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Columbia Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Columbia Credit Union’s checking account options

Free For All Checking

No dividends on this checking account, but you’ll also run into very few fees.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not

Free For All Checking is Columbia Credit Union’s bare-bones checking account. While it does not earn any interest, it also has no monthly maintenance fee or account balance requirement. On top of that, the minimum deposit requirement is almost nonexistent. If you’re looking for a low-fee checking account and don’t mind giving up dividends, this account isn’t a bad bet.

While there is a small fee for using an out-of-network ATM on all of Columbia’s deposit accounts, it should be noted that Columbia Credit Union participates in the CO-OP Network, which gives you access to almost 30,000 ATMs at different credit unions across the country.

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Income Checking

Columbia Credit Union’s only checking account with a minimum balance requirement comes with an APY that is too low to make it worth it.
APY
Minimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03% $500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $7, though this fee can be waived.
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

Columbia Credit Union’s Income Checking does not offer a great deal on a checking account. First, the dividends are extremely low. While you don’t necessarily expect to see a sky-high APY on a checking account, there are far better offers out there.

In order to earn that low APY, you will have to keep the required minimum balance in your account. While this minimum isn’t astronomically high, there are other accounts out there that come with no minimum balance requirements.

With that minimum balance requirement comes a monthly maintenance fee. This fee can be waived, though. In order to dodge it, you can maintain the minimum balance requirement or set up direct deposit.

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Bonus Checking

The monthly maintenance fee makes this account attractive only to people who travel abroad or have frequent need of money orders.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

Bonus Checking is very similar to Free For All Checking. The bonuses that you receive are one box of free custom checks every year, free money orders and no foreign ATM fees. This checking account may be worth it if you’re traveling abroad or if you have a frequent need for money orders, but otherwise the monthly maintenance fee, which cannot be waived, isn’t worth the spend. This account does not bear interest.

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RewardsPLUS Checking

The perks of Bonus Checking without the fee — but only for people over 50.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

If you’re age 50 or older and like the benefits of Bonus Checking, but not necessarily the maintenance fee, RewardsPLUS Checking could be for you. You get a free box of custom checks every year, no foreign transaction fees at ATMs abroad and free money orders, and you’ll also be eligible for a discount on a safe deposit box. There are no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements.

Despite these perks, it is important to note that this account does not pay interest.

How to open Columbia Credit Union’s checking accounts

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident age 18 or older, you can open an account online or in person. You will need your Social Security number and government-issued ID in order to apply. Remember that for RewardsPLUS Checking accounts, you must be age 50 or older.

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How Columbia Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

If you’re opening a checking account based solely on the interest rate you can get, Columbia Credit Union isn’t for you. The only dividend-bearing account offers a paltry rate— and even its other checking accounts, which have perks such as no maintenance fees or no foreign transaction fees at ATMs, have competitors that offer these same benefits without sacrificing on dividends. Shop the competition on our list of the top checking accounts before deciding which account is best for you.

Columbia Credit Union’s savings account options

Regular Savings

This low-yield savings account comes with more restrictions than you’ll find at other financial institutions.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3, though this fee can be waived.
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

Regular Savings is Columbia Credit Union’s standard savings account. While it comes with no minimum balance requirements, it does come with a monthly fee. However, this fee can be waived if you maintain a balance of $300, possess another deposit account or loan with Columbia Credit Union, or if you’re under the age of 19. While this account does pay dividends, they are extremely low.

All savings accounts in the U.S. fall under Regulation D. This rule states that you are allowed up to six certain convenient withdrawals per month without facing possible fees imposed by the credit union. At Columbia Credit Union, you simply won’t be able to make any convenient transactions after six — the system will not allow it. Convenient withdrawals at this credit union do not include making a withdrawal in person or at an ATM, so you can make more than six withdrawals per month if you use these methods. There is, however, a fee of $0.50 for every withdrawal you make per month after the first two.

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Achievers Club Savings

This savings account for people 18 or younger has a few extra perks but low dividend offerings.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

People age 18 or younger can open an Achievers Club Savings account. The perks of this account include no ATM fees from Columbia Credit Union when you use out-of-network ATMs and a free book of 150 checks for your checking account.

You’re also able to make six certain withdrawals or transfers per month allowed by Regulation D without facing any institutional fees. After six withdrawals of any kind, however, you’ll face a 50-cent fee.

But while this account does pay dividends, they are once again extremely low.

