LightStream Personal Loans: 2021 Review

LightStream offers consumer-friendly features and loans large enough to cover big expenses like home improvement projects.
Jackie VelingSep 7, 2021

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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet 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.

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

Lightstream

on LightStream's website

on LightStream's website

Min. Credit Score

660

Est. APR

4.49 - 20.49%

Loan Amount

$5,000 - $100,000

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No fees.
  • Competitive rates among online lenders.
  • Rate discount for autopay.
  • Special features including rate beat program and satisfaction guarantee.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify on its website.
  • Requires several years of credit history.
  • Doesn't offer direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Compare to Other Lenders

Lightstream
SoFi
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Est. APR

4.49 - 20.49%

Est. APR

4.99 - 19.63%

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

660

Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

Compare Rates

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Full Review

LightStream, the online lending arm of Truist Bank, offers with low rates and no fees for borrowers with good to excellent credit.

Among its many consumer-friendly features, LightStream allows borrowers to choose when they receive their money. It can deposit funds into 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.

» COMPARE:

Low rates and no fees: LightStream offers low starting rates, but they vary based on loan amount, purpose, repayment term and the applicant’s credit profile, according to the lender. Excellent credit is required to receive the lowest rates, and borrowers who choose autopay can receive a rate discount of 0.5 percentage points.

LightStream also doesn't charge fees for loan origination, late payments or prepayment.

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 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, which 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 if you can show you are approved by the competitor for an unsecured, fixed-rate loan with the same terms.

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.

» MORE:

Hard credit check: LightStream’s loan calculator displays example rates based on your desired loan purpose and loan amount, but the lender only offers a hard pull to applications that originate on its website. However, it uses a soft credit check to pre-qualify applicants through NerdWallet.

No direct payment to creditors: Unlike other lenders, LightStream doesn't 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: Applicants who have questions are directed to an email form on LightStream’s website. According to the lender, once you become a customer, you are provided a phone number to contact customer service.

» MORE:

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.

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.

You can fill out an application on LightStream’s website. After entering some personal information, you’ll be presented with loan options.

on LightStream's website

Personal Loans Rating Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 30 lenders. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.

Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.

This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read our editorial guidelines.