LightStream is the national online lending portal for SunTrust Bank. SunTrust is a lending institution with a long and storied history in the Deep South. In 1891, the Commercial Travelers’ Savings Bank was founded; they changed their name to Trust Company of Georgia two years later.
They did well, and ended up obtaining some of the very first shares in Coca-Cola after providing the company with underwriting services in 1919. In 1934, the First National Bank at Orlando, Fla., was founded; the company would merge with the Trust Company of Georgia in 1985 to form SunTrust.
Today, SunTrust’s online LightStream portal gives potential borrowers access to an easy application, which — in some cases — can result in an approved and signed loan the very same day. Emphasizing their “virtually paperless” loan service, LightStream plants a tree with American Forests every time they fund a loan.
As of this writing, 66% of LendingTree users who have tried LightStream give it five stars (highest rating) for ease of use and the speed at which they disburse funding.
When you take out a loan from LightStream, you get to pick your loan term and the range of your monthly payment.
Minimum Credit Score
24 to 144 months
Terms: 24 to 144
APR range: 3.49%–19.99%*
Loan amounts: $5,000–$100,000
Time to funding: As soon as the same day.
Hard pull / Soft pull: When you fill out the online form on LendingTree, you will first be able to go through pre-qualification with a soft pull, which won’t affect your credit report. When you file an application, LightStream will do a hard pull on your credit report, as all lenders do, which may ding your credit report.
LightStream’s Loan Experience Guarantee promises to pay you $100 if you’re not completely satisfied with the loan process. Your loan must be approved and issued before you qualify.
Fees and penalties
Origination fee: None
Prepayment fee: None
Late fee: None
Other fees: None
If you’re a Florida resident, you’ll have to pay a documentary stamp tax of $0.35 per $100 borrowed per state law. The max you’d pay for this tax is $2,450.
Minimum credit score: 0
Minimum credit history: Credit history of several years showing a good payment history with mixed credit types — such as credit cards and auto loans.
Maximum debt-to-income: Low
You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for a personal loan from LightStream, but you do need an alien registration card or valid Social Security number. An individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) will not qualify you for a LightStream loan.
Applying for a loan from LightStream is very simple, but you should start by seeing if you prequalify first. Start with LendingTree, where you can fill out a short online form to possibly get a quote from Lightstream if you prequalify. This is not a guarantee but it does give you an idea of what you’re in for. From here, you can decide to abandon ship or continue on to the application process.
On the loan application page, you will enter the amount you want to borrow. You’ll also be able to pick your loan term. As you do so, LightStream will provide you with a monthly payment estimate.
From there, you’ll be asked to provide basic information about your identity, such as name, address, employment information, citizenship information and any other assets you may have. In the initial application, you do not need to provide any documentation, but you may be asked to submit verification after you have completed the application process. You can do this electronically. All applicants will be asked to provide their Visa or Mastercard information if they are approved.
If you provide all the necessary information and sign your loan by 2:30 p.m. EST, you can schedule your funds to be delivered to you that same day.
Low rates. LightStream’s rates are low compared with other lenders. They attribute this to the lower overhead costs that accompany a completely electronic platform, and a relatively high credit requirement. You must have a score of at least 0 and a history of on-time payments for a variety of different credit accounts.
Fast Service. Some borrowers may be able to apply for a loan and receive the funds on the same day.
No Fees. LightStream does not charge any fees, saving you money both when you take out the loan, and in the circumstance, you should pay it back early.
Loan experience guarantee. This unique feature rewards you with $100 should your experience be less than stellar.
Restrictions on the guarantee. You are only eligible for the guarantee if you are approved for the loan.
Different interest rates for different loan uses. Interest rate ranges vary depending on what you intend to spend the money on. For example, if you are taking out a loan to install solar panels, rates start at 4.99%. If, however, you’re using the money to fund schooling expenses for Pre-K through secondary education, rates start at 5.99%.
Personal loans are just that: personal. Those seeking business loans will have to look outside of LightStream’s offerings.
But those with a positive credit history looking for personal loans with low rates, no fees and a flexible term period are likely to benefit. This is especially true for qualified borrowers who are seeking larger loans, as LightStream’s borrowing limits are quite high — up to $100,000.
As you’re shopping for a personal loan, you want to be sure to compare across lenders. Rather than go to each individual site, we have a tool to help you easily look at lending terms and criteria across a number of companies and financial institutions. Here are a few of LightStream’s top competitors.
The starting rates on SoFi’s loans are higher than those of LightStream. However, they also do not assess any origination fees or prepayment penalties. Their borrowing limits — $5,000 to $100,000 — are identical. They do not put a overly strong emphasis on credit scores; instead they focus on your education and projected earning potential.
5.99% – 18.53%*
24 to 84 months
*Rates after applying a 0.25% discount for AutoPay
Freedom Plus isn’t actually a lender, but they do connect you to lenders who may qualify you for a loan. If you apply online, you are giving them permission to provide your information to third-party credit repair services in addition to potential lenders, though you can potentially dodge this practice by applying on the phone. You will find lenders here with lower minimum credit score requirements, but you can find those same lenders without putting your personal information out there.
24 to 60 months
1.99% - 4.99%
Their personal loans start at $5,000. Their fixed APR starts slightly higher than LightStream’s at 5.99%, but they do allow you to borrow those lower amounts. Stick with LightStream if you’re a big borrower, though; Earnest’s personal loans cap out at $75,000.
36 to 60 months