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LightStream Review: Personal Loans with No Fees

LightStream loan rates are some of the lowest in the industry, and the lender doesn’t charge any fees. LightStream personal loans can be used for a variety of purposes and funding is fast. However, you’ll need good credit to be approved.

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3.9
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Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score Not Disclosed
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $5K-$100K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment 24-240 months
Lindsay Frankel
Written by:Lindsay Frankel
Personal Finance Expert

LightStream offers unsecured personal loans to finance a vehicle purchase, home improvement project, debt consolidation, medical expense, wedding, or large purchase. The rates and terms available vary based on the purpose and size of your loan, but starting rates are very low. LightStream is best for borrowers with excellent credit who don’t want to worry about fees and are looking to borrow at least $5,000. We’ll go over all the details of LightStream’s personal loan product in our Lightstream review, so you can decide if it’s the right lender for you.

Summarized Rating

This parameter considers loan term lengths, loan minimums and maximums, and the extent of loan use limitations. Each of these features was evaluated using the five-point scoring system. Then, the various scores were aggregated and averaged to establish an overall loan features score.

LightStream gets an above average 4.0 for Loan Features. This reflects the lender’s highly flexible term lengths and loan limits. The absence of any loan use limitations provides a boost to the rating.

LightStream Pros
No origination fee
No prepayment penalties
No late fees
Low starting APRs
Funding as soon as the same day
$100 Loan Experience Guarantee
Plants a tree for every loan
Rate beat program
Allows joint applications
Flexible terms from 24 to 240 months
LightStream Cons
No prequalification option
Can’t be refinanced with LightStream
No co-signers allowed
$5,000 minimum loan amount
Can’t be used for college
No option to change your due date
No hardship protection

Types of Personal Loans Offered by LightStream

LightStream offers personal loans for almost any purpose. Whether you need to remodel your kitchen, pay for private school, purchase a new or used car, or consolidate debt, LightStream offers a range of loan amounts and your choice of term.


Common loan uses

Prohibited uses

  • Home Improvement
  • Auto Purchase
  • Auto Lease Buyout
  • Auto Loan Refinance
  • Boat/RV/Aircraft Purchase or Refinance
  • Motorcycle Purchase or Refinance
  • Timeshare/Fractional Purchase or Refinance
  • PreK-12 Education Loan or Refinance
  • Medical/Adoption Expense Loan
  • Credit Card/Debt Consolidation
  • Other

  • LightStream Loan Refinancing
  • Postsecondary Educational Expenses
  • Student Loan Refinancing

LightStream Loan Features

With LightStream personal loans, you can borrow between $5,000 and $100,000 for almost any purpose, except refinancing a Lightstream loan or student loan or paying for college. This may go without saying, but you also can’t use the loan proceeds for any illegal activity. LightStream offers flexible terms between 24 and 240 months, but terms greater than 84 months are only available on loan amounts greater than $25,000 used for home improvement or boat/rv/aircraft purchase or refinance. You can use LightStream’s rate calculator to see what terms are available for your particular loan purchase.


Loan terms

24 to 240 months

Repayment period

Begins one month after funding

Loan amount

$5,000 to $100,000

Loan Use Limitations (i.e. only home improvements or only debt consolidation)

Can’t be used to refinance a student loan or LightStream loan, or for postsecondary educational expenses

LightStream Interest Rates and Fees

LightStream does not charge any fees. That includes an origination fee, so you’ll receive the full loan amount. While you should make your payments on-time to avoid hurting your credit, LightStream doesn’t charge a late fee. And there’s no penalty for repaying your loan early.

LightStream loan rates range from 2.99% to 19.99%, and your actual APR will depend on the information in your credit profile, the term you choose, and the purpose for your loan. For example, home improvement loans start at 4.49%. You can use LightStream’s rate widget to estimate your APR range based on your loan purpose. All published rates include a 0.5% AutoPay discount. If another lender offers you an unsecured loan with the same terms but a lower rate, LightStream will beat that rate by .10 percentage points.


Borrowing/Origination Fees

None

Prepayment Fees

None

Late Payment Fees

None

Other fees

None

Interest Rates

2.99% to 19.99% with AutoPay

LightStream Qualification Requirements

While LightStream doesn’t specify minimum credit score or income requirements, the lender reports that you’ll need good or excellent credit and sufficient income and assets for repayment in order to be approved. LightStream defines good credit as having several years of credit history with a variety of types of accounts, a good payment history, and evidence of savings. The lender will not accept income from the marijuana industry due to federal law. LightStream loan requirements also state you must also be 18 and have a valid driver’s license and a social security number to apply. You’ll also need a valid credit card for identity verification purposes.

LightStream does not allow co-signers, but the lender does allow joint applications. With a joint application, both borrowers have access to the funds and responsibility for repayment. You may have an easier time qualifying if you apply with a creditworthy co-borrower, and you might be eligible to borrow more money with two incomes.


Membership Requirement

None

Minimum Credit Score

Not Disclosed

Income Requirements

Not Disclosed

Co-signer/Joint Application Requirements

Joint Applications Allowed, Co-Signer Not Allowed

LightStream Application Process

One drawback of using LightStream is that the lender doesn’t offer a prequalification option. Applying for a loan with LightStream will require a hard credit check, which will cause a small but temporary decrease in your credit score.

