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Personal Loans

Where Educated Workers Are Moving

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.

millennial workers
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As shown by the bidding process for the new Amazon headquarters, states and cities will do just about anything to attract a high-income, highly educated workforce. The benefits of doing so are obvious: those workers’ high incomes create demand for many other ancillary services and products boosting the overall employment level. Additionally, from the local government’s perspective, these workers create a reliable tax base.

Where these companies and workers decide to move says a lot about their preferences today. But maybe more importantly, where these workers decide to move reveals which states may be the economic winners of tomorrow.

In order to understand these trends, we utilized migration data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS). Using this data set, we found out which states workers with bachelor’s degrees (ages of 25 to 65) were moving between 2016-17.

Key findings

  • Florida is the biggest winner with a net gain of nearly 19,000 bachelor degree-holding workers. The state is probably more famous for attracting an older, non-working population, but — thanks to its low cost of living and low taxes, perhaps — bachelor degree-wielding workers are also flocking to the Sunshine State.
  • The Orlando and Tampa metro areas are the major attractors in Florida, taking in a net flow of 8,500 and 4,400 educated workers respectively.
  • Arizona and Texas, two other warm, low cost-of-living states, also took top spots, with Phoenix and Dallas servings as the most popular relocation spots within their states. Texas came in second with a net flow of more than 14,400 educated workers, while Arizona took fourth with nearly 11,840. Interestingly, Arizona has a relatively low total population, so scoring the fourth-highest net flow is particularly impressive.
  • One state mirroring the trend of affordability and low taxes is Colorado, which earns the No. 3 best spot on this list. This state attracted 38,817 educated workers while losing just under 25,700, for a net increase of about 13,100. Denver is also notable as one of America’s biggest boomtowns.
  • Illinois was the second largest loser with a net loss of nearly 19,500 educated workers. The Chicago metro area led the charge in this state, with migration data showing losses of roughly 13,400 bachelor degree-holding workers. It is worth pointing out, though, that the metro area also encompasses territory in Indiana and Wisconsin and is not the only reason for Illinois’ overall losses.
  • New York City, with its unfortunate reputation as being one of the most expensive places in the country, was the biggest loser for metro areas, with a net loss of 19,269 educated workers. A large number of New York residents would actually prefer to live elsewhere, with losses of nearly 49,000 people between 2017 and 2018, according to Census Bureau data. However, similar to Chicago, the New York City metro area also includes people living in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and is not the sole cause of its state’s losses.
  • Educated workers are not alone in leaving New York state and its namesake city: Census Bureau data shows the overall population of the famed urban area has declined for two straight years now. That may be due, at least in part, to migration to nearby New Jersey. There’s been a large growth in population in the state of late, including cities just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, like Jersey City and Hoboken.

Top states in our rankings

Florida tops our rankings, netting nearly 19,000 workers over the 2016-17 period we measured. The next-highest net gain was just under 14,500, in Texas. But the Southeast had other winners in the top 10: North Carolina (No. 5) and South Carolina (No. 9).

Those with the lowest influx of educated workers are more common in the central and eastern parts of the country. States around the Great Lakes — Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio — fared poorly in our rankings, though Michigan came in at No. 15 overall. In the Northeast, meanwhile, New York came last in our rankings, with a net flow of -23,007 workers. Massachusetts (-7,223) and Pennsylvania (-5,371) also found themselves in the bottom five.

Southeastern states were a mixed bag — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia are in the red, while Florida and North Carolina land the first- and fifth-best spots on this list, respectively.

1. Florida

With over 60,000 educated workers flowing into the state, Florida is the ultimate hot-spot for workers who have relocated. And when you look at the stats, it’s easy to see why.

The median household income for those who live within the state is just over $50,000. Nearly 65% of residents own their homes, which have an overall median value of about $180,000. Plus, only about 3.5% of the overall population are unemployed, as of March 2019.

The cost of living is relatively affordable, too. Homeowners with mortgages pay about $1,400 per month on housing, while renters pay $1,077 per month.

2. Texas

Coming in with a higher influx of Bachelor-degree holding workers than Florida (but a lower overall net), is Texas. The Lone Star State boasts a median household income of about $57,000 per year, and it has an overall unemployment rate of just 3.8%. Its housing costs for renters are also a bit cheaper than the No. 1 state on this list, coming in at $952 per month. It’s also worth noting that Austin was the third most-popular destination for millennials on the move, according to our ranking of millennial boomtowns.

3. Colorado

Colorado is another popular destination for workers moving out of state.

Working women in the Denver metro area, for example, are doing well there — an impressive 65.4% of women have employee-provided health insurance, about 40% of managers are women, and just 4.2% are unemployed, according to our study on the best cities for working women. In fact, the metro area earned the fifth-best ranking for those workers, compared to other U.S. cities. It’s also popular among millennials — Denver experienced the second-largest influx of that demographic, compared to other cities, between 2011 and 2016.

