LightStream auto loans review
Quick car loans from $5,000 to $100,000 with Competitive rates for borrowers with strong credit.
finder.com’s rating: 4.4 / 5.0
Bottom line: Borrowers with good to excellent credit can get funding as fast as the same day.† But you’ll need to fill out a full application to see what rates and terms you qualify for — LightStream doesn’t offer a preapproval form.
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Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
LightStream is a solid choice if you meet its strict credit requirements — and have already applied for financing elsewhere. Its Rate Beat program§ may help you score a slightly lower rate, and LightStream offers one of the best autopay discounts around, deducting 0.5% off your APR.
But there are a few downsides. LightStream doesn’t offer prequalification. When you apply, it will do a hard pull on your credit, which could lower your score. You also need to demonstrate proof of regular income and meet its credit requirements to qualify.
Before you get started, check your rates with other lenders to take full advantage of LightStream’s options.
- Same-day funding available†
- Down payments not required
- No restrictions to age or mileage for used vehicles
- Rate beat program§
- High autopay APR discount of 0.5%
- No prequalification process
- Good to excellent credit required
LightStream customer reviews and complaints
Truist owns LightStream, and so its reviews fall under the bank’s BBB profile. While there are a number of reviews and complaints, only a handful mention LightStream by name — although most are negative.
It also has a small mixed bag of reviews on Trustpilot that veer negative. Customers complain of unsatisfactory communication, and two state they found the preapproval process to be misleading. But as with all loans, preapproval never guarantees your application will be accepted.
How LightStream compares to other lenders
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LightStream rates, fees and terms
No matter what type of auto purchase you’re looking to make, LightStream has you covered.
New, used and private party purchases
LightStream offers competitive rates for its car loans. If you qualify, it may be one of the best deals out there thanks to its rate beat program.§ LightStream can beat competitor rates by 0.1% — as long as the competitor’s APR meets certain terms and conditions.
It also has one of the widest range of loan amounts, ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. LightStream will finance up to 100% of your vehicle’s value, and there are no application, origination or prepayment penalties. You can use your loan to purchase new and used cars, and — unlike many lenders — LightStream also allows you to purchase from an individual.
You can use our calculator to estimate your monthly repayments. LightStream offers terms of 24 to 84 months so you can select a repayment that fits your budget.
LightStream offers both refinancing and lease buyouts. If you’re looking to score a better deal on your current loan, adjust your monthly repayment or purchase a leased car, it has you covered with the same long loan terms and large loan amounts.
Like its normal loans, LightStream offers $5,000 to $100,000 to finance motorcycles. Most loan terms stretch up to 72 months, although there are 84-month terms available for loans over $25,000.
LightStream is now a division of Truist
It won’t affect your car loan — yet — but you will notice that LightStream is now backed by Truist. This is due to a recent merger between SunTrust and BB&T. And while nothing has changed, you may notice different rates, loan terms and requirements going forward. Keep an eye out and contact Truist with any questions you may have about the transition.
To qualify for a loan, you’ll need to meet a few basic requirements.
- Good to excellent credit of 670 or higher
- Regular source of income
- US citizen or permanent resident
LightStream doesn’t set any specific restrictions on the vehicles you can purchase with one of its loans. However, your vehicle may have to meet certain age and mileage requirements to be approved for a used car or private party loan.
How the application works
To start LightStream’s application, click See your rate or go to its website. You’ll need to provide a loan purpose and details about the loan you want to borrow, including how you’d like to repay. LightStream offers a 0.5% APR discount — but only if you select autopay. You will also need to enter information about your income and budget, then create an account with LightStream.
If everything is approved and submitted before 2:30 p.m. ET, you may receive funding on the same day you apply. Otherwise, it could take one to two business days to fully process your application.
What sets it apart
LightStream is one of the few lenders that offers same-day funding, making it a great choice if you need funding fast. It also has no set restrictions on the age or mileage of the vehicle you want to finance. Combined with its relatively high loan amounts, this makes LightStream good choice for buying antiques or exotic vehicles.
You may have a hard time qualifying for a LightStream auto loan if you don’t have a strong credit score or the income to support another loan. Check out our car loans guide to compare other lenders and learn more about how auto loans work.
Frequently asked questions
Our answers to a few common questions about LightStream’s auto loans.
Can I get gap insurance through LightStream?
No, LightStream doesn’t offer gap insurance for its vehicles.
Does LightStream offer cash-out refinancing?
No, you can’t borrow more than your current car loan’s balance when you refinance through LightStream.
Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.
† You can fund your loan today if today is a banking business day, your application is approved, and you complete the following steps by 2:30 p.m. Eastern time: (1) review and electronically sign your loan agreement; (2) provide us with your funding preferences and relevant banking information; and (3) complete the final verification process.
§ After receiving your loan from LightStream, if you are not completely satisfied with your experience, please contact them. They will email you a questionnaire so they can improve their services. When they receive your completed questionnaire, they will send you $100. LightStream’s guarantee expires 30 days after you receive your loan.
LightStream reserves the right to change or discontinue their guarantee at any time. Limited to one $100 payment per funded loan. LightStream and SunTrust teammates do not qualify for the Loan Experience Guarantee.
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