Jump to a section
LightStream is the online consumer lending division of SunTrust Bank, and it serves customers nationwide. The company specializes in providing competitive loan rates and a simple process to people with excellent credit. It should be no surprise that LightStream auto loans are a part of their business model as well.
Loans are available for a wide range of purposes, from recreational vehicles to home improvements to automobiles. In this LightStream auto loan review, we are going to take a closer look at the company’s auto loan offering.
Learn how LightStream auto loans work, how to apply, what customers say about their experiences, and the pros and cons so you can figure out if it’s the right solution for you.
How do LightStream auto loans work?
LightStream offers the following types of auto loans, covering all the bases well:
- New auto
- Used auto purchase from a dealer
- Used auto purchase from an individual
- LightStream auto loan refinance
- Auto lease buyout
- Motorcycle purchase
- Motorcycle refinance
By the way, if you are looking to refinance a vehicle, be sure the check out our auto loan refinance reviews page to compare rates and savings.
Next, let’s look at the specific terms
LightStream allows qualified consumers to purchase any car, from any seller, anywhere using our unsecured loan”
Todd Nelson, business development officer at LightStream
Time to funding: Same-day funding possible
Discount: .50 APR discount for setting up Autopay
Collateral: Secured and unsecured loans are available. “LightStream allows qualified consumers to purchase any car, from any seller, anywhere using our unsecured loan,” explains Todd Nelson, business development officer at LightStream.
Customer guarantee: Rate beat program and $100 satisfaction guarantee
Now you know the basics; next, let’s look at how LightStream stacks up when it comes to customer service.
LightStream’s Pros and Cons
Here’s what Lightstream can offer you:
Compare the pros and cons to make a better decision.
- Rewards excellent credit
- Fast and simple online loan process
- Highly competitive rates
- No fees
- High loan amounts available
- No restrictions on vehicles
- No fees or prepayment penalties
- Fast funding
- $100 loan experience guarantee
- Rate beat program
- Lightstream plants a tree for every loan funded
- Autopay discount of .50%
- No down payment requirement
- Strict approval requirements
- Only those with excellent credit will get the best rates and terms
- Application results in a hard inquiry on your credit report
- Can’t change payment due date
- No customer service phone line
- Must have a Visa or MasterCard to get a loan
LightStream Customer Service
LightStream offers customer support via email. Unfortunately, LightStream does not have customer support by phone number. The company’s business hours are as follows (Eastern time):
Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday: Noon to 7 p.m.
Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Noon to 6 p.m.
While live customer support is lacking, LightStream does offer self-serve options including a comprehensive FAQ page and online account management services.
By creating an account, borrowers can review loan history, make payments, pay off their loan, update contact information, update security information, and apply for another loan.
LightStream Online Application Process
To qualify with LightStream, you must have good-to-excellent credit.
While there are no definitive requirements, here are some basic guidelines LightStream provides:
- You need to prove you have a stable income that is sufficient to repay the loan
- Your credit report needs to show a history of timely payments with few delinquencies or other problems
- Several years of credit history are required
- You need to demonstrate your ability to save (liquid assets, retirement savings, etc.)
If you think you will qualify, here is how the online application process works.
Visit the website and click “Apply Now.”
Note: There will be four steps to the loan process: providing loan information, sharing personal information, creating security information, and submitting the application.
First, you will enter basic information about the loan you want. Note, you can apply as an individual or with another person.
Second, you will enter your personal information. If you are filling out a joint application, the second person will also enter their details.
Third, enter your security information.
Lastly, confirm that all of your information is accurate and submit the application. Note, doing so will impact your credit score.
After applying, most applicants will get a decision within a few hours. You may have to submit further documentation. Upon approval, you can choose a funding date within 30 days, which can be as soon as the same day.
FAQ on LightStream Auto Loans
Do I need a credit card to get a loan from Lightstream?
Yes, LightStream requires all borrowers to have a valid Visa or MasterCard credit card for verification purposes only.
Can I add Autopay and get a discount on my loan after it is funded?
No, you must enroll in Autopay during the application process to get the .50 discount.
Which credit bureaus does LightStream contact to get a borrower’s credit scores?
LightStream pulls hard inquiries from Experian and Equifax.
Can I get GAP insurance through LightStream?
No, LightStream does not offer GAP insurance.
How can I get same-day funding?
If you apply for a loan on a banking business day and all approval steps are completed by 2:30 p.m. ET, your loan can be funded on the same day.
If I only qualify for a secured auto loan, are there restrictions on which vehicle I can buy?
Yes, secured auto loans can only be used to purchase an automobile, SUV, light-duty truck, or passenger or conversion van.
Does LightStream charge an origination, application, or prepayment fees?
No, LightStream does not charge any fees.
Does LightStream affect your credit score?
LightStream requires a “hard pull” of your credit upfront, which slightly lowers your credit score. So, applicants should be prepared to accept a loan, and not just casually shop rates. Once your loan is complete, the lender delivers the funds to your bank account.
Does LightStream verify income?
All lenders, including LightStream, require personal information, including social security numbers, dates of birth and contact information to verify income and identity in addition to checking credit scores.
How long does LightStream take to approve?
LightStream personal loans will typically approve (or deny) a loan application within 24 hours and fund personal loans within 30 business days of approval.
What credit does LightStream pull?
Applying for a LightStream loan will trigger a hard pull. LightStream pulls your Experian and Equifax credit reports. LightStream does not offer soft pull preapprovals.
LightStream Auto Loans Review: The Verdict
So, is LightStream right for you?
Overall, the company offers a few distinct advantages that will benefit customers with excellent credit.
Nelson says, “LightStream was designed to reward those consumers with great credit by offering a simple, transparent means to borrow money for almost anything.”
It has successfully achieved its designed intentions and may very well offer you the lowest overall costs if you have excellent credit. Further, the online process is quick and easy.
However, many customers who consider their credit to be good find that they still get denied for a LightStream loan.
Another downside is that it will hurt your credit to find out if you qualify or not. Being so, this lender may not be the best option for everyone. But to find out for sure, our review page of LightStream’s auto loans is a good place to start.
You’ll discover more details on the company and their auto loan offerings, as well as real user reviews of the lender. And if you think LightStream is a good fit for your situation, you can head straight to the website and apply.
On the other hand, click here if you’d like to find out what other lenders can offer you without hurting your credit score. You’ll get personalized loan offers within minutes without any impact on your credit.
Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, Commonbond, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Guardian, Personalloans.org and many others. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and fun.