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TIAA Bank Reviews: 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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TIAA Bank’s checking account option

Yield Pledge® Checking

Offers an attractive introductory APY rate, as well as a competitive standard APY that TIAA pledges will always be among the top 5% of rates offered for a checking account.
APYBalance to Earn APY
0.20%$0.01 - $9,999.99
0.20%$10,000 - $24,999.99
0.25%$25,000 - $49,999.99
0.30%$50,000 - $99,999.99
0.35%$100,000 - $10,000,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None, but the ATM’s owner may charge its own surcharge fees.
  • ATM fee refund: Up to $15 each month. Account holders with a minimum average daily balance of $5,000 or more will get unlimited ATM fee reimbursements.
  • Overdraft fee: There are two overdraft options. The first is a $30 fee that applies to all overdrafts except those created by TIAA Bank’s Visa debit card or ATM card. Limited to two per day per account. The second option is a line of credit.

TIAA Bank offers a competitive annual percentage yield (APY) and its Yield Pledge checking account comes with minimal fees. Also, the minimum opening deposit required isn’t too big to earn the bank’s APY. If you’d like to earn some interest, this account is a step up from the basic checking account offered by other banks. With this account, you get access to free bill pay, mobile banking and a free Visa debit card. Your first 20 checks are free.

As of January 31, 2020, there is an introductory APY rate of 1.01% on balances up to $250,000 that is offered to new client accounts for the first 12 months. Existing TIAA Bank customers will need to fund a new account with money from an external account in order to be eligible for the intro rate.

There are two overdraft options. The first is to link another checking, money market or savings account to your Yield Pledge checking account. If you overdraw your account, the bank will pull the extra amount to cover the overdraft from the linked account covers it. You still pay a $30 fee for each overdrawn item.

The second option is a line of credit, which is variable and based on the market prime rate plus a margin of 5.90%. This rate may change at any time, and will be adjusted in your account each month (if you use it). Also, any outstanding balance requires payment from a linked account.

TIAA Bank offers a Yield Pledge program: Your checking account will remain in the top 5% of other competitor accounts — the 10 biggest banks in the top 10 largest banking markets. This is to encourage you to keep banking with TIAA Bank even after the introductory APY expires.

How to get TIAA Bank’s Yield Pledge checking account

Opening a checking account can be done in as little as five minutes using TIAA Bank’s online application form. You’ll need to select “Yield Pledge Checking” under the “Basic Accounts” section. You’ll then be asked to fill in your personal details, including citizenship status, address and employment information. The bank will also ask you to create a security code as an extra layer of security when contacting its customer service.

Once you agree to the bank’s terms and review your information, you’ll need to fund your account by online transfer, mobile deposit or via mail. Alternatively, you can call customer service at 888-882-3837 or apply at a branch in person — although there are only a handful of branches and they’re all in Florida.

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How TIAA Bank’s checking account compares

TIAA’s checking account offers low fees and free features. The Yield Pledge account carries a very good APY that’s up there with the very best, as seen on our list of the top high-yield checking accounts. Unlike many of its competitors, TIAA Bank doesn’t charge ATM fees and even offers ATM fee reimbursements.

TIAA Bank’s certificate of deposit (CD) rates

Bump Rate CD

Offers the option to increase your APY once during your CD term.
TermAPY
3.5 years1.35%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 318 days of simple interest

The Bump Rate CD offers account holders the opportunity to take advantage of possible rate increases any time before maturity. TIAA Bank touts that customers can choose when to contact the bank for the rate increase (if, at all, during the 3.5-year term), but it cannot guarantee you’ll receive the best rate. The account has a maximum of $250,000, and it’s important to note that there is a limit of one Bump Rate CD per customer at a time.

To receive a rate increase, it’s up to you to monitor the TIAA Bank website for current rates. Once you decide you want to take advantage of the rate increase, you’ll need to call 888-882-3837 during regular business hours to do so. You can only have one Bump Rate CD at any time and request a rate increase once. There’s an option to transfer dividends to your TIAA Bank checking or money market account or keep it in the CD.

