LightStream Personal Loan Review


About LightStream

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.

By clicking “See Offers” you may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness. 

LightStream personal loan highlights

  • Low Rates
  • LightStream’s rates are lower than many other lenders, starting at 3.99% if you opt for AutoPay.
  • No Origination Fees
  • LightStream doesn’t charge origination fees. You can also pay off your loan early without incurring a prepayment penalty.
  • Flexible Terms

When you take out a loan from LightStream, you get to pick your loan term and the range of your monthly payment.


LightStream at a glance

APR Range

3.99%–19.99%*

Terms

24 to 144 months

Origination Fee

None

*with autopay

What LightStream offers

Terms: 24 to 144

APR range: 3.99%–19.99%*

*with autopay

Loan amounts: $5,000–$100,000

Time to funding: As soon as the same day.

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.


Eligibility requirements

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 personal loan from LightStream

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.


Pros & cons of a LightStream personal loan

Pros

 

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 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.

Cons

 

Restrictions on the guaranteeYou 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%.

 

  • Online application only. If you prefer to go analog with your application, LightStream isn’t a good match for you as the application process can only be completed online. You can request printouts of your loan documents after you’ve completed the process, though.

Who's the best fit for a LendingClub personal loan?

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.


Alternative personal loan options

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.

SoFi logo

SoFi

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.

SoFi

APR Range

5.99% – 18.28%*

Credit Requirement

None

Terms

24 to 84 months

Origination Fee

None

*Rates after applying a 0.25% discount for AutoPay

Freedom Plus

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.

Freedom Plus

APR Range

7.99%–29.99%

Credit Requirement

Varies

Terms

24 to 60 months

Origination Fee

1.99% - 4.99%

Earnest

Their personal loans start at $5,000. Their fixed APR starts slightly higher than LightStream’s at 3.99%, 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.

Earnest

APR Range

5.99%–17.24%

Credit Requirement

650

Terms

36 to 60 months

Origination Fee

None