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Auto Loans

LightStream Auto Loans Review

Editorial Rating

Editorial Rating

What we like:

Rate Beat Program to offer a lower rate than a competitor’s offer

APR3.49%11.89%* with AutoPay
Loan Amounts$5,000$100,000
Loan Terms24 – 84 months**
Origination Fee0%
See how this loan stacks up against our top rated auto loans

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.

LightStream rates 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

Loan amountsTerm lengthsAPRs with autopay
Auto loan$5,000$100,00024 – 84 months**3.49%11.89%*
Auto lease buyout$5,000$100,00024 – 84 months**4.99%10.49%*
Auto loan refinance$5,000$100,00024 – 84 months**3.49%9.49%*
Motorcycle purchase or refinance$5,000$100,00024 – 84 months**4.29%11.89%*
Boat/RV/aircraft purchase or refinance$5,000$100,00024 – 84 months**4.29%11.89%*

LightStream finances new, used, and classic cars. It also lends for 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, amount borrowed, loan term, and credit profile. You can also qualify for an autopay rate discount of 0.50.

Remember 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 restrict 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 individual purchases.

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% with autopay.*

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.

Auto refinancing

You can refinance a lower-rate auto loan with LightStream, with 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, it’s possible to complete the transaction in a single day.*

  • LightStream is so confident about its service it offers a $100 Loan Experience Guarantee* stating 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%.

  • 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 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 or 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 that provides 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 e-sign the loan agreement and arrange to transfer your loan proceeds to your bank account.

The money will appear as soon as the same day* (you must complete all steps before 2:30 p.m. Eastern). 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

LightStream generally confers “excellent” credit status on consumers most likely to repay loans on time.

How we rated LightStream auto loans

LightStream’s auto loans received a 4.88/5. 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.

*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 5.95% APR with a term of three years would result in 36 monthly payments of $303.99.

***LightStream will offer a rate .10 percentage points lower than the rate offered on any competing lender’s unsecured loan provided that you were approved for that lower rate (with the same loan terms offered by LightStream) no later than 2 p.m. Eastern time two business days prior to loan funding. The Rate Beat Program excludes secured or collateralized loan offers from any lender, and the competitive offer must be available to any customer with a similar credit profile. Terms are subject to change at any time.

If you believe you have been approved by another lender for a lower qualifying rate, contact LightStream customer service. We will work with you to determine your Rate Beat eligibility and obtain the necessary documentation.

****After receiving a loan from LightStream, if not completely satisfied with the experience, the customer can contact LightStream. LightStream will email a questionnaire to the customer so LightStream can improve our services. When LightStream receives the completed questionnaire, they will send the customer $100. LightStream’s guarantee expires 30 days after the customer receives their loan. LightStream reserves the right to change or discontinue the guarantee at any time. Limited to one $100 payment per funded loan. Truist teammates do not qualify for the Loan Experience Guarantee.