LightStream Personal Loans: 2023 Review
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Pros & Cons
- No fees.
- Rate discount for autopay.
- Long repayment terms.
- Rate Beat program and Experience Guarantee.
- No option to pre-qualify on its website.
- No direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
- High minimum loan amount.
Compare to Other Lenders
Full Review of LightStream
LightStream offers unsecured personal loans with no fees for borrowers with good to excellent credit (scores above 690). Loans are available in a wide range of amounts, and borrowers can add a co-borrower to help qualify for a higher loan amount or lower interest rate.
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 90 days after approval for home improvement loans. Scheduling a later fund date allows time to plan for your first payment or align your loan with the expenses you need to cover.
» COMPARE: Best personal loans
Table of Contents
LightStream personal loans at a glance
Minimum credit score
8.49% - 25.49%.
$5,000 to $100,000.
2 to 12 years depending on the loan purpose.
Time to fund after approval
Loans available in all states.
- 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 $10,000 loan at 7.99% APR with a term of 5 years would result in 60 monthly payments of $202.72. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2023 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
Rate discount and no fees: LightStream offers a rate discount of .50 percentage points if borrowers opt for automatic loan payments from a bank account. The lender also doesn't charge fees for loan origination, late payments or prepayment, unlike other online lenders.
Term availability: LightStream’s wide window of available repayment terms (two to 12 years, depending on loan purpose and amount) allows borrowers 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 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.
» MORE: Best home improvement loans
Rate Beat program and Experience Guarantee: 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. The lender also offers $100 back for unhappy borrowers who have had their loan for less than 30 days and complete a questionnaire about their experience.
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.
» MORE: Best debt consolidation loans
High minimum loan amount: LightStream loans start at $5,000, which may be too high for borrowers looking to fund a small project or expense.
» MORE: Best online loans
Do you qualify for a LightStream personal loan?
LightStream prefers borrowers with good to excellent credit scores; its average borrower credit score is 727. Having a high credit score doesn’t guarantee approval; qualifying applicants must also have the following:
Minimum credit score: 660, but can depend on the loan purpose.
Several years of credit history with multiple account types like credit cards, installment loans and a mortgage.
Strong payment history with few or no delinquencies.
Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 50%.
Investments, retirement savings or other evidence of an ability to save money.
Enough income to pay existing debts and a new LightStream loan.
Applicants must also be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have a U.S. bank account.
The lender doesn't disclose its average borrower income, repayment term or APR, but the average loan amount is $25,000.
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 up 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.
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.
Provide personal details. Next, you’ll provide personal information like your name, address and Social Security number, as well as information about your income, employment and assets you may have.
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.
Make a plan to repay the loan. LightStream reports payments to all three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), 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 to 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.
SoFi and Discover are online lenders like LightStream, but they let borrowers pre-qualify to see potential loan rates and terms before applying for a loan.
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 jobs and are in good standing with their loans.
» MORE: Read our review of SoFi
LightStream vs. Discover
For borrowers with good to excellent credit, Discover is a strong option to consider alongside LightStream. Discover offers similar rates and no origination fee. Unlike LightStream, Discover offers direct payment to creditors with its debt consolidation loans, which can simplify the process. However, borrowers needing large sums for a home improvement project or other big expense may find LightStream’s large loan amounts a better fit.
» MORE: Read our review of Discover
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 definitions
Affordability (30%) An affordable loan has low rates and fees compared to other similar loans and may offer rate discounts.
Underwriting and eligibility (25%) The lender reviews borrowers credit reports and credit history, and tries to understand their ability to repay a loan, before making a final application decision.
Loan flexibility (20%) 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 (15%) 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.
Transparency (10%) 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.
Ready to apply? Select "Get Rate" and head to LightStream's website.
NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 technology companies and financial institutions. We collect over 50 data points from each lender and cross-check company websites, earnings reports and other public documents to confirm product details. We may also go through a lender’s pre-qualification flow and follow up with company representatives. 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. Our ratings award fewer points to lenders with practices that may make a loan difficult to repay on time, such as charging high annual percentage rates (above 36%), underwriting that does not adequately assess consumers’ ability to repay and lack of credit-building help. 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.
Frequently asked questions
- How long does it take to be approved by LightStream?
LightStream can approve your personal loan application the same day you submit it, as long as you provide all the required information.
- What kind of credit score do you need for LightStream?
The minimum credit score required to apply for a LightStream personal loan is 660, but it varies depending on the loan purpose. Borrowers with good or excellent credit are most likely to qualify.
- Is LightStream a legit company?
LightStream is the online lending arm of Truist Bank. It offers personal loans for borrowers with good or excellent credit.