LightStream Personal Loans Review: 2019

LightStream is an established online personal loan provider for borrowers with good credit. The company aims to provide its customers with a straightforward loan process and attractive borrowing rates. LightStream offers personal loans for a variety of purposes and is completely fee-free.

LightStream Personal Loan Facts

  • APR: 18% to 35.99%  
  • Loan Amount: $1,500 to $20,000
  • Loan Term: 24 to 60 months
  • Minimum Credit Score: 600
  • Co-Signer: No

  • Fees: Vary from state to state
  • Time to Funding: 1 business day
  • Hard Credit Check: Yes
  • BBB Rating: A+
  • Trustpilot Rating: 4.8 stars

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No fees
  • Lower interest rates for automatic payment customers 
  • Options for same-day funding

Cons

  • No option for phone payments
  • No phone number for live customer support

In this article, you’ll find all of the necessary information to decide whether LightStream is the right lender for you, including:

What types of loans does LightStream offer?

LightStream groups all of its personal loans under one general category. Common uses for LightStream loans include:

  • Auto loan refinancing
  • Timeshare purchasing or refinancing 
  • Medical expenses 
  • Adoption expenses 
  • Credit card or debt consolidation 

LightStream does require you to use your loan money for the purpose indicated on your application. The company also prohibits using loan funds to: 

  • Refinance an active LightStream loan
  • Finance or refinance a post-secondary education
  • Fund business activities, including the purchase of a vehicle registered under a business name
  • Conduct a cash-out refinance
  • Purchase stocks, bonds, or other investment products

If the company doesn’t expressly prohibit your intended loan purposes, you’re likely to see a similar loan type in the company’s drop-down list of possible loan uses. If you aren’t sure whether your planned loan use is allowed, you should contact LightStream directly to check.

LightStream Personal Loans: Rates, Fees, and Terms

Terms

LightStream loans are available with terms ranging from 24 to 144 months. However, loan terms of 85 to 144 months are only available if you choose to borrow $25,000 or more. 

Rates

All loans through LightStream have fixed interest rates that are determined based on:

  • Loan purpose
  • Amount borrowed
  • Loan term
  • Payment method

Rates generally range from 3.99% to 16.99%, with a maximum APR of 17.49%. In order to encourage customers to pay their bills via an AutoPay program, the company offers an 0.5% rate discount to those who enroll. 

The best rates go to borrowers that have the following:

  • 5 or more years of significant credit history with a variety of account types
  • Strong payment history with no delinquencies or defaults
  • A proven ability to save money
  • A stable income and sufficient assets to repay current and potential new debt easily

Guaranteed competitive rates

Through its “Rate Beat” program, LightStream offers to beat any competitor’s rate by 10%. To qualify for the program, you must already be approved by the other lender and have been offered a rate which would be available to any borrower with a credit profile similar to yours.

Fees

LightStream is a no-fee lender. You will never pay origination fees, late fees, administrative fees, or any other charges beyond your monthly payment. Since LightStream loans are fully amortized, your balance will be zero on the day you make your final payment. 

Florida borrowers are subject to the Documentary Stamp Tax, which is just over 0.35% of the loan amount. If you live in Florida, LightStream collects the tax on your behalf. The company does not consider the tax to be part of the loan when determining your interest rate.  

Loan Amounts

LightStream offers loans valued from $5,000 to $100,000. State loan regulations may affect your minimum loan amount.

Time to Funding 

Wire Transfer

LightStream allows you to schedule the delivery of your approved funds within 30 days of receipt of your approval. Same day deposits are available via wire transfer if you log into your account before 2:30 pm EST and schedule the deposit by 3:00 pm EST. 

To get a deposit on the same day as your application, you need to complete all of the following tasks before 2:30 pm EST:

  1. Review and sign your lending agreement
  2. Provide your banking information and funding preferences 
  3. Complete your final verification

If you choose wire transfer, you may be subject to any charges your bank applies to such transactions. 

Direct Deposit

You can also choose to receive your funds by direct deposit. All direct deposits go through Automated Clearing House (ACH), a batch processing network. Because these deposits are less expensive than wire transfers, banks hardly ever charge to complete them. 

