t based on credit score alone. The company says it also looks closely at credit history, assets, savings and other information that may provide insights into the applicant’s finances.

LightStream requires a hard credit pull upfront, which can slightly lower your credit score. So applicants should be prepared to accept a loan, and not just casually shop rates.

LightStream offers the same loan amounts for its auto refinance loan as it does for purchases.

  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $100,000.

  • Minimum monthly income: None.

  • Maximum vehicle mileage: None.

  • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: None.

LightStream auto loan rates

LightStream’s best rates are available only if you have excellent credit. If your credit is less than top-tier, your interest rate will be higher, which means your monthly payment will be more and, over time, you’ll pay more interest.

However, LightStream has a rather narrow band of interest rates because of its focus on customers with excellent credit.

Customers with excellent credit may be offered an unsecured loan that does not require a lien on the vehicle.

Applying to LightStream

  • Loan offers are good for up to 30 days; applicants are not obligated to accept.

  • No application or late payment fee.

  • Co-signers allowed.

  • Once you accept an offer, funds can be directly deposited within one business day (if all documents are completed by 2:30 p.m. ET).

LightStream restrictions

  • Loan terms: 24 to 84 months. (NerdWallet doesn’t recommend loans over 60 months.)

  • No restrictions on vehicle age/mileage.

  • Available in all 50 states.

  • Online applications only (no email, fax or telephone applications).

More from LightStream

LightStream offers personal loans as well as financing for things like weddings, swimming pools, boats, horses and horse trailers and home improvement.

LightStream has a customer satisfaction guarantee: $100 back if you’re not satisfied with your experience after receiving a loan. The company also says it will beat a competitor’s interest rate by one-tenth of a percentage point (0.10) if your competing offer meets certain requirements.

How does this loan compare?

LightStream
Ally Clearlane
Consumers Credit Union
Learn MoreLearn MoreLearn More
Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Credit Score

580

Min. Credit Score

620

Est. APR

3.99 - 9.99%

Est. APR

3.99 - 7.74%

Est. APR

2.69 - 21.24%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

Loan Amount

$10,000 - $80,000

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $150,000

Auto purchase loan review

LightStream
Learn More

on LightStream's website

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

3.99 - 9.99%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

Pros

  • Low starting rates.
  • Available in all 50 states.
  • No vehicle or mileage restrictions.

Cons

  • Hard credit check required.
  • High minimum credit score required.

Best for borrowers with good credit looking for a no-hassle loan from a well-known bank.

Full Review

To review LightStream, NerdWallet collected more than 15 data points from the lender, and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar product.

LightStream provides a full spectrum of auto loans to borrowers with strong credit and healthy finances. An online lending division of SunTrust Bank, LightStream offers auto loans for new and used dealer purchases, private party purchases, refinancing, classic cars, lease buyouts and unsecured loans.

LightStream may be a good fit for those who:

  • Have excellent credit. LightStream has a high minimum credit score requirement and offers low rates for borrowers with excellent credit (720 FICO and up).

  • Want fast funding. After loan approval, funds can be available as fast as the same day.

  • Like maximum flexibility. LightStream has no vehicle restrictions on make, model or mileage.

LightStream review details

LightStream is tailored to customers with strong credit and income — even promising to beat some competitors’ rates to get those customers. But loan decisions aren’t based on credit score alone. The company says it also looks closely at credit history, assets, savings and other information that may provide insights into the applicant’s finances.

LightStream requires a hard credit pull upfront, which can slightly lower your credit score. So applicants should be prepared to accept a loan, and not just casually shop rates.

LightStream purchase loans

LightStream provides loans for new and used dealer purchases, as well as private party purchases and lease buyouts. It offers the same loan amounts as its auto refinance loan, but rates and terms vary by the type of product.

  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $100,000.

  • Minimum monthly income: None.

  • Maximum vehicle mileage: None.

  • Maximum loan-to-value ratio: None.

LightStream auto loan rates

LightStream’s best rates are available only if you have excellent credit. If your credit is less than top-tier, your interest rate will be higher, which means your monthly payment will be more and, over time, you’ll pay more interest.

However, LightStream has a rather narrow band of interest rates because of its focus on customers with excellent credit.

Loan example: For a super-prime borrower (FICO score between 781 to 850), a $20,000 car loan with a repayment term of 36 months and an interest rate of 4% would carry monthly payments of $590, according to NerdWallet’s auto loan calculator.

Applying to LightStream

  • Loan offers are good for up to 30 days; applicants are not obligated to accept.

  • No application or late payment fee.

  • Co-signers allowed.

  • Once you accept an offer, funds can be directly deposited within one business day (if all documents are completed by 2:30 p.m. ET).

LightStream restrictions

  • Loan terms: 24 to 84 months. (NerdWallet doesn’t recommend loans over 60 months.)

  • No restrictions on vehicle age/mileage.

  • Available in all 50 states.

  • Online applications only (no email, fax or telephone applications).

More from LightStream

LightStream offers personal loans as well as financing for things like weddings, swimming pools, boats, horses and horse trailers and home improvement.

LightStream has a customer satisfaction guarantee: $100 back if you’re not satisfied with your experience after receiving a loan. The company also says it will beat a competitor’s interest rate by one-tenth of a percentage point (0.10) if your competing offer meets certain requirements.

Frequently asked questions