Lightstream Personal Loans
Lightstream is a lending service that is a division of SunTrust Bank. Because this is the lending division of a bank, loans will have very competitive APRs but high standards for approval. When you are looking for a personal loan, a lender like this is ideal. In the industry, this range is on the lower end; however, you have to qualify first. Lightstream stands apart in offering personal loans with no fees, and quick turnaround from applying for the loan and receiving your funds.
Personal Loans and More
Lightstream offer loans in a range of categories including vehicle, home improvement, recreation and "anything else". Personal loans for purposes such as debt consolidation or credit card debt will fall under the anything else category. The Lightstream loan products are aimed at those with very good credit and a high income. Their target customer is more likely to be buying a horse or small airplane than paying off credit card debt. Lightstream does not fund loans for college expenses or refinancing outstanding college loans, nor will they lend to refinance existing Lightstream loans.
Loan amounts from $5,000 to $100,000 may be requested with payback terms from 24 to 84 months. Rates vary from a low of 1.99% to the most qualified borrowers, making them very competitive for personal or consumer loan products. The interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan, keeping your payment the same throughout the payback process.
Prospective borrowers should note that interest rates vary by loan category. The "anything else" loan category has a lowest interest rate of 5.99%, for a $10,000 to $24,999 with a payback term of 24 to 36 months. Depending on the amount borrowed, the rate for the "anything else" loan can go as high as 14.49%. Of course the rates are subject to general credit market trends over time. The vehicle loan category features interest rates as low as 1.99%, recreation loans go as low as 2.99%, and home improvement loans go as low as 3.99%. Lightstream makes unsecured loans, so borrowers are not required to put up collateral such as their home. There is an option to take out a secured loan for auto purchases only.
Fees and Payments
Lightstream does not charge a loan origination fee, nor do they charge late fees or missed payment fees. Monthly payments are automatically debited from your bank account, unless you prefer to be billed and pay by check each month. Borrowers choosing the automatic debit option receive a .5 reduction on their interest rate, a strong incentive indeed. Repayment terms of anywhere from 24 to 84 months can be requested.
Excellent Credit Required
Lightstream prefers to make loans to those with a credit score of about 720 or higher. If your score is much lower than that, you may want to shop around for lenders catering to those with credit matching your score. Lightstream also looks for a credit history going back five years or more, with a variety of accounts on record such as mortgages and credit cards. They like to confirm that you have no late payments or other blemishes on your credit record. Lightstream gathers information on your entire financial picture, including savings and retirement accounts as well as income and work history. Those who need the money the least are most likely to get the loan from Lightstream, but they do consider applicants with good credit on their own merits.
The Application Process
It is easy to apply for a loan from Lightstream, with the whole process handled online. Applicants are notified of the decision on their application via email. Approved applicants then provide an electronic signature on the loan agreement to accept it. They provide checking account details, schedule a date to receive funds and choose the day to make their payment each month. Lightstream makes the transfer of funds on the designated date to the borrower's checking account. Lightstream make the somewhat amazing claim that your loan can be funded the same day you apply!
It's worth nothing that Lightstream asks that you list a major credit card for identity verification. In addition, if you are dependent on a spouse or other family member for income, Lightstream will ask for a joint application.
Is Lightstream a Legitimate Lender?
Lightstream is the online lending arm of Sun Trust Bank, which has a A+ rating with the BBB and has been accredited since 1967. While there are pros and cons to unsecured consumer debt, Lightstream is a legitimate lender providing a popular service.
Customer Support Rated
Lightstream is very responsive to loan applications and is on top of the funding process. There is a wealth of helpful, frank information on their well organized web site. Clients can contact Lightstream via an email form on the website and get a prompt answer during business hours.
This being said, there is no phone support, a bit unusual for an operation of this size. Lightstream reasons that their email response is very good, and they keep their over head low by not offering phone support, in turn keeping interest rates low.
They do want customers to have an excellent experience, and point this up by offering a $100 guarantee available during the first 30 days if you are not satisfied with your borrowing experience. Those wishing to take the $100 guarantee are asked to contact customer service and fill out a detail form explaining their problem with the Lightstream experience.
The Verdict – Very Good
With all of these factors, the ideal candidate for a Lightstream loan may not be someone who is struggling financially and looking to repay debts. Instead, people with solid credit histories who are looking to bolster their finances for a big purchase or a new venture are more likely candidates. For those with great credit, the low rates and lack of fees makes Lightstream an attractive lender, even with the lack of phone support.