Funds sent via direct deposit will reach your account on the following business day, assuming you: 

  1. Log into your account before 5:30 pm EST 
  2. Schedule funding by 6:00 pm EST on the day before you wish to receive the funds

LightStream Loan Requirements

Qualifying

Typical Credit Scores

LightStream explicitly targets borrowers with credit scores in the “good” range or higher. The credit bureau Experian’s credit score classifications are as follows:

  • Good credit: 670 to 739 
  • Very good credit: 740 to 799
  • Exceptional credit: 800 to 850

LightStream does not publish numerical equivalents of “good” or “excellent” credit scores, as the company prefers to consider each credit profile separately. 

LightStream views credit as a spectrum, subject to individual circumstantial factors. Loan approvals are decided based on an applicant’s entire financial picture and the chances of full loan repayment. 

Hard Credit Checks

When you apply for a loan with LightStream, the company conducts a hard inquiry into your credit by pulling reports from credit bureaus Equifax and Experian. A hard pull may affect your credit score, especially if you have multiple recently opened accounts or several inquiries within a short period. 

Keep in mind that multiple inquiries don’t count against your score if they happen within 45 days, as credit bureaus consider such situations to be instances of “rate shopping.”    

A single credit check or rate shopping period may not affect your credit score at all. If your score does drop, you can rest easy knowing that LightStream customers’ credit scores typically bounce back once they start paying off their loans on time. 

LightStream also provides customers with the resources they need to question any credit check results they believe to be inaccurate. Documentation can be sent directly to SunTrust Bank.

Repayment

LightStream’s personal loans have fixed interest rates. You’ll pay the same amount every month until the loan is fully repaid.

Accepted Methods of Payment

LightStream loan payments can be made by invoice or AutoPay. You may mail invoice payments personally or arrange for your bank to send payments through a bill-pay system. SunTrust Bank branches do not accept LightStream loan payments.   

AutoPay debits must go through a personal bank account linked to LightStream.

Payment Due Dates

LightStream debits automatic payments on a specified due date. You won’t be able to change the monthly due date once the company funds your loan, but you can make extra payments or send invoice payments early.

If you send an extra payment more than 18 days in advance, the payment will not count toward your next due date.

Early and Additional Payments

You can make extra payments to pay off your loan early. However, if you want an additional payment to apply to principal only and not to interest, your extra payment needs to be posted on the same day as your regular monthly payment.

The LightStream Customer Experience

Customer Support 

LightStream answers questions via its online form, where you can provide your name, email address, and a brief message. 

LightStream does not currently offer phone support.

Online Services

LightStream is particularly focused on providing a straightforward, user-friendly online experience. Using their online portal, you can:

  • Update your contact or login information
  • Apply for a second loan
  • Make additional payments
  • See your payment history 

Customer Feedback

LightStream has received over 7,000 customer reviews and has an overall rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars. The company also has a 4.9 out of 5-star rating for all rated elements including:

  • Website 
  • Application 
  • Funding 
  • Customer Service

Customer comments include the following: 

  • “Very fast and easy loan application”
  • “Super easy approval without collateral… I will do business with them again.”
  • “LightStream does things the way they should be done.”
  • “… simply the best service I have ever had.” 

LightStream has received 69 customer reviews through the Better Business Bureau. Their customer rating on BBB hovers around 1.1 out of 5 stars, but the organization itself has given LightStream an A+ rating.

LightStream has only received one review on TrustPilot, but it’s a five-star review that calls the company’s product “the best loan I’ve ever had” and “AMAZING.”

Satisfaction Guarantee

LightStream guarantees your satisfaction with your loan experience. If within 30 days of receiving your loan, you are not completely satisfied, you can contact LightStream and they will send you a questionnaire to get your feedback. When you return the questionnaire, the company will send you $100. 

Summary

LightStream is a highly respected lender for people who have strong credit scores and experience as borrowers. If you have a high credit score and prefer to make payments by automatic withdrawal, you’re particularly likely to have a good experience with LightStream.

About the Company

LightStream focuses on providing innovative personal loans with competitive interest rates to borrowers who have established good credit.

They recently appeared NerdWallet’s “Best Personal Loans for Home Improvement” and “Best Personal Loans for Good Credit” lists. The company has also received several honors from US News and World Report including: 

  • Top Lender for Very Good Credit, Low APR and No Origination Fees (2017)
  • Best Personal Loan Companies (2017 & 2018)
  • Best Personal Loans for Home Improvement (2019)

LightStream is owned by SunTrust Bank, but they are open to all customers nationwide regardless of what bank they use. 


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