LightStream vs SoFi

McCall Martin
McCall Martin | Senior Editor

Based solely on loan amounts and APR rates, it may appear that both LightStream and SoFi would be a great choice for financing a personal loan. However, based on customer reviews alone, SoFi is the superior choice, with customers describing an overall positive and hassle-free experience.

LightStream and SoFi are popular, widely known companies in the personal loan industry. Both companies offer loans with no prepayment or obligation fees from $5,000–$100,000 with lower APR rates than many other competing companies, displaying strong options for consolidating debt and lowering interest rates on other payments. It is important to note that because LightStream and Sofi offer high maximum loan amounts, a minimum credit score of 680 is required for both companies.

With both companies offering similar services and stipulations, there are some main differences that a consumer should consider when deciding to fund a personal loan through LightStream or SoFi:

  • Application processing timelines vary between both companies.
  • LightStream has strict guidelines on what a loan can be used for, while SoFi offers flexibility.
  • Both companies offer increased loan term lengths, but LightStream offers up to 144 months.
  • SoFi offers unemployment protection and payment due date changes.
  • SoFi customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive compared to LightStream.
LightStream logo
#29 LightStream
3.9 Overall Score
2.4
star star star_half star_border star_border
(107)
SoFi logo
#10 SoFi
6.2 Overall Score
4.6
star star star star star_half
(146)

Overview

LightStream

Minimum Loan Amount

$5,000

Maximum Loan Amount

$100,000

Loan Terms

Undisclosed

Minimum Credit Score

Undisclosed

Origination Fee Type

N/A

Co-Signers or Co-Borrowers Accepted

N/A

Time in Business

Undisclosed

SoFi

$5,000

$100,000

24–84 Months

N/A

N/A

N/A

13 Years

Ratings

LightStream

Overall Score
3.9 of 10
Review Score
2.4
star star star_half star_border star_border
Value for Money
3.1
star star star star_border star_border
Quality of Product or Service
3.0
star star star star_border star_border
Company Trustworthiness
3.0
star star star star_border star_border
Likely to Recommend
4.5 of 10

SoFi

6.2 of 10
4.6
star star star star star_half
4.4
star star star star star_half
4.5
star star star star star_half
4.4
star star star star star_half
8.6 of 10

Reviews

LightStream

Number of Reviews
107
Review Breakdown
2.4
star star star_half star_border star_border
1 star
64%
2 star
2%
3 star
1%
4 star
3%
5 star
31%

SoFi

146
4.6
star star star star star_half
1 star
4%
2 star
3%
3 star
1%
4 star
15%
5 star
77%

Reviews for LightStream

Helpful Favorable Review

star star star star_border star_border

steve seymour

July 27th, 2023

DETAILS

I had a $12,000 personal loan back in 2018. I thought they were excellent. I applied for a $6,000 for gutter guards on my home. I have good payment history of 40 years and a 789 credit. They denied me. I would recommend not using them. I’m not . Steve Seymour

Helpful Critical Review

star star_border star_border star_border star_border

CarolC

January 18th, 2023

DETAILS

LightStream has been lying to me since the day I started with them. I definitely wouldn't recommend this company to anyone. Try Sofi or one of the legitimate companies out there if you want a good rate and decent customer service.

Reviews for SoFi

Helpful Favorable Review

star star star star star

Abidoye Timilehin

January 23rd, 2024

This is my first loan from Sofi. The process is quick, easy and understandable. The people at Sofi are efficient and know what they are doing. These loans are allowing us to get out of debt quicker than expected due to the low interest rates and payment options provided by Sofi. Best of all, there is no origination or up front fee! And you even get a .25% off the rate if you sign up for autopay. We have no complaints at all. This company is amazing and wonderful.

Helpful Critical Review

star star_border star_border star_border star_border

Stanley Ryng

September 26th, 2023

DETAILS

These people STOLE my investments, saving and checking without reason. They refuse me access to my own money for 30+ days without an explanation. They are the worst choice you could make in terms of banking.

The Final Word

Application Process Timeline

LightStream offers same-day approval and funding if the consumer completes their application and meets other specific criteria by 2:30 p.m. Eastern time on any banking business day:

  • The applicant must review and electronically sign the loan agreement
  • Banking information and funding preferences must be submitted
  • The final verification process must be completed

SoFi, on the other hand, does not have as quick a process and can take up to a week to approve an application and provide funding. This is due to a comprehensive background check of each applicant, allowing SoFi to fund each applicant the best rates based on their circumstances.

Benefits Different Borrowers

While both offer debt consolidation plans, LightStream and SoFi differ in the types of consumers who will benefit from their services.

LightStream offers personal loans for various personal costs including, cars, kitchen and/or bath remodeling, swimming pools, medical expenses, and weddings. If a consumer chooses to finance through LightStream and signs a contract, they must use their loan on what they specified in their loan application. There is no flexibility in what funds are used for, which is not the case with SoFi.

SoFi offers more flexibility in what a consumer uses their loan for, and is also an excellent option for young professionals and students, as well as other consumers. SoFi provides student loans, student loan debt refinancing, personal loans, and home loans.

Loan Term Length

LightStream and SoFi differ from many companies in the personal loan industry, offering loan terms up to 60 months. SoFi’s loan terms range from 24–84 months, while LightStream ranges from 24–144 months.

Longer term loans mean lower monthly payments for the consumer. However, repayment term length is dependent on what the loan will be used for. No matter the term length of the loan, a consumer has the possibility to repay their loans before the term is up with both LightStream and SoFi.

It is important to note that neither company has prepayment penalties, and it is generally encouraged to pay off loans faster, if possible. Prepaying a loan will not hurt a consumer’s credit; however, completing the full term length could ultimately help a consumer’s credit score.

Circumstantial Flexibility 

SoFi offers unemployment protection as well as payment due date changes for qualifying customers, two services which are not available through LightStream.

SoFi’s unemployment protection is available to approved customers who, through no fault of their own, lose their job. This service suspends monthly payments for a time and provides job placement assistance. 

Additionally, SoFi allows payment due date changes to customers who have no outstanding payments. To change a due date, a customer must have made their first loan payment, and should also consider that their payment due date can only be changed once a year.

Customer Reviews

As far as positive customer reviews are concerned, SoFi has LightStream beat. The majority of SoFi reviews award it an average customer rating of 4.5/5 stars, while 60 percent of LightStream reviews are negative, awarding it 1 star.

SoFi customer reviews most often praise SoFi’s low rates, quick application approval, and great customer service. These contrast LightStream reviews, in which customers comment on poor customer service and an overall bad experience receiving a loan from LightStream.

Top Choice

SoFi Logo
SoFi

Other Featured Comparisons