LightStream Personal Loans: 2022 Review

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

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Our Take


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.

Est. APR
Loan amount
Min. credit score
Get rate

on LightStream's website

Pros & Cons


  • No fees.
  • Competitive rates among online lenders.
  • Offers 0.5 percentage point rate discount for setting up autopay.
  • Special features including rate beat program and satisfaction guarantee.


  • 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

Lending Club
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Est. APR


Est. APR


Est. APR


Loan term

2 to 7 years

Loan term

2 to 7 years

Loan term

3 to 5 years

Loan amount


Loan amount


Loan amount


Min. credit score


Min. credit score


Min. credit score


Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

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Full Review of LightStream

LightStream offers personal loans 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.

LightStream is best for borrowers who:

  • Have good or excellent credit (690 FICO or higher) and several years of credit history.

  • Are considering a personal loan for home improvement.

  • Want a large loan at a competitive rate.

LightStream at a glance

Minimum credit score



4.99% - 19.99%.


No fees.

Loan amount

$5,000 to $100,000.

Repayment terms

2 to 7 years. 12 years on home improvement loans.

Time to fund after approval

1 business day.

Loan availability

Loans are available in all states and Washington D.C.

Key terms to know about personal loans

Annual percentage rate

Annual percentage rate is the interest rate on your loan plus all fees, calculated on an annual basis and expressed as a percentage. Use the APR to compare loan costs from multiple lenders.

Origination fee

An origination fee is a one-time, upfront fee that some lenders charge for processing a loan. The fee can range from 1% to 10% of the loan amount, and lenders typically deduct it from your loan proceeds.

Debt-to-income ratio

The debt-to-income ratio divides your total monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income, giving you a percentage. Lenders use DTI — along with credit history and other factors — to evaluate a borrower's financial ability to repay a loan.

Soft credit check

Lenders that offer pre-qualification typically do so using a soft credit check, which allows you to see rates and terms you qualify for without affecting your credit score. If you accept the loan offer, the lender will perform a hard check to confirm your information. Hard checks knock a few points off your credit score.

Where LightStream stands out

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 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, 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.

Where LightStream falls short

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.

How to qualify for a LightStream loan

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Several years of credit history.

  • Multiple account types within your credit history, like major 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.

Loan example: A four-year, $20,000 loan with an 11.2% APR would cost $519 in monthly payments. You’d pay $4,905 in total interest on that 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

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


NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. 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 more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

Frequently asked questions