When your account matures, you have a 10-day grace period where you can either close the account, make additional deposits or renew for another term. Otherwise, it’ll automatically be renewed at the current APY as long as the bank continues to offer this product.

Like some of TIAA Bank’s other CD options, the Bump Rate CD is IRA-eligible, but you will need to call 855-291-1840 and open the account over the phone if you want to open it as an IRA.

How to get TIAA Bank’s Bump Rate CDs

You can open a Bump Rate CD by completing an application form. Once you select to open the Bump Rate CD, you’ll need to enter information, such as name, address, citizenship information and employment details. On the form is also an area to create a security code, which is meant for security purposes when you need to verify your identity if you ever need to contact customer service later on.

After confirming your entered information and agreeing to the terms, you’ll then fund your account either by mobile deposit, mailing a check, making a deposit into your account in a Florida branch, or via online transfer.

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Yield Pledge CD

Offers guaranteed rate adjustments so that you’re getting the top 5% of yields of CD accounts nationwide.
TermAPY
3 months0.50%
6 months0.90%
9 months1.10%
1 year1.30%
1.5 years1.30%
2 years1.25%
2.5 years1.15%
3 years1.35%
4 years1.55%
5 years1.60%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $5,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty, which depend on the original term of the CD, are:
    • 3 months: 22 days’ simple interest
    • 6 months: 45 days’ simple interest
    • 9 months: 68 days’ simple interest
    • 1 year: 91 days’ simple interest
    • 1.5 years: 136 days’ simple interest
    • 2 years: 182 days’ simple interest
    • 2.5 years: 228 days’ simple interest
    • 3 years: 273 days’ simple interest
    • 4 years: 365 days’ simple interest
    • 5 years: 456 days’ simple interest

With TIAA Bank’s Yield Pledge program, rates for your specific CD account will be in the top 5% of competitor CDs — from the 10 largest banks in the 10 biggest banking markets — whenever you open, renew or roll any CD into a new Yield Pledge CD account.

As in the other CD products, interest is compounded daily and credited monthly, either in your CD, TIAA Bank checking or money market account. You’ll get a 20-day notice before account maturity, then a 10-day grace period when you can make additional deposits, withdraw your cash or renew for another term. If you do nothing, your account will be automatically renewed.

Like some of TIAA Bank’s other CD options, the Yield Pledge CD is IRA-eligible, but you will need to call 855-291-1840 and open the account over the phone if you want to open it as an IRA.

How to get a TIAA Bank Yield Pledge CD

Complete an online application form in as little as five minutes to open this high-yield CD. Select the product and term you want and then enter your personal details, such as name, employment information and citizenship information. You’ll also need to create a security code to use when contacting the bank’s customer service.

After confirming your entered information and agreeing to the terms, you’ll then fund your account either by mobile deposit, mailing a check, making a deposit into your account in a Florida branch, or via online transfer.

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CDARS® Service CD

Helps you obtain FDIC insurance on multimillion-dollar CDs.
TermAPYMaximum Deposit Limit
3 months0.26%$10 million
6 months0.43%$10 million
1 year0.58%$12.5 million
2 years0.60%$2.5 million
3 years0.77%$1 million
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $10,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty, which depend on the original term of the CD, are
    • 3 months: 90 days’ simple interest
    • 6 months: 90 days’ simple interest
    • 1 year: 180 days’ simple interest
    • 2 years: 360 days’ simple interest
    • 3 years: 540 days’ simple interest
    • 5 years: 900 days’ simple interest

CDARs stands for Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service. This service helps institutions deposit their customers’ CD investments in multiple accounts at different banks in order to obtain FDIC insurance coverage for large deposits.

Most of us probably won’t be depositing millions of dollars into a CD. This option is designed for investors who need to obtain FDIC insurance on large deposits. The rates are comparable to the others on offer, but this account is best for those who have a large chunk of cash and want a conservative investment vehicle.

Interest earned is compounded daily and credited monthly, and it can either be deposited into your checking or savings account. You’ll get a 20-day notice before your account matures. This type of CD won’t renew, so you’ll need to make a decision before your account matures as to where the funds should go.

This account is not as straightforward to open as the other CD accounts, so you’ll want to make sure to read the next section on how to open one. This specific type of CD is not IRA-eligible.

