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Personal Loans

American Express Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

American Express
APR

6.98%
To
18.99%

Credit Req.

Fair to excellent

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

12 to 48

months

Origination Fee

None

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American Express personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Term lengths: 12 to 48 months
  • APR range: 6.98% to 18.99%
  • Loan amounts: $3,500 to $40,000
  • Time to funding: Typically 3 to 5 business days after you sign the loan agreement
  • Credit check: Soft Pull
  • Origination fee: None
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late payment fee: $39

American Express product details

Personal loans do not come with the perks often attached to American Express card products, like Membership Rewards, cash back or insurance benefits. However, the only fee associated with personal loans is a late fee — $39 if your payment is late or not made in full, which can result in major savings. To help you avoid late payments, the company offers an autopay feature.

If you’re using a personal loan for debt consolidation, American Express makes the process easy by sending your funds directly to the issuer. Payments can be disbursed to up to four personal credit card accounts held by most major credit card issuers. You’ll find out if your credit card account is eligible during the application process.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: Fair to excellent
  • Minimum credit history: Not specified
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified

To be preapproved for an American Express personal loan, you must meet the lender’s minimum eligibility requirements. This includes being:

  • A U.S. citizen or resident of the U.S. or its territories
  • At least 18 years old
  • A basic card member with an eligible consumer American Express card with at least nine months of account history that is in good standing at the time of application submission

Applying for a personal loan from American Express

Only preapproved American Express card members are eligible to apply for a personal loan. During the preapproval process, you’ll be asked to provide basic information, like the amount of money you’d like to borrow, desired repayment period, loan purpose, contact information and income. Keep in mind, however, that some card members may only be preapproved to use their personal loan for credit card debt consolidation.

All personal loan applications must be submitted online. You’ll need an American Express online account and valid email address, and you must agree to receive electronic communications and other online documents. Do note, however, that preapproval is not a guarantee that you’ll be granted a loan — but if your application is approved, you’ll have up to three days to review and accept the terms.

If your personal loan was approved to pay down credit card debt, the funds will be sent directly to the accounts designated on your application. Otherwise, the money will be sent to an eligible bank account on file with American Express. If you don’t have an eligible bank account on file, you have three days from the date you sign your loan agreement to add a personal checking account in your name or your loan agreement will be deemed void and unenforceable.

Pros and cons of an American Express personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Minimal-to-no fees. The sole fee associated with an American Express personal loan is a $39 late fee, assessed only on late payments and those not made in full.
  • Wide range on loan amounts. American Express personal loans are available in increments from $3,500 to $40,000. The amount granted is based on creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Multiple repayment periods. Applicants will have the option to choose among several repayment periods (thereby allowing you to secure a monthly payment that doesn’t put a strain on your budget). Approved borrowers may receive offers ranging from 12 to 48 months.
  • Soft credit pulls. Applying for an American Express personal loan will not impact your credit score. But if you’re approved, loan details will be sent to credit reporting agencies, which could affect your credit score.
  • American Express credit card required. Only preapproved American Express card members are eligible to apply for a personal loan through the company, and you must have had that account for at least nine months.
  • No perks. Personal loans do not come with perks offered on American Express cards, such as Membership Rewards, cash back or insurance benefits.
  • Not for bad-credit borrowers. Only cardholders with fair to excellent credit are encouraged to apply. American Express recommends that applicants with a credit score of 659 or less improve their credit before submitting an application.

Who’s the best fit for an American Express personal loan?

An American Express personal loan can be a great choice for cardholders who don’t want to pay fees. Since the only fee associated with the loan is a $39 late fee — assessed only on late payments and those not made in full — you won’t pay any fees if you satisfy your monthly financial obligation.

Having several repayment periods available can also be a helpful option. This gives you the opportunity to choose a monthly payment that works best with your budget.

Considering the loan amount ranges from $3,500 to $40,000, this product is geared toward borrowers who need a higher loan amount. It’s also a better choice for cardholders with higher credit scores, as loan offers — including APR and maximum borrowing power — are based on creditworthiness and other factors.

Before moving forward with an application, it’s a good idea to check out reviews from other consumers and get a feel for the lender’s general reputation.

American Express consumer reviews

American Express has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. The lender does not yet have reviews on LendingTree, our parent company.

To learn more about American Express, we recommend contacting the lender for a firsthand experience at its customer service and to get answers to any outstanding questions. You may also check the lender’s social media pages to see its activity and how consumers are responding. This may help you make a more informed decision before moving forward.