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Holiday Club Savings

Save for the holidays with this separate, but still low-APY, account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$50
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

The Holiday Club Savings account allows you to save up for the holidays throughout the year. The minimum opening deposit is extremely low, and there are no monthly maintenance fees. If you maintain the required minimum balance, you will be rewarded with dividends, though the APY offering is minimal.On November 1, the balance of your club account will be automatically transferred to your checking or savings account, depending on which you have designated. While you can make withdrawals before this point, you will be charged a 25-cent fee for doing so. Regulation D limitations are not a concern as the only way to make a withdrawal from this account is with a teller at your local branch or a customer service representative over the phone.

How to get Columbia Credit Union’s savings accounts

U.S. citizens and residents age 18 or older can open these accounts in person or online with their Social Security number and government-issued ID. Minors will need an adult with them when they visit in person to open an account.

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How Columbia Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

Columbia Credit Union’s savings accounts do not pay very much in the way of interest. While free checks for people with a Achievers Club Savings account is a nice perk, they do not make up for low APY offerings. You can find much better rates by shopping our list of the best savings accounts on the market.

Columbia Credit Union’s CD rates

Personal Certificates

Middle-of-the-road rates that get more competitive with higher opening deposits.
TermAPY   Minimum Balance to Earn APY
 3 Months0.50%$0.01
3 Months0.55%$10,000
3 Months0.60%$50,000
3 Months0.65%$100,000
6 Months0.85%$0.01
6 Months0.90%$10,000
6 Months0.95%$50,000
6 Months1.00%$100,000
12 Months1.70%$0.01
12 Months1.75%$10,000
12 Months1.80%$50,000
12 Months1.85%$100,000
18 Months1.85%$0.01
18 Months1.90%$10,000
18 Months1.95%$50,000
18 Months2.00%$100,000
24 Months1.95%$0.01
24 Months2.00%$10,000
24 Months2.05%$50,000
24 Months2.10%$100,000
30 Months2.05%$0.01
30 Months2.10%$10,000
30 Months2.15%$50,000
30 Months2.20%$100,000
36 Months2.15%$0.01
36 Months2.20%$10,000
36 Months2.25%$50,000
36 Months2.30%$100,000
48 Months2.25%$0.01
48 Months2.30%$10,000
48 Months2.35%$50,000
48 Months2.40%$100,000
60 Months2.55%$0.01
60 Months2.60%$10,000
60 Months2.65%$50,000
60 Months2.70%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: Varies
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Certificates with terms of 12 months or less will accrue a penalty equal to 90 days’ worth of dividends; certificates with terms of more than 12 months will accrue a penalty equal to 180 days’ worth of dividends.

The APY offerings on Personal Certificates at Columbia Credit Union fall somewhere in the middle of the pack. While you can certainly find lower rates out there, they’re not quite up to par with the best offers on the market. However, as the opening balance gets higher, the gap shrinks between Columbia Credit Union’s APY offerings and those ideal offers.

The minimum opening deposit requirement is low, and the early withdrawal penalties on these certificates are fairly standard.

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Achievers Club Certificates

While you won’t earn the most competitive APY, you will be able to top-off this certificate made especially for youth throughout its term.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
12 Months1.70%$100
12 Months1.75%$10,000
12 Months1.80%$50,000
12 Months1.85%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ worth of dividends

These certificates are only open to people age 18 or younger. The value in these certificates does not lay with its dividend rates, which are relatively low given the term length. Rather, the low opening deposit amount is a draw, plus the fact that you can make additional deposits throughout the term of your certificate in $50 increments.

How to get Columbia Credit Union’s Certificates

You can open your certificate online or in person with your Social Security number and government-issued ID. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident age 18 or older to apply, though minors can apply for an Achievers Club Certificate in person with an adult.

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How Columbia Credit Union’s CD rates compare

Columbia Credit Union’s certificates are more competitive than its checking and savings products. While the rates aren’t the highest on the market, they’re not the lowest either. But you don’t just want “not the lowest” — you want to get the best rate you possibly can, especially when you’re putting your money into an account where you won’t be able to touch it for a set period of time. Be sure to shop our list of the best CD rates on the market so you can get the best rates available.

Columbia Credit Union’s money market account options

Money Market Account

Low APY offerings make this account uncompetitive.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$0.01
0.03%$5,000
0.06%$10,000
0.10%$25,000
0.15%$50,000
0.18%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $8 per month if your balance falls below $1,500
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

While the minimum opening deposit requirement is low on this money market account, so are its APY offerings. Columbia Credit Union offers rates drastically below the best offers on the market. You will also incur a monthly fee if you do not maintain a balance of $1,500, but traditionally the balance kept in a money market account is much higher than that, anyways.

