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LightStream: 2022 Auto Loan Review

2022-05-24 11:56:00

At a glance

4.2
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5

Bankrate Score

  • Availability
    Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
  • Affordability
    Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
  • Customer Experience
    Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
  • Transparency
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
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About LightStream

  • Moneybag

    Loan amount

    $5,000 to $100,000

  • Credit Good

    Min. credit score

    Not specified

  • Rates

    APR from

    5.99%

  • Funds available in

    As soon as the day you apply

LightStream features

Consider these benefits and drawbacks of an auto loan with LightStream before applying.

PROS

  • Checkmark

    Good user experience

  • Checkmark

    Fast funding timeline

  • Checkmark

    Many repayment term options

CONS

  • Close X

    Unsecured loan

  • Close X

    High minimum loan amount

  • Close X

    No prequalification

LightStream is an online lender that offers unsecured auto loans for new car purchases and used car purchases, as well as auto loan refinancing. Because LightStream’s auto loans are unsecured, your car is not used as collateral; however, LightStream still offers competitive rates and a variety of repayment options. Along with this, LightStream can give you the funds to finance your vehicle the day that you apply.

Pros and cons of LightStream auto loans

Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of LightStream auto loans.

Pros:

  • Good user experience. LightStream operates entirely online, and its website is simple and easy to navigate. The application is quick and can be completed using a phone, tablet or computer.
  • Fast funding timeline. You can receive funding as soon as the day that you apply for a loan with LightStream, and the funds are deposited directly into your bank account.
  • Many repayment terms. You can apply for repayment terms from 24 months to 84 months, which gives you more flexibility in finding an affordable monthly payment.

Cons:

  • Unsecured loan. LightStream’s auto loan essentially functions as an unsecured personal loan, so you don’t use your vehicle as collateral. This could translate to higher interest rates than what you’d find with a lender offering traditional auto loans.
  • High minimum loan amount. LightStream has much higher loan minimums than those of its competitors. The minimum to refinance or finance a new or used vehicle is $5,000, so LightStream may not be a good option if you’re looking to buy a cheap used car or you’re refinancing a few thousand dollars at the end of your existing auto loan.
  • No prequalification. When you submit your application with LightStream, you’ll go through a hard credit check. Unlike with other lenders, there’s no way to check your rate and eligibility beforehand.

Who is LightStream best for?

LightStream is best for drivers who are looking to finance or refinance their vehicle quickly. LightStream boasts an easy-to-navigate website with a streamlined online application process and same-day funding in some cases.

Types of auto loans offered

LightStream offers auto loans for new, used and refinancing vehicles. The terms for all three options are the same: You can borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000, with terms from 24 to 84 months.

If you’re buying a used car, you can choose from either a dealer purchase or a private party purchase. LightStream also offers loans for an auto lease buyout if you’ve been leasing your car and decide that you want to purchase it.

Interest rates and terms

LightStream offers one discount: a 0.5 percent discount for autopay. The rates below reflect this discount.

Loan product Interest rate
New car 5.99% to 11.99% APR
Used car from a dealer 5.99% to 11.99% APR
Used car from an individual 6.49% to 12.49% APR
Lease buyout 6.49% to 12.49% APR
Auto loan refinance 6.49% to 12.49% APR

How to apply for a loan with LightStream

You can apply for a loan with LightStream on its website. In the application, you’ll need to provide:

  • Whether you’re applying alone or with a co-applicant.
  • The primary loan purpose.
  • Your desired loan amount and repayment term.
  • Personal information like your name, email address, home address, phone number, housing status, Social Security number, birthdate and driver’s license number.
  • Your employment and financial information.

You may need to provide identifying documents after completing your application. If you apply within business hours, you could receive a response, sign your loan documents electronically and receive funding within the same day.

Auto loan requirements

LightStream does not provide specific eligibility requirements for its loans. However, the company does look for borrowers with several years of credit history, a credit history with a variety of account types, a good payment history, a proven ability to save and stable income. The lowest rates go to borrowers with an excellent credit score, which is typically defined as a FICO Score above 740.

Customer service

LightStream earns an “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau, which is the highest possible rating. Its parent company, Truist, has the same rating. The BBB measures companies’ complaint history, how well they’ve responded to customer complaints and how transparent their business practices are.

LightStream offers customer assistance via an online form but does not have a phone number for general queries. Business hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET and Saturday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. Information regarding your application or loan can be found 24/7 on LightStream’s website or app.

How Bankrate rates LightStream

Overall score 4.2  
Availability 4.7 LightStream has a high minimum loan amount but lets you choose from a wide range of repayment terms.
Affordability 4.2 While LightStream offers low APRs, it does not disclose its eligibility requirements.
Customer experience 4.8 LightStream stands out for its fast funding timeline, but it does not have customer support via phone, and its support hours are limited.
Transparency 3.0 Fees are listed on its website, but LightStream does not offer prequalification.
Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.
Written by
Rebecca Betterton
Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers in navigating the ins and outs of securely borrowing money to purchase a car.