LightStream Personal Loans: 2022 Review

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

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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.

Lightstream
Est. APR
4.99-19.99%
Loan amount
$5,000-$100,000
Min. credit score
660
Get rate

on LightStream's website

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No fees.
  • Rate discount for autopay.
  • Long repayment terms on home improvement loans.
  • Rate Beat program and Experience Guarantee.

Cons

  • No option to pre-qualify on its website.
  • Requires several years of credit history.
  • No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

Compare to Other Lenders

Lightstream
SoFi
Lending Club
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Est. APR

4.99-19.99%

Est. APR

7.99-22.73%

Est. APR

6.34-35.89%

Loan term

2 to 7 years

Loan term

2 to 7 years

Loan term

3 to 5 years

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Loan amount

$1,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

660

Min. credit score

680

Min. credit score

600

Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

Compare Rates

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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.

Table of Contents

LightStream personal loans at a glance

Minimum credit score

660.

APR

4.99% - 19.99%.

Fees

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.

Disclosure from LightStream

Rates quoted are with AutoPay. Your loan terms are not guaranteed and may vary based on loan purpose, length of loan, loan amount, credit history and payment method (AutoPay or Invoice). AutoPay discount is only available when selected prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. To obtain a loan, you must complete an application on LightStream.com which may affect your credit score. You may be required to verify income, identity and other stated application information. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $25,000 loan at 4.98% APR with a term of 20 years would result in 240 monthly payments of $164.71. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2022 Truist Financial Corporation. Truist, LightStream, and the LightStream logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

Where LightStream personal loans stand out

Low rates and no fees: LightStream offers low starting rates that 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 lower 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 of 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 the borrower more time to coordinate the remodel without additional interest.

Rate Beat program: LightStream says it will beat a competitor’s interest rate by 0.10 percentage points if you can show you are approved by the competitor for an unsecured, fixed-rate loan with the same terms.

Experience 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 personal loans fall short

Applicants can’t pre-qualify directly: LightStream’s online loan calculator displays example rates based on your desired loan purpose and loan amount, but the lender does not allow applicants to pre-qualify directly from its website. However, applicants can pre-qualify with a soft credit check 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 must allocate their loan funds to pay off creditors on their own.

Limited customer service options: Prospective applicants with 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 for customer service.

How to qualify for a LightStream personal 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.

LightStream prefers borrowers with good to excellent credit scores; its average borrower’s credit score is around 770. The lender doesn't disclose its average borrower’s debt-to-income ratio, income, loan amount or APR.

Before you apply

  • Check your credit. You can get your free credit report on NerdWallet or at AnnualCreditReport.com. Doing so will help you spot and fix any errors before you apply.

  • Calculate your monthly payments. Use a personal loan calculator to determine what APR and repayment term you’d need to get a loan with affordable monthly payments.

  • Make a plan to repay the loan. Review your budget to see how the loan’s monthly payments impact your cash flow. If you have to cut other expenses in order to repay the loan, it’s better to know that before you borrow.

  • Gather your documents. LightStream requires proof of income, which can be a W-2 or paystub, as well as proof of address and a Social Security number. Having these documents handy can speed the application process.

How to apply for a LightStream personal loan

LightStream does not offer pre-qualification, so borrowers can’t preview their rate before applying.

  1. Input loan information on LightStream’s website. You’ll be asked if this is a joint or individual loan application, how much you want to borrow, your preferred loan term in months, and what the funds are for. You’ll be able to preview a monthly payment and APR range.

  2. Provide personal details. Next, you’ll provide personal information like your name, birthdate and address, as well as information about your income, employment and whether you own your home.

  3. Submit an application. Complete and submit the formal personal loan application. This could require more documents, like W-2s, pay stubs and bank statements, to confirm the information you gave. LightStream will also do a hard credit check when you apply, so your credit score could temporarily dip.

  4. Make a plan to repay the loan. LightStream reports payments to all three major credit bureaus, so on-time payments will help build your credit score, but missed payments will hurt it. Setting up automatic payments and keeping an eye on your budget are two ways to manage your loan payments.

Compare LightStream with other lenders

Personal loan lenders offer different rates, loan amounts and special features, so it pays to weigh offers from multiple lenders. The best personal loan is the one with the lowest annual percentage rate and most affordable monthly payments.

LightStream and Marcus are both options for borrowers with good to excellent credit. Online lender SoFi has higher starting APRs, but offers unique customer perks.

LightStream vs. Marcus

For borrowers with good to excellent credit, LightStream and Marcus by Goldman Sachs are both options, and neither lender has fees. LightStream offers a wider loan range, with loans up to $100,000, while Marcus caps loans at $40,000. Marcus also has a shorter loan repayment term, with a maximum of six years.

LightStream vs. SoFi

Like LightStream, SoFi offers loans from $5,000 to $100,000 and does not charge any fees. Its APR range is higher, however, which means SoFi’s loans may be more expensive. Unlike LightStream, SoFi offers perks like financial planning and career advice. It also has unemployment protection for borrowers who lose their job and are in good standing with their loan.

How we rate LightStream personal loans

NerdWallet writers rate lenders against a rubric that changes each year based on how personal loan products evolve. Here’s what we prioritized this year:

Category

Star rating

Affordability

Transparency

Loan flexibility

Customer experience

Overall

Category definitions

Affordability An affordable loan has low rates and fees compared to other similar loans and may offer rate discounts. Transparency A transparent lender makes information about the loan easy to find on its website, including rates, terms and loan amounts. Transparency also means allowing users to pre-qualify online to preview potential loan offers and reporting payment information with the major credit bureaus. Loan flexibility A flexible loan is one that lets users customize terms and payments. That means offering a wide range of repayment term options, allowing the borrower to change their payment date, offering loans in most states and funding it quickly. Customer experience A good customer experience can include a fully online application process, financial education on the lender’s website and a customer service team that’s available most of the time and can be reached multiple ways.

Ready to apply? Select "Get Rate" and head to LightStream's website to pre-qualify.

on LightStream's website

Methodology

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