American Express FAQ

No. According to the site, “your credit score will not be impacted when you apply,” but the loan will be reported to the credit bureaus once you’re approved and agree to the terms.

You won’t be able to take out that loan, but your credit score won’t be impacted either. That’s especially helpful if you intend to look elsewhere for personal loans. Either way, keep in mind that not all borrowers are approved for the highest loan amount.

These loans can be used for personal, household or family purposes. For example, paying for household renovations or a life event, like the birth of a child. However, some applicants may only be approved for credit card consolidation.

If you use your loan to pay down credit card balances directly, you cannot put that money towards an American Express card. However, those who receive their funds directly may choose to use some of their funds to do so. But keep in mind that not all applicants will be approved for that disbursement option.

Most major credit card banks are eligible for direct payments via this loan. You would find out if your credit card is eligible during the application process.

Your payments are fixed for the term of your loan and will depend on how much you borrowed, your interest rate and the length of your term.

No, that’s set by the lender and cannot be changed.

You’ll have to pay a $39 late fee, and American Express may inform the credit bureaus, which would negatively impact your credit score.

You can only apply for a business loan if you have an American Express business card, and those funds can only be used for business purposes.

Alternative personal loan options

LightStream

APR

3.99%
To
16.99%

Credit Req.

660

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 144

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

LightStream is the online lending division of SunTrust Bank.... Read More


Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.

LightStream is an online lending division of SunTrust Bank. It offers personal loans for between $5,000 and $100,000 with rates as low as 3.99% with autopay; however, note that lender rates vary based on the loan purpose. Still, LightStream doesn’t charge origination fees, plus it offers loans with terms from 24 to 144 months, so it could be a low-cost and flexible option for borrowers.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

5.99%
To
28.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® offers personal loans for up to $40,000 for debt consolidation and credit consolidation. ... Read More


Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans).Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. For New York residents, rates range from 5.99% to 24.99% APR.

With no origination or late fees, Marcus by Goldman Sachs may be an affordable option for a personal loan. The lender offers loans for up to $40,000 with rates as low as 5.99%. Further, you can see rates with a soft pull.

LendingClub

APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates and approvals for people with credit scores as low as 600.... Read More

LendingClub may be a great option for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit. It has a minimum credit score requirement of 600. Its personal loans come with rates as low as 6.95% and as high as 35.89%. You can expect an origination fee between 1.00% - 6.00%.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Laura Woods
Laura Woods |

Laura Woods is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Laura here

Devon Delfino
Devon Delfino |

Devon Delfino is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Devon here

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$

Won’t impact your credit score

Advertiser Disclosure

Reviews

An In-Depth Review of Discover’s Banking Products

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Year Established1911
Total Assets$109.1B

LEARN MORE Discover Bank’s secure websiteMember FDIC

Discover Bank, which originally was introduced as a credit card via Sears-owned Greenwood Trust Company, first came on the market in 1985. Since then, Discover has gone on to become one of the largest credit card issuer in the U.S., known for their customer loyalty. Discover Bank, which runs completely as an online bank, has made strides over the past decade to compete in the financial sector by offering an array of financial products that go beyond credit cards.

Savings account bonus offer: Earn up to $200 on your first Discover savings account

Discover Bank is offering a $150-$200 bonus. Here's how it works:
If you're able to deposit a balance of at least $15,000 by 07/15/19 in your first Discover Online Savings Account, you will receive a $150 bonus. If you're able to deposit a balance of at least $25,000, you will receive a $200 bonus. In order to qualify for the bonus, you'll have to apply for the savings account by 07/01/19 and your funds must be deposited by 07/15/19. On 07/29/19, the bonus will be credited to your account. You can easily get the bonus offer online by clicking on the Learn More button above or by calling Discover bank. Just be sure to enter or mention the promo code MM619. Discover's online savings account currently earns an APY of 2.10%.

Discover Bank offers competitive rates on their banking products, which include CDs, savings, checking, and money market accounts, which also boast perks like no monthly fees. However in recent years, many online banks have begun offering similar, if not better, rates for their deposit products.

In this article we’ll take an in-depth look at Discover Bank’s products. We’ll cover account features, rates and anything else you might need to know to make the most informed decision on your financial needs. Most of our research was conducted by analyzing rates from Depositaccounts.com, which is another LendingTree-owned site.

