Loans > LightStream Review

LightStream Review

LightStream attracts borrowers with its low rates, no fees and a $100 loan experience guarantee. It has a joint application option and flexible loan terms.

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You’re probably here to find a personal loan that will help make life a little easier right now.

One with good rates, no fees (preferably) and the ability to use the loan for the purpose you need it. 

The effects of the coronavirus are hitting our finances hard, with millions of Americans skipping loan repayments on auto loans, student loans, and other forms of debt.

And it’s changing the way lenders do business. Innovation, product types, and merger and acquisition trends are happening all around us.

In the midst of this, LightStream, a personal loans lender, strives to bring customers the best rates for personal loans. 

But getting a loan from this popular lender isn’t easy. There are some key aspects to consider when applying to help increase your chances of getting approved.

In this review, we go through the fees, what we like, what we think might hold some of you back, and what you should consider before applying.

As the online lending division of SunTrust, LightStream offers personal loans of up to $100,000 for almost any need. LightStream is recommended to U.S residents with good to excellent credit rating.

Fast Facts

  • Minimum Credit Score: Good-to-excellent credit profiles
  • APR: Low compared to competitors, rates vary
  • Loan Amount: $5,000-$100,000
  • Highlight: Potential for lowest rates in industry
  • Best for: Borrowers with good to excellent credit 

Ratings

  • Fees: 10/10
  • Usability: 9.5/10
  • Flexibility: 9.5/10
  • Customer Service: 9/10
  • Credibility & Trust: 10/10
  • Overall: 9.5/10
Visit LightStream on LightStream’s website

What is LightStream?

In recent times, the SunTrust Bank merged with Branch Banking and Trust Company (BB&T), a North Carolina banking corporation. This combination is known as Truist Bank. LightStream remains a division of SunTrust bank, set up to offer borrowers with a good or better credit rating the best rates in the industry. 

LightStream Overview

  1. LightStream is a division of Truist Bank, set up to offer borrowers with a good or better credit rating the best rates in the industry. 
  2. LightStream is best for people with a good to excellent credit score.
  3. LightStream offers a program called “Rate Beat” for unsecured loans. This is kind of like an APR match program with an added promise to do 0.10% better (once certain conditions are met, that is). 
  4. The lender charges no fees or penalty fees.
  5. LightStream has a comprehensive FAQ’s page and the customer service team has a good customer rating.
  6. LightStream offers no pre-approval option.

COVID-19 Impact on Personal Loans

The impacts of COVID-19 have no doubt seeped into the personal loans space, with current job loss claims the worst in history, how are people expected to pay? Stats have backed this up with more than 100 million skipping student loan payments and other forms of debt in the U.S.

Unemployment Benefits Claims
A graph showing claims for unemployment benefits

To help combat the more serious long term effects of missing debt repayments, banks have been told to extend credit card repayment times for the millions struggling. 

This means that personal loan customers, in addition to credit card, store card and catalogue credit customers will be able to defer payments for a few months.

LightStream’s Response to Coronavirus

LightStream has released a response to coronavirus. In it, LightStream and Truist state that they are taking steps and precautions to protect the well-being of its team, clients and communities. 

They will continue monitoring the quickly evolving situation and remain in contact with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While all operations are carried out with the utmost of care, they are completely operational and ready to serve customers. It goes on to say that the lenders will adapt their operational practices that protect its team and clients and thanks their customers for their patience should any delay in services occur.

To find out what Truist is doing to help its clients, team and the community they serve, you can visit the Truist Coronavirus page.

What are LightStream’s Pros & Cons?

Below we’ve summed up the best and not-so-good parts of LightStream. 

Pros

  • No fees
  • Low interest rates
  • Rate discount for autopay
  • Joint application option

Cons

  • Good or excellent credit required
  • Inflexible due date once selected

A Summary of LightStream Features

LightStream Interest Rates and Loan Details

Depending on the interest rate criteria, personal loans could be a life-saver when it comes to major finances, sorting unexpected bills, and/or paying off current high-interest credit card debt.

To help you decide whether LightStream would be a good fit for you, let’s go through some of the loan details and interest rates.