It’s important to note that money market accounts, like savings accounts, are subject to Regulation D. Because of Columbia Credit Union’s policies, you will not face any excessive withdrawal fees or account closures due to making more than six convenient withdrawals per month. The credit union will simply not allow you to make that withdrawal in the first place.

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Money Market Account with Bonus Dividend Plan

Jump through several hoops in order to get a slight boost on your dividends.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$0.01
0.03%$5,000
0.07%$10,000
0.13%$25,000
0.19%$50,000
0.23%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $8 per month if your balance falls below $1,500
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

In order to qualify for Bonus Dividend rates on your money market account, you must enroll in the Bonus Dividend Plan by calling a customer service representative. You must also have a personal checking account with Columbia Credit Union with a balance of at least $2,500. The final requirement to earn these higher rates is to have direct deposit set up on your checking account or to have automatic payments set up on a Columbia Credit Union loan.

These are a lot of hoops to jump through for less than a tenth of a percentage point increase in APY. Given that Columbia Credit Union’s money market rates were low to begin with, you’d be better off looking at money market accounts offered by other financial institutions rather than contorting your finances to meet the Bonus Dividend requirements.

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Premium Money Market Account

If you’re going to keep this much cash in a deposit account, make sure it’s earning a higher APY.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.70%$100,000
0.80%$250,000
0.90%$500,000
1.00% $1,000,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $5 per transfer if you have overdraft protection; $30 if not.

If you looked only at Columbia Credit Union’s other money market offerings, the Premium Money Market Account might look like a good deal. You get higher rates for having a higher balance.But when you compare this offer to the APYs offered by the competition, you start to see that the returns offered are extremely low for the amount of money you’d be keeping in the account. Shop around as your money will earn more elsewhere.

How to get Columbia Credit Union’s Money Market Accounts

U.S. citizens and residents age 18 or older can open a regular money market account in person or online with their Social Security number and government-issued ID. After you’ve opened a standard Money Market Account and adjusted your other financial accounts to meet plan requirements, you can enroll in the Bonus Dividend Program by calling (360) 891-4000, emailing a representative or chatting with someone at Columbia Credit Union online.

All Premium Money Market Accounts must be opened in person at your local branch.

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How Columbia Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

Columbia Credit Union’s dividend offerings on money market accounts are not competitive. They fall far below the rates offered by the competition, despite having reasonable minimum opening deposit requirements and potential rate boosts through the Bonus Dividend Plan. Shop our list of the best money market accounts on the market and be rewarded with a higher APY.

Columbia Credit Union’s IRA account options

IRA Certificates

These certificates aren’t terribly exciting, but the rates are fairer than those offered on checking and savings products.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
3 Months0.50%$0.01
3 Months0.55%$10,000
3 Months0.60%$50,000
3 Months0.65%$100,000
6 Months0.45%$0.01
6 Months0.50%$10,000
6 Months0.55%$50,000
6 Months0.60%$100,000
12 Months0.65%$0.01
12 Months0.70%$10,000
12 Months0.75%$50,000
12 Months0.80%$100,000
18 Months0.75%$0.01
18 Months0.80%$10,000
18 Months0.85%$50,000
18 Months0.90%$100,000
24 Months0.85%$0.01
24 Months0.90%$10,000
24 Months0.95%$50,000
24 Months1.00%$100,000
30 Months0.90%$0.01
30 Months0.95%$10,000
30 Months1.00%$50,000
30 Months1.05%$100,000
36 Months0.95%$0.01
36 Months1.00%$10,000
36 Months1.05%$50,000
36 Months1.10%$100,000
48 Months1.00%$0.01
48 Months1.05%$10,000
48 Months1.10%$50,000
48 Months1.15%$100,000
60 Months1.15%$0.01
60 Months1.20%$10,000
60 Months1.25%$50,000
60 Months1.30%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: Varies
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Certificates with terms of 12 months or less will accrue a penalty equal to 90 days’ worth of dividends; certificates with terms of more than 12 months will accrue a penalty equal to 180 days’ worth of dividends.

