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Auto Loans

LightStream Auto Loans Review

Auto Loan RefinanceView Rates
  • Get funding as soon as same day
  • No vehicle restrictions
  • Cosigner release not available until halfway through repayment term
Rates (APR)7.74%15.94%
Loan Amounts$5,000 – $100,000
Repayment Terms3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 years
Auto LoanView Rates
  • No down payment required
  • No vehicle restrictions
  • No purchase restrictions
Rates (APR)7.49%15.69%
Loan Amounts$5,000 – $100,000
Repayment Terms3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 years

LightStream offers unsecured loans to borrowers with good credit looking to refinance or buy a vehicle. Since they’re essentially repurposed personal loans, they come with a lot of perks you won’t see with other auto lenders.

LightStream is a division of Truist (formerly known as SunTrust Bank) that was launched back in 2012. LightStream specializes in making quick and efficient online personal loans to well-qualified borrowers. 

It rebrands many of its personal loans for different uses—airplane loans, solar loans, RV loans, adoption loans—but at its core, they’re all the same unsecured personal loan, just with different rates and term length options. This isn’t a secured loan like other auto loan companies generally offer.    

Our take on LightStream’s auto loan refinance

If you’re interested in refinancing an auto loan with LightStream, know that it’s really an unsecured personal loan rebranded for auto loan refinances. The only difference between it and LightStream’s other personal loan is that the interest rate is a tad higher. Everything else is the same.

You can use a LightStream auto refinance loan to pay off a car loan from any lender except for LightStream. Since LightStream will send the funds to you personally rather than your old car loan lender, the onus is on you to repay your other car loan. 

Rates, terms, and more

As with its auto purchase loans, LightStream offers a range of term length options and loan amounts. If you have $5,000 or less remaining on your auto loan, LightStream isn’t the lender for you.

Rates7.74%15.94% fixed, with a 0.50% autopay discount
Loan amounts$5,000 – $100,000
Repayment terms3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 years
AvailabilityAll U.S. states
Unique featuresSame-day funding via wire transfer with no collateral required

How do you repay an auto refinance loan from LightStream?

You’ll repay an auto refinance loan the same way as any other loan that it offers. Signing up for autopay is recommended, but if you choose, you can make payments manually each month if you agree to pay an interest rate of 0.50% APR higher. 

Other than the interest rate, everything is the same as for its vehicle purchase loan—the same loan amounts, term length options, application methods, etc.

Our take on LightStream’s auto loans

LightStream’s auto loans are just like its refinance loans in that they are rebranded personal-loans. If you have good credit and want the most flexible buying options possible, LightStream is a great choice. You can apply for funds, have them on hand, and use them for any car you want. 

However, if you’re looking to save money or if your credit isn’t the best, we’d caution against LightStream. You can find lower rates with more traditional secured auto loans that use your car as collateral. LightStream also doesn’t allow cosigners—an important point for many people.

Rates, terms, and more

LightStream’s rates and terms for its auto loan are the same as its refinance loan except for its rates. According to our research, you may find lower rates for excellent credit through other auto loan lenders.

LightStream also has no vehicle or purchase restrictions, meaning you can use your auto loan funds for any vehicle your choose.

Rates7.49%15.69%, fixed, with a 0.50% autopay discount
Loan amounts$5,000 – $100,000
Repayment terms3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 years
AvailabilityAll U.S. states
Unique featuresNo down payment required, same-day funding via wire transfer, no vehicle or private party purchase restrictions, no collateral required

How do you repay an auto loan from LightStream?

LightStream offers a similar way to make your payments as most other auto loan lenders. It’s best to sign up for autopay, drafted right from your checking account every month. Not only will this save you the credit damage from a late payment, but you’ll continue to pay the advertised interest rate.

You do have the option to make your payment manually, as well, by logging into your account and submitting each payment on your own. However, LightStream will charge you an additional 0.50% on your interest rate if you opt for this route. 

Who’s eligible for LightStream auto loans?

LightStream isn’t very helpful when it comes to knowing whether you’ll likely be approved or not, besides stating that you’ll need good credit. (A “good” credit score is 670 or higher, according to FICO.) 

It’s particularly frustrating, given that you can’t get preapproved first to see if it’s even worth applying for. Here are a few other specifications:

State of residenceAny U.S. state
Vehicle requirementsNo requirements
Minimum credit scoreRequires good credit; specific number not disclosed
Minimum incomeRequires stable income high enough to make monthly debt payments; specific number not disclosed

Pros and cons of LightStream


  • Quick funding

    Same-day funding via wire transfer is available if you apply early.

  • No restrictions

    Buy any vehicle you want from anywhere within the limits of your loan.

  • No down payment

    Finance 100% of the purchase price if you wish.

  • Wide range of loan structures

    Borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000.


  • No preapproval

    You must submit a full application, including a hard credit inquiry.

  • No cosigner option

    You can apply with a coborrower, but not a cosigner.

  • Good credit needed

    You’re not eligible for bad credit unless you have a co-borrower.

  • Higher rates than secured loans

    You can find cheaper rates with other lenders that offer a more standard secured auto loan.

  • Limited rate-match guarantee use

    LightStream only matches other unsecured loans, but most auto loans are secured, meaning you’re unlikely to have many comparisons.


How can I apply for an auto loan or auto loan refinance with LightStream?

The process is simple. You can apply on LightStream’s website. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. You’ll be prompted to enter personal information and financial details, along with the requested loan amount and loan terms.

What credit score do I need to qualify for LightStream?

A good credit score is crucial for a LightStream auto loan. Typically, the lender looks for a minimum credit score of 660. However, it also considers other factors, including income and credit history. Remember, a higher credit score can help you secure a lower interest rate.

Can I refinance my car loan with LightStream if I’m underwater on my current loan?

If your current car loan is underwater, meaning you owe more than the vehicle’s worth, refinancing through LightStream may not be an option. LightStream does not offer loans to those in this situation.

Are fees associated with refinancing my auto loan through LightStream?

One of the benefits of refinancing your auto loan with LightStream is the lack of fees. This lender does not charge origination fees or prepayment penalties. It helps keep your overall costs down while refinancing.

How much can I save by refinancing my auto loan with LightStream?

The amount you can save by refinancing your auto loan with LightStream depends on various factors, including your current interest rate and term. However, the potential for significant savings is there, especially with LightStream’s competitive rates.

Can I apply with a co-applicant or cosigner for a LightStream auto loan?

Yes, LightStream allows for joint applications. This can be beneficial if you want to boost your chances of approval or secure a lower interest rate.

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