First off, LightStream loans are fixed-rate personal loans only, and they’re known to offer the lowest rates in the industry. A variable-rate loan is not offered. 

You can apply for a loan of anywhere between $5,000 to $100,000 depending on the criteria you meet. The loan terms vary.

The interest rates are seriously low (once you have a great credit score, of course). In fact, LightStream is one of the best low interest personal loan providers in the industry. Naturally, a number of factors are taken into consideration in addition to a credit score.

If you use autopay, which means your funds will be automatically withdrawn from your account every month – you can get an even lower interest rate. That is, of course, if your credit score is high as well.

LightStream’s Rate Calculator

Lightstream Loan Finder
LightStream’s rate calculator will help you determine your rate range.

To determine your rate range, LightStream offers a rate calculator. Just go to the Rates/Terms page on the LightStream website and choose your desired preferences.

LightStream’s rates are initially based on loan purpose. This is why you’ll find “Loan Purpose” as the first option to select. You can then choose the loan amount, loan terms, and payment method. Yet keep in mind Loan Purpose is likely to be the primary factor behind the rates shown in the calculator.

LightStream Will Beat Any Qualifying Rate

Furthermore, LightStream offers a program called “Rate Beat” for unsecured loans. This is kind of like an APR match program with an added promise to do 0.10% better (once certain conditions are met, that is). 

Therefore, LightStream could potentially offer you a fantastic APR so long as you can prove that another lending service is offering a similar rate.

LightStream Compared

General
Estimated APR

Varies (but known to be low)

  • Term Loans: 7 - 30%
  • Startup Loans: 7.9 - 19.9%
Minimum credit score

660

550

Loan term

Varies

1 - 5 years

Loan amount

$5,000 - $100,000

$5,000 - $500,000

Best for

Borrowers with good to excellent credit

Small business loans

General
Estimated APR
  • Term Loans: 7 - 30%
  • Startup Loans: 7.9 - 19.9%

5.99 - 24.99%

Minimum credit score

550

640

Loan term

1 - 5 years

2 - 5 years

Loan amount

$5,000 - $500,000

$5,000 - $35,000

Best for

Small business loans

Borrowers with good credit

General

Estimated APR

Varies (but known to be low)

  • Term Loans: 7 - 30%
  • Startup Loans: 7.9 - 19.9%

5.99 - 24.99%

Minimum credit score

660

550

640

Loan term

Varies

1 - 5 years

2 - 5 years

Loan amount

$5,000 - $100,000

$5,000 - $500,000

$5,000 - $35,000

Best for

Borrowers with good to excellent credit

Small business loans

Borrowers with good credit

What Are LightStream’s Fees? 

When it comes to fees with personal loans, fees are expected and, boy, are they plentiful. From application fees, closing fees, commitment fees, to processing fees, document preparation fees and paper copy fees, the list goes on! 

What We Like About LightStream

LightStream stands out from the lending crowd in that it doesn’t charge any fees on its loans.

LightStream Penalties

We bet you thought there would be penalty fees, didn’t you? Well, penalty fees are another no go for the lending firm. This means those who qualify for a personal loan can save money during the application process, and throughout the lifetime of the loan. This is a breath of fresh air in the midst of some predatory loan scheme fees.

There are two stand out features that we like about LightStream. The quick funding and low rates. Here’s some more detail:

Funding and Decisions Happen Quickly

A decision will come soon after you apply, within business hours, of course. Applications are processed from 9:00am to 8:00pm ET, and from noon to 6 pm ET on weekends.

Even better, loans can be funded the same day once the application has been approved, verified, and signed before 2:30 pm ET.

Low Rates for Virtually Anyone With Good or Better Credit

A stand-out LightStream feature is its offering of lower interest rates to anyone with good credit, according to LightStream’s requirements.

Perhaps the one thing LightStream is most known for low interest rates. They’re known to offer an industry low starting point for lenders requiring a minimum credit score of 660, like SoFi and Marcus by Goldman Sachs.

In addition, LightStream’s Rate Beat program could offer a rate of 0.1% than what competitors are offering. To utilize this offer, you will be asked to prove that you were approved for another loan with similar terms offered by LightStream on the same day.