Columbia Credit Union’s certificate rates remain unchanged whether they are inside or outside of an IRA. These rates aren’t the best on the market, but they’re not the worst, either. Minimum opening deposit requirements are low, and early withdrawal penalties are what you’d expect to see on an account of this kind.Remember, though, that early withdrawals don’t just come with institutional penalties when they’re inside of an IRA. You also need to be conscientious of the fact that except in rare cases, if you’re under the age of 59 ½ you will face taxes and penalties from the IRS if you withdraw money from an IRA.

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IRA Achievers Club Certificates

IRA certificates for customers age 18 and younger.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
12 Months0.65%$100
12 Months0.70%$10,000
12 Months0.75%$50,000
12 Months0.80%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ worth of dividends

Yes, you can open an IRA for your child, too. While not all financial institutions offer IRA certificates for youth, you will want to research before deciding if this is the one you want to open. These rates are once again not the worst around, but they’re hardly the best, either.

How to get Columbia Credit Union’s IRA Certificates

Visit your local branch prepared with your Social Security number and government-issued ID in order to open an IRA certificate. If you want to open an IRA Achievers Club Certificate, you will need to open your account with the assistance of an adult at your local branch.

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How Columbia Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

The rates offered on Columbia Credit Union’s IRA certificates aren’t the lowest around, but they’re not the highest, either. An IRA certificate is already an extremely conservative portfolio holding; you want to make sure you’re not further stunting your money’s growth by earning less of an APY than you have to. Shop around to ensure you’re getting the best IRA CD rates the market has to offer.

IRA savings account

There’s a low barrier to entry on these low-yielding IRA savings accounts.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$0.01
0.10%$5,000
0.15%$25,000
0.20%$50,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None

If there’s a portfolio holding that’s more conservative than an IRA CD, it’s an IRA savings account. Because of the low risk level, there is very little potential reward. But that’s not an excuse to just open an account willy-nilly — although minimum opening balance requirements make this account accessible to almost anyone, you can find rates more than 10 times the highest offered by Columbia Credit Union if you look at other financial institutions.

How to get Columbia Credit Union’s IRA Savings

You must open this account in person at your local branch. Be prepared to provide your Social Security number and government-issued ID.

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Overall review of Columbia Credit Union’s banking products

Columbia Credit Union does not, by and large, offer competitive dividends on its deposit accounts. This is more pronounced in some cases, like its checking, savings and money market accounts — where APY offerings are almost nonexistent. If you look at its certificates, you start to see rates that are more on par with market averages, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best around. You’ll want to do some shopping before opening any one of these deposit accounts as you’re highly likely to find a better offer with another financial institution.

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Auto Loan, Reviews

LightStream Auto Loan Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Reviewed By

If you’re in the market for a quick, affordable and hassle-free way to finance your next car, a LightStream auto loan should definitely be on your radar. It’s particularly well-suited for deal-seekers with good credit who don’t mind working with an online company when it comes to financing their cars. If you’d rather work with a local company that can offer in-person support, however, you might want to skip this lender.

How LightStream auto loans work

LightStream offers a wide range of options for financing your next ride, including:

  • Purchase of a new or used car, either from a dealer or an individual
  • Auto loan refinance (except it does not refinance its own loans)
  • Auto lease buyouts
  • Loans for motorcycles, as well as boats and RVs
  • Classic car loans

Auto loans at a glance:

  • Starting APR range: 3.49%–9.49%
  • Fees: None
  • Loan amounts: $5,000–$100,000
  • Terms: 24–84 months
  • Credit requirements: Minimum 660 credit score
  • Mileage or vehicle restrictions: None

LightStream offers the same starting rate whether you’re buying a new or used car from a dealer, something you don’t see at other lenders. But keep in mind that the lowest rates go to those with the best credit who opt for the shortest loan terms possible and use autopay to make their car payments.

Satisfaction guarantee

If you see a lower rate elsewhere, LightStream will beat any verified offer with a rate that is .10 percentage points lower. It also promises a $100 guarantee within 30 days if you aren’t satisfied with your loan experience.

How to apply for a LightStream auto loan

The only way you can apply for a LightStream auto loan is through its online form. It is an online lender, after all, so you should be comfortable with handling your business details — including the loan application — online. You’ll need to:

  1. Acknowledge receipt of LightStream’s statement on the use of electronic records.
  2. Agree to receive electronic records.
  3. Agree to use electronic signatures to sign your loan documents.

You’ll also need to have a Visa or Mastercard credit card to apply, which LightStream uses during the verification process.