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Discover Bank’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

2.10%

Savings

Discover Bank Online Savings

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2.50%

CD Rates

Discover Bank 12 Month CD

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2.00%

Money Market

Discover Bank Money Market

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Member FDIC

0.00%

Checking

Discover Bank Discover Cashback Debit

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Discover Online Savings account

A completely fee-free online savings account, with no minimum balance requirements, and competitive interest rates.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

2.10%

$0

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: None as long you use an ATM within Discover’s network.
  • ATM fee refund: None.
  • Overdraft fee: None.

There is no minimum balance to open a Discover Online Savings account, nor do they charge any monthly maintenance fees. While account holders do not have the ability to withdraw money from their savings account via an ATM, they are able to access and manage their savings account via Discover’s online banking and mobile app. The online banking and mobile app lets users deposit and transfer money to both Discover Bank and non-Discover bank accounts. This account doesn’t come with any fees. Even if you exceed the Federal Reserve’s Regulation D limitation of six withdrawals or transfers in one calendar month, Discover will not charge an excessive withdrawal fee. If you exceed six certain transactions more than once, your account may be closed. Discover will only do this if you exceed the limit “more than on an occasional basis”. Be sure to read the Deposit Account Agreement for specifics around this limit.

Currently, you can earn a competitive interest rate of 2.10% APY on a Discover Online Savings account. This is compounded daily and deposited into your savings account every month. As soon as you deposit money in your account, you’ll begin earning interest.

This is a solid savings account for anyone who already has a checking account with Discover, has a substantial amount of savings, or wants to earn a competitive interest rate on their savings account. It stands out for being fee-free and requiring no minimum balance or deposit, but falls short when compared with all the current interest rates out there.

There are no eligibility requirements to open a Discover Online Savings account since they do not require an initial minimum deposit or any minimum balance. There is currently a bonus being offered if you apply for the savings account for the very first time by 07/01/19. If you meet qualifications by 07/15/19, you could receive the $150 or $200 bonus. Click the button below for full details.

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How Discover Bank’s savings account compares

Compared with other online savings accounts, Discover Bank does not have the best offerings. That’s not to say it’s bad. Next to what major banks are currently offering, this account is a major win. However, with a little research, you can find better interest rates out there that also don’t have minimum balance requirements.

To see what other rates and offers are out there that fit your savings goals check out our Best Online Savings Account Guide.

Discover Bank’s CD Rates

A minimum deposit of $2,500 gives you competitive CD rates among online banks, but higher rates can be found.

CD term

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

3 months

0.35%

6 months

0.65%

9 months

0.70%

12 months

2.50%

18 months

2.55%

24 months

2.60%

30 months

2.60%

3 years

2.65%

4 years

2.75%

5 years

2.85%

7 years

3.00%

10 years

3.05%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For CDs that are less than one year, the penalty will be worth 3 months of simple interest.
    • For 1-3 year CDs, the penalty is 6 months of simple interest.
    • For a 4 year CD, the penalty is 9 months of simple interest.
    • For a 5 year CD, the penalty is 18 months of simple interest.
    • For 7-10 year CDs, the penalty is 24 months of simple interest.

Discover Bank offers certificates of deposits with terms ranging from three months to 10 years. Interest is compounded daily and is deposited every month. As with most CD rates, the longer the term of the CD, the higher the rate you will receive. To make sure you lock in the highest possible rate for your CD, make sure you fund your account within ten days of application.

There are early withdrawal penalties for taking your money out before the end of the term. The penalty amount varies depending on how far you are into your CDs term.

While there are penalties for withdrawing your money early, you do have the option to withdraw any interest earned on your CD to a Discover bank account without penalty. This money can also be left in your CD to compound throughout the life of your CD. Account holders receive notice of CD maturity 30 days prior to the end of the term. Once a term has ended, account holders have a 9-day grace period to make a change to their CD before incurring penalties. If no action is taken, Discover CDs will automatically renew at the same rate and term.

You can open a Discover CD online or by phone. The only eligibility requirements come in the form the $2,500 minimum deposit, which can be paid via phone, check or an online transfer from your bank. Discover provides the option of opening your CD in the form of a Trust, Guardian, Estate or Custodial account, but in order to do so, you must call one of their Banking Specialists.