How to get TIAA Bank’s CDARS service CDs

To open a CDARS Service CD, you’ll need to fill out an online application form. After selecting that you want to open a CDARS Service CD, you’ll need to enter your personal details, such as name, address and employment information. The form will also ask you to create a security code. You can also call a banking agent at 855-529-6748.

Once you confirm all details and agree to the disclosures, you’ll need to fund your account. You’ll need to either send a check, or make an internal account transfer or a wire transfer. There are deadlines you’ll need to meet, and each method has its own deadline.

Instead of the money being directly funded into a CDARS account, it’ll be held in a designated Yield Pledge money market account in your name until TIAA Bank officially opens the CDARS account. When that happens, the Yield Pledge money market account will be closed.

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How TIAA Bank’s CD rates compare

All of TIAA Bank’s CD products offer competitive rates and a wide range of terms compared to those at other banks. While some of the rates are slightly lower than the top-ranked options on our list of the best CD rates, TIAA Bank offers CDs with slightly lower minimum deposits. Considering that there are also CDs that can be FDIC-insured above $250,000, any of TIAA Bank’s CDs could be considered an attractive choice.

TIAA Bank’s money market account

Yield Pledge® Money Market

Minimal fees and a very attractive introductory APY for the first 12 months. After that, the Yield Pledge Money Market account pays a competitive APY.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.90%$0.01 - $9,999.99
1.01%$10,000 - $24,999.99
1.10%$25,000 - $49,999.99
1.25%$50,000 - $99,999.99
1.35%$100,000 - $249,999.99
1.35%$250,000 - $10 million
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None, but the ATM’s owner may charge its own surcharge fees.
  • ATM fee refund: Up to $15 each month. Account holders with a minimum average daily balance of $5,000 or more will get unlimited ATM fee reimbursements.
  • Overdraft fee: None if funds transferred from a TIAA Bank account.

The Yield Pledge money market account is a great option for those who are looking for a place to store their cash with some liquidity and a competitive rate. As of January 31, 2020 TIAA Bank offers a great 1.75% APY introductory rate for new client accounts with balances up to $250,000 for the first 12 months. After the first year, your APY depends on your balance, as seen in the chart above.

Like the other Yield Pledge accounts, the money market accounts offer the same guarantees in that the APY will give you a yield in the top 5% of competitor accounts. Even though there aren’t any ATM fees, there is a $10 excess transaction fee, Federal Reserve’s Regulation D mandates certain types of telephone and electronic withdrawals, including transfers from savings accounts up to 6 per statement cycle. If you continue to exceed the limit, your account may be converted to a checking account.

The Yield Pledge Money Market account is IRA-eligible, but you will need to call 855-291-1840 and open the account over the phone if you want to open it as an IRA.

How to get TIAA Bank’s money market account

To open a money market account, fill out an online application form on the bank’s website. You’ll need to indicate which account you want to open and enter your personal information, such as your name, address and employment information. There’s also a section to create a security code, meant to be an extra layer of security when verifying your identity whenever you need to contact customer service.

Once you complete the application, you can fund the account by mobile deposit, mailing a check, visiting a branch in person, or through an online transfer.

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How TIAA Bank’s money market account compares

The introductory rate is on par with the best offerings out there, including the low minimum balance amount. As for the ongoing APYs, they’re still decent, though not nearly as high as some of the competitors on our list of the best money market account rates. You’re also looking at higher minimum balance amounts to get higher APYs for TIAA Bank’s money market account. If you don’t intend on keeping a lot in the account but want competitive rates, you could look elsewhere.

Overall review of TIAA Bank’s banking products

TIAA Bank’s products offer attractive rates and require low minimum opening deposits, making them accessible to many customers. Most of its products do not have ATM or monthly maintenance fees, which can help account holders save some of their hard-earned cash.
While there are higher rates out there, not all offer the same perks as TIAA Bank does when it comes to ATM fees and refunds. If you intend on making a lot of ATM transactions, TIAA Bank’s banking products are a great choice. Even otherwise, its rates are worth sticking around for.

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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Reviewed By

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.

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.