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First Citizens Bank Review: Checking, Savings, CD and Money Market 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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First Citizens Bank’s checking account options

Free Checking

It’s a noninterest-bearing account, but you don’t need to pay any monthly fees.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs (exceptions apply)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $36 per item

The Free Checking account is a simple one that requires a low minimum opening deposit and has no monthly maintenance fees. You can link it to a savings account or line of credit for overdraft. The account also comes with a free Visa debit card, bill pay, online and mobile banking. To make sure you’re eligible for this account, you need to elect to receive e-statements within 60 days of opening the account. Otherwise, it’ll automatically be converted to a Select Checking account.

Although there are no ATM refunds, you can opt to receive a Together Card. This is a prepaid reloadable Visa debit card in which you can track its usage and balance via online or mobile banking. You’ll need to pay $3 a month. In return, you’ll receive up to five free withdrawals a month at non-First Citizens Bank ATMs.

How to get the Free Checking account

You can open the Free Checking account by filling out an online form. After indicating your state of residence, you’ll need to provide information such as your address, Social Security number and driver’s license. Then you’ll provide information to fund your account such as a debit card or another First Citizens Bank account.

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Select Checking

It’s not that much different from the Free Checking account, except you can get paper statements.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs (exceptions apply)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $36 per item

The only noticeable difference between the Select Checking and Free Checking accounts is that you have the option to receive paper statements with this one. But there is a $12 monthly maintenance fee that you can get waived if you have $250 or more in monthly direct deposits or you maintain an average daily balance of at least $1,500.

Other features of this account include free mobile and online banking, bill pay and a Visa debit card. You can also opt to receive a Together Card — a reloadable prepaid debit card — for $3 a month, which gives you up to five free withdrawals from an out-of-network ATM.

How to get the Select Checking account

You can open an account by filling out an application on First Citizens Bank’s website. You’ll first need to indicate your state of residence, then you’ll provide personal details such as your address, driver’s license and Social Security number. Then you can fund the account.

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Premier Checking

You get a free Together Card with this account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $18 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs (up to five waived per month)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $36 per item

The Premier Checking account is an interest-bearing account, but the rate is not available on First Citizens Bank’s website, so you’ll need to check with the bank for its current rates.

But there are some perks not offered with the noninterest-bearing accounts: A free Together Card account, cashier’s and traveler’s checks, money orders and better rates for select CDs and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

To waive the $18 monthly maintenance fee, you’ll need to either:

  • Make at least $4,000 in direct deposits each month
  • Have a minimum of $5,000 in combined daily balances across your First Citizens Bank deposit and investment accounts
  • Have a HELOC with at least $25,000
  • Have a First Citizens Bank consumer loan that originated at more than $10,000

How to get the Premier Checking account

You can open an account by filling out an online application. You’ll be asked to provide information such as your state of residence, address, Social Security number and driver’s license. Afterward, you’ll fund your account.

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Prestige Checking

This account offers a few more benefits than Premier Checking.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $36 per item

The Prestige Checking account offers interest, but you’ll have to check with First Citizens Bank for its current rates because it does not publish them on its website. But the account does come with some free stuff for account holders.

You don’t pay any fees for using out-of-network ATMs, though other financial institutions may have a surcharge. You’ll also get free cashier’s and traveler’s checks, money orders, a 3-inch by 5-inch safe deposit box and unlimited specialty checks. There are no overdraft protection transfer fees.

You also can take part in the Your Family First program, which provides a free Together Card account — a prepaid debit card. As well, you may qualify for preferred rates on select CDs and HELOCs.

There are a few ways you can get the $25 monthly maintenance fee waived:

  • Have at least $100,000 in a HELOC
  • Have an original loan amount of at least $25,000 on a consumer loan
  • Make at least $6,500 in direct deposits
  • Have a minimum of $25,000 in combined daily balances across your deposit or investments accounts

How to get the Prestige Checking account

You can head to First Citizens Bank’s online form to open an account. First, choose your state of residence, then enter personal information such as your name, address and Social Security number. Afterward, indicate how you’ll be funding your account.

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Premier Executive Checking

You can get way more benefits.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $50 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee refund: Unlimited
  • Overdraft fee: $36 per item

The Premier Executive Checking account offers quite a few benefits, so it’s best for those who intend to keep a lot of cash with First Citizens Bank. The monthly maintenance fee seems a bit steep, but you can get it waived if you can maintain a minimum of $100,000 across your deposit or investment accounts.

The account earns interest on a tiered structure. The rates are not listed on First Citizens Bank’s website, so check with the bank for its latest rates.

