LightStream personal loans review
Borrowers with excellent credit may qualify for loans up to $100,000 at competitive rates.
finder.com’s rating: 4.9 / 5.0
- Best for borrowers looking for high amounts and long terms.
- Pick something else if you don’t have good to excellent credit.
Max. Loan Amount
Good to excellent credit
Min. Credit Score
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 950 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 ideal if you’re looking to take out a large loan, want a long loan term or need funds fast. It offers personal loans up to $100,000 at competitive rates — with loan terms as long as seven years. You also might be able to get your funds the same day you apply if you meet specific criteria.
But you need to have good to excellent credit to qualify. And if you’re looking to borrow less than $5,000, you’ll have to look elsewhere. LightStream also doesn’t have a customer service phone number listed on its website, meaning you’ll have to reach out via an online form with any questions you might have.
Not sure LightStream is for you? Compare your other options below.
WATCH: How is LightStream helping struggling borrowers
Watch our interview in which LightStream’s senior vice president Todd Nelson gives us the rundown on hardship programs available to borrowers and advice on boosting your chances for getting approved.
How much will this loan cost me?
LightStream has some of the most competitive rates out there and doesn’t charge any origination fees. And since loan terms can stretch up to seven years, opting for a longer term can help keep monthly repayments low — though you’ll pay more in interest in the long run.
To see how much borrowing from LightStream might cost you, use the calculator below to enter your desired loan amount, loan term and APR.
How it works
Your exact APR is determined by your credit score and history, income and current debts. If you have near-perfect credit and a low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, you’ll likely qualify for a low rate.
On the other hand, if you just meet LightStream’s eligibility requirements, you might see a rate on the higher end of its spectrum.
What is LightStream’s Rate Beat Program?
The Rate Beat Program offered by LightStream ensures that you get the most competitive APR available. LightStream will beat any other lender’s APR by 0.1%, provided the other lender’s APR meets certain terms and conditions.
In addition, “If you take a loan from LightStream, and you’re dissatisfied with any part of it, we’ll pay you $100 to tell us about your experience,” Nelson tells Finder.
“It’s not that we don’t make mistakes — we do on occasion, and we certainly want to know when we do. But by and large, we know we’ve got a great experience and we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is.”
What do I need to qualify?
To qualify for a loan from LightStream, you need to meet a few basic criteria:
- You must have a good to excellent credit profile.
- You must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident with a valid green card.
- Have a valid Social Security number.
- Credit card verification requested upon loan approval.
- Must have a valid U.S. address.
While your credit score matters, it’s not the only factor that LighStream looks at. “One of the misnomers of lending is that credit score is everything that lenders care about. That’s really not true,” Nelson says. “A score is supposed to be kind of a placeholder for someone’s relative creditworthiness.”
“But what we find to be more interesting and more telling is really the depth and breadth of someone’s credit history and how they’ve used credit in the past. Do they have more debt than their income can support? Do they have money that they put away for retirement or a rainy day fund?”
What information do I need to apply?
You’ll need to provide the following when you fill out LightStream’s online application:
- Social Security number
- Last four digits of your driver’s license number
- Annual income
Can I get a LightStream loan during COVID-19?
Yes, LightStream is still offering loans during the coronavirus outbreak. It might be a little more difficult to qualify, but this lender always had tight credit standards.
“We’re not making loans to people who, generally speaking, are suffering financial stress — it’s just not our target customer,” Nelson says. “So while we’re a little tighter from a credit perspective today, we’re still very much open for business.”
- May receive funds on the same day you apply
- Competitive rates
- High 0.5% autopay rate discount
- Borrow up to $100,000
- Get $100 if you’re not completely satisfied with your borrowing experience
- Rate Beat Program beats competitor rates by 0.1%
- Ranked #1 in 2020 J.D. Power Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study
- High minimum loan amount
- Tough credit requirements
- No preapproval process
- No customer service line listed on website
See other personal loan options
Is LightStream legit?
Yes, LightStream is a legit business with an encrypted website to protect your personal information. But while it has dedicated pages detailing its security and privacy policies, its customer service options are limited. There’s no dedicated phone number or email. You’ll need to fill out an online form — located on its FAQ page — during business hours to get help from a customer service representative.
LightStream is now a product of Truist
SunTrust and BB&T have recently merged to become Truist, the sixth largest bank in the US. Because of this transition, previous loans will now be serviced by Truist. If you already have a loan, reach out to Truist for more information. If you’re thinking about borrowing, don’t worry: Loan terms haven’t changed, just the name behind LightStream.
LightStream reviews and complaints
|BBB customer reviews||1.03 out of 5 stars, based on 221 customer reviews|
|J.D. Power ranking||Ranked No. 1 in J.D. Power 2020 customer satisfaction survey|
|Trustpilot score||2.6 out of 5 stars, based on 6 customer reviews|
|Customer reviews verified as of||16 October 2020|
It’s a mixed bag. Despite being around for almost a decade, LightStream doesn’t have very many customer reviews on its Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Trustpilot pages. Those that are positive praise the lender for its fast turnaround, competitive rates and hassle-free process.
A lot of the negative reviews seem to be spam, though there are a few that appear legit. A few people complained about getting denied for a loan — even with good to excellent credit and minimal debts. Others had issues with rude or unhelpful customer service representatives.
LightStream user reviews
LightStream ranks #1 in 2020 J.D. Power Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study
LightStream came out in first in the J.D. Power’s annual consumer lender rankings in 2020 — and reached second place the year before. Consumers ranked it first based on factors like the application process, terms and conditions and how the company managed repayments.
How do I apply?
LightStream has a simple online application that should only take a few minutes to complete. Follow these steps to get started:
- Click the Apply now button to view LightStream’s application.
- Select whether you’re applying individually or jointly, then select your loan purpose and enter your ZIP code, loan amount, desired term and preferred payment method.
- Enter information about yourself, your employment and your annual income.
- Create a LightStream account.
- Review your application, read LightStream’s disclosures and click Submit.
What happens after I apply?
LightStream will email you shortly after you apply with an approval decision. Depending on when you apply and what other documents are needed, you may be able to receive your funds the same day.
How do repayments work with LightStream?
LightStream allows you to pick your repayment method when you apply. If you choose automatic payments, you may receive a 0.5% APR discount — but it’s only available if you select autopay during the application process.
Alternatively, you can receive an invoice each month and pay manually online. For borrowers who choose to pay by invoice, you must pay at least two days before your due date for it to be processed on time.
Does LightStream have a COVID-19 hardship program?
Yes, LightStream will work with current customers who have been hurt by the coronavirus outbreak. “We’re offering customers the ability to defer payments if they’re suffering from some kind of financial hardship, whether they lost their job or their hours have been cut back or their source of income has dried,” Nelson says.
“We’ve actually built out self-service capabilities so that they can log into their LightStream account and defer payments on their own. Then, once they regain their income, they can start making additional payments, or they can wait and pay it all off at the end.”
Frequently asked questions
How does LightStream calculate interest?
Like most personal loan providers, LightStream calculates interest using the simple interest formula. It’s one of the least-expensive types of interest, in which lenders calculate it daily based on your loan balance between repayments.
Can I use a LightStream personal loan for business purposes?
No, unlike some personal loan providers, LightStream doesn’t allow you to take out a personal loan for business purposes.