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LightStream Personal Loans: 2023 Review

Updated on Jan. 1, 2023
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At a glance

4.6
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
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Availability
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2
Affordability
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0
Customer Experience
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
4.6

About Bankrate Score

LightStream is an online lender that specializes in a quick application process, fast funding and low APRs. Because it offers a relatively wide range of loan amounts and repayment terms, it’s good for borrowers who need to consolidate a lot of debt or take on expensive home improvement projects.

Moneybag
Loan amount $5,000–$100,000
Rates
APR from 6.99%–23.99% (with autopay)
Clock Wait
Term lengths 24 to 84 months
This lender is best for debt consolidation.

Best for debt consolidation

Because it doesn’t have any fees — including late fees — and has a low APR, LightStream is a great option for debt consolidation if you have good to excellent credit. And since LightStream also has loans up to $100,000, you will be able to combine a large amount of debt into one monthly payment.

Its quick application process means you won’t have to wait long to know if you have been approved.

LightStream pros and cons

PROS

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    Low rates

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    No fees

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    Fast approval and funding

CONS

  • Close X

    Minimum loan amount is high

  • Close X

    Requires a long credit history

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    No preapproval process

Do you qualify?

  • Credit score requirements: Good to excellent credit
  • Income requirements: Not specified
  • Co-signers and co-borrowers: Does not accept co-signers, does accept co-borrowers

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.

LightStream versus 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 to SoFi first because it offers preapproval — something LightStream lacks. 

LightStream versus Best Egg

Best Egg is a strong contender with LightStream if you have fair to good credit. You can borrow up to $50,000 — one of the larger loan amounts out there — with an APR starting at 8.99 percent. 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 are able to borrow.

LightStream: in the details

What we like and what we don’t like

What we like

  • Low rates: LightStream’s lowest APR is currently 6.99 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 preapproval process: LightStream does not offer preapproval 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 a.m. to 8 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 4.2 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.

Methodology

To select the top personal loan lenders, Bankrate considers 15 factors. These factors include credit requirements, APR ranges, fees, loan amounts and flexibility to account for a wide range of credit profiles and budgets. Bankrate reviewed 41 lenders and gave each a Bankrate rating, which consists of three 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.
  • Availability: What the minimum loan amounts are, its eligibility requirements and loan turnaround are considered in this category.
  • Customer experience: This category covers customer service hours, if online applications are available, online account access and mobile apps.

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.