LightStream Personal Loan Review 2017: Low Rates for Creditworthy Borrowers

LightStream is a good choice for a personal loan if you have a good to excellent credit score and/or you need to borrow more than the standard $35,000 to $40,000. The lender offers some of the lowest rates you can find online.

Editor's Rating

5.0

Good for

  • Borrowers with good to excellent credit
  • Joint applications

Bad for

  • Using funds for business or postsecondary education purposes

LightStream Personal Loan Review 2017: Low Rates for Creditworthy Borrowers

LightStream is a good choice for a personal loan if you have a good to excellent credit score and/or you need to borrow more than the standard $35,000 to $40,000. The lender offers some of the lowest rates you can find online.

Good for

  • Borrowers with good to excellent credit
  • Joint applications

Bad for

  • Using funds for business or postsecondary education purposes

Editor's Rating

5.0

LightStream Personal Loan Review 2017: Low Rates for Creditworthy Borrowers

Editor's Rating

5.0

Good for

  • Borrowers with good to excellent credit
  • Joint applications

Bad for

  • Using funds for business or postsecondary education purposes

If you have good to excellent credit, LightStream offers some of the lowest rates you can find for an online personal loan. You can also borrow up to $100,000 through this lender, which is higher than what many other personal loan companies can offer. APRs at LightStream are between 2.19% and 17.49% with AutoPay and loan terms are between two and seven years. One downside to LightStream is that you cannot use any of its loans for business purposes or postsecondary education.

LightStream Personal Loan Review: Should You Apply?

LightStream is a good choice for a personal loan if you have a good to excellent credit score and/or you need to borrow more than the standard $35,000 to $40,000. Through LightStream, you can borrow between $5,000 to $100,000 for a variety of uses, including car purchases, debt consolidation, home improvement and wedding financing. APRs at LightStream range from approximately 2.19% to 17.49% with AutoPay, depending on loan purpose, with terms between two to seven years.

Good for...Bad for...
  • Borrowers with good to excellent credit
  • Joint applications
  • Using funds for business or postsecondary education purposes

We think LightStream is a great choice for borrowers who are particularly fee conscious. There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties. Furthermore, if you set up AutoPay on your account, you will receive 0.5% deduction to your APR. For example, if you take out a $10,000 loan with a three-year term and a 4.99% APR, each monthly payment would be $299.66. But if you elect to use AutoPay, your APR would be 4.49%, and each monthly payment would be $297.42. You would save $80.64 over the life of the loan.

For borrowers with good to excellent credit, LightStream can offer very competitive APRs. In addition to your credit history, your APR will be based on the loan purpose, amount and term with shorter term loans typically seeing lower APRs. With a debt consolidation loan, for instance, borrowers can see a rate as low as 5.49% with AutoPay. Similarly, APRs for new auto loans can be as low as 2.19% with AutoPay. When you apply for a loan, you will need to select whether to pay via AutoPay or invoicing. If you select AutoPay, your APR will be quoted with the AutoPay discount. If you select invoicing, the APR quoted will be 0.5% higher. LightStream caps its maximum APR at 17.99%, which is lower than the highest APRs at other personal loan companies (however, as with all personal loan companies, rates and terms may change at anytime).

Another thing we like about LightStream is that you can get a better APR from this lender if you shop around and bring back a lower offer from another lender. LightStream offers a Rate Beat Program -- through this program, the lender will beat a quoted APR from another lender by 0.1%. For instance, if you are quoted a 10% APR on a $10,000 three-year loan from another lender, you could apply for the Rate Beat Program through LightStream to receive an APR of 9.9%.

You cannot use a LightStream loan to fund college or postsecondary education, refinance student loans, refinance an existing LightStream loan or to fund a business.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a LightStream personal loan, you must meet the following criteria:

Minimum CriteriaRecommended Criteria
  • Good to excellent credit
  • Several years of credit history and variety of account types
  • Demonstrated ability to save
  • Low debt-to-income ratio
  • Credit score of 720 or higher
  • Significant personal or retirement savings
  • High annual income and little debt

Meeting these criteria won't guarantee that you'll be approved for a LightStream loan, but it will improve your chances.

LightStream Personal Loan Terms and Requirements

LightStream offers a variety of personal loans catered to different needs: auto loans, debt consolidation loans, home improvement loans, wedding loans and more. The APRs are based in part on the loan purpose, amount and duration.

Loan Amount Range$5,000 - $100,000
APR Range2.19% - 17.49% with AutoPay
Fees
  • No origination fee
  • No prepayment penalty
Loan Terms2 to 7 years
Repayment OptionsMonthly
Direct Payment to CreditorsNo

Application Process

To apply, you’ll need to begin by filling out some information about the loan: namely, how you will use the loan proceeds, how much you want, how many months you want to pay back and how you will pay the loan. You’ll then need to enter personal information, such as your address, Social Security number, employment and income information and any property information.

Application ProcessOnline
Time to Get FundsVaries, same-day funding available
Credit CheckHard credit check when you apply
Credit ReportingYes
Cosigners/Co-borrowers Allowed?Yes

You may be required to upload documents to verify your identity, employment and income. Once you submit your application, you should receive a quick response during business hours. If approved, you can login to sign the loan documentation and set a funding date. You’ll be able to specify how and when you receive funds (up to 30 days from approval), with possible same-day funding. To qualify for same-day funding, you’ll need to apply and get approved on a business day and complete a few steps by 2:30pm ET that day: review and electronically sign the loan agreement, provide LightStream with your funding preferences and banking information and complete the final verification process.

Image depicting application form on LightStream website
LightStream Application Process

How Does LightStream Compare to Other Lenders?

If you’re thinking about getting a personal loan from LightStream, it’s still wise to shop around. We take a look at how LightStream compares to some of its competitors.

LightStream vs. Lending Club

Lending Club is a good option if you can’t quite meet the recommended credit requirements for LightStream. You’ll only need a credit score of 600 to apply for a Lending Club loan, which is lower than the recommended 680 credit score for a LightStream loan. Lending Club also allows direct payment to your creditors, which some borrowers may prefer if they are consolidating a lot of debt. However, you can only borrow up to $40,000 through Lending Club, so LightStream is a better option if you need more money or have better credit history.

LightStream vs. SoFi

If you think you’d only qualify for a higher APR at LightStream, we recommend SoFi. SoFi offers similar terms to LightStream, with the main difference being slightly higher starting APRs at 5.7%. However, the maximum APR at SoFi is 14.2%, while the highest APR offered at LightStream is 17.99%. One unique advantage SoFi does offer is unemployment protection. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, SoFi will suspend your monthly loan payments and even provide job placement assistance during this period.

LightStream vs. Discover

If you need more than $35,000 or have an excellent credit score, you’ll likely get a better deal by taking out a loan with LightStream than with Discover. With Discover, you can borrow up to $35,000 for three to seven years. APRs are a bit higher at Discover, ranging from 7% to 25%, but as with LightStream, there are no origination fees or prepayment penalties. To be eligible to apply for a Discover loan, you will need to have a good to excellent credit score (typically above 660) and minimum household income of $25,000.

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