LightStream vs SoFi: Which Personal Loan is Right for You?

If you’re looking to get a personal loan, LightStream and SoFi are two online lenders you can consider.

SoFi started in 2011 as a student-focused lender, but has since expanded to offer a variety of banking and lending services. LightStream is an online lending division of Truist Bank (formerly part of Suntrust). It debuted in 2013 as a lender focused on borrowers with strong credit.

Both lenders can be good options, so compare them to decide which is right for you.

LightStream vs. SoFi at a Glance

LightStream and SoFi are online lenders that allow borrowers to obtain unsecured personal loans. However, each site targets different types of borrowers, so it is important to understand the differences between them.

SoFi LightStream
Discount rate score 4.6 4.6
better for Longer term loans

Borrowers with a co-signer

Lowest possible rates

Quick funding

Loan amounts $5,000 – $100,000 $5,000 – $100,000
APR 5.74% – 21.78% 3.49% – 19.99%
Duration of loans 2 to 7 years old 3 to 6 years old
Costs Nothing Nothing
Minimum credit score 680 660
Terms U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or non-permanent resident alien

Employed and with sufficient income, or written offer for employment to start within 90 days

Not disclosed
Funding deadline In a few days From the same day
Authorized co-signers Yes Nope

LightStream Personal Loans

LightStream offers flexible personal loans that you can use to buy a car, renovate your home, or consolidate existing debt. The lender focuses on borrowers with good credit to keep costs low and not charge origination fees or prepayment penalties.

To get the best interest rates, borrowers should sign up for automatic payments. LightStream offers an automatic payment rebate of 0.50% APR.

One thing that sets the lender apart is that you can get the money the same day you apply if you apply early in the day and have great credit.


  • High maximum loan
  • Same day financing
  • Low interest rates
  • No charges

The inconvenients

  • Requires good credit
  • No co-signers allowed

SoFi Personal Loans

Although SoFi started out as a student-focused lender, it now offers personal loans to all kinds of borrowers. The company also offers banking and investment services.

If you already work with SoFi for other loans, banking, or investments, it might be convenient to keep all your money in one place and use the company for loans as well. This means managing fewer accounts and passwords and making it easier to keep track of your finances.

SoFi also benefits from allowing co-signers. If you have poor credit but a willing co-signer, SoFi may approve you if LightStream does not. If you have excellent credit, this is less of a concern.


  • Authorized co-signer
  • Get multiple financial services in one place
  • Qualify with a short credit history
  • Longer loan terms available

The inconvenients

  • Funding can take a few days
  • Higher minimum and maximum interest rates

How to choose between LightStream and SoFi

LightStream and SoFi are very similar lenders. If you’re thinking about getting a loan, it might be hard to choose.

If you have a cosigner, consider SoFi. LightStream doesn’t allow borrowers to apply with a co-signer, which means you’ll need to work with SoFi if you want to have two people on your loan. This can be important if your credit isn’t great.

If you want the cheapest loan possible, consider LightStream. If you have excellent credit, LightStream offers the lower interest rates of the two. This means you can save the most money if you borrow from LightStream.

If you want more time to pay off the loan, consider SoFi. SoFi offers loan terms of up to seven years, one year longer than LightStream. This can help you get a lower monthly payment, which can make your loan more affordable. However, keep in mind that longer-term loans generally cost more.

If you need cash fast, consider LightStream. If you have good credit and apply for a loan early in the day, LightStream can fund your loan the same day. This means money in your account on the day of your application. If you are facing a major financial emergency and need cash fast, LightStream is probably the best choice. SoFi offers quick funding, but it still takes a few days.

At the end of the line

LightStream and SoFi both offer similar loans. However, for borrowers with great credit, LightStream stands out from the competition with its slightly lower interest rates and the ability to get cash the same day you apply. However, if you already use SoFi for its other financial services or need to request a co-signer, SoFi remains a solid lender.

If you need a loan, there’s no reason not to check your rates with both companies to see which is giving you the best deal.

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