LightStream Personal Loans Review for 2020

LightStream is the French Polynesian getaway of personal loans — unique in style, amenities and support, but you’ll need good credit to enjoy the service.

APR Range
2.49%–19.99% w/AutoPay
Loan Amount
$5K–$100K
Term
24–84 months
SimpleScore
4.8 / 5.0
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SimpleScore LightStream 4.8
Rates 5
Loan Size 5
Customer Satisfaction 4
Support 5
Fees 5
LightStream Disclosure

Disclaimer: Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay may be higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice.

Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 4.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $299.66

© 2020 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust, Truist, LightStream, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.

LightStream offers personal loans at low-interest rates. Though it’s the lending arm of SunTrust Bank (soon to be Truist Bank), its loan offerings are open to anyone in the U.S.

LightStream does cater more toward borrowers with excellent credit indicated through the $100,000 borrow limit and credit history requirements. If you can cross that threshold, then the process to access a personal loan is easy — giving you access to funds for anything from weddings, medical bills, home improvements, debt consolidation and auto loans.

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In this article

    LightStream at a glance

    In business since1973 (SunTrust Bank)
    APR3.49%–20.49%
    Loan Amount$5K–$100K
    Best forBorrowers with good to excellent credit and well-established credit history.
    Not forFirst-time borrowersPeople trying to rebuild creditStudents looking to finance/refinance college expenses
    Standout featuresDirect funding from a big bankSupports American ForestsCOVID-19 relief support

    What we like about Lightstream

    Loans for anything

    What stands out in our LightStream loan reviews is the fact that you finance practically anything — with a few exceptions, of course. If you qualify, you can borrow money for things like home improvement projects, vehicle loans, medical loans, PreK-12 education, recreation loans, certain debt consolidations and much more.

    Online convenience

    It’s extremely convenient that everything — from application to signing your loan — is done online, with the direct financial backing of Truist Bank. This means your application and funding gets a quick underwriting and turnaround. Most accounts get funded the same day or no later than 30 days from qualification.

    Loan guarantees

    LightStream stands out from other lenders with its Loan Experience Guarantee. If you are not satisfied with your loan within the first 30 days after receiving your loan, LightStream will send you $100. 

    Additionally, its Rate Beat Program offers 0.10% off your LightStream APR if a competing lender offers you a lower rate for the same amount and terms. This makes it easier to negotiate a better rate with your lender if LightStream is serious about your business.

    [ Read: Best Debt Consolidation Loans for 2020

    Things to consider

    Hard to qualify

    LightStream does not specify a minimum credit score on its website, but it does say you must have good credit to qualify for a loan. This puts LightStream loans out of reach for first-time borrowers looking to build credit and those trying to rebuild credit. If this is the case for you, there are other lenders available that cater to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit.

    No preapproval options

    LightStream does not have a pre-approval process. It will make a hard inquiry on your credit report with TransUnion or Equifax to check your eligibility for a personal loan. This may negatively impact your credit scores, so figure out ahead of time if you’re a good candidate for a LightStream loan before applying.

    [ Read: Understanding Credit Scores ]

    Loan restrictions

    While you may use a LightStream loan to finance practically anything, there are a few loan restrictions, including mortgage loans, loans for buying stocks, bonds, options or contributing to retirement or college loans. You also may not use a LightStream loan to refinance an existing LightStream loan.

    Lightstream personal loans vs. the competition

    Marcus by Goldman Sachs

    SimpleScore: 5/5

    LightStream and Marcus by Goldman Sachs both offer no-fee, low-rate personal loans to borrowers with excellent credit. If you’re looking for a smaller loan, Marcus’ minimum loan amounts start at $3,500 with maximum amounts of up to $40,000. However, LightStream charms borrowers with longer terms and the ability to reduce APR with an autopay discount. If you’re not sure about your credit score, Marcus lets you do a soft-pull credit check before qualifying for a loan. Read our full Marcus by Goldman Sachs review to learn more.

    Discover 

    SimpleScore: 4.4/5

    Similar to how LightStream is structured, a Discover personal loan lets you finance a wide variety of life situations with a fixed-rate loan and flexible repayment terms. However, qualified borrowers are limited to loans ranging from $2,500 to $35,000, with interest rates starting at 6.99%. If you have good, or even excellent credit, you could find much lower rates and better terms through LightStream. Read our full Discover review to learn more about its personal loan products.

