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Personal loans can be a strategic option for financing large purchases, provided you understand the terms of your loan. By shopping within your budget, sometimes you can find flexible payment terms to suit your needs.
LightStream personal loans are CNBC Select’s overall best choice for personal loans because they offer the lowest APRs of any lender (pending your credit approval). The only caveat regarding this loan is that you need at least a good credit rating to qualify, and having an excellent score is required to qualify for the most favorable loan packages..
LightStream offers loans for almost everything from credit card refinancing to home improvement (college and small business loans are excluded, however).
To make your search easier, CNBC Select has reviewed LightStream Loans, looking at APR, benefits, fees, loan amounts, and terms. (Learn more about our methodology below.) First, we break down what you need to know.
On the secure LightStream site
Annual percentage rate (APR)
From 2.49% to 19.99% * when you sign up for automatic payment
Purpose of the loan
Debt Consolidation, Home Renovation, Auto Financing, Medical Expenses, Marriage and Others
Find the best personal loans
LightStream offers APRs ranging from 2.49% to 19.99%, and signing up for automatic payment could qualify you for a 0.5% discount. Credit score, loan amount and length of term all affect the APR you are eligible for at the time of application.
Your rate can also vary depending on the type of loan you need: car loans start at 2.49% and debt consolidation loans start at 5.95%. Home improvement loans start at 3.99% APR.
Same day financing is available by wire transfer or ACH when you: 1) apply on a business day, 2) are approved, and 3) electronically sign your loan agreement with the time remaining before the banks close. Once you are approved for a loan, you have 30 days to transfer the funds directly to your checking account before your application expires.
A remarkable benefit for environmentalists, LightStream plants a tree for every loan granted in partnership with American Forests, an organization dedicated to protecting and rebuilding forests.
LightStream customer service was ranked # 1 in customer satisfaction among personal lenders in 2020 by JD Power.
LightStream does not charge late fees or creation fees. There is also no penalty for prepaying your loans, which makes LightStream a good choice if you have irregular cash flow and need flexibility.
Depending on the loan you apply for and your credit, you may receive between $ 5,000 and $ 100,000.
The payment terms for LightStream loans range from 24 to 144 months. The length of the terms will vary depending on your credit and other factors.
LightStream personal loans are ideal for people with good to excellent credit. Those with strong credit are eligible for better terms and even lower rates, which LightStream makes available to qualified borrowers. The flexibility of no prepayment charges allows you to pay off the loan sooner than expected without penalty. No late fees or start-up fees are also a benefit.
Borrowers with less than ideal credit might consider seeking a loan with Reached for debt consolidation or credit card refinancing. If you are working on building credit, think twice before taking out loans for non-essential purchases. Instead, work on the basics like budgeting and saving, and find out what goes into your credit score.
To determine which personal loans are best, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of U.S. personal loans offered by online and physical banks, including major credit unions, no set-up or enrollment fees, fixed-rate APRs, and flexible loan. amounts and conditions adapted to a range of financing needs.
When selecting and ranking the best personal loans, we focused on the following features:
No setup or sign-up fees: None of the lenders on our best-of list charge borrowers an upfront fee for processing your loan.
Fixed Rate APR: Variable rates can go up and down over the life of your loan. With a fixed rate APR, you lock in an interest rate for the life of the loan, which means your monthly payment stays the same, making it easier to plan your budget.
Flexible Minimum and Maximum Loan Amounts / Terms: Each lender offers a variety of financing options that you can customize based on your monthly budget and how long you need to pay off your loan.
No Prepayment Penalty: The lenders on our list do not charge borrowers for the prepayment of their loans.
Streamlined Application Process: We looked at whether lenders offer same-day approval decisions and a fast online application process.
Customer Support: Every loan on our list offers customer service available by phone, email, or secure online messaging. We have also opted for lenders with an online resource center or advice center to help educate you about the personal loan process and your finances.
Disbursement of Funds: The loans on our list deliver funds quickly by wire transfer to your checking account or in the form of a paper check. Some lenders (which we have noted) offer the option of paying your creditors directly.
Auto Pay Discounts: We’ve noted lenders who reward you for signing up for Auto Pay by lowering your APR from 0.25% to 0.5%.
Creditors Payment Limits and Loan Amounts: The above lenders offer loans in a range of sizes, from $ 500 to $ 100,000. Each lender advertises their respective payment limits and loan size, and a pre-approval process can give you an idea of your interest rate and monthly payment for that amount.
After reviewing the features above, we sorted our recommendations based on overall financing needs, debt consolidation and refinancing, small loans, and next day financing.
Note that the advertised rates and fee structures for personal loans are subject to fluctuation based on the Fed rate. However, once you accept your loan agreement, a fixed rate APR will secure the interest rate and the monthly payment will remain constant for the life of the loan. Your APR, monthly payment, and loan amount depend on your credit history and creditworthiness. To take out a loan, lenders will conduct a rigorous credit investigation and request a complete application, which may require proof of income, identity verification, proof of address and more.
* The terms of your LightStream loan, including the APR, may differ depending on the purpose of the loan, amount, term and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to benefit from the lowest rates. The rate is shown with the AutoPay discount. AutoPay rebate is only available before the loan is funded. Rates without automatic payment are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. The advertised rates and conditions are subject to change without notice. Example Payment: Monthly payments for a loan of $ 10,000 at an APR of 3.99% with a term of three years would result in 36 monthly payments of $ 295.20.
Editorial note: The opinions, analyzes, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the editorial staff of Select and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise approved by any third party.