With this account you get perks such as a free Premier Executive Visa debit card (which gives you higher ATM and purchase limits), free Together Card accounts, unlimited ATM usage and refunds, a free 3-inch by 5-inch safe deposit box, cashier’s and traveler’s checks, money orders, free paper checks and no overdraft protection transfer fees.

How to get the Premier Executive Checking account

You’ll need to head to a branch or call customer service at 888-323-4732 to apply for this account.

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How First Citizens Bank’s checking accounts compare

There may be a benefit to having a prepaid debit card depending on your needs. The fees are quite high compared to some of the best checking accounts out there. Many of First Citizens Bank’s competitors don’t charge any fees and offer benefits such as free checks, ATM refunds and no overdraft fees.

Here’s what we’re getting at: You may be better off opening an account elsewhere.

First Citizens Bank’s savings account options

Regular Savings

An option if you’re looking for a simple, no-frills account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

The Regular Savings account is best for those who want a simple, no-frills savings account. You don’t need a high minimum opening deposit to get this account. You do get a free Visa debit or ATM card, text alerts, online and mobile banking.

The account does offer interest, but First Citizens Bank does not put its rates on its website. You’ll need to check with the bank for its current rates.

Yes, there’s a $5 monthly maintenance fee, but you can get that waived if you maintain a $300 minimum daily balance. If you’re opening this account for a minor, then the fee is automatically waived.

Here’s where this account can get expensive: You may be required to pay $3 for each withdrawal or transfer you make over two each month — that is, if you can’t maintain a $2,500 minimum daily balance. Because of Regulation D, you’re still allowed up to six certain withdrawals a month, or else you’ll face a $15 excess withdrawal fee regardless of your account balance.

How to get the Regular Savings account

You can call customer service at 888-323-4732 or head to a branch to open an account. You’ll be asked to provide personal details such as your full name, address, Social Security number and driver’s license.

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E.savings

You can open this account online, although you may not be able to waive as many fees as with the Regular Savings account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

It’s great you have the option to open this account online and that there are no monthly maintenance fees, but it can come with a cost.

First, you can get an ATM card to make deposits only, unless you link it to a checking account. Secondly, there isn’t an option to waive the withdrawal or transfer fee — you’ll need to pay $3 for each one once you exceed two per month. If you go over six withdrawals a month because of Regulation D, you’re subject to a $15 excess transaction fee from the bank — no matter your deposit amount.

Some of the positives do include a lower opening deposit amount, online banking and e-statements.

Contact the bank for its latest rates with the e.savings account.

How to get the e.savings account

You can fill out an online form to open the e.savings account. First, select your state of residence, then enter in details such as your name, address and Social Security number. Then you’ll need to indicate how you’ll fund the account.

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How First Citizens Bank’s savings accounts compare

We don’t believe much stands out about these accounts when looking at what competitors are offering. We can’t compare First Citizens Bank’s rates against our list of the best savings account offerings because the bank doesn’t publish these rates online. Many of its competitors don’t require a minimum deposit amount and only charge an excess transaction fee instead of extra ones such as this bank does.

First Citizens Bank’s CD rates

Fixed-rate CDs

The promo rates aren’t half-bad.
TermAPY
12 months0.02%
15 months (promo)2.53%
24 months0.05%
36 months0.05%
39 months (promo)3.10%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500 ($5,000 for Premier or Prestige checking account holders or if you’re opening a CD with a promo rate)
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500 ($5,000 for promo rates)
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on the length of the term:
    • 12 months: 3 months’ interest
    • More than 12 months: 6 months’ interest

The fixed-rate CDs are best for those who want a higher APY that what some of First Citizens Bank’s other accounts offer. There may be more terms available and rate bonuses for Premier or Prestige checking account holders that aren’t listed on the site. But it’s best to call the bank to find out if it offers any other terms. As for its promo rates, you’ll only be able to qualify for them if you deposit new money, which First Citizens Bank defines as money not on deposit with its bank.

Any interest you earn is compounded daily and credited either monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually. If you qualify for the bonus rates for Premier and Prestige checking account holders, you will earn that rate as long as you maintain a $5,000 minimum balance. If for some reason it falls below that, you’ll earn the rate for a regular CD. There may not be a massive difference between the bonus and regular rates for the same term, so it doesn’t hurt to find out with the bank.

Upon maturity, your account will automatically renew unless you make changes within the 10-day grace period.

How to get First Citizens Bank’s CDs

First Citizens Bank requires you to either head to a branch or call customer service at 888-323-4732 to open an account. You may be asked to provide documents such as your Social Security number and driver’s license.

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How First Citizens Bank’s CD rates compare

You may want to consider these CDs as some of the promo rates have comparable rates to other competitors — many also don’t require a minimum deposit unlike the ones at First Citizens Bank. We can’t say for certain what the rates for other terms are. It’s not a bad idea to check our list of the best CD rates to see your options.