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How Discover Bank’s CD rates compare

Overall, Discover Bank CD rates are competitive. They certainly beat out most of the major banks by far when it comes to APY. However, if you do some digging, there are better rates out there for CDs, both in terms of minimum deposit and interest rate earned.

Discover’s minimum deposit of $2,500 is the biggest downside to this product. While it’s not common for banks to offer no-fee withdrawals on CDs, there are some out there. To find the most competitive CD rates on the market right now, check out our Best CD Rates page.

Discover CashBack Debit account

Discover CashBack Debit offers no monthly fees and pays decent cashback rewards.
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None.
  • ATM fee: None as long as the ATM is within Discover’s network.
  • ATM fee refund: None.
  • Overdraft fee: None.

The Discover CashBack Debit account is appealing because it doesn’t carry any fees — that means no monthly maintenance fee, no minimum balance requirements and no fees for check ordering or debit card replacement.

They offer free online and mobile banking options like bill-pay, wire transfers and account management.

One of the account’s main selling points is the cashback reward, which pays 1.00% on debit card transactions up to $3,000 on purchases each month. In other words, if you spend up to $3,000 in a month you receive $30 cash back. This 1.00% return is not an interest rate, but rather a cashback reward. There are no qualifications to earn the cashback rewards — when you spend with your debit card, you’re earning rewards. These rewards can be redeemed as a credit to your checking account or transferred to a Discover CashBack Bonus card account.

Discover recently partnered with AllPoint and MoneyPass to increase their in-network ATM locations by 60,000+. While Discover does not charge ATM fees for going out-of-network, they do not reimburse ATM fees incurred by third-party ATMs.

Since Discover Bank is considered an online bank, you must open your account online via their website or by phone. There are no minimum deposit requirements, nor do they require account holders to keep a minimum balance. Once you open your account, you’ll receive your debit card within 10 business days. Discover offers free checks for their CashBack Debit account, although you must request them.

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How Discover Bank’s checking account compares

The Discover CashBack Debit account stacks up against other banks when it comes to offering a no-fee checking account. While they do boast a large ATM network, in part to their partnerships, they still do not reimburse out-of-network ATM fees. When it comes to rewards, their cashback reward is decent.

There are better cashback rewards programs out there, as well as, accounts that don’t require you to spend money to make money. If you spend a significant amount money via your debit card every month, this rewards program might make sense. If not, there are other banks that currently offer better rates on checking accounts for less effort on your end.

Discover Bank’s Money Market Account

Good withdrawal options, but with a high minimum balance requirement and interest rates that don’t stack up.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

1.95%

Less than $100,000

2.00%

Greater than $100,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None, but only if you use an ATM within Discover Bank’s network.
  • ATM fee refund: None.
  • Overdraft fee: None.

Opening a money market account with Discover Bank requires a minimum initial deposit of $2,500. They don’t even beat out Discover’s saving account rates.

There are a few account features worth noting, starting with the withdrawal options. Unlike the Discover Online Savings account, account holders will receive checks and a free debit card. Your debit card can be used to withdraw money via ATMs and at stores.

Discover Bank does not charge ATM fees, however if you use an out-of-network ATM they will not reimburse the fee. It’s important to note, that your money market account is subject to the same Federal Reserve regulations limiting transfer and withdrawals to six per month. If you exceed the six transfers or withdrawals more than on an occasional basis, Discover might just close your account. Luckily, this does not apply to withdrawals from ATMs or via official check that is mailed to you. Discover Money Market accounts also give you the ability to sign up for online bill pay, as well as, overdraft protection.

The only eligibility requirements to open a Discover Money Market account is an initial minimum deposit of $2,500. You can open an account either online or by calling one of their Banking Specialists. To fund your account, you have the option of an online transfer, direct deposit or check, which can be mailed or deposited via Discover Bank’s Mobile Check Deposit app.

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How Discover Bank’s money market account compares

Looking at the overall market offerings, Discover Bank Money Market accounts do not stack up. Their competitive account features like a large ATM network, free checks and a debit card are nice, but their rates do not compete.

You can find other banks offering lower deposit requirements, as well as better rates. To see how this account compares, check out MagnifyMoney’s Best Money Market Rates guide.

Discover IRA CD rates

Competitive rates with a higher-than-average minimum deposit for both traditional and Roth options.

