While many personal loan lenders give borrowers up to five years to repay, LightStream offers terms as long as seven years for most of its products. Loans for home improvement or the installation of a swimming pool or solar panels come with up to 12 years to repay. Getting a longer loan term with LightStream will require you to borrow quite a bit more than the company’s $5,000 minimum, however. For instance, if you want more than six years to pay for a medical bill or a boat, you’ll need to borrow at least $25,000.
Loan amounts from this online lender range from $5,000 to $100,000, and the fixed APR ranges from 2.49 percent to 20.49 percent. To qualify for the lowest rate, you’ll need to enroll in autopayments to receive a 0.5 percentage point discount. LightStream reports that from January 1 to March 31, 2021, at least 21 percent of the approved borrowers who applied for the lowest rate qualified for it.
All LightStream personal loans come with two- to seven-year terms, and loans for home improvement, pools and solar energy systems are available with terms up to 12 years.
If you find a better APR with a different lender, LightStream will beat the rate by 0.1 percentage points if you can show you were approved by the competitor for the same type of fixed-rate loan for the same amount, term, purpose and payment method.
Other lenders might offer lower loan amounts, shorter terms or more limitations on how borrowers can use the loan funds. LightStream’s unsecured personal loans can be used for nearly any purpose, including debt consolidation and adoption financing. It does have a few restrictions, though. You can’t use a LightStream personal loan to:
- Fund college or post-secondary education expenses, though you can use LightStream loans for preschool and K-12 expenses.
- Refinance previous college or post-secondary education loans.
- Refinance existing LightStream loans.
- Fund businesses.
- Fund a cash-out refinance.
- Purchase stocks, bonds, or stock options, or repay a loan against a stock option.
- Contribute to retirement, life insurance or education savings programs.
LightStream charges no origination fees, prepayment penalties or late fees, and there’s also no fee if you set up an automatic ACH debit through your bank account. You will not receive the 0.5 percentage point autopay discount if you pay manually.
How to apply for a loan with LightStream
When evaluating your loan application, LightStream considers your:
- Credit history.
- Requested loan amount.
- Requested loan purpose.
- Repayment term (two to 12 years, depending on the loan amount and purpose).
- Available assets.
- Payment record on all loans and credit cards.
LightStream’s application process is quick and straightforward. Here are the details you’ll need to provide:
- Loan purpose, amount and term
- Payment method
- Personal information (including your address, phone number, email address and Social Security number)
- Employment information
- Current monthly housing payments, such as rent or mortgages
- Income and balances of checking and savings accounts
- Stocks, bonds and vested retirement assets
Once you’ve submitted the loan application, LightStream will review it, conduct a hard credit pull and email you with the status of your application. If approved, you can sign your loan agreement and set up your funding date and payment information online.
Once you’re approved, the lender will disburse funds to your account. That can happen as soon as the day you apply, as long as your application is verified and approved before 2:30 p.m. Eastern on a business day. LightStream offers to send you $100 if you’re approved for a loan and unsatisfied with the loan process.
Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Eastern. LightStream’s website doesn’t provide a phone number, but you can email your questions and a representative will respond during business hours.
LightStream got high marks for its same-day loan approval and funding. However, it doesn’t disclose its minimum income requirement, which makes it more difficult for potential borrowers to know if the lender fits their needs. LightStream’s $5,000 minimum loan amount is high for borrowers who only need small loans, and several of the lenders we reviewed offer as little as $1,000.
LightStream’s low minimum APR and lack of fees earned it a perfect score for affordability.
Customers can apply for loans and manage their accounts entirely online, and customer support is available six days a week.
Bankrate’s reviews of lenders that offer personal loans are based on Availability, Affordability and Customer Experience, evaluating features like how long it takes borrowers to get approved and get their money, minimum APRs and convenient online applications and account access.
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.