LightStream vs. SoFi: Which Personal Loan is Right for You?

LightStream vs. SoFi: Which Personal Loan is Right for You?

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If you’re debating between a personal loan from SoFi or LightStream, we’ve taken a look at how the two lenders compare below. Generally speaking, both companies are an excellent choice for borrowers with great credit, though there are some minor differences.

LightStream vs. SoFi Summary

While both lenders are best suited for borrowers with good to excellent credit, there are some differences between the two. In general, we recommend LightStream for borrowers who want two, four or six year loan terms or a vehicle/auto loan. On the other hand, SoFi is good for those borrowers who want to bundle financial products or want a personalized touch during the borrowing process.

LightStream (Review)
Better For
  • 2-, 4- or 6-year terms
  • Vehicle or auto loans
  • Bundling financial products
  • Personal touch
Amounts$5,000 - $100,000$5,000 - $100,000
APRs2.49% - 19.99%6.99% - 22.28% (with all discounts)
Terms2 to 12 years*2 to 7 years
  • No origination fee
  • No prepayment penalty
  • No origination fee
  • Late payment fee: Lesser of 4% of monthly past due or $5
  • NSF/returned payment fee: Not provided
  • No check processing fees
  • No prepayment penalty
Eligibility Criteria
  • Several years of credit history and variety of account types
  • Demonstrated ability to save
  • Low debt-to-income ratio
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Must be age of majority in state of residence
  • Employed, have sufficient income or have an offer of employment starting within 90 days
Funding TimeVaries, same-day funding available (conditions apply)3+ days
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*Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $304.17.

How to Choose Between the Two

If you want two-, four- or six-year terms, consider LightStream. SoFi only offers personal loans in three, five or seven year terms. LightStream, on the other hand, offers loans with terms from two to seven years. While neither lender has a prepayment penalty (meaning you can always pay off your loan earlier than your stated term), some applicants may want to get a loan with their preferred terms.

If you want to get another financial product, like wealth management or student loan refinancing, consider SoFi. LightStream only deals in personal and vehicle loans, but SoFi offers student loan refinancing, mortgages, wealth management and life insurance in addition to personal loans. For applicants looking to consolidate their financial products and services in one place, SoFi makes more sense than LightStream.

If you want a vehicle or auto loan, consider LightStream. LightStream offers loans for all types of vehicle purchases -- from new and used cars to boats, RVs, motorcycles, airplanes and classic cars. While you can use a generic personal loan to purchase a vehicle, auto and vehicle loans will generally get you a much better deal. APRs on an LightStream auto loan, for instance, start at 2.49% with AutoPay. Depending on your credit score, you may not need to use the vehicle being purchased as collateral for the loan.

If you want a personal touch or extra perks with your lending experience, consider SoFi. One thing that borrowers may find attractive about SoFi are the added perks. Not only does the company host networking and social events for its members, but members also get access to free career counseling and development services. This runs the gamut from interview prep to resume review. SoFi also provides resources for aspiring entrepreneurs, whether that’s through mentorship or access to investors.

If you have a credit score under 680, check your rate at other lenders. Both SoFi and LightStream cater to borrowers with good credit history, so you will have a harder time getting approved if you have a credit score under 680. If that’s the case, we recommend borrowers consider lenders such as Upstart, Peerform and LendingClub.

If none of those applies to you, check your rate at both lenders (and maybe other lenders too). LightStream and SoFi have some of the best rates we’ve seen, so it’s worth it to check your rate at both lenders. LightStream does offer a Rate Beat program, offering to beat another lender’s quoted APR by 0.1%. In any case, you can’t go wrong with either of these companies.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.