Term

APY

3 Months

0.35%

6 Months

0.65%

9 Months

0.70%

12 Months

2.50%

18 Months

2.55%

24 Months

2.60%

30 Months

2.60%

3 Years

2.65%

4 Years

2.75%

5 Years

2.85%

7 Years

3.00%

10 Years

3.05%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For CDs that are less than one year, the penalty will be worth 3 months of simple interest.
    • For 1-3 year CDs, the penalty is 6 months of simple interest.
    • For a 4 year CD, the penalty is 9 months of simple interest.
    • For a 5 year CD, the penalty is 18 months of simple interest.
    • For 7-10 year CDs, the penalty is 24 months of simple interest.

Similar to other Discover Bank CD products, the minimum deposit to open an IRA CD is $2,500. This is also the minimum balance required to earn your interest rate. They offer both Traditional and Roth IRA CD options, with interest rates that vary depending on the CD term you choose. Terms can be as short as 3 months to up to 10 years. Their early withdrawal penalties remain the same for both IRA and non-IRA CDs.

An IRA CD is a worthwhile investment if you aren’t touching your savings and want to earn a higher APY than what’s being offered for your savings account. IRA CDs make the most sense if you’re looking for a long-term investment. While they don’t pay crazy high returns, if you have extra capital, it’s a good investment vehicle to have in your portfolio.

Opening an IRA CD account with Discover Bank can be done by phone or online, and requires an initial minimum deposit of $2,500. Funding your account can be done by phone, via check or via a bank-to-bank transfer from an existing IRA. Discover also allows account holders to initiate a direct or indirect rollover from an existing IRA.

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How Discover Bank’s IRA CD compares

Compared with other IRA CD’s out there, Discover Bank’s rates fall somewhere in the middle. The minimum deposit is higher than other offerings out there and the rates are competitive, but not high enough to be the best on the market.

Overall review of Discover Bank’s deposit products

Discover has created a suite of banking products that can compete in today’s market. Their online and mobile banking has all the necessary features to access and manage your account, and they boast a large ATM network that limits, but does not completely remove, ATM fees from your life.

Compared with the traditional big banks, Discover Bank has them beat when it comes to rates and offerings. However, if you take the entire market into consideration, adding in online banks, community banks and credit unions, Discover banking products fall somewhere in the middle.

Based on the fact that all of the reviewed products above do not have monthly maintenance fees attached to them and pay some form of interest or cash back, means you aren’t going to be wrong by opening an account. However, if you’re looking for the best of the best, Discover Bank is not quite there yet.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Jackson Wise
Jackson Wise |

Jackson Wise is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jackson here

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Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

LightStream Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

APR

3.99%
To
16.99%

Credit Req.

660

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 144

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

LightStream is the online lending division of SunTrust Bank.... Read More


Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.

LightStream personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: LightStream loan terms range from 24 to 144 months.
  • APR range: The APR for this loan is 3.99% to 16.99% APR. The lowest interest rates include a 0.50% rate discount for using autopay.
  • Loan amounts: You can borrow from $5,000 to $100,000.
  • Time to funding: You can get funding the same business day you apply if you’re approved by 2:30 p.m. EST. Otherwise, you have to schedule funding of your loan within 30 days of getting approval.
  • Hard pull/soft pull: Applying for a LightStream loan will trigger a Hard Pull. LightStream pulls your Experian and Equifax credit reports. LightStream does not offer soft pull preapprovals.
  • Origination fee: None.
  • Prepayment fee: None.
  • Late payment fee: None.
  • Other fees: None.

LightStream has no fees across the board and offers highly competitive interest rates. These two variables add up to an affordable loan, if you qualify. According to LightStream, you can borrow money for “practically anything.” Here are some examples of things you can finance with a LightStream loan:

  • Adoption
  • Auto
  • Debt consolidation
  • Dental work
  • Home improvements
  • IVF/fertility treatments
  • Pre-K-12 education
  • Medical bills
  • Recreation
    • Boats
    • RVs
    • Timeshares
  • Tiny homes
  • Weddings

The list of ways you can use a LightStream loan is exhaustive. However, there are a few instances where you can’t use a LightStream loan. You can’t use one to finance a college or post-secondary education or a vehicle registered under a business name. LightStream does not offer financing to businesses either; you are only able to apply for a loan as an individual.

‘The Rate Beat’ program

Here’s an incentive to shop around and compare rates: LightStream will beat competitor rates by 0.10% APR. You must show that you’ve been approved by a lender for a lower rate and meet other eligibility criteria before LightStream will beat the competitor rate.

