LightStream Personal Loans: 2020 Review

Low rates and high loan amounts make LightStream an ideal option for borrowers with strong credit looking to consolidate debt or start a home improvement project.

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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: LightStream targets strong-credit borrowers with no fees and low rates that vary based on loan purpose.

Best Personal Loan for Good Credit, Best Personal Loan for Home Improvement, Best Personal Loan for Fast Funding

Lightstream

on LightStream's website

on LightStream's website

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

5.49 - 20.49%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No fees.

  • Low starting rates.

  • Rate discount for autopay.

Cons

  • Does not offer pre-qualification on its website.

  • Requires several years of credit history.

Compare to Other Lenders

Lightstream
SoFi
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Est. APR

5.49 - 20.49%

Est. APR

5.99 - 16.19%

Est. APR

6.99 - 19.99%

Loan Term

2 to 7 years

Loan Term

2 to 7 years

Loan Term

3 to 6 years

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

Loan Amount

$3,500 - $40,000

Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Credit Score

680

Min. Credit Score

690

Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

Compare Rates

Full 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.

In December 2019, SunTrust Bank merged with BB&T Bank to form Truist Financial Corporation.

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 or boat purchase, and medical and dental costs.

Starting interest rates are low — around 5% if you use autopay — and vary based on the loan purpose, term, amount and your credit profile. LightStream reports payments to all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Borrowers can pick their payment date when they accept a loan offer, but the company doesn't charge a late fee.

Best for: NerdWallet recognizes LightStream among our list of best personal loans in the categories of good credit, home improvement and fast funding.

How to qualify: 

LightStream doesn't have many hard requirements, but it caters to good- and excellent-credit borrowers. The lender includes a snapshot on its website of characteristics shared by borrowers who fit LightStream's expectations for "good credit" and "excellent credit."

The company says it's looking for a high or very high likelihood that a borrower will repay the loan on time. Here are some things LightStream looks for when making that decision:

  • Minimum credit score of 660.

  • 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.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio varies depending on your existing assets and the reason you're getting a loan.

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 starting around 5%.

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

No fees: LightStream has no fees, including origination fees or prepayment penalty fees.

Hard credit check: LightStream displays APR 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 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.

Before you shop for a personal loan

Pre-qualify on NerdWallet

NerdWallet recommends comparing loans to find the best rate for you. Click the button below to pre-qualify on NerdWallet. You may receive personalized rates from multiple lenders that partner with us, including LightStream. Pre-qualifying will not impact your credit.

Apply on LightStream

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.

on LightStream's website

Personal Loans Rating Methodology

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.