The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for .
SoFi began in 2011 as a student-focused lender but has since expanded to offer a variety of banking and lending services. LightStream is an online lending division of Truist Bank (formerly part of Suntrust). It got its start in 2013 as a lender focusing on borrowers with strong credit.
Both lenders are good options for people with strong credit, so compare them to decide which will work best for you.
LightStream vs. SoFi at a glance
Both LightStream and SoFi offer unsecured personal loans. They have very similar products, so you should compare them closely to see which is the better choice for your finances.
|Better for||Borrowers with a co-signer||Fast funding|
|APRs||8.99% to 25.81% Fixed APR||7.99% to 25.49% Fixed APR (with Autopay)|
|Loan term lengths||24-84 months||24-84 months|
|Minimum credit score||680||695|
|Time to funding||Within a few days||As soon as same day|
LightStream personal loans
LightStream offers flexible personal loans that you can use for anything from buying a car, remodeling your home or consolidating existing debt. It focuses on borrowers with excellent credit so that it can keep costs low. And unlike many online lenders, LightStream doesn’t charge origination fees or prepayment penalties.
To secure the best interest rates, borrowers have to sign up for automatic payments. LightStream offers an autopay discount of 0.5 percent APR. And if you already have an offer, LightStream will discount its rate by 0.1 percent with its Rate Beat program. So if you aren’t sure whether to pick SoFi or LightStream, apply with SoFi first and see if LightStream will give you a better APR.
Another benefit that sets LightStream apart is that you can get the money the same day you apply if you apply early in the day and have excellent credit. SoFi takes multiple business days to fund your loan.
- Same-day funding.
- Low interest rates.
- Rate Beat program.
- Good credit required.
- No co-signers permitted.
- No prequalification option.
SoFi personal loans
Although SoFi began as a student-focused lender, it now offers personal loans to all sorts of borrowers in addition to banking and investing services.
If you already work with SoFi for other loans, banking or investing, it can be convenient to keep all of your money in one place and use it for lending too. Since its product is nearly identical to LightStream, you won’t be making a mistake by applying to it.
SoFi also benefits from the fact that it allows for co-signers. If you have poor credit but a willing co-signer, SoFi might approve you if LightStream won’t. If you have excellent credit, then this is less of a concern.
- Co-signers permitted.
- Qualify with a short credit history.
- Lower maximum APR.
- Funding can take a few days.
- Good credit required.
How to choose between LightStream and SoFi
LightStream and SoFi offer almost identical products when it comes to loan amount, rates and loan terms. Because of this, it may be hard to choose — and it may actually be beneficial to submit an application to both so you can see where you stand.
Consider these key differences: co-signers, prequalification and funding speed.
SoFi allows co-signers and prequalification
LightStream doesn’t let borrowers apply with a co-signer, meaning that you’ll have to work with SoFi if you want to have two people on your loan. This can be important if your credit isn’t great or if you want to have joint responsibility for the money you borrow.
SoFi also offers prequalification. This allows you to submit an application and see your rates without affecting your credit. There will only be a hard pull to your credit after you agree to the terms. Since LightStream doesn’t offer the ability to prequalify, you may want to check with SoFi before submitting to LightStream.
LightStream offers same-day funding
If you have great credit and apply for a loan early in the day, LightStream can fund your loan on the same day. That means money in your account on the day that you apply. If you’re facing a major financial emergency and need quick cash, LightStream is likely the better choice. SoFi offers quick funding, but it still takes a few days to hit your bank account.
Compare more lenders before applying
LightStream and SoFi both offer similar loans. However, for borrowers with excellent credit, LightStream edges out the competition thanks to its Rate Beat program and the ability to get money the same day that you apply. But, if you already use SoFi for its other financial services or need to apply for a co-signer, it is still a solid lender.
If you’re in need of a loan, there’s little reason not to check your rate with both companies to see which gives you the best offer.