Here are the terms and conditions for the Rate Beat program:

  • The lower interest rate you find with another lender can’t be from an employee discount or other special that’s not available to all customers.
  • The lower rate can’t be through any rate-subsidized programs.
  • The lower rate you get from a competing lender must be for a loan that has the same amount, loan term loan purpose and payment method (such as auto-pay).
  • The offer expires at 2 p.m. EST on the business day before your loan is funded.

Consider shopping for other loans before going to LightStream so that if you do receive a lower offer, you can try to take advantage of the Rate Beat program.

‘Loan Experience Guarantee’

The next benefit that LightStream offers borrowers is the Loan Experience Guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with the loan process, LightStream will give you $100 for completing a questionnaire within 30 days of receiving your loan.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: LightStream seeks candidates with “good credit.”
  • Minimum credit history: LightStream looks for borrowers who have several years of credit history, a mix of accounts, stable income, few (if any) delinquencies and a proven ability to save money.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified

LightStream is clear about offering loans to borrowers with good credit, although a specific credit score minimum isn’t specified. What constitutes good or excellent credit is subjective: A credit score of 670 or above is generally considered good, while a score of 740 or above is generally considered very good or excellent.

Despite not specifying a minimum credit score or maximum debt-to-income ratio, LightStream does outline some key characteristics of borrowers who tend to qualify for a Lightstream loan.

  • Borrowers with good credit have several years of credit history (excellent borrowers tend to have five years or more of credit history).
  • Borrowers have a credit history that includes many different types of accounts, such as credit cards, installment loans and mortgages.
  • Borrowers show evidence of being able to save through liquid assets, retirement savings, etc.
  • Borrowers have few late payments (excellent borrowers tend to have credit reports with no deliquences at all).

Applying for a personal loan from LightStream

The LightStream application process is straightforward. You apply online which requires a hard pull. There is no preapproval with a soft pull available. LightStream first asks why you want the loan, how much you want to borrow and which loan term length you need. The next step is to tell LightStream your personal information.

You should receive a response quickly if you apply during business hours. After an approval, you can e-sign your loan documents and set up funding. You can get money as soon as the same day if your application is approved and all required steps are completed before 2:30 p.m. EST on a business day.

Pros and cons of a LightStream personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Low rates. LightStream has highly competitive rates to offer borrowers who qualify.
  • ‘Rate Beat’ and other guarantees. LightStream will beat other rates if you can prove that another lender will give you a more affordable loan. LightStreamalso takes pride in the ease of the application process — if you have complaints about it, you can reach out to LightStream and they’ll give you $100 for your trouble. Terms apply.
  • Large and small loans. You can borrow from $5,000 to $100,000.
  • Long loan terms. Loan terms are available from 24 to 144 months.
  • Credit requirements. While LightStream does not specify a minimum credit score for borrowers, it generally looks for people with “good” credit. This typically means a score of at least 670, potentially putting borrowers with lower scores out of the running.
  • There’s a hard pull. There’s no preapproval process to check rates with a soft pull, so you won’t be able to see if your credit is strong enough to qualify without taking the hard hit. Check out our personal loan comparison tool, which includes loans that don’t require a hard pull.

Who’s the best fit for a LightStream personal loan?

People with good credit tend to get the most competitive interest rates on loans, for good reason — in the eyes of lenders, they are less likely to default on a loan, thus making them a lower risk.

In this case, LightStream is clear that it focuses on rewarding borrowers who have good credit with loans that have no fees and low interest rates because they’ve demonstrated an ability to manage debt responsibly. The LightStream loan is one that you should consider putting at the top of your shopping list if you have good credit or better, because of its perks and price.

Besides the cost, another plus is that LightStream lets you borrow high amounts of cash for almost any reason, as long as it’s not for college tuition or a vehicle registered to a business. It also offers long loan terms that allow you to stretch out your payments. Keep in mind, however, that the lowest interest rates are available for loans of $5,000 to $100,000 with loan terms of 24 to 144 months. You can borrow a higher amount for a longer period, but it may cost you more money.

What stands out as a potential downside of this loan is that a hard pull on your credit is necessary to check rates. But don’t let a fear of hard inquiries prevent you from shopping around for the best deals. A hard pull will typically cost you 5 to 10 points on your credit score — a trade-off that might ultimately be worth it when you consider the savings you could gain from qualifying with a low-cost lender like LightStream. We have discussed the impact of credit inquiries in this post — the effect on your credit may be minimal considering the potential benefit.

