LightStream Personal Loans Review for 2020

This page includes analysis of our favorite cards from The Simple Dollar's advertisers and the marketplace. Visit our advertiser disclosure to learn more.

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. With a promise to beat competitor rates and a fast and easy online approval process, LightStream personal loans are very attractive.

Check Your Personal Loan Rates

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

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.

LightStream at a glance

Min Loan Max Loan APR as low as Terms Key Benefit
LightStream $5,000 $100,000 5.95% 2 – 7 years Low rates no fees

What we like about it

LightStream offers a low APR starting at just 5.95% but only for certain borrowers and loan types. What it offers every qualifier however is the ability to decrease the APR by 0.50% if you set up autopay. That 0.50% can make a big difference especially if you are looking to borrow a larger sum, which LightStream certainly gives its members the ability to do.

With a LightStream’s generous loan limit of $100,000, there’s plenty of room for borrowers to cover whatever they need. Even with such a high borrow limit, funds can be received quickly — sometimes in as little as one day. Whether you need money for a motorcycle, debt consolidation, or dental care, this fast turnaround time helps to make the entire process more pleasant.

But even the grunt work of going through a loan application itself isn’t unpleasant with LightStream. The application, which is done exclusively online, is fast and easy to understand. What’s particularly simple is its fee structure – because there isn’t one.

There are no fees at all. No origination fees, no late fees, and no penalties, nothing. This gives you far less to worry about during the lifetime of your loan and a more satisfying loan experience overall.
However, if you do become unsatisfied with your loan during the first 30-days of being approved, LightStream will send you $100 to help compensate.

Advertiser Disclosure

Things to consider

Getting all the perks LightStream offers isn’t easy as not everyone can get approved. LightStream requires a minimum credit score is 660, but that’s certainly not the only factor taken into consideration. Ultimately, the lender looks for people with a combination of stable income, excellent credit and decent credit history.

Those requirements nudge out people looking to build credit or are just getting started on their credit journey. Furthermore, the lender’s minimum loan amount of $5,000 keeps away those seeking smaller loan amounts. If you have less than perfect credit, a there are plenty of bad credit loan options available through other lenders.

If you are looking to borrow at least $5,000 and you think you meet LightStream’s requirements, the last thing you need to take into consideration is the fact that LightStream does not offer any sort of prequalification program. A hard credit inquiry must be pulled to see if you’re approved. This hard inquiry will knock a few points off your credit score. A few points aren’t usually a big deal, but it can impact your rate for other financing offers you might want to look at down the road.

What you need to know about LightStream

Of course, there are a lot of other considerations at play as well — such as how much you wish to borrow between LightStream’s minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $100,000.

The borrowed amount will also drastically impact where someone falls on the APR range. Remember, the lowest rates are reserved for those who set up autopay and who have certain types of loans.

The APR of the loan is also dependent upon the term you choose. Generally longer terms correlate with higher interest rates. With LightStream you can obtain a loan term as short as 24 months, and as long as 144. If you want the lowest rate, the maximum term you can take is usually 36 months. This isn’t a hard-set rule as everything is dependent on your own personal financial situation, but it’s still useful in estimating where you stand in terms of getting the best rate.

When you do take loan amount, desired APR, and loan term all into consideration it can feel a bit complicated, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What that means is that LightStream loans are extremely versatile and can be crafted to fit your needs.

Of course, what’s available to you is all contingent on getting approved. Thankfully the application process is easy. Done entirely online, it takes just a few minutes. Gaining access to funds is also fast and can happen within the same day of approval. This makes the whole process relatively painless.

In order to help smooth out any issues that might occur during the application process, LightStream also offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy about the service within 30 days of getting approved, LightStream will send you $100.

LightStream fees and penalties

There are zero fees and prepayment penalties for people who qualify for a personal loan through LightStream, allowing borrowers to save money during the application process and over the life of the loan.

LightStream collateral and criteria

Lightstream offers both unsecured and secured loans. With secured loans, LightStream generally requires some form of hard asset such as a house, car, boat, deposit accounts or valuable asset. Unsecured loans however don’t require this collateral. They have a minimum APR of 5.95%. No matter the loan type, LightStream does not allow people to co-sign loans, but the lender does allow for joint applicants.

The easiest of which to understand is the minimum credit score of 660 (though a much higher one is certainly expected). As a whole, because LightStream loans can vary wildly, the other requirements are contingent on several conjoining factors.

In general, LightStream requires:

  • A lengthy credit history
  • Excellent credit
  • A consistent and sufficient income
  • Assets or cash on hand (except for unsecured loans)

Additionally, making sure any previous debt is paid down beforehand can also help increase your chances of being accepted for another loan.

Depending on the loan amount and the terms, some of these requirements will be weighed far more than others. The two weighed the most are generally the credit history and excellent credit standing.

LightStream doesn’t have a hard definition for “good history” or “excellent credit,” but LightStream does outline the key factors looked at to determine these things. For a lengthy credit history, LightStream looks for someone with 5 years or more of credit history (the more the better). Someone with excellent credit has varied account types, stable income, and few or zero delinquencies.

Advertiser Disclosure

The bottom Line

Although LightStream reserves its loans for the most creditworthy borrowers, the no fees, high loan limits and competitive APRs make this lender very attractive for many borrowers. However, due to its hard credit pull and no preapproval or pre-qualification process, it’s important to know for sure if LightStream will accept your application. If you feel on the fence about your creditworthiness in the eyes of LightStream, consider another lender with less strict eligibility criteria or work on improving your credit before applying.

Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view a list of partners, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser's page for terms & conditions.

Evan Manwell
Evan Manwell
Contributing Writer

Evan Manwell is a personal finance writer based out of Portland Oregon. He has worked closely with both banks and credit unions to write about personal loans, credit cards, student loans, cryptocurrencies and advances in fintech.