LightStream SunTrust Auto Loan Review

Buying a new car is exciting, but dealing with the financing and paperwork is a real drag. If you’re looking to finance a car but don’t want the hassle of going to a bank or sitting through the torture of a back-office negotiation, you have options. LightStream is an online-only lender that can have you approved and funded within a day or two, giving you the ability to shop for a car armed with the funds to purchase it, when you're ready.

About LightStream A.K.A SunTrust

LightStream is a division of SunTrust, a popular regional bank with a physical presence across several states. SunTrust began in 1891, in the Atlanta, Georgia area. The bank will soon be known as Truist. The auto loans section, LightStream, was launched in 2013. The lender offers paperless, online-only loans with the ability to fund a car purchase separately from the loan process.

Why Consider LightStream for an Auto Loan

If you’re a well-qualified buyer with a solid credit score and good income, LightStream can offer competitive rates and one of the easiest application processes in the business. Most LightStream borrowers can apply for a loan, get approved, and receive loan funds within 24 hours.

If approved, the lender sends funds to the buyer and allows them to purchase the car they want without tying the loan directly to the purchase itself. This means that, while you must make loan payments, you’ll be buying a car effectively “in cash,” since you’ll have money-in-hand when you start the buying process.

It must be noted that LightStream is not for every buyer out there. You must have maintained a credit score of 660 or above to qualify for a loan from LightStream. So, if you have poor or fair credit, or have had some troubles in the past, and are rebuilding, LightStream is not the auto loan company for you. There are many options out there for you, if you are in the process of rebuilding your credit. MyAutoLoans, ClearLane and Capital One are good places to start. Find out more about the 7 Best Auto Loans available today here.

Read more here on the subject of Bad Credit Auto Loans.

How To Apply for a LightStream Auto Loan

LightStream makes the application process relatively painless, and most applicants can complete the required forms in fewer than 15 minutes. You’ll need to verify your identity and provide income information, but the overall process is simple and straightforward.

LightStream Auto Loan Details

LightStream deposits loan funds directly into your bank account. Once you’ve received funds, you may proceed with your purchase. Your payments will be made directly to LightStream, either online, or automatically if you opt for the auto-pay function. Loans are fixed-rate, which means that your interest rate will not change with fluctuations in market conditions.

Pros and Cons

  • Super easy online application
  • Competitive rates for the right buyer
  • Allows you to make a cash purchase when buying a car
  • Must have a decent credit history
  • Cannot pre-qualify
  • Minimum loan amount of $5,000 may be more than some buyers need

Should I Get An Auto Loan Through LightStream?

LightStream is a great option if you’re an established buyer with a long credit history. You may find better rates and even better customer service with a local lender, but there’s no replacement for the convenience of applying for a loan online and receiving funds without leaving the house.

There’s also something to be said for receiving cash to purchase a vehicle as you like. Having the ability to show up to a sale with cash or check in hand gives you buying power and makes the seller more comfortable dealing with you.

Read more about average auto loan rates here.

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FAQ

Does LightStream have an app?

Yes, LightStream customers can view, manage, and interact with their loan accounts through the company’s app. Customers can make payments, update account information, and more.

Is LightStream a good lender for car loans?

LightStream can be a great option for you if you have good credit and want to make a cash purchase for a car loan. If your credit score is not up to par, or you have some blemishes on your credit report, you may be better served by approaching a local lender to explain your situation.

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

If you have a credit score lower than 660, you might not be able to qualify for a loan with LightStream. There are other options available, both online and locally, that can help you if you have credit problems.

Is LightStream finance legit?

Yes! LightStream is a division of SunTrust, a large and trusted regional bank. The loan application and other information you submit during the process are treated like any other document you submit to your local bank.

How do LightStream car loans work?

LightStream operates almost completely online, and your loan will be paperless. You can apply on LightStream’s website, and the entire process should take 15 minutes or less. Once approved, your loan funds will be deposited into your bank account, which gives you the ability to be a cash buyer for a vehicle. You can pay with a check or cash.

Does LightStream affect credit?

One drawback to using LightStream is that you can’t get prequalified. There’s no way to know if you’re approved, or for how much, until you commit to the application process. Doing so will impact your credit as a hard inquiry.

Editor's note and disclaimer: Car Talk is supported by our fans, readers and listeners. When you click on some of the links on our website, we may receive referral compensation. However, you should know that the recommendations we make are based on our independent editorial review and analyses.