The Lightstream $100 Loan Experience Guarantee

LightStream’s $100 loan experience guarantee ensures that those who aren’t happy with their loan experience can get $100! This is not a bad deal at all, and you won’t need to jump through hoops to get it. 

Just contact the lender and fill out the questionnaire about improving LightStream services. Once you complete the questionnaire within 30 days of issuing the loan, you’ll get $100.

Where LightStream Could Improve

Although LightStream has some pretty great offerings and features, we believe that it could make its loans more accessible, and offer a pre-approval option to help people compare lenders more easily.

Only Accessible to Those With Good to Excellent Credit

As you’ve probably gathered, most of LightStream’s personal loans will only be available to customers with good to excellent credit.

The absolute minimum credit score considered is 660. On top of this, you will have a hard credit check, and those with a shorter loan history could be ruled out almost immediately.

For the best rates, LightStream asks for no less than five years of credit history and absolutely no delinquent accounts.

If you don’t fall into this category, you might be more interested in checking out some of the top debt consolidation loans on offer.

No Offer of Pre-Approval

A crucial part to being accepted for any loan type, including personal loans, if being able to shop around and compare rates. 

Usually, this involves a few pre-approvals by varying companies and then comparing them against each other to help you decide on the best for you. LightStream however, doesn’t offer any pre-approvals for its personal loans. It does offer a number of tools you can leverage to calculate monthly payments, interest rates, and more.

Even so, doing the rounds and comparing lenders is a good idea. You can apply for several personal loans and compare offers. It is generally suggested to spend shop around for a personal loan for a week or so, because too many applications in such a short time-frame can be counted as one hard inquiry, minimizing credit impact.

Are LightStream Loans Secured?

LightStream only offers unsecured loans. Let’s briefly cover what an unsecured loan is.

Unsecured Loans

While a secured loan requires a borrower to post some sort of asset as collateral, unsecured loans have no collateral requirement. The application process is generally easier with unsecured loans, and you don’t need to worry about losing the asset you have put up as collateral.

In addition, LightStream does not let customers co-sign loans. However, the lender does facilitate joint applications.

Can I Use a LightStream Loan for Anything?

While the lender is known for its loans in home improvement, auto, and debt consolidation, it also offers loans for in vitro fertilization and adoption purposes. 

In fact, allows borrowers to use the money for so many purposes then you can even apply to LightStream if you want to buy a horse! 

As a whole, LightStream offers personal loans for more than 30 purposes. Its range and offer is one of the top personal loans out there. Here’s a more coherent categorization of some of them:

Recreation LoansVehicle LoansFamily LifeHome Improvement LoansOther Options
Boat loans, Destination club, Timeshares, RV purchase and refinancing.Motorbikes, new, used and classic cars, and lease buyout.Adoption, dental, IVF and fertility treatment, medical, Pre-K through 12th grade education and weddings.Kitchen remodel, basement remodel, landscaping, hot tub, solar power and swimming pool, to name a few.Debt consolidation, refinancing, repair, aircraft, jewelry, horses, horse trailers, land and tiny homes.

There are no LightStream loans available for the following: 

  • Mortgage
  • Post-secondary education
  • Refinancing of other LightStream loans 
  • Commercial

How Do You Qualify for a LightStream Loan?

 LightStream has one of the toughest qualification criteria of any lender on our list. Unfortunately, you will be subject to a hard check of your credit score upon application.

Though the exact criteria varies as LightStream takes your entire credit profile into account, you are more likely to see approval if you have the following:

LightStream usually prefers a minimum FICO score of 660. While a good to excellent credit score is recommended, the lender takes the whole credit profile into account, as opposed to a FICO score on its own. You will also need to have a long credit history.

Julie Olian, vice president of public relations and social media with LightStream had this to say,

“Each individual profile is different and we make our credit decision based on the specific facts of that profile.” She goes on to say, “Ultimately, our determination of good credit is based on whether we conclude that there is a high likelihood that our loan will be repaid in a full and timely manner.”