You will be asked to provide:

  • The purpose, term and amount of desired loan
  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number
  • Employment information
  • Annual income
  • Total amount of assets and equity in your home

From there, LightStream may contact you for more details and documentation. If approved, you’ll need to sign your loan documents electronically and provide LightStream with your bank account details. The money will then be deposited into your bank account, which means you’ll need to pass it along to the seller, whether that’s a dealer or private seller. LightStream will not send the money to the seller directly.

It’s important to note that LightStream doesn’t offer any preapproval options, but if you apply and are approved for a loan, you are under no obligation to accept the loan.

How to qualify for the best rates

LightStream requires good credit at a minimum, but looks for excellent credit when giving the best rates. It defines excellent credit as:

  • Five or more years of significant credit history.
  • A credit history with a variety of account types such as major credit cards (for example, Visa, MasterCard, Amex), installment debt (vehicle loans) and mortgage debt if applicable.
  • An excellent payment history with no delinquencies or other problems repaying debt obligations.
  • A proven ability to save as shown by some or all of the following: liquid assets (stocks, bonds, bank deposits, etc.), cash down payments on real estate, retirement savings and little, if any, revolving credit card debt.
  • Stable and sufficient income and assets to easily repay current debt obligations and any new loan with LightStream.

Pros and cons of LightStream auto loans

LightStream offers the convenience of an online lender with the backing of a brick-and-mortar bank as the online arm of Truist, the bank created by the merger of  SunTrust Bank and BB&T. But it’s important to weigh all of your options carefully when choosing an auto loan. It’s one of the biggest purchases you’ll make, after all.

Pros

  • Wide variety of loans: New, used, refinance and lease buyouts loans are available on a wide range of vehicles. Unlike other lenders, LightStream doesn’t place restrictions on your vehicle’s age, make, model or mileage.
  • Decent rates: We’ve seen lower starting rates at credit unions, but you’ll have to meet membership requirements. LightStream has no membership requirements and provides the same starting rates for new and used vehicles as well as refinance loans.
  • No down payment required: LightStream finances up to 100% of the car’s cost. Of course, it’s always best to put down as much as you can afford on an auto loan. This will help you save money over the life of your loan and avoid becoming underwater on that loan.
  • Quick funding: If you complete the application process and are approved by 2:30 p.m. EST, you could receive funds the same day.
  • Good reviews: LightStream auto loan reviews are generally positive.

Cons

  • Good credit required: To qualify for a LightStream auto loan you’ll need a credit score of at least 660 or better.
  • No preapproval process: Unlike many lenders, you’ll have to complete a full application in order to see your rates and terms. Still, the process is fast, and if you complete your rate shopping within a certain time period, multiple applications should not impact your credit any more than a single application.
  • No face-to-face service: If you’re the type of person who likes to seal the deal with a handshake after signing the documents, you’ll want to stick with some place local.

LightStream vs. Capital One

If you’d like a bit more of a guided approach to the car-buying process,  Capital One’s Auto Navigator loan options might be better for you. Rather than sending you cash directly that you can use on whatever car you want to buy, Capital One’s Auto Navigator service lets you first get prequalified for financing, and then shows you which dealers in your area may offer based on the type of car you want to buy and the financing you can afford.

If any of the offerings pique your interest, you can then finish the application and buy the car. It’s still a good idea to compare the offer with other new and used car loan rates.

LightStream vs. Carvana

Carvana works similarly to Capital One Auto Navigator in that you can prequalify for financing and browse real cars in your area that you may then be able to buy. It’s important to remember that Carvana only sells used cars and its financing is only available on Carvana cars. But it is possible to finance here with poor credit — Carvana requires borrowers to be 18 years old, have no active bankruptcies on their credit report and earn at least $4,000 per year.

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Credit Cards, Reviews

CreditStacks Mastercard Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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The CreditStacks Mastercard offers a unique opportunity for individuals with little or no U.S. credit history – such as recent college graduates or professionals relocating to the U.S. for employment – to be approved for a credit card.

That’s because instead of requiring a Social Security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) as most traditional credit cards do, the CreditStacks Mastercard allows applicants to apply using a valid passport or U.S. government-issued ID, a U.S. visa or a permanent resident “green” card (if applicable), as well as proof of income. The CreditStacks Mastercard also allows you to apply up to 60 days prior to starting your new job in the U.S.

We break down the pros and cons of the CreditStacks Mastercard, and show how it compares to the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, which is also designed to help individuals establish or rebuild credit.