    Payoff

    SimpleScore: 4.5/5 

    If all you need is a credit card consolidation loan, Payoff may be a better alternative to LightStream because it’s easier to qualify, and Payoff works with multiple lending partners. Comparable to LightStream, Payoff offers low-interest, fixed-rate loans, but you can only use it to pay off credit card debt. Rates start at 5.99% with loans from $5,000 to $40,000 with two and five-year terms. Read our full Payoff review to learn more about credit card consolidation.

    [ Read: Best Loans for Bad Credit 2020 ]

    How much does a Lightstream personal loan cost?

    LightStream doesn’t charge fees or prepayment penalties. Borrowers can make extra payments or pay off a loan at any time, thus negating interest payments.

    If you qualify for a LightStream loan, this attractive feature lets you save money during the application process and throughout the life of the loan.

    [ Read: Best Personal Loans for 2020 ]

    How to apply for a LightStream personal loan

    1. Navigate to the LightStream application page and read the basic requirements.
    2. Fill out loan information and purpose.
    3. Complete the personal information section.
    4. Complete security information and create an online account.
    5. Confirm your information and submit the application.
    6. Once approved, funding time ranges from same-day to within 30 days of approval.

    [ Read: Pros and Cons of Taking Out a Personal Loan ]

    Cheaper alternatives to Lightstream personal loans

    If you have good credit and a strong credit history, a LightStream personal loan may be your cheapest option. However, make sure you’re getting the best possible rate by shopping around with other lenders before you commit to any loan or hard-inquiry check. If you don’t think you can qualify for a loan based on our LightStream review, there are cheaper loan alternatives through Sofi and Discover personal loans. Both have no fees, perform soft credit pulls to check rates and comparable APRs.

    [ Read: Hard Inquiries and Soft Pulls on Your Credit Report: What’s the Difference? ]

    Lightstream in the news

    • On December 6, 2019, Truist announced the completion of its $66 billion merger between SunTrust Banks, Inc. and BB&T Corporation. This merger made Truist the sixth-largest bank in the U.S.
    • On June 13, 2019, CNBC ran a story about how the combined banks, SunTrust and BB&T, had agreed on a new name during the process of its merger. The name, Truist, was already being met with mixed reviews.

    Truist announced its pledge to commit an additional $25 million to its COVID-19 Truist Cares initiative (a total of $50 million) on May 20, 2020. The funding provides resources to underserved communities, clients and teammates.

    Check Your Personal Loan Rates

    Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. It’s quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

    Get Started

    with our trusted partners at Bankrate.com

    Last updated October 1, 2020  — Updated SimpleScore data and LightStream’s review.
    We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the personal loans we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

    Methodology

    SimpleScore

    The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

    For every review, our editorial team:

    • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
    • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
    • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore

    Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best personal loans of 2020.

    Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

    To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

    However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple SimpleScores. For instance, if we compare NetCredit’s personal loans according to our criteria for the best personal loans, it scores a 2.3 out of 5. But when we compare NetCredit according to the criteria for the best bad credit personal loans, it scores considerably higher, since the criteria for the latter review are more lenient (lenders who serve borrowers with bad credit will always offer higher rates, so we needed to adjust our category methodology to account for different industry standards).

    Questions about our methodology?

    Email Hayley Armstrong at hayley@thesimpledollar.com.

    Rates

    We looked at the maximum APR for each lender — the lower their maximum rate, the higher their score.

    Loan Size

    We awarded higher scores to lenders with more generous loan sizes.

    Customer Satisfaction

    We leveraged the J.D. Power 2019 Personal Loan Satisfaction Study℠ to see how customers rated their experience with each lender. (If a lender wasn’t included in J.D. Power’s study, we skipped this aspect and averaged the four remaining aspect scores.)

    Support

    We awarded higher scores to lenders with the most channels for customer support.

    Fees

    We looked at the three most common fees — origination, late payment, and pre-payment — and penalized lenders for each fee charged.

    Christine Renee

    Contributing Writer

    Christine C. Renee is a personal finance writer who enjoys delving into money topics like budgeting and fintech. She has been published in Careful Cents, Investor Junkie, and Money Mini Blog. When not writing, she uses her bachelor’s degree in business admin to help micro-businesses and solopreneurs manage time and money. On her days off, you may find her with a book on information technology and security.

    Reviewed by

    • Courtney Mihocik
      Courtney Mihocik

      Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in insurance, personal finance, and loans. Previously, she wrote and edited for Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, Ballantyne Magazine, Thread Magazine, The Post, ACRN, The New Political, Columbus Alive and the Institute for International Journalism.