Key Characteristics of Good Credit

During the qualification process, LightStream looks for some key characteristics of good credit, including a long credit history, proof of ability to save, and consistent income.

As a whole, because LightStream loans can vary immensely, requirements depend on a few different conjoining factors.

LightStream has a record of offering the top loans for excellent credit.

Pay Down Past Debt

Additionally, making sure to pay down any debt you’ve incurred before you apply will help your chances of being accepted for another loan. Debt consolidation might also be a good consideration if you have multiple loans.

How Is LightStream’s Customer Service?

LightStream itself is not rated by the Better Business Bureau. Its parent company, Truist, does a rating of A+.

In 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received a total of 25 personal loan-related complaints about SunTrust Bank (Truist), with a good response time for each one.

How Can I Contact LightStream?

  1. FAQ’s page
  2. Email
  3. Phone Contact

LightStream has a fairly comprehensive FAQs page where you’ll more than likely find answers to all you’re looking for.

LightStream Contact Page
LightStream offers customers several ways to get in touch with them

For anything more outside the box or in depth, you can email LightStream at customerservice@lightstream.com. Alternatively, if you believe your account security has been compromised or if you receive a suspicious call, you can call the SunTrust Fraud Assistance Center at +1 (800) 447-8994.

The team works Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 8:00am as well as Saturday, 12:00pm to 4:00pm Eastern time.

What is LightStream’s Application Process Like?

One of the easier aspects of LightStream is its application process. It can be completed in a matter of minutes from either your mobile or computer. The application process is almost fully online, and you can receive funds the same day you send over your application. 

How To Apply For a LightStream Loan

Here are the 3 steps involved in the LightStream loan process:

1. Apply online.  You should receive a response soon after your application is submitted (within business hours).

2. Accept the loan agreement. Once your loan has been approved, you will just need to e-sign your loan agreement and set up your loan for funding.

3. That’s everything! You will receive funds as early as the same working day.

Pre-approval quote checks are not available with LightStream. However, there are lots of calculators and tools you can use to review interest rates and potential monthly payments based on your own predefined criteria.  

With that, as we mentioned earlier, joint applications are accepted by the lender.

Once you are approved you will get the funds as early as the same working day. The one thing here is that if you do not reside in the US then you will not be eligible for a LightStream Loan.

LightStream Restrictions

Before you apply, note some of these restrictions. Mainly, LightStream won’t consider income gained through the cannabis industry. Secondly, you cannot refinance a LightStream loan and use the money for educational fees or business purposes.

Is SoFi or LightStream Better?

Here is a breakdown and back-to-back comparison of both LightStream and SoFi.

DetailsLightStreamSoFi
Minimum Credit ScoreGood to excellent680
APRVaries5.99% to 19.96%
Loan range$5,000 - 100,000$5,000 to $100,000
Term rangeVaries2-7 years
Best for Flexible termsHigh income borrowers with good credit

Who Should Use LightStream?

Although LightStream has a lot of good features, it’s not for everyone. Below we’ve highlighted who LightStream is great for, and who might seek another option.

Who LightStream Is Best For

  • People with good to excellent credit
  • People who want a lender with good customer service ratings
  • People who don’t want to pay loan fees

Who LightStream Is Not Best For

  • People with a poor credit rating
  • People looking for co-sign loans

A Summary of LightStream

LightStream offers unbeatable rates for personal loans. Its lack of fees, quality customer service and $100 Loan Experience Guarantee all combine to put this lender at the top of the leaderboard in the personal loans industry.

And with more and more loans going into default, it’s more important than ever to find a loan that you can afford. No fees and low interest rates certainly help there.

For improvements, we suggest the lender offers pre-approval and it could make its loans a bit more accessible to those with a lower rating.

Overall, we recommend LightStream to those with good to excellent credit, those looking for higher loan amounts, and those looking for a home improvement loan. 

Lightstream FAQ: Payment Deferrals, FICO Scores, & More

Below we’re going to go through all things LightStream including continuing our conversation about payment deferrals, answering some questions on your FICO score, and finally telling you whether getting declined for a loan will hurt your credit score. 

What’s in My FICO Scores?

