Advertiser Disclosure

If you’re planning to purchase a vehicle or refinance your current auto loan, you may be considering financial services from a company called LightStream. But is a LightStream auto loan the best option for you?

LightStream offers products and services that meet a variety of consumer needs, including purchase loans and refinancing for cars, homes, medical bills, and even weddings. In this review, we take a closer look at LightStream’s auto loans, explaining the application process, loan details, and LightStream’s customer reputation.


In this article:

About LightStream

LightStream is a subsidiary of SunTrust bank, which has operated for over 120 years. Recently, SunTrust merged with BB&T to become Truist Financial Corporation. Truist is currently the sixth largest bank holding company in the United States, and through LightStream, borrowers can get loans for auto purchases, home improvement, debt consolidation, swimming pools, medical bills, weddings, timeshares, and boats.

Truist is headquartered in San Diego. However, you can't get service in person at a Truist branch. LightStream auto loans are only available online.

LightStream Pros LightStream Cons
Offered through a bank with an established reputation May not offer loans to those with bad or no credit
High loan amount limits Doesn’t have a shining customer service reputation
No fees  
Broad range of loans available  

LightStream Auto Loans: Borrowing Limits, Interest Rates, And Fees

You can use a LightStream auto loan to refinance your existing auto loan or to purchase a new, used, or classic car. LightStream funds your account directly, which means you can negotiate at the dealership as if you were paying with cash. Details about loan amounts, interest rates, and term lengths are outlined in the chart below.

LightStream Loan Details
Loan Amount Range $5,000 to $100,000
Loan Term Length 24 to 84 months
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) 3.49 to 20.49 percent
Origination Fee None
Prepayment Penalty None

Your loan’s APR will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Where you live
  • Your credit history
  • The vehicle you drive
  • The payment term you choose
  • Your annual income

With LightStream's autopay discount, you can save 0.5 percentage points off your APR if you choose to use autopay instead of making manual monthly payments. LightStream also has a rate beat program and loan experience guarantee that helps customers save money. If you provide evidence that another lender has approved you for a loan with similar terms to your LightStream offer, LightStream will counter with a 0.1-percent lower APR.

The LightStream loan experience guarantee promises to send $100 dollars to any customer that is unsatisfied with their loan experience. To collect this money, customers need to notify LightStream of their dissatisfaction within 30 days of receiving their loan and complete a questionnaire by email.

LightStream Auto Loan Application Process

Anyone can apply for a LightStream auto loan online and expect to receive a response in a matter of minutes. Simply be ready to provide your social security number and work history information. After a loan is offered, you can electronically sign your loan agreement and complete the paperwork entirely online. Borrowers can apply for a loan and receive funds on the same business day.

There is no application fee, nor are there restrictions for vehicle age and mileage. While LightStream does not list a minimum credit score requirement for applicants, it does look for customers that have:

  • Several years of credit history
  • A demonstrated ability to save by having assets such as cash for a down payment, retirement savings, or a home
  • Stable and sufficient income
  • A good debt-payment history

Drivers with excellent credit or even good credit will most likely be approved, but those with extremely low or no credit may have to look elsewhere. As with other lenders, drivers with the best credit records will find the lowest rates.


LightStream Reviews And Reputation

As a division of Truist, LightStream shares a Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile with its parent company. Truist is accredited by the BBB and holds an A+ rating. However, the company only has a 1.1 out of 5.0-star customer review score and has fielded over 1,800 complaints in the last three years.

While this seems like a large number, it's important to consider Truist serves about 12 million U.S. households. Plus, the company has taken time to address most of its customers’ complaints filed through the BBB. Common complaints include double and over-charging, difficulty getting issues resolved, and failure to have payments reimbursed. One customer wrote:

“I am very sorry I took a loan from this company. I feel they do what they can to make money any way they can, and that includes cheating you out of every dollar…. You get charged for extra payments except if you make them on the day your payment is due that month… This company will do absolutely nothing to help or give you a pleasant experience.”

- John S. via BBB

There weren’t too many positive reviews posted to the BBB website, though some customers who had loans approved seemed pleased with the application process.

Our Take On LightStream: 3.5 Stars

LightStream loans are offered through an established and reputable bank. This allows the company to offer high loan amounts at relatively low APRs. LightStream is a direct provider of auto loans, so customers can have their loan applications processed quickly and even receive money the same day they apply.

Overall, here’s how we rate LightStream:

Motor1 Rating 3.5
Loan Details 4.0
Loan Availability 3.5
Application Process 4.0
Customer Service 3.0

The most concerning factor for LightStream is its parent company’s poor customer review profile. There are not many positive reviews online, and many customers seem to have difficulty receiving the service they want. However, given the size of Truist, the volume of complaints is relatively low.


FAQ: LightStream Auto Loans

Are LightStream loans fixed-rate?

Yes, LightStream loans are fixed-rate installment loans. This means market fluctuations won't influence your auto loan rate. You'll pay the same interest rate for the life of the loan.

What credit score do you need for a LightStream auto loan?

LightStream prefers to lend to customers that have a credit score of 660 or above. You may be able to find a LightStream auto loan below that amount, but the interest rate will be much higher.

Is it hard to get approved by LightStream?

LightStream's approval guidelines are a bit more strict than other lenders. LightStream prefers that you have built a good credit history over time and have a good score. LightStream also doesn't offer a preapproval process for a preliminary check.

How does a LightStream car loan work?

Instead of paying the dealer, LightStream pays you directly when you secure an auto loan. You can then take that balance to a dealer and negotiate as if you had cash, which can help you find a better purchase price.

Is legit?

Yes, LightStream is a reputable online lender and part of SunTrust bank, which has been around for over 120 years. LightStream offers auto loans to buyers with good credit through an easy online process.

Disclaimer: Our research team aims to keep this information accurate and up to date, but you'll get the most recent information from financial institutions. Rates and terms vary according to applicant and market conditions. We do not offer warranties for any loan products or services discussed on the site, and we recommend you read through a financial institution’s terms and conditions carefully when making a decision on a loan product.