First Citizens Bank’s money market account option

Money Market Savings

This account could get expensive if you don’t maintain the daily balance amount.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$0.01
0.10%$50,000
0.15%$100,000
0.20%$500,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10, and 30 cents for each PIN-based transaction (these can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

Yes, the money market account offers an APY, but it’s low. Other benefits of this account include a free Visa debit card, online and mobile banking. You are limited to six withdrawals per month, except for ones you make at a First Citizens Bank ATM or at a branch. If you go over that amount, you’ll be facing a $15 excess transaction fee for each one beyond six.

This account can get pricey: If you don’t keep a minimum balance amount, you’ll not only face a monthly maintenance fee, but you’ll need to pay 30 cents for each PIN-based transaction. To waive these fees, you need to keep a daily collected balance of at least $1,000.

How to get the Money Market Savings account

To open a Money Market Savings account, head to a branch or call customer service at 888-323-4732. Documents you may need to bring include your driver’s license and Social Security number card.

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How First Citizens Bank’s money market account compares

Sure, there is no minimum balance requirement to earn the lowest advertised APY, but the rates are still low compared to the ones found on our list of the best money market rates. Most of these competitors also offer low minimum opening deposit amounts and no monthly maintenance fees.

Overall review of First Citizens Bank’s banking products

The rates for almost all the personal deposit accounts that are advertised are pretty abysmal when you look at what else is out there. First Citizens Bank doesn’t seem that transparent about its rates — you need to call to find out what they are — and there are a bunch of fees that can add up real fast. If you want to maximize your savings, you may have better luck looking elsewhere.

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.

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Reviews

BrioDirect High-Yield Savings and CDs 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.

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BrioDirect is an online brand of Sterling National Bank, a brick-and-mortar bank based out of New York. By being online-only, BrioDirect is able to reduce its costs and potentially offer better deals for its customers. BrioDirect does not offer all the Sterling bank account types though, and only has two products: a high-yield savings account and CDs. Both accounts pay out respectable interest rates — especially compared with the returns at large national banks.

Our BrioDirect bank review covers the product details, along with the pros and cons, so you can decide if BrioDirect is the right place for your money.

BrioDirect High-Yield Savings account

APY

Minimum opening deposit

Monthly fee

1.25%$25None

Between a competitive interest rate, a low opening deposit requirement and minimal fees, the BrioDirect savings account is an excellent choice. However, it’s not the most accessible account, as it doesn’t come with a debit card and you can only take out money through bank transfers.

Rates

The Brio Direct savings account pays an excellent interest rate, competitive with the best online savings accounts on the market today. This high rate applies to all balances, large and small. You won’t earn more by depositing more but the upside is that even small accounts can earn a high rate. The only requirement is that you need to keep a balance of at least $25 in your account to earn interest.

Fees and minimums

The minimum opening deposit requirement for a Brio Direct high yield savings account is just $25. This account does not charge a monthly maintenance fee. If your balance falls below $25, you stop earning interest but there is no charge.

If you overdraft the account, BrioDirect charges $35 per overdraft/insufficient funds transaction. Since this is a savings account, you are limited to six withdrawals per statement cycle under the rules of Federal Regulation D. If you make more than six transactions, you will be charged $10 per excess transaction.

Transfers and limits

To deposit money into a BrioDirect Savings account, you can set up an ACH transfer from another bank account, send a check or make a wire transfer. Once your account is open, you can withdraw funds to another bank account by using the Sterling National Bank online banking portal or by calling the bank’s customer service hotline.

Since this is a savings account, you will face a $10 charge per excess transaction beyond the six withdrawals allowed per statement cycle mentioned above.

FDIC insurance

Considering BrioDirect is part of Sterling National Bank, you may be wondering whether Sterling Bank is FDIC-insured and if that applies to BrioDirect. The answer is yes, accounts at both organizations are insured by the FDIC to protect your deposits.

One point to keep in mind is that the FDIC maximum insurance limit applies to your combined account balances from both organizations. Now, since the FDIC limit is $250,000 per individual at an institution, this won’t be a problem unless you plan on having a six-figure balance. But if you do, make sure that your account balance combined at both organizations does not go over the FDIC limit.

Account accessibility

BrioDirect’s saving account offers online access through its website and mobile app. With these tools, you can check your balance and transfer funds to other accounts, like to a Sterling Bank savings account. However, Brio Direct Bank does not offer a debit card for ATM access. If you want to make a cash withdrawal, you’ll need to transfer money to another account first.

You also cannot service your account in person at a Sterling National Bank branch. For help, you need to either handle things online or by calling the customer service line.

