LightStream Personal Loans: 2021 Review

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

Jackie VelingApril 21, 2021
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

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.

Compare to Other Lenders

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

4.49 - 20.49%

Est. APR

5.99 - 18.85%

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

Get more smart money moves — straight to your inbox

Become a NerdWallet member, and we’ll send you tailored articles we think you’ll love.

Full Review

To review LightStream’s personal loans, NerdWallet collected more than 40 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. Loan terms and fees may vary by state.

LightStream, the online lending arm of Truist Bank, offers personal loans that can be used for almost any purpose, including debt consolidation, home improvement, auto or boat purchase and medical costs.

Starting interest rates for excellent-credit borrowers are low — around 5% if you use autopay — and vary based on the loan purpose, term, amount and your credit profile.

LightStream allows borrowers to choose when they’re funded. It can deposit funds in 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

Credit building

  • Pre-qualification available only through partners.

  • Reports payments to three credit bureaus.

Affordability

  • APRs are low among lenders targeting similar borrowers.

  • No fees.

  • Rate discount for autopayments.

Loan flexibility

  • No option to change payment due date.

  • Does not offer direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.

  • Funds loans the same day.

  • Available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Transparency

  • Clearly discloses rates, fees and terms on website.

Customer experience

  • Offers limited customer contact channels and hours.

  • Offers limited financial education.

Where LightStream stands out

No fees: LightStream does not charge an origination fee, late fee or prepayment penalty fee.

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. Interest starts accruing once the loan is funded. Delaying it 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, assuming you can show you are approved by the competitor for an unsecured, fixed-rate loan with the same amount, terms, 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.

Where LightStream falls short

Hard credit check: LightStream displays annual percentage rate 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.

No direct payment to creditors: Unlike other lenders, LightStream does not 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: Borrowers who have questions are directed to an email form on the lender’s website. LightStream does not provide a phone number, chat option or social media account to contact.

How to qualify for a LightStream loan

  • Minimum credit score: 690.

  • 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.

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.

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

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.