To begin your LightStream application, fill in your application type and primary loan purpose. If you’re selecting “Other,” you’ll need to provide an explanation. On this page, you’ll also provide your zip code, loan amount, desired term, and payment method. Make sure you’re happy with the resulting monthly payment and APR range, and then click continue.
LightStream Personal Loans Review

On the next page, you’ll enter your personal information. That includes your name and contact info, social security number, driver’s license number, date of birth, citizenship, and work status. You’ll also provide your financial information, such as your estimated annual income, housing costs, equity, checking and savings balances, and retirement assets.
LightStream Personal Loans Review

Go to the next page and provide your security information. You’ll need a valid credit card for this step, but no charges will be made. Click “Confirm and Submit” and your application will be reviewed by LightStream.

Once you’re approved, log into your account to schedule the transfer of your funds. If you login to your account before 2:30pm ET on a banking business day and schedule the transfer by 3pm ET, you’ll receive the funds as a same-day wire transfer. If you login by 5:30pm ET and schedule the funds by 6pm ET on a banking business day, you can receive the funds the next day as an ACH transfer.

Once you receive your loan, if you’re not happy with your experience, you can fill out a questionnaire within 30 days to receive $100.

LightStream Customer Support

LightStream has relatively limited options for customer support, especially during the application process. If you have questions, you can email customerservice@lightstream.com, and the support team will respond within business hours, which are weekdays from 10am to 8pm ET and Saturday from noon to 4pm ET. You’ll also be given a customer service phone number once you’re approved for a loan. LightStream doesn’t offer a live chat function like some other lenders.

On third-party review sites like Credit Karma, some customers who were denied a loan complained that they couldn’t reach customer service. However, most complaints were about issues besides the customer support team.

LightStream Online Reviews

LightStream received only a handful of reviews on Trustpilot, and has an average rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars from 275 customers on Credit Karma. Reviews on LightStream’s website are much more favorable, with an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars from more than 20,000 customers.

Most customers who left positive reviews were happy with the ease and speed of the process. For example, one customer said, “This is the best experience I have ever had when applying for a loan. It was easy and everything was online and approval was immediate. I will deal with this company anytime. Just a great overall experience!” Even average reviews mentioned that the process was simple and the customer service team was friendly. Customers also raved about the great rates and fast response times from customer service.

Most complaints were from customers who weren’t approved for a loan. Some customers had good credit, were expecting an approval, and were disappointed by the impact on their credit. For customers who were approved, most complaints were about the inflexibility of due dates and the lack of options during times of hardship. One customer also mentioned that extra payments needed to be at least $100, which we agree is a drawback. And another customer complained that LightStream didn’t match a competitor’s lower rate as promised.


The positive reviews are related to

The negative reviews are related to

Fast and easy loan approval process

Being denied a loan

Low APRs

Inflexible payment options

Excellent customer service

Better rates elsewhere

LightStream Perks and Bonuses

Flexibility

Aside from an Autopay discount, which is included in published rates, LightStream doesn’t offer any savings opportunities, unless you count the company’s rate beat program. Relative to other lenders, LightStream is also fairly inflexible when it comes to options for managing your loan. You can’t change your due date or defer payment during a time of hardship. You also can’t schedule bi-weekly payments, and you must make extra payments on the same date as your regular payment if you want them to apply to the principal. Furthermore, if you schedule a payment more than 18 days early, it will be applied as an extra payment, and your next monthly payment will still be due.

Transparency

LightStream’s website is informative and clear, with a comprehensive FAQ section and a privacy page dedicated to helping consumers avoid scams. LightStream’s Loan Experience Guarantee and rate beat program also seem to indicate dedication to a transparent process with competitive rates, but one customer claims that LightStream didn’t match a competitor’s rate as promised.

Technology

You can manage your LightStream account online or through the lender’s mobile app, but keep in mind that the mobile app has mixed reviews. You have the option to enroll in Autopay for a discount or use invoice payment. Note that you’ll need to login at least two business days before your due date to schedule a payment if you use the latter option.

LightStream Compared to Other Lenders



LightStream

Avant

SoFi

Upgrade

Loan Terms

24 to 240 months

24 to 60 months

24 to 84 months

24 to 84 months

Loan amount

$5,000 to $100,000

$2,000 to $35,000

$5,000 to $100,000

$1,000 to $50,000

Interest Rates

2.99% to 19.99% with Autopay

9.95% to 35.95%

5.74% to 21.78% with Autopay

5.94% to 35.97% with Autopay

Min Credit Score

Not disclosed (Good or Excellent)

Not disclosed (600 to 700 is typical)

Not disclosed (third-party sources say 680)

Not disclosed

Co-signer Requirement

No co-signers allowed (joint applications allowed)

No co-signers allowed

No co-signers allowed (joint applications allowed)

Co-signers and joint applications allowed but not required

Final Thoughts

LightStream offers a simple and fast personal loan product with no fees and starting interest rates that beat out competitors. However, if you anticipate needing flexibility with repayment, such as changing your due date or skipping a payment, you’ll be better served by another lender. We also don’t think LightStream makes extra payments very convenient, so you might consider another lender if you’re planning to repay your loan early. Furthermore, if you don’t have good or excellent credit, you shouldn’t apply — there’s no prequalification option, so you’ll take a hit to your credit, and you’ll likely be denied.

About the Author

Lindsay Frankel

Lindsay Frankel

Personal Finance Expert

Personal finance expert with 3 years experience specializing in researching, writing, and editing insurance, loans, and credit cards content.

More about me
Somer G. Anderson

Fact checked by: Somer G. Anderson Ph.D., CPA

Accounting and Finance Professor

Somer G. Anderson has been working in the Accounting and Finance industries for over 20 years as a financial statement auditor, a finance manager in a large healthcare organization, and a Finance and Accounting professor at Maryville University.

More about me