LightStream vs SoFi

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
#9 LightStream
5.0 Overall Score
2.4
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
(84)
SoFi logo verified_user
#3 SoFi
6.8 Overall Score
4.7
starstarstarstarstar_half
(120)

Overview

LightStream

SoFi

Loan Amounts
Loan Amounts
$5,000–$100,000
$5,000–$100,000
Loan Terms
Loan Terms
24–144 Months
24–84
Min Credit Score
Min Credit Score
680
680
Joint Applications
Joint Applications
Accepted
Co-Borrowers Accepted
Time In Business
Time In Business
7 Years
9 Years

Ratings

LightStream

SoFi

Overall Score
Overall Score
5.0 of 10
6.8 of 10
Review Score
Review Score
2.4
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
4.7
starstarstarstarstar_half
Value for Money
Value for Money
2.9
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
4.7
starstarstarstarstar_half
Quality of Product or Service
Quality of Product or Service
2.7
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
4.8
starstarstarstarstar_half
Customer Service
Customer Service
2.7
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
4.8
starstarstarstarstar_half
Company Trustworthiness
Company Trustworthiness
2.7
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
4.7
starstarstarstarstar_half
Likely to Recommend
Likely to Recommend
4.4 of 10
9.6 of 10

Reviews

LightStream

SoFi

Number of Reviews
Number of Reviews
84
120
Review Breakdown
Review Breakdown
2.4
starstarstar_halfstar_borderstar_border
5 star
32%
4 star
2%
3 star
0%
2 star
2%
1 star
63%
4.7
starstarstarstarstar_half
5 star
80%
4 star
16%
3 star
0%
2 star
3%
1 star
1%

Reviews for LightStream

Helpful Favorable Review

starstarstarstarstar

Deborah K.

September 25th, 2020 Patchogue, NY

I applied for a credit card consolidation loan and in 2 days the money was in my account. I was very pleased with the easy process and how quickly I was able to get the funds. I got a good interest rate and an affordable monthly payment and will be debt free in 48 months! I highly recommend LightStream!!


Helpful Critical Review

starstar_borderstar_borderstar_borderstar_border

Ann

September 25th, 2020 New Port Richey, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
Value for your money
starstar_borderstar_borderstar_borderstar_border
Quality of product or service
starstar_borderstar_borderstar_borderstar_border
Customer service
starstar_borderstar_borderstar_borderstar_border
Company trustworthiness
starstar_borderstar_borderstar_borderstar_border

Horrible!!!!! 0 stars! I have a beautiful credit and have plenty of money! Yet, they denied me twice for not having a sufficient credit score and finances!?? Not doing their jobs correctly and pissing people off in the process. My frustration will be written everywhere! If u are reading this... do ur self a favor and and save ur self the time and frustration... Find another company!


Reviews for SoFi

Helpful Favorable Review

starstarstarstarstar

Beth Farmer

September 25th, 2020 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS arrow_drop_down
Value for your money
starstarstarstarstar
Quality of product or service
starstarstarstarstar
Customer service
starstarstarstarstar
Company trustworthiness
starstarstarstarstar

We refinanced with SoFi. They took care of all of the transferring over. There were zero fees involved and they got us from a 6.8% interest fee to a 4.2% interest fee! They were extremely easy to work with and saved us tons of money!! We love SoFi


Helpful Critical Review

starstar_borderstar_borderstar_borderstar_border

David Farmer

September 25th, 2020 Holland, MI

I was sent a "pre-qualified" email, so I decided to apply and consolidate a few credit cards to get better control. I sent in everything they asked for in the application, but in addition, sent in a record of ALL of my bank deposits for the last two years to show them just how much money I put into my account each month. Anything to prove low risk. My credit score is very good. I have never in my life missed a payment or been late. I also explained that I have had a lot of medical bills the past few years due to severe cancer my wife has, and yet with all of those additional bills, I STILL DO NOT miss payments and I make enough money, shown by my monthly deposits and income. DENIED. I asked for an appeal to someone to actually "meet me by phone and speak with me" and was told it had already been reviewed and was declined. Personal care? Uh huh...right. You can assess looking at paperwork, or, you can do that AND speak to the person requesting a loan. You know, like the good ol' days when personal banking was actually...personal? So I risked a hard pull on my credit because they said I was pre-qualified, and even with more than enough proof I am little to no risk...declined. Be very choosy who you go to.


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.

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