LightStream Auto Loan Review
LightStream auto loans at a glance
|New Auto Loans||Used Auto Loans||Refinance Auto Loans|
|Starting rates||6.99%* (with autopay)||6.99%* (with autopay)||6.49%* (with autopay)|
|Loan terms||24-84 months||24-84 months||24-84 months|
|Loan amounts||$5,000 - $100,000||$5,000 - $100,000||$5,000 - $100,000|
|See Auto Loan Rates||See Auto Loan Rates||See Refinance Rates|
* Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $304.17.
If you’re looking for a fast and easy online loan experience — and you don’t want to use your car as collateral — LightStream could be a good option. Offering terms from 24 to 84 months, LightStream can refinance your car loan or get you a new or used car loan for between $5,000 and $100,000. But you’ll need a good credit score to qualify, but to qualify for LightStream’s lowest rates, you’ll need to have excellent credit and enroll in autopay.
- Loan funding as soon as the same day: Some applicants can be approved and receive funding as soon as the day they apply.
- Easy-to-understand website: An “apply now” button takes you directly to the simple, four-step application on the LightStream website. Information about the company’s products and terms are easy to access.
- Wide range of loans and terms: LightStream offers loans as long as 84 months (seven years). However, lower rates can usually be had with terms as short as 24 months.
- No prepayment penalties: If you want to pay off your LightStream loan early — or if you find a refinancing option that can lower your rate – you won’t have to pay any penalties.
- Popular choice for auto loans: LightStream was by far the most popular lender for auto loans on the LendingTree platform in 2022.
- Best for quick funding: LightStream’s best asset is its speed of funding. Those with good credit who are looking for rapid loan funding might find LightStream to be a good fit.
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LightStream pros and cons
LightStream offers some great options for auto loans, but it’s important to understand both the benefits and drawbacks before submitting an application.
High limits of up to $100,000
0.50% discount for autopay (factored into above rates already)
Rates can be high
Good credit required to qualify
LightStream offers an easy-to-understand online interface and may be able to provide auto loan funding the very same day you apply for it. With a few keystrokes, you can submit application documents, choose your term and rate and finalize your loan.
Unlike many lenders, LightStream doesn’t offer car loan preapprovals. This means you’ll have to go through the full application process — including a hard credit pull — before you can see whether you qualify and the rates you’re eligible for. This lender doesn’t specify a required minimum credit score, but it does say that you’ll need “good credit” to qualify, which may exclude some borrowers.
A closer look at LightStream auto loans
LightStream is all about making the auto financing process fast and easy. It doesn’t require any appraisals on cars it offers loans against, and it places no restrictions on the age or mileage of a car. It also offers special financing for RVs, motorcycles and even classic cars. As with any lender, the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate is likely to be. LightStream offers a 0.50% autopay rate discount that is available to any approved borrower.
Unlike traditional auto loans, LightStream doesn’t use your car as collateral. This no doubt allows the online lender to process loans more rapidly and efficiently, but it means that LightStream will charge you higher rates than you may be able to get from a lender that offers traditional, secured loans, such as your credit union. It also means your loan is unsecured. If you can’t make your payments, your car won’t be seized, but your credit score will take a substantial hit if you default on your loan.
How to get a loan with LightStream
You can get approved for a loan online with LightStream via a simple, four-step process. In order to qualify, you’ll need to have, show or comply with the following requirements:
- Have a credit score in the “good” range or higher
- Show enough assets and income to cover both your existing loan obligations and the new amount you’re applying for with LightStream
- Consent to various electronic use agreements, including receiving electronic records and using electronic signatures.
Something particular to note with LightStream is that if you’re approved, you’ll need to provide a valid Visa or MasterCard number for verification purposes before you can receive your loan funds.
Once you’re ready to begin the application, you’ll need to provide information in the following four categories:
- Loan information: Choose application type, loan purpose, loan amount and term. Check the box for autopay to receive the immediate 0.50% rate discount.
- Personal information: Provide your name, address, date of birth, phone number, Social Security number, proof of citizenship, employment records and financial information, along with the last four digits of your driver’s license number.
- Security information: Here you’ll create a user ID and password, along with setting some security questions and answers.
- Confirm and submit: For the last phase, you’ll verify the information you’ve already submitted. Once you turn in your application, the loan process will formally begin.
How LightStream auto loans compare
Even if you believe that LightStream aligns with what you’re looking for in an auto loan, it’s always a smart idea to compare a few other lenders. In general, shopping around for your auto loan is a great way to find a lower APR and more favorable terms. Here’s how LightStream stacks up against a couple of competitors.
|Starting APR||6.99% (with autopay and excellent credit)||4.75%||2.99%|
|Terms||24-84 months||24-72 months||24-96 months|
|Amount||$5,000 - $100,000||$8,000 and up||$2,500 - $100,000|
|Minimum credit score||Good credit; exact minimum not disclosed||575||Works with borrowers with all levels of credit|
Is a LightStream loan right for you?
LightStream may be right for you if you prefer a completely online experience, have top-tier credit, are okay with an unsecured loan and want nearly immediate funding. However, you should always shop around, as you may be able to receive more competitive rates from other lenders. For example, if you can qualify for a promotional rate from a car dealer or have a good relationship with your bank or credit union, you can probably get a lower rate from them.
*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $304.17. © 2023 Truist Financial Corporation. Truist, LightStream, and the LightStream logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.
Frequently asked questions
LightStream doesn’t publish the exact credit score it requires for auto loans, only stating that it “approves good-to-excellent credit profiles.” Note, however, that LightStream also states that “a high FICO score does not necessarily mean applicants will be approved.”
LightStream can deposit funds into your account as soon as the same day you apply, if you are approved. The earlier in the day you start your auto loan application, the more likely you can get funded the same day. You can also choose the day of your funding, if it’s not critical for you to get your cash immediately.
Yes, LightStream loans are unsecured. This means the company can’t repossess your car if you default on your loan, and it provides more flexibility for borrowers. However, it also opens your general assets up to lawsuits, liens or even a seizure if you don’t pay your bills.