4. Arizona

Home to vast deserts and the Grand Canyon, Arizona is also experiencing an influx of workers. It’s a popular place for homeowners — 63.1% of Arizonans own their home, and the median value for those homes is $193,200. Renters, on the other hand, pay an average of $972 per month for their spaces. Compared to the overall average household income for state residents, which is a little more than $53,000, that accounts for about 20% of annual earnings.

Arizona is also a good option when you consider high-interest debt. Our study on U.S. credit card debt found that Arizona residents tend to carry less credit card debt ($4,299.70) than the average American ($6,358). However, it does have a slightly higher unemployment rate (5.0%) than you would find in Florida (No. 1) or Texas (No. 2).

5. North Carolina

Rounding out the top five, North Carolina has proven itself to be a popular destination for workers who move across state lines. And it does have some desirable factors going in its favor.

Unemployment (which stands at 4.0% as of March 2019) has been on a steady decline since the recession. And the median household income is comparable to what you might find in Florida (No. 1) or Arizona (No. 4). Plus, residents enjoy an average commute of fewer than 30 minutes.

However, it’s worth pointing out that the state is also home to the lowest-ranked metro area for working women — its most populous city, Charlotte — with gendered underrepresentation in leadership roles.

View our complete rankings

The figures below are based on the number of bachelor’s degree-holding individuals who have moved across state lines, either in or out of a particular state. Net flow is calculated by taking the total “moving in” minus amount of those “moving out.” Entries are also listed in order of net flow, from the most popular to least popular states for educated workers.

Interestingly, the top-five states are the only ones on this ranking which achieved five-figure net flow status. And all states which fall below the 23rd-best rated option (Arkansas) have a negative net flow, meaning more people are leaving than coming in.

It’s also worth noting that the moving-in and moving-out figures vary quite a bit from state to state. Georgia’s (No. 38) moving-in figure, for example, is nearly 30,000 (which is more than some of the top-ten ranking states on this list), while Vermont’s (No. 26) moving-in figure is just 2,003.

Moving for opportunity: How to afford the expense

Moving almost always brings up a mix of excitement and nerves. But for those who aren’t sure if they can afford the expense, it tends to lean more toward nerves. While tight finances, or a lack of funds, aren’t ideal when contemplating that kind of life change, there are ways to make it work.

Creating a budget and starting to save is the best first step if your move is still a ways off. Some of the usual expenses that renters should plan for include:

  • Security deposits (keep in mind that those with pets may be required to pay an additional deposit, and your landlord may ask for pet rent)
  • First (and possibly last) month’s rent
  • Transportation costs (like airfare) for you and your family
  • Shipping costs for your belongings
  • Packing materials, like boxes and tape
  • Storage costs (if, for example, your stuff doesn’t fit in your new apartment)
  • Cash for tipping movers
  • Repairs and new purchases to fix, furnish or decorate your new place

Trimming expenses for your move

Delaying your move to give yourself time to save can help avoid taking on debt — but that isn’t always possible. Still, if you’re willing to do a bit of work, you can minimize your expenses through other means.

If you’re planning on using professional movers, for example, it’s vital to shop around for the best rate by asking for estimates from local companies (while you’re at it, check out reviews to make sure your items would be in good hands.) Curbing personal spending is another thing to keep in the front of your mind as you come up to your move date. It’s also worth checking out other options, like having family members pitch in with packing supplies or transportation, renting a moving truck instead of using movers, or opting to move on during the week rather than during the weekend (or around a holiday).

You may also choose to streamline your belongings to cut down on moving costs. (Selling those items through an app like LetGo or on a site like Craigslist could also help you fund your move.)

It’s also a good idea to consider asking your employer if they would be willing to cover some of your relocation costs, especially if you’re moving for a new job or you have a good track record with your current company. While approval for that certainly isn’t a guarantee, it is possible and can help you save, so it may be worth the ask.

Using a personal loan for moving expenses

For those with strong credit, a personal loan might be a good option to fund your move. In general, the better your credit, the better the loan terms you’ll qualify for, and the less it will cost you to borrow. Personal loans can help you avoid putting large balances on a high-interest credit card and thereby save you money, long-term.

However, they aren’t a fix-all: You’d still have to qualify first, then pay interest charges and keep to the monthly repayment schedule to avoid late fees. But for the right borrower, they can provide a bit of breathing room and help get your move funded, faster.

Methodology

In order to find where educated workers are moving, researchers analyzed IPUMS migration over the 2016-17 period. Specifically this analysis tracked the movements of people in the workforce who moved across state lines. Researchers compared the number who moved into a state to those who moved out of the state. The states were then ranked by net flow (the difference between immigration and emigration).

Statistics on individual states comes from the United States Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unless otherwise noted.

This article contains links to LendingTree, our parent company.

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.

Devon Delfino
Devon Delfino |

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

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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

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

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

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 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

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.

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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Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

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Won’t impact your credit score

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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