- Competitive rates
- AutoPay discount of 0.5%
- No restrictions on dealer, make or model
- Offers other loan types as well
Lightstream was founded in 2014, but it is part of a much bigger and well-known organization, SunTrust Bank, that dates back to 1891. SunTrust is one of the leading independent banks in the U.S., managing almost $200 billion in assets. In addition to auto loans, Lightstream also makes personal loans that can be used for home improvement, large purchases, or debt consolidation.
Lightstream auto loans has some of the best rates available, largely because they have created their business around supplying loans only to those with good or excellent credit. If approved, the rate is typically going to be as good or better as you’ll find anywhere. They also have a “Rate Beat” program which means that they’ll match any similar loan for which you are approved.
New dealer purchase: 3.34% to 8.34%
Used dealer purchase: 3.34% to 8.19%
Private party purchase: 4.39% to 9.79%
Refinance: 3.34% to 9.19%
Already competitive rates can be made even lower by agreeing to autopay, where monthly payments are automatically drawn from one’s checking account. Autopay discounts are not uncommon, and usually run between 0.25-0.50%. So this is one of the more aggressive discounts.
No restrictions on dealer, make or model
Some lenders will require that you know the exact make, model and dealership before being approved for a loan. This is annoying because it means you can’t line up financing prior to shopping for your vehicle. That’s not only annoying, but it can mean you have to wait a few days after finding the car. Lighstream loans are not specific to any make, model or dealership. So once you’re approved, you are good-to-go and they can send the funds to the dealer immediately.
Finally, there are no restrictions on the age or mileage of the vehicle. Whether it’s a flashy sportscar or a rusty old beater, you can use the Lighstream loan.
- Strict underwriting means good credit needed
- Requires a hard pull on credit
Strict underwriting means good credit needed
As mentioned, Lighstream has very competitive APR rates on their auto loans. However, they don’t lend to just anyone. Borrowers are required to have a minimum credit score of 660. But unless you have no other debt and a higher income, you’ll probably need to be closer to 680 or 700 to be approved.
Requires a hard pull on credit
On its website, Lightstream does not offer a way to see a pre-approved rate with only a soft pull. If applying on their website, one should be pretty comfortable using their services if approved and if they offer the lowest rate. If you are still just in shopping mode, try using the BrightRates auto loan comparison feature to find a competitively priced lender without impacting your credit score.
Lightstream receives a high score from us where it counts – competitive rates, speedy approval and funding, and customer service. So if you meet their minimum credit score criteria, Lighstream should be on your shortlist of loan sources while shopping for a vehicle.