Your FICO Score is calculated using lots of different pieces of credit date that are within your credit report. The data is grouped into five categories. These are: Amounts owed (30%), payment history (35%), length of credit history (15%), credit mix (10%) and new credit (10%).

The percentages represent the importance of each category in determining your FICO Scores. Of course, this can vary from person to person.

Your FICO Scores take into account both the positive and negative information in your credit report. Any late payments will lower your FICO Scores, but staying on top of your credit score, and showing a good track record of making consistent payments will raise your score.

How Can I Request a Payment Deferral?

LightStream does have a process established to help borrowers who need assistance. They’ve created a coronavirus response page, which outlines the exact steps borrowers can take to request a payment deferral with a LightStream loan.

Will Payment Deferral Negatively Affect My Credit Score?

There’s no need to worry about payment deferral negatively affecting your credit score with LightStream. However, as a deferment it is reported to credit agencies.

Does My Deferred Payment Extend the Loan Terms or Add to My Final Payment?

LightStream’s deferred payment criteria may change — especially during our current economic atmosphere given the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why it is advised to get the most up-to-date and accurate information directly from LightStream through their coronavirus response page.

Can I Pay off a Lightstream Loan Early?

LightStream does not charge any prepayment or origination fees. This means that you are not required to pay a penny upfront and you can pay your loan off early without any penalties.

This is a great way to boost your FICO.

What Exactly Does It Mean to Have “Good Credit”?

While knowing how to read a credit report can be a little daunting. Understanding your credit rating is pretty clear-cut.

Below we’ve created a table to help you understand what exactly it means to have “good credit. It must be said though, most loans require a long history of good credit, not simply good credit.

If you fall into the poor credit range then you could check out the leading credit repair companies to help you get back on track. If you fall into the “good credit” range then you might feel slightly concerned. After all, “good credit” is only one range from “poor credit” on the FICO credit scale. 

With good credit though, you will still be able to find some great loan opportunities. You will just need to find the right lending platform for you. 

Does Lightstream Verify Income?

All lenders, including LightStream, request personal information, including dates of birth, social security information, and contact information to verify income and your identity as well as checking credit scores.

Is It Hard to Get Approved by Lightstream?

It can be very difficult to get approved for a LightStream loan as they require a good-to-excellent credit profile. 

Although lots of sources state LightStream’s minimum credit score is 660+, LightStream takes into account the whole credit profile, not just a credit score of FICO score. In addition to this, LightStream does not disclose its income requirements.

Will Applying for a Lightstream Loan Hurt My Credit?

Taking out a personal loan or opening any line of credit may result in a temporary drop in credit score. 

However, because you’re also improving your “credit mix” (a factor in credit scoring models), and assuming you will pay your monthly loan payment on time each month, a LightStream loan could improve your credit score over time.

Can I Get Funds Instantly With Lightstream?

It is possible to get funded on the same day you apply if it’s approved before 2:30 pm EST on a business day. Otherwise, you will need to schedule the funding of your loan before 30 days passes after your loan is approved.

Does Getting Declined for a Loan Hurt Your Credit Score?

The act of getting declined for a loan itself will not hurt your credit score, nor will it appear as a strike on your credit report. However, the loan application will. Each inquiry made can be seen as a hard inquiry which can harm your credit scores.

Is Lightstream a Credit Union?

LightStream is a division of the SunTrust Bank. It was created to offer borrowers some of the best rates for personal loans, and therefore is not a credit union.

Can I Have Multiple Loans With Lightstream?

You can apply for multiple loans with LightStream. Everytime you apply, the lender will take into consideration your credit history and conduct a hard inquiry.

How Can I Contact Lightstream?

You can contact LightStream by emailing  customerservice@lightstream.com. Their email response is usually very quick.

LightStream does not have a phone number available to the general public. Once an application is approved, the respective borrower will be provided with a phone number.

LightStream and the Competition

See how LightStream compares to the top lending platforms by reading one of the reviews below.

All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Neither our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on tokenist.com. Our company, Tokenist Media LLC, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. Click here for a full list of our partners and an in-depth explanation on how we get paid.

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