LightStream Loans Review

LightStream is a consumer-lending division of SunTrust Bank based out of San Diego, California. Specializing in personal loans with competitive fixed rates, LightStream focuses on delivering quick and easy financial services that give customers more of the flexibility to purchase the products they need while building their credit profile. LightStream is also an active supporter of American Forests, a U.S.-based conservation organization, and has agreed to donate a tree for every approved loan they provide.

LightStream at a glance

Pros
  • No hidden fees or penalties
  • Guarantees low APR rates and will beat competitors
  • Wide range of loan amounts from $5,000 to $100,000
Cons
  • Requires better-than-average credit scores
  • Requires hard credit checks when going through the application process that can lower FICO scores
  • Cannot be used for higher education financing

What’s interesting about LightStream

LightStream puts much of its time and resources into creating revolutionary loan experiences for its client base. Using proprietary technology, LightStream makes it easy for customers to apply for loans, receive approvals, sign paperwork and deposit funds all in the same day right from their personal computer or mobile device. The company even provides a $100 guarantee that customers will walk away from their personal-loan process with the best experience they’ve ever had. What’s even better is that LightStream is one of the few consumer-lending companies that have no hidden application fees or prepayment penalties. LightStream offers fixed-rate loans ranging from $5,000 up to $100,000 and guarantees the lowest APR percentages, or they’ll beat the competition by 0.10%.

Things to consider

While LightStream offers a wide range of personal loan options, the company is known for catering to customers with good to excellent credit scores, so those with average or bad credit should look elsewhere for approval. Lacking a pre-approval process, LightStream is better suited for customers who have maintained credit accounts that are in good standing for at least five years. LightStream also restricts the use of personal loans for any purpose other than what the loan was initially applied for. The company also does not currently offer any form of student loans or educational financing.

Personal loans

LightStream offers unparalleled flexibility when receiving personal loans. Customers can apply for loans for a variety of needs, including recreation, home improvements, adoption services, medical bills, homes and weddings. Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000, and the APR varies from 4.99% to 16.79%. A defining feature of LightStream’s personal loans is that they have no fees or penalties across the board. This includes late payment, prepayment, or origination fees. As an added incentive, LightStream promises to beat all competitors’ rates by 0.10%

Mortgage loans

LightStream specializes in personal loans only and therefore doesn’t offer any type of mortgage loan options. However, as part of its lending division, SunTrust Bank offers a variety of solutions for homebuyers. SunTrust Mortgage gives buyers 15- or 30-year loan options (fixed) along with 5/1, 7/1, and 10/1 ARMs. SunTrust makes it easy to apply for a mortgage online and with the help of a mobile application. SunTrust’s online portal is designed to create maximum transparency and efficiency for customers looking to manage their mortgage. The portal provides valuable resources to first-time homebuyers and equips borrowers with the tools they need to make better financial choices.

Mortgage refinancing

As with mortgage loans, LightStream does not currently offer any type of mortgage-refinancing option for customers. SunTrust Mortgage provides homeowners with the ability to take advantage of current low mortgage rates and refinance their homes. SunTrust offers flexible closing cost options and claims to have helped clients save an average of $314 per month through its refinancing options.

Home equity loans and HELOCs

With LightStream lacking home-equity loans and HELOC options, SunTrust is again an excellent alternative for customers looking for no closing costs, quick closing lead times, and both fixed and variable-rate options. SunTrust’s home-equity line of credit (HELOC) can be used by customers to fund a variety of purchases, including home improvements and educational funding. While LightStream doesn’t provide HELOC solutions, it does offer an unsecured home improvement loan for small and large-scale projects. These loans range from 24- to 144-month repayment terms and start with a fixed-rate APR of 4.99%.

Car loans

LightStream offers several solutions for customers looking to refinance or purchase a vehicle. Here are some of the car-loan options available to customers:

  • Auto Refinancing: LightStream offers auto-refinancing options with variable loan terms and APR percentages. Loans start at 3.99% APR with no appraisals or restrictions on vehicle age or mileage.
  • Classic Car: LightStream makes it easy for customers to purchase the dream car they love by offering personal car loans for $50,000 to $100,000. Customers on a 73-to-84-month term will pay a variable APR of 5.29% to 6.84%
  • New Car: For customers who have solid credit ratings, LightStream offers a 3.99% APR for new car purchases up to $100,000. For loans over $9,000, LightStream offers a 0.5% discount for customers who elect to enroll in AutoPay.
  • Used Car: LightStream offers private-party auto loans starting from 4.99% APR. For cash buyers, loan funds are deposited directly into customer accounts, making it easy to negotiate private-party vehicle sales.

The final word

LightStream is one of the most flexible personal-lending providers available. Unlike many other financial institutions, LightStream has very few restrictions and doesn’t asses any fees to its customers. LightStream’s services are available in all 50 states and can be easily accessed online and through its mobile application. One consideration that most customers will need to know is that LightStream prefers to deal with borrowers with excellent credit history. There’s no pre-approval process for personal loans, so it’s better for customers to know their FICO scores ahead of time and identify if their credit ratings are adequate enough for a loan approval. This will help to avoid any further negative impact on credit scores if and when a loan is denied.