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LightStream Personal Loans: 2023 Review

Updated on October 11, 2023
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At a glance

Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
Caret Down
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Customer Experience
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

About Bankrate Score

LightStream is one of the most competitive online lenders in the personal loan space, offering a quick application process, fast funding and low APRs. Because it boasts a relatively wide range of loan amounts and repayment terms, it’s good for borrowers looking to consolidate a substantial amount of debt or take on expensive home improvement projects.

Loan amount $5,000-$100,000
APR from 7.99%-25.49% *with AutoPay
Clock Wait
Term lengths 24 to 84 months
This lender is best for debt consolidation and home improvement projects.

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Bankrate User Stats

Bankrate users taking out personal loans from Lightstream have followed the below trends and stats:

  • Average funded loan amount: $25,794
  • Funded loan range: $5,000-$100,000
  • Average funding time: 6.3 days
  • Average APR of funded loan: 12.54%
  • Amount of loans funded through Bankrate since 2022: 1,691
  • Popular loan purpose trends: 38.5% of Lightstream borrowers on Bankrate take out personal loans for home improvement, more than any other loan purpose.

Best for debt consolidation and home improvement

Because it doesn’t have any fees — including late fees — and has a low APR, LightStream’s loans are relatively low cost. This makes its loans a great option both for debt consolidation and home improvement projects if you have good or excellent credit.

LightStream pros and cons


  • Checkmark

    Low rates.

  • Checkmark

    No fees.

  • Checkmark

    Fast approval and funding.


  • Close X

    Minimum loan amount is high.

  • Close X

    Requires a long credit history.

  • Close X

    No prequalification process.

Do you qualify?

LightStream doesn't provide a complete picture of what it takes to qualify. However, you will likely need good to excellent credit.

When evaluating your loan application, LightStream considers your:

  • Credit history.
  • Requested loan amount.
  • Requested loan purpose.
  • Repayment term.
  • Available assets.
  • Payment record on all loans and credit cards.

What LightStream doesn't allow loan funds to be used for

LightStream’s 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 postsecondary education expenses, though you can use LightStream loans for preschool and K-12 expenses.
  • Refinance previous college or postsecondary 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.

How this lender compares

Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
APR from
7.99%-25.49% *with AutoPay
Loan Amount
Term Length
24 to 84 months
Min Credit Score
Not disclosed
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
APR from
Loan Amount
Term Length
24 to 84 months
Min Credit Score
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
APR from
8.99% – 35.99%
Loan Amount
$2,000 – $50,000
Term Length
36 to 60 months
Min Credit Score

LightStream vs. SoFi

LightStream and SoFi are extremely similar lenders. Both are entirely online, offer loans of $5,000 to $100,000 and have competitive APRs. You will need good to excellent credit to qualify, but both lenders accept joint applications. 

Overall, you should apply with SoFi first because — unlike LightStream — it offers preapproval, so you can check your rate without hurting your credit. Additionally, SoFi offers a variety of member-specific perks, like unemployment protection, career coaching and a variety of discounts, that LightStream currently lacks.

Read a full comparison of LightStream vs. Sofi

LightStream vs. Best Egg

Best Egg is a strong contender with LightStream if you have fair to good credit. It is fast, too, with funding available as soon as one business day after you apply. But its maximum APR is high, and it has an origination fee that can cut into the total amount you're able to borrow.
Read a full comparison of LightStream vs. Best Egg

LightStream: in the details

What we like and what we don’t like

Before you take out a loan with LightStream, it's beneficial to consider the highlights and drawbacks.

What we like

  • Low rates: LightStream’s lowest APR is currently 7.99 percent. For borrowers with good credit, this could make LightStream a very affordable option for funding.
  • No fees: LightStream doesn’t charge any fees, not even an origination fee.
  • Fast approval and funding: Borrowers may receive funds as soon as the same day they apply with LightStream, which is great for time-sensitive needs.

What we don't like

  • Minimum loan amount is high: While many personal loan lenders let you borrow as little as $1,000, LightStream’s minimum is $5,000. This could be too much for some borrowers.
  • Requires a long credit history: LightStream borrowers must have several years of credit history with a variety of account types, so it’s not a good choice for borrowers just starting out with credit.
  • No prequalification process: LightStream does not offer prequalification for its loans. When you apply, it will do a hard pull of your credit, which can have a negative impact on your credit score.

How to contact LightStream

Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. LightStream’s website doesn’t provide a phone number, but you can email your questions and a representative will respond during business hours.

How to apply for a personal loan with LightStream

LightStream’s application process is quick and straightforward. It should take less than 15 minutes to complete if you have all your information ready to go.

Features and additional perks

If you find a better APR with a different lender, LightStream will beat the rate by 0.1 percentage points if you can show that you were approved by the competitor for the same type of fixed-rate loan for the same amount, term, purpose and payment method.
But other than that, there are no special features offered by LightStream.

Fees and penalties

LightStream charges no origination fees, prepayment penalties or late fees.

LightStream frequently asked questions

How Bankrate rates LightStream

Overall Score 4.6 Explanation
Availability 4.8 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.
Affordability 5.0 LightStream’s low minimum APR and lack of fees earned it a perfect score for affordability.
Customer Experience 4.6 Customers can apply for loans and manage their accounts entirely online, though its customer support options are limited.
Transparency 4.0 LightStream lists out all rates but no credit requirements.


To select the best personal loans, Bankrate’s team of experts evaluated over 30 lenders. Each lender was ranked using a meticulous 20-point system, focusing on four main categories:

  • Affordability: The interest rates, penalties and fees are measured in this section of the score. Lower rates and fees and fewer potential penalties result in a higher score. We also give bonus points to lenders offering rate discounts, grace periods and that allow borrowers to change their due date. 
  • Availability: Minimum loan amounts, number of repayment terms, eligibility requirements, ability to apply using a co-borrower or co-signer and loan turnaround time are considered in this category.
  • Customer experience: This category covers customer service hours, if online applications are available, online account access and mobile apps.
  • Transparency: For this factor, we consider how well information is presented to the borrower on the lender’s website. This includes listing credit requirements, rates and fees, in addition to offering prequalification.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by 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.