Banking

LightStream personal loans review: Borrowers with good credit can get low interest rates

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  • If you have good credit, you can qualify for lower interest rates from LightStream than with other lenders. 
  • LightStream offers loans between $5,000 and $100,000 for a variety of purposes.
  • However, you’ll need a credit score of at least 660, a steady income, and several years of credit history.
  • See Insider’s picks for the best personal loans »

LightStream is the lending division of Truist Bank (Member FDIC), and it offers personal loans with competitive interest rates. Loans mainly focus on customers with good or better credit

If you’re considering a personal loan and have good credit, LightStream is a good place to start looking. As with any loan, it’s important to shop around to find the best deal for you — get offers from several lenders and compare them to find the one with the lowest APR that’s the best fit for your budget. 

If you apply during business hours, a decision should come shortly after applying. Application processing happens on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET, and from noon to 6:00 p.m. ET on weekends. Loans can be funded on the same day if the application is approved, verified, and signed before 2:30 p.m. ET. 

If you’re considering a personal loan from LightStream, there are a few things you’ll want to know up front. 

Personal loans from LightStream must have a purpose. But LightStream has quite a few acceptable uses to choose from, like home improvement or adoption expenses. Interest rates vary by the loan’s purpose, in addition to credit history, repayment timeframe, and the loan amount. Lightstream loans can’t be used for business purposes, nor to refinance an existing LightStream loan.  

Lightstream loans are available to customers in all 50 states. While other Truist brands — SunTrust and BB&T — have physical locations, LightStream loans are only available online.

LightStream loan amounts and interest rates

At LightStream, personal loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000, and can be repaid in a span of 24 months to 12 years, depending on the loan amount and purpose. There are no prepayment penalties for paying off your loan early. 

While good credit is required with this lender, the low interest rates are hard to beat. Lightstream loans start at 2.49% APR, but other competing lenders with similar credit requirements have higher APRs. For example, SoFi’s lowest rate is 6.11% APR, and and Marcus’ minimum is 6.99%. 

LightStream may offer a rate 0.10% lower than what’s offered to you by a competing lender. To take advantage, you must show evidence that you were approved for another loan with the same terms offered by LightStream on the same day for a lower rate. To see exact terms visit LighStream’s Rate Beat page.

The pros and cons of a LightStream personal loan

With LightStream, you’ll need to have a minimum credit score of 660 to qualify for a loan. This minimum is on par with other personal loan lenders who target consumers with good credit scores. For comparison, the lowest credit score SoFi will accept is 680, and Payoff’s minimum is 640. 

If you don’t know your credit score, you can find it for free on annualcreditreport.com from any of the three major credit bureaus once per week during the coronavirus pandemic.

There are other requirements as well, including:

  • Several years of credit history
  • A good credit mix, including a combination of credit card use, and consumer debt like an auto loan or a mortgage
  • Few or no payment delinquencies on your credit report
  • Other assets, including liquid savings, investments, and retirement savings
  • A stable income that will comfortably cover any other expenses and the new loan

LightStream will conduct a hard credit inquiry once you accept the loan offer, which will likely affect your credit score. A hard inquiry gives a lender a complete look at your credit history, but may negatively affect your credit score.

If you are interested in getting a personal loan from LightStream but need to improve your credit score to do so, here are some tips you can use to boost your score: 

  • Ask for and look over a copy of your credit report. Search for any errors on your report that could be tanking your score. If so, reach out to the credit bureau to talk about fixing the mistake.
  • Maintain low credit card balances. Having a credit utilization rate — the percentage of your total credit you’re using — of 30% or less will show lenders that you can manage your credit well.
  • Design a system for paying bills on time. Your payment history makes up a significant percentage of your credit score, and lenders prefer to see consistent and reliable payments in the past. Set up calendar reminders or automatic payments so you don’t miss out on any of your obligations.

Lightstream is a Better Business Bureau-accredited company, and the BBB gives LightStream an A+ in trustworthiness. The BBB measures trustworthiness by reviewing a business’ responses to customer complaints, honesty in advertising, and clarity surrounding business practices. 

LightStream hasn’t been involved in any recent controversies. As a result of its good history and top-notch BBB rating, you might think about using LightStream as your personal loan provider.

Importantly, BBB scores don’t ensure you’ll have a great relationship with the company and are simply a way to begin your search for a personal loan provider. 

The application is available entirely online, and can be done in just a few minutes. You’ll only need basic information for the initial application, including:

  • The purpose of your loan 
  • Address
  • Employment information
  • Information on your assets, like home equity, saving and checking account balances, investment balances, and retirement account balances
  • Information on your total monthly housing expenses, like rent, or mortgage payments, including home equity loans.
  • Information for the other person you’re applying with, if applying jointly

You’ll be able to see what your interest rate range is before even submitting your application, with a specific interest rate provided as you’re approved. After making an account and submitting your loan application, you should receive a decision shortly. 

Once you have the decision and a loan offer, you’ll sign the agreement, provide funding preferences, and complete the final verification process. One of the verification steps requires a Visa or MasterCard credit card. 

After verification, the funds will be delivered as requested. If you set up automatic repayments, your APR will be discounted 0.50%, for a minimum of 2.49%.

Although rates are specific to borrowers, LightStream’s interest rates are lower than those offered by competitors. Here’s how it stacks up against the competition. 

LightStream vs. SoFi personal loans

LightStream and SoFi have quite a few similarities: Both offer loan amounts between $5,000 and $100,000, and they don’t require any fees. However, SoFi loans require a higher minimum credit score and also have higher minimum interest rates than LightStream. 

SoFi stands out with its unemployment protection program. If you lose your job through no fault of your own and you’re approved for the program, SoFi will put your loans into forbearance, suspending your monthly payments.

LightStream vs. Marcus by Goldman Sachs personal loans

Marcus’ minimum APR of 6.99%, starts much higher than the minimum LightStream’s minimum APR of 2.49%. Loans from Marcus also max out at $40,000, while LightStream offers up to $100,000. 

Marcus distinguishes itself from LightStream with its “on-time payment reward.” If you pay your loan on time and in full every month for one year, you can skip a month of payments and interest will not accrue during that time. The company will then extend your loan by one month. 

Liz Knueven is a personal finance reporter at Insider. Previously, she covered financial and automotive topics freelancing for brands like LendingTree and Credit Karma. She now covers money topics ranging from student loans to retirement.

Ryan Wangman is a reviews fellow at Personal Finance Insider reporting on mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. In his past experience writing about personal finance, he has written about credit scores, financial literacy, and homeownership.

SoFi Personal Loans Disclaimer: Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 25.05% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of December 18, 2020 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

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