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LightStream Personal Loans Review for 2021
LightStream at a glance
|In business since||1973 (SunTrust Bank)|
|Best for||Borrowers with good to excellent credit and well-established credit history.|
|Not for||First-time borrowersPeople trying to rebuild creditStudents looking to finance/refinance college expenses|
|Standout features||Direct 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.
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.
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 ]
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
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
How to apply for a LightStream personal loan
- Navigate to the LightStream application page and read the basic requirements.
- Fill out loan information and purpose.
- Complete the personal information section.
- Complete security information and create an online account.
- Confirm your information and submit the application.
- Once approved, funding time ranges from same-day to within 30 days of approval.
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.
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.
We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the personal loans we recommend. Contact us at email@example.com with comments or questions.