BrioDirect High-Yield CDs

BrioDirect has a solid variety of short- and long-term CDs. The Brio CD rates are mostly competitive, especially compared with those at national banks, but they don’t quite match the very best online offers.

Rates and terms

Term

APY

30 day0.05%
3 month1.00%
5 month1.15%
9 month0.80%
12 month1.00%
18 month1.00%
24 month1.00%
30 month1.00%
36 month1.00%
48 month1.00%
60 month1.00%

The BrioDirect CDs come in terms ranging as short as 30 days to as long as five years. They are all traditional, fixed-rate CDs. They do not offer specialty products, like a bump-up CD that lets you increase the interest rate partway through the term.

The Brio Bank CD rates are mostly decent, except for their 30-day term, which is very low. However, while the Brio CD rates are respectable, you could potentially find even better rates with some of the best online CDs on the market today.

Minimum opening deposit

You must deposit at least $500 to open one of the BrioDirect CDs. It’s the same minimum opening deposit for any of the CD terms. If you make an early withdrawal and your balance falls below $500 for more than 20 days, the bank could close your account.

Early withdrawal penalties

You can withdraw your interest out of a BrioDirect CD before the end of the term without owing a penalty, though it will reduce your total earnings below the quoted APY. If you try to withdraw any of your deposit before your CD matures, BrioDirect will charge an early withdrawal penalty. The penalty depends on your CD term:

CD term

Penalty

Terms of 30 days or less30 days’ interest
Terms of 12 months or less90 days’ interest
Terms of 18 months or more but less than 60 months9 months’ interest
Terms of 60 months or more12 months’ interest

BrioDirect will charge the interest penalty even if it’s more than what you’ve earned. In other words, the bank could deduct the penalty from your initial deposit.

FDIC insurance

The BrioDirect CDs are also covered by FDIC insurance. However, since BrioDirect is part of Sterling National Bank, the limit applies to your deposit accounts at both institutions. FDIC insurance goes up to $250,000 per individual per bank. So long as your total balance in CDs and other deposit accounts at both organizations is below $250,000, you’re fully covered by FDIC insurance.

BrioDirect pros and cons

Pros

  • Competitive interest rates: The Brio Direct high yield savings rate is one of the highest on the market today, and is competitive even with the best online accounts. While the bank’s CD rates aren’t quite as high, they are still respectable for most terms.
  • Low deposit requirements: It only takes $25 to open a BrioDirect Savings account and $500 to open a CD, which is lower than the typical large lender. The bank’s accounts can be a good choice for customers with smaller balances.
  • Minimal fees on the savings account: The BrioDirect savings account does not charge a monthly maintenance fee. If your balance falls below $25, all that happens is you stop earning interest.

Cons

  • Lack of ATM access: The BrioDirect savings account does not come with a debit card. To withdraw cash, you’ll have to transfer funds to another account first, so your money is not immediately accessible.
  • Costly CD early withdrawal penalties: All the BrioDirect CDs charge early withdrawal penalties and they can be fairly steep, up to a full year of interest. BrioDirect does not let you withdraw any of your deposit without charging the penalty so make sure you can commit to the full term before signing on.
  • No in-person customer support: Since BrioDirect is an online bank, you can only get support through the website or over the phone. Even though BrioDirect is part of Sterling National Bank, you can’t visit a branch for in-person support.

How to open a BrioDirect Bank account

To open a BrioDirect Bank account, you apply through the bank’s website. You’ll need to provide your name, contact information, Social Security number and a form of ID like your passport, driver’s license or State ID. Since this is an online account, you can apply from anywhere in the United States.

You’ll need to make your opening deposit to complete the process of opening your account. BrioDirect suggests that you make the initial deposit by ACH transfer from an existing checking or savings account, but you can also deposit funds through wire transfer or by check. The bank’s website states it should only take a few minutes. Then, BrioDirect reviews the information to finish setting up your account.

Who is BrioDirect best for?

If you are comfortable with an online-only bank, BrioDirect could be an excellent choice. The bank’s high yield savings account is particularly impressive since there’s no monthly fee and the interest rate is competitive with nearly any account out there.

BrioDirect could also be a good fit for existing Sterling National Bank customers as they could manage both accounts through the same organization. If you’re on the fence about being a joint customer, this Sterling National Bank review can explain what the bank offers along with BrioDirect.

On the other hand, BrioDirect is not suitable for someone who needs fast and regular access to their money. Its savings account does not come with a debit card so to take money out, you need to make a transfer to another bank account, which takes time.

BrioDirect is also not a top choice for CDs. While its offers are decent, someone researching online could likely find a better offer. Finally, as an online-only bank, BrioDirect is not a good choice for someone who wants face-to-face customer service.

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.

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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.

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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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