LightStream Personal Loans Review
LightStream is an online lender backed by SunTrust Bank, a major American financial institution and holding company with a storied history dating back to 1891. It is a direct loan provider, meaning it offers its loans directly to consumers. The service is not a marketplace, aggregator, or online loan brokerage, which gives it certain advantages including complete control over interest rates and repayment terms.
LightStream specializes in providing individual borrowers with a very wide range of specialized loan types. Its tagline is “Loans for practically anything,” which lines up very well with what you’ll encounter when you reach the company’s landing page. There, you will find a long and highly specific list of available loan types, grouped by category.
What kinds of loans and terms does LightStream offer? Is it reputable? What are customers saying about it? Let’s take a look and see.
What Kind of Loans Does LightStream Offer?
LightStream groups its loans into categories based on the borrower’s intended usage of their proceeds. As of June 2020, its advertised loan categories include:
- Auto and boat loans
- Debt consolidation loans
- Home renovation and home improvement loans
- Medical loans
- Loans for weddings
- Loans for timeshare properties
The only major restriction is that financial proceeds cannot be used to refinance or pay off another active LightStream loan.
Available Loan Amounts, Interest Rates, and Repayment Terms
LightStream ties its interest rates to the loan’s repayment period and to the loan amount. Their system appears a little complicated, but it basically follows a sliding scale. There are some exceptions, but in general, the more you borrow and the longer your repayment period, the higher your interest rate will be. Borrowers with high credit scores qualify for loans toward the lower end of the interest range, while borrowers with lower credit scores pay higher interest rates.
Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000 and interest rates range from 3.49%-19.99%. These rates apply to loans that will use LightStream’s AutoPay program to repay the balance. Loans repaid through traditional invoicing carry interest rates that are currently 0.5% higher.
Notably, if you qualify for a loan and find a lower rate through another lender, LightStream will beat it.
Who Is Eligible for Loans through LightStream?
LightStream maintains relatively strict borrowing criteria, and not everyone will qualify for its loans. Eligibility requirements as of June 2020 include:
- You must have a FICO credit score of at least 660
- LightStream will also evaluate other aspects of your financial health, including current assets and liabilities, while looking for evidence of responsible credit use
- You must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident and at least 18 years of age.
How to Apply for a LightStream Loan
To apply for a personal loan through LightStream, you simply need to follow an easy three-step process that begins with filling out an online application form. Once you submit your form, a customer service representative will follow up with you. In many cases, LightStream can evaluate and approve your application in as little as 24 hours.
Once you’re approved, LightStream will forward your loan documents. You can review them and sign them electronically.
After LightStream receives your loan documents, it will release your loan funding into the bank account you specified on your application. That’s it!
Pros and Cons of LightStream
As with all other online lenders, LightStream offers certain advantages while presenting certain drawbacks. Here’s a look at the plus sides of choosing LightStream for your personal loan needs:
- LightStream can usually make a decision on an application within 24 hours
- Loan amount limits are relatively high, maxing out at $100,000
- The company offers an extended range of repayment terms, some of which go well beyond the industry-standard 60 months (5 years)
- Sliding interest rate and repayment scales give borrowers outstanding flexibility
However, one big drawback of LightStream is that the company does what is known as a “hard pull” of your credit data when processing your application. This will result in a temporary knock on your credit score. Thus, LightStream isn’t meant for shopping around or applying just to see if you can get approved. Instead, you should only proceed if you’re certain you want to take advantage of the available offer.
LightStream’s relatively demanding eligibility standards also mean that the company isn’t a good match for every borrower. However, if you do meet its borrowing requirements, you can get access to some of the best rates on the market.
LightStream’s loans are backed by an old and venerable U.S. financial institution, and the company offers a stunning array of options for borrowers seeking all levels of financing. Its high standards present obstacles to would-be borrowers with uneven credit histories, but they are also what helps the company offer very competitive rates. As of June 2020, LightStream’s lowest rates were among the best we could find through any online lender.
If you’ve got five or more consecutive years of strong credit and you’re looking to borrow $5,000 to $100,000 for a car, boat, home renovation, debt consolidation, timeshare purchase, or to cover medical expenses, LightStream is a great place to look. Just be sure that you’re committed before submitting your application, as the company performs a “hard pull” of your data that will temporarily affect your credit score.