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Lightstream Car Loans Review

Rachel Morey Rachel Morey Last update:
Est. APR
2.99-20.49%
Max loan
$100,000
Months term
24-84

Lightstream is a lender that finances and refinances cars for people with good credit. They don’t require the car as collateral for the loan, so there are no restrictions about the year, make, model, or mileage. The company funds loans for any type of car, SUV, truck, motorcycle, or RV. Lightstream’s auto loans are basically personal loans branded differently. After approval, loan funds may be available on the same day.

Lightstream Loan Types and Terms

Car Loan types

Home, auto, home improvement, debt consolidation, medical, wedding, boat, timeshare, tiny home financing, land purchase, aircraft, etc.
Loan amount  $5,000 – $100,000
Repayment terms  24 – 84 months
APR  2.99%-20.49%
Minimum credit score 660 FICO credit score
Lender type  Direct lender; division of SunTrust Bank
Good for: Same-day funding

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Lightstream is Good For

Borrowers who need a car loan fast and have good credit but can’t meet the collateral requirements of other lenders.

Lightstream is good for those who need a loan for a classic car, a vehicle with high mileage, or a car that other lenders won’t finance.

Lightstream Car Loans Pros

  • No mileage or vehicle type restrictions
  • Lightstream lends to people in all 50 states
  • Low rates for borrowers with great credit

Lightstream Car Loans Cons

  • Loan rates are 0.50% higher without AutoPay
  • A hard credit check to get approved
  • Minimum credit score required for approval, regardless of other qualifications

Application Process

The Lightstream application process is straightforward. You’ll need your Social Security number, current address, and date of birth to get started. If you have a co-borrower, gather that information about them, as well. The company doesn’t accept applications via email or phone. You’ll have to go through the process online.

There’s one application, and submitting it gives Lightstream permission to conduct a hard pull of your (and your co-borrowers) credit. This shows up on your credit report as an inquiry and could lower your FICO credit score by a few points.

Your loan application is good for up to 30 days, so if you want to qualify for financing before you go car shopping, you’ll have some time to find a vehicle after getting approved. There’s no application fee, so other than the hard credit pull, there’s no downside to applying for financing with Lightstream if you have good credit.

Plus, if you receive a competing offer from another lender that meets Lightstream’s requirements, they’ll beat the other lender’s interest rate by 0.10%.

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Terms & Requirements

Car Loan Requirements

Since Lightstream doesn’t require collateral for their auto loans and refinance loans, there are no requirements for the vehicle.

Applicants must have a Social Security number, address in the U.S., and income from a non-marijuana-related industry.

You must have sufficient stable income to pay your current debts as well as the new Lightstream loan payments. Lightstream looks at your credit score but also considers whether you have several years’ worth of credit history with a variety of different types of loans (credit card, mortgage, vehicle loans, etc). Credit plays a major factor in whether Lightstream approves an application, but it’s not the only consideration.

Car Loan Terms

Lightstream offers unsecured loans for nearly any reason – whether you want to finance a wedding, take on a home remodeling project, buy a car, or refinance your current auto loan.

Terms vary according to your credit score. Unlike other lenders, Lightstream doesn’t restrict the length of the loan due to the car’s age. There are no application fees or down payment requirements.

Lightstream offers loans starting with a 2.99% APR. They advertise that people who meet their income and credit requirements (720 and up) are eligible for the loans with the lowest APRs. Lightstream may approve loan applications for those with credit scores as low as 660, but with a higher APR. If you accept a loan from Lightstream and sign up with their Autopay system, you’ll receive a 0.5% discount on your interest rate.

Lightstream loan’s interest rate also depends on the type of loan you need. For example, interest rates for an $8,000 loan to purchase a used car from a private party start at 5.99% APR for 36 months and go up to 7.44% APR for 72 months.  An $8,000 auto refinance loan has a 5.99% APR for 36 months and a 6.44% APR for 72 months.

Repayment Terms

Lightstream Auto loan terms start as low as 24 months and stretch to 84 months. Many auto lenders won’t finance a car for fewer than 36 months, and they cap their auto loans at 72 months.

Since Lightstream doesn’t use the car as collateral, they don’t impose restrictions about how long you can finance an older car. Other lenders who use the car as collateral may refuse to finance a ten-year-old used car for seven years. Before you accept a loan from Lightstream, think about how long you want to drive the car, and how long it may remain roadworthy.

For example, if you own a 2005 Toyota Corolla and you can qualify for a lower interest rate with Lightstream, it may be smart to refinance your loan. However, if you choose the longest possible term of 84 months, you would have to drive the car for seven more years or pay off the loan early.

In general, it’s better to choose the shortest possible term with a payment you can afford than stretch your loan out as long as the lender allows.

Privacy & Security

Lightstream’s privacy policy states that they may share your personal information and information aout your creditworthiness for marketing purposes, but that you can limit sharing by visiting the Preferences section of their customer service page or by emailing privacy@lightstream.com.

Lightstream has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. They’ve closed 1,529 customer complaints during the past three years. Lightstream has an average 1.06 star out of five-star rating with the BBB.

Customer Support                                       

Lightstream’s customer service department answers email inquiries Monday through Friday between 9 am and 8pm as well as Saturdays from noon until 4 pm.

Final Thoughts

Lightstream offers unsecured auto loans and refinances car loans without collateral. That means they don’t hold the title of the car and they aren’t listed as a lienholder. Since the loan is unsecured, you won’t have to deal with minimum insurance requirements, either.

If you are car shopping and you know you’ll need financing, it may be worth the time it takes to find out if you can qualify for this type of car loan. With low interest rates for buyers with credit scores above 660 and zero requirements and restrictions on what type of vehicle you buy, a Lightstream loan could provide you with the flexibility you need along with a low-interest rate.

Address

214 N Tryon St

Charlotte, NC 28202-1078

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Disclosure
This website is an informative comparison site that aims to offer its users find helpful information regarding the products and offers that will be suitable for their needs. We are able to maintain a free, high-quality service by receiving advertising fees from the brands and service providers we review on this website (though we may also review brands we are not engaged with). These advertising fees, combined with our criteria and methodology, such as the conversion rates, our team of reviewer's finding and subjective experience and product popularity, impact the placement and position of the brands within the comparison table. In the event rating or scoring are assigned by us, they are based on the position in the comparison table, or according to other formula in the event specifically detailed by us. See our How we Rate page and Terms of Use for information. The reviews, rating and scoring are provided “as-is” without guaranties or warranties regarding the information contained in our website, which shall not be considered as endorsement. We make the best efforts to keep the information up-to-date, however, an offer’s terms might change at any time. We do not compare or include all service providers, brands and offers available in the market.
Rachel Morey Rachel Morey
Rachel Morey is a journalist specializing in finance content. She has written for some of the major lenders in the online personal and business finance industry. She has been writing professionally for nearly a decade and has projects in print and broadcasting. A native Iowan, Rachel has a special fondness for the open roads of rural America.
This review is based on the writer's personal opinion.