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
Bottom line: LightStream offers one of the most competitive deals available online. But it’s only available to prime borrowers and doesn’t allow you to check your rate without affecting your credit.
Max. Loan Amount
5.99% to 23.99%
Good to excellent credit
Minimum credit score
- 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 eligible competitor offers
- High minimum loan amount
- Tough credit requirements
- No preapproval process
- No customer service line listed on website
Our take on LightStream personal loans
LightStream is best for good to excellent credit borrowers 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 autopay discounts and 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. And unlike other lenders, LightStream doesn't have a customer service phone number listed on its website, which means you'll have to reach out via email with any questions you might have.
LightStream's customer experience sets it apart
LightStream takes extra steps to make sure customers have the best possible experience. “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,” Todd Nelson, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, 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.”
This, in addition to its competitive rates and long terms set it apart from other lenders. But it also has a uniquely high minimum loan amount of $5,000, meaning it's not ideal for small expenses. It also doesn't allow you to check your rate without affecting your credit.
LightStream could beat the competition's rates and terms
LightStream has some of the most competitive rates out there, and will beat any other lender’s APR by 0.10% with its Rate Beat program, provided your loan meets specific terms and conditions. It also doesn't charge origination fees or prepayment penalties on its loans.
LightStream also offers a wider range of repayment terms than your typical online lender, which range from 24 to 84 months. 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 this calculator to enter your desired loan amount, loan term and APR.
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LightStream reviews are mostly positive
|BBB customer reviews||1.2 out of 5 stars, based on 25 customer reviews|
|BBB customer complaints||11|
|Trustpilot score||1.9 out of 5 stars, based on 46 customer reviews|
|Customer reviews verified as of||16 December 2022|
The company's website hosts about 24,000 customer reviews, which are overwhelmingly positive. But on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, a handful of customers give it poor reviews, with a similar number of complaints registered. And LightStream's parent company, Truist, gets overwhelmingly negative reviews on the BBB site.
Positive reviews report fast turnaround, competitive rates and hassle-free process. As for the negative reviews, some reviewers complain about getting denied for a loan — even with good to excellent credit and minimal debts. Others report issues with rude or unhelpful customer service representatives.
While LightStream came in first place for the 2020 J.D. Power Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study, it didn't land a spot on the 2021 list. J.D. Power's annual consumer lender survey ranks lenders based on factors like the application process, terms and conditions and how the company managed repayments. LightStream came in second place in 2019, the first year J.D. Power published a survey focused on personal loans.
How to qualify
To qualify for a loan from LightStream, you need to meet a few basic criteria:
- Must have a good to excellent credit profile
- Must be a US 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 US address
While your credit score matters, it’s not the only factor that LightStream considers. “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?”
How the application works
LightStream has a simple four-step online application that should only take a few minutes to complete. After you’ve filled out the form and sent it in, LightStream will email you 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.
LightStream doesn't have a preapproval process, so checking your rate will affect your credit score. If you want to shop for the lowest rate, consider applying with other lenders that offer preapproval with a soft credit check first.
How LightStream debt consolidation works
LightStream enables borrowers to combine several debt payments into a single loan. But instead of sending payments to your creditors directly, LightStream sends funds to your bank account. Then, it’s up to you to contact your creditors and ask for a payoff amount.
This can take longer because you have to wait for two ACH transfers: One to get your money and one to send money to your creditors. Also, LightStream’s minimum loan amount is $5,000, which may make it less useful if you have a smaller amount of debt to consolidate. Other lenders like Lending Club and Upgrade offer loans starting at $1,000 although they charge origination fees.
LightStream is now a product of Truist
SunTrust and BB&T have recently merged to become Truist, the seventh-largest bank in the US. This transition means Truist will now service pre-existing loans.
If you already have a loan, reach out to Truist for more information. If you’re concerned about borrowing, don’t worry: Loan terms haven’t changed, just the name behind LightStream.
Does LightStream offer other types of loans?
Yes, you can also take out a new or used car loan, refinance your current auto loan, buy out your car lease, purchase a new or used RV and more through LightStream.
- New and used car loans. When you need a new car fast, LightStream’s quick turnaround times can help make it happen.
- Auto refinancing. When you’ve grown attached to your car but not to your current car loan, Lightstream auto refinance can help make your payment more affordable.
- Auto lease buyout. If you don’t want to give up your leased vehicle, LightStream can turn that large buyout payment into one you can afford.
- Classic car financing. LightStream’s high loan amounts make it a good option for buying exotic or classic cars.
- Motorcycle loans and refinancing. Get special financing options for buying a new motorcycle or refinancing the loan on your existing ride.
- Private party auto purchases. Finance a vehicle purchase from a friend, neighbor or family member if you don’t want to go through a dealer.
- RV loans and refinancing. Purchase a new RV or trade in your current loan for one from LightStream with better rates, terms — or both.
- Boat loans and refinancing. Finance everything from a small used waverunner to a brand-new pontoon boat with a LightStream boat loan or swap swap out the high payments on your current boat loan with more favorable rates and terms by refinancing.
How legit is LightStream?
Alternatives to LightStream
LightStream can be a great option if you have excellent credit and need a large amount of unsecured financing. But if you want to compare rates before you apply, consider another online lender first. For example, SoFi offers similar loan amounts with competitive rates and no fees — and allows you to prequalify without affecting your credit.
LightStream can also be difficult for some borrowers to qualify for — especially if you're still in the first few years of building your credit history. In that case, a provider that also considers factors like your education and career path might be a better choice — like Upstart.
Use our table to explore your options by APR, minimum credit score and loan amount. Select the Go to site button for more information about a particular lender.
Or, read our guide to LightStream alternatives for more details on find out how it compares to other lenders.