CreditStacks Mastercard pros

No credit history required. With the CreditStacks Mastercard, you can apply without a Social Security number and with little or no U.S. credit history. Once you obtain your Social Security number, you must provide it within 60 days of account opening. At that point, CreditStacks will begin reporting your credit activity to the Equifax and TransUnion credit bureaus.

Note, if you have been living in the U.S. for more than one year, you will be required to provide a Social Security number when applying for the card. A credit check may also be performed.

Decent credit limit. The CreditStacks Mastercard offers a credit line of up to $5,000 – which is a generous amount for an unsecured credit card that doesn’t require credit history.

Your credit limit will be determined by the proprietary underwriting procedures of CreditStacks, which will consider your current employment situation and additional factors, instead of your credit score.

No annual fee. The CreditStacks Mastercard comes with a $0 annual fee.

Additional CreditStacks Mastercard benefits:

  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection(™). Access free identity theft resolution services, as well as Mastercard ID Theft Alerts(™).
  • Extended warranty. Receive an extended warranty of up to one year past a manufacturer’s warranty of 12 months or less.
  • Purchase protection. If you are dissatisfied with a purchase, you may be eligible to receive a full refund for up to 60 days from the date of purchase.
  • Price protection. Get reimbursed for the difference if you find a lower price for an eligible new item within 60 days of purchase using your CreditStacks Mastercard.
  • Purchase assurance. Cardholders receive coverage if an item is lost, damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase.
  • Travel protections. The CreditStacks Mastercard offers a MasterRental(R) collision damage waiver, lost or damaged luggage insurance, travel accident insurance, baggage delay insurance and trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance. Plus, receive access to exclusive experiences and offers through Priceless Cities and special travel offers through Mastercard’s online booking tool.
  • Cellphone insurance. If you use your CreditStacks Mastercard to pay your monthly cellphone bill, you can receive coverage against theft or damage of up to $600 per claim and up to $1,000 per 12-month period.

CreditStacks Mastercard cons

No rewards program. The CreditStacks Mastercard does not offer a sign-up bonus or rewards on the purchases you make using the credit card. That said, when trying to build or rebuild credit, it’s best to focus on paying your bill on time and in full (when possible) each month, rather than racking up rewards.

No intro APR on purchases. The CreditStacks Mastercard does not offer a 0% intro APR on purchases – meaning, if you don’t pay your balance in full each month, you will be subject to interest charges at a rate of 15.49% Variable APR.

That said, the card’s ongoing APR for purchases is reasonable – considering that some cards designed for individuals with little or no credit come with APRs upwards of 26.99% (variable).

Compare it to the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Similar to the CreditStacks Mastercard, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is designed for individuals with little or no credit. However, because it is a secured credit card, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® requires a refundable security deposit of $49, $99 or $200, for an initial credit line of $200.

If you deposit more money before your account opens, you may be eligible for a higher credit line, up to $1,000. Additionally, you can be given access to a higher credit line after demonstrating responsible card usage by making your first five monthly payments on time.

While the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® does not require U.S. citizenship to apply, it does require a valid SSN or ITIN, as well as a residential address in the U.S. or a U.S. military location.

See how the cards compare side-by-side in the table below.

CreditStacks Mastercard vs. Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

 CreditStacks MastercardCapital One® Secured Mastercard®
Annual fee$0$0
Rewards rateN/AN/A
Credit lineUp to $5,000$200-$1,000
Deposit requiredNone$49, $99 or $200
Regular purchase APR15.49% Variable26.99% (Variable)

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® also comes with a number of benefits, including auto rental collision damage waiver, travel accident insurance, extended warranty and 24-hour travel assistance services. As a Capital One member, you will also have access to virtual card numbers and account alerts from Eno, as well as access to your credit score and fraud monitoring through CreditWise.

But if you plan to carry a balance on your card, you’ll be better off with the CreditStacks Mastercard, since the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® comes with a substantially higher APR of 26.99% (Variable).

Read our: Capital One Secured Mastercard review

Which credit card is best for me?

If you haven’t yet established credit in the U.S., the CreditStacks Mastercard could be a good fit. In addition to not requiring a Social Security number for approval, the card helps build your credit by reporting to two major credit bureaus.

But if you’re in the market for a secured credit card and already have a SSN or ITIN, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a good alternative. While the card offers a much lower credit line than the CreditStacks Mastercard, it does offer a variety of useful benefits that aren’t common for a secured credit card.

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.