Many or all of the companies featured provide compensation to LendEDU. These commissions are how we maintain our free service for consumers. Compensation, along with hours of in-depth editorial research, determines where & how companies appear on our site.
- LightStream is one of the top-rated online lenders on the market.
- You can use a LightStream auto loan to purchase or refinance new, used, or classic cars, as well as RVs, boats, aircraft, and motorcycles.
- Generally, you’ll need good credit to qualify with this lender.
LightStream is the online consumer lending arm of SunTrust Bank, a leading provider of financial services. LightStream offers competitive fixed-rate financing for purchases by consumers with strong credit profiles.
In fact, LightStream was rated as one of our best auto loan lenders for borrowers with good credit. This LightStream auto loan review will tell you what you need to know to determine if the lender is right for you.
In this review:
- LightStream auto loans: At a glance
- Pros & cons of LightStream auto loans
- Eligibility & application information
LightStream auto loans: At a glance
|Loan amounts||Term lengths||APRs|
|Auto loan||$5,000 – $100,000||24 – 84 months||3.49% – 11.89%|
|Auto lease buyout||$5,000 – $100,000||24 – 84 months||4.99% – 10.49%|
|Auto loan refinance||$5,000 – $100,000||24 – 84 months||3.49% – 9.49%|
|Motorcycle purchase or refinance||$5,000 – $100,000||24 – 84 months||4.29% – 11.89%|
|Boat/RV/aircraft purchase or refinance||$5,000 – $100,000||24 – 84 months||4.29% – 11.89%|
LightStream finances new, used and classic cars. It also lends for a variety of other vehicles, including boats, motorcycles, and RVs.
New car loans
You can apply to LightStream for a collateralized or uncollateralized (if you have excellent credit) new-car loan.
New-car loans of $5,000 to $100,000 are available for terms of 24 to 84 months*. Your actual rate depends on your loan purpose, the amount borrowed, the loan term, and your credit profile. You can also qualify for an autopay rate discount of 0.50.
Bear in mind that new car loans cannot be used to refinance any existing LightStream loans. In addition, Florida borrowers are subject to a Documentary Stamp Tax not reflected in advertised APRs.
Used car loans
LightStream does not place any restrictions on used cars with regard to year, make, model and mileage. One set of rates applies to used-car purchases from a dealer, and another, higher-APR set applies to purchases from individuals.
Rates for dealership loans are somewhat different from those for new cars. APRs on used car purchases from an individual are higher, topping out at 9.19%*.
Classic car loans
LightStream offers classic-car loans for purchases from dealers or individuals. AutoPay loans for classic cars purchased from a dealer start at 3.99%* APR for amounts from $10,000 to $100,000.
Rates and terms are the same as those for used cars purchased from dealers, whereas classic cars sold by individuals are subject to higher APRs ranging from 4.99%* to 9.19%* with Autopay.
There are no restrictions on the classic car relative to its type make, model, year, mileage and loan-to-value ratio. These loans can be secured or unsecured, depending on your credit score.
You can refinance a lower-rate auto loan with LightStream, with the slightly different rates as those offered on used car loans. However, you cannot use these loan proceeds to refinance another LightStream auto loan.
This may make sense if your overall debt and credit have improved since you took out the original auto loan, which may help you qualify for lower rates.
Pros & cons of LightStream auto loans
- All interactions are online, from application to funding. Service is so quick that it is possible for the entire transaction to be completed in a single day.*
- LightStream is so confident about their service that they offer a $100 Loan Experience Guarantee,* stating that the loan process will be the best you’ve ever had.
- If you’re offered a lower rate from another lender, LightStream’s Rate Beat Program promises to beat any competing APR by 0.10 percent. If you are interested in this program, our team recommends reading LightStream’s Terms and Conditions for all the details.
- LightStream charges no fees at all for loan origination, prepayment, or late payments. There are also no monthly or annual fees.
- Borrowers typically need a minimum credit score of 660, with higher scores getting better rates. If your credit is only fair or worse, you may need to apply with other lenders.
Eligibility & application information
LightStream does not require any down payments on auto loans—you can borrow the full price.
An unsecured auto loan does not require any lienholder paperwork, and you can purchase the car from any source either from dealers and private parties.
If the auto loan is collateralized by the vehicle, it requires some lienholder paperwork to prove that the vehicle is lien-free and is being sold by any automobile dealer or private seller within the U.S.
How to apply
LightStream is an online company. You apply by filling out an online application in which you provide basic info about yourself and your employment.
LightStream will check your credit report to help evaluate your application. You’ll get a decision shortly (during business hours). If approved, you’ll be asked to e-sign the loan agreement and arrange to have your loan proceeds transferred to your bank account.
The money will appear as quickly as the same-day* (you must complete all steps before 2:30 pm EST). You must accept the loan proceeds within 30 days of approval.
How to get the best rates
To get the best loan terms, you must have excellent credit, which LightStream defines as:
- A credit history of at least five years for a variety of accounts, including mortgage debt, installment debt and major credit cards
- A flawless payment history, unmarred by delinquencies or other deficiencies
- The ability to save money, as evidenced by cash down payments, retirement savings, liquid assets and little credit card debt
- Stable income and assets sufficient to repay current and new debts
In general, LightStream confers “excellent” credit status on consumers most likely to fully repay loans on a timely basis.
How we rated LightStream auto loans
LightStream’s auto loans received a 4.88 / 5.00. LendEDU rates auto loans based on the weighted average of multiple data points, which vary based on the auto loan type. You can read more about our methodology here.4.88 Lightstream Auto Loan
¹ Rates as of 9/1/2017, rates subject to change. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 4.44% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $297.20. LightStream disclosures here.
Author: Jeff Gitlen