If you meet the conditions of what’s considered good or excellent credit, you may find that a LightStream loan is one of the better personal loans that you may find for your situation online. Check out other personal loan options here to compare products. This roundup includes many loans that allow you to check rates with a soft pull.

LightStream consumer reviews

One of the best ways to assess an offer is to read about other customers’ experiences with the lender. The Better Business Bureau has given LightStream an A+ rating, and it’s also earned 4.1 out of 5 stars from reviewers on LendingTree, the parent company of MagnifyMoney.

Customers who reviewed LightStream on LendingTree — which owns MagnifyMoney — are, by and large, satisfied with the interest rates, fees and closing costs, customer service and responsiveness. Borrowers praise LightStream for having a “straightforward, simple, delightful loan process,” “great rates and fast response” and “lightning fast closing.” Many customers were also pleased that LightStream funded their loans the same day they were approved.

While there is far more praise than criticism of LightStream on LendingTree, some customers said they were denied for loans even though they had a high credit score and income and they were unable to connect with the company by phone. Overall, though, borrowers seem generally happy with their experience with LightStream.

LightStream FAQ

LightStream does not specify a minimum credit score for borrowers. Instead, the company looks for individuals with at least “good” credit, which typically means the borrower has several years of credit history, multiple types of accounts, a decent history of on-time payments, evidence of an ability to save and a “stable and sufficient income.”

While you can apply for a LightStream loan for educational expenses related to pre-K through grade 12, the company does not offer funding for college or post-secondary education. The company does not offer refinancing for student loans.

LightStream borrowers do not incur any fees from the company.

LightStream says customers will receive a response “shortly” after applying online, if done during business hours.

LightStream loans can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including dental bills, home improvements, adoption expenses, horses and jewelry. The company requires that you use the money from the loan for the purpose you indicated in your application. You are not allowed to use the loan to refinance an existing LightStream loan, pay for college tuition or post-secondary education, buy stocks and bonds or purchase a vehicle that will be registered under a business name.

LightStream does not offer pre-approvals for loans. Potential borrowers must fill out the online application to see if they’re approved.

LightStream uses its “easy, fast and virtually paperless loan process” as a selling point to potential borrowers. If you’re not happy with your experience, the company will offer you $100 for filling out a questionnaire within 30 days of receiving funding for your loan.

LightStream is considered SunTrust Bank’s online lending division. Borrowers do not have to be account holders at SunTrust Bank to qualify for a loan from LightStream.

Alternative personal loan options

SoFi

SoFi
APR

5.74%
To
16.24%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

SoFi offers some of the best rates and terms on the market. ... Read More


Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 16.240% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.75% APR to 14.60% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of March 18, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.75% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.50% plus 4.28% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

All rates, terms, and figures are subject to change by the lender without notice. For the most up-to-date information, visit the lender's website directly. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

See Consumer Licenses.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Minimum loan requirements might be higher than $5,000 in specific states due to legal requirements. Fixed and variable-rate caps may be lower in some states due to legal requirements and may impact your eligibility to qualify for a SoFi loan.

If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

SoFi is another lender that offers no-fee personal loans with competitive, fixed interest rates that you can use for a variety of reasons. You can borrow large amounts with SoFi — $5,000 to $100,000. Perks offered by SoFi include access to financial advisors and unemployment protection for borrowers. You can check rates with a soft pull.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

5.99%
To
28.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® offers personal loans for up to $40,000 for debt consolidation and credit consolidation. ... Read More


Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans).Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. For New York residents, rates range from 5.99% to 24.99% APR.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is another personal loan that has absolutely no fees. You can borrow up to $40,000, get approval within five minutes and receive your funds in about one to four business days after verifying your bank account. Plus, checking rates doesn’t require a hard inquiry. Interest rates are typically higher for the longer term loans, and borrowers with excellent credit will get the lowest rates.

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

7.99%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.50% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Upgrade is an online lender that offers fairly priced personal loans for a term of either 36 or 60 months.... Read More.

Upgrade is the only lender included in this review that charges an origination fee. This lender may be an option for people with less than stellar credit, as the credit score minimum is just 620. You can borrow up to $50,000 from Upgrade, and check your rate without a hard inquiry. Upgrade can send money to your bank account in as little as one business day after your personal information is verified.

Joni Sweet contributed to the reporting for this article.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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