Helpful Favorable Review
Easy application and approval process. I got my loan quickly with minimal effort. No early pay off penalties. They reported to the credit bureaus promptly and accurately. Interest rate was a little high but lower than many competitors. Not too bad.
Helpful Critical Review
Due to unfortunate events in my life I wasn’t able to keep up with my payments. My account was sent to a collection agency and I have been making on-time payments for almost a year as I try to rebuild my credit. Despite my on time payments to their collection company, Upstart still reports a negative charge off/collection to the credit bureaus monthly, drastically affecting my credit score. This doesn’t seem fair to me!
Helpful Favorable Review
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
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.
When choosing between Upstart and LightStream, it is important to take a look at your credit score and credit history, as this will have the largest impact on whether or not you'd qualify for one company or the other. Also consider the following:
Upstart is a peer-to-peer lending company, connecting borrowers with private investors rather than large banks or financial institutions, while LightStream is a direct lender, underwriting and funding loans in-house.
Peer-to-peer lending can be a better option for borrowers with bad credit or minimal credit history because the company connects you with private investors rather than large banking institutions that generally only take credit into account when making lending decisions.
However, there is increased speed and efficiency with direct lenders since they do all loan processing, underwriting, and funding in-house. But, direct lenders generally have strict qualification requirements that may be difficult for low-credit borrowers to meet.
Upstart and LightStream differ in the rates, loan amounts, and loan terms that they offer:
|Upstart vs. LightStream|
|APR range||8.27%–35.99%||2.49%–19.99% (with AutoPay)|
|Minimum credit score||620||680|
|Loan terms||36–60 months||24–144 months|
Upstart and LightStream are intended for two different groups of consumers. If you have an excellent credit score (700+), LightStream would be the better choice for you, as you could get much lower rates and more favorable loan terms. But, if you have a lower credit score, you may not qualify for a LightStream loan and might find success with Upstart instead.
More than anything, it is important to consider your personal needs and finances when choosing a personal loan provider.
From the chart above, you can see that Upstart and LightStream's minimum credit score differs widely.
Yes, LightStream could be a great option for your personal loan needs, but it may be difficult to qualify for a loan even if you have a credit score of 680. Thus, you will likely need an excellent credit score of 700+ not only to qualify, but to receive the lowest interest rate available.
Upstart, on the other hand, has a much lower credit score requirement and takes other factors into account when determining your eligibility for a loan, including your income, education, and employment history.
Neither Upstart or LightStream have a prepayment penalty fee, allowing you to save on interest by paying your loan off early. LightStream doesn't even have an origination fee or late fee, while Upstart has both.
With an Upstart personal loan you will be charged an origination fee of 0 to 8 percent of your loan amount. And, if you make a late payment, you will be charged a 5 percent or $15 late fee (whichever is greater).
Upstart does not accept joint applications or cosigners, but LightStream does accept either.
Applying for a personal loan on a joint application or with a cosigner can increase your chances of approval if you have a low credit score, as well as get you a lower interest rate than you might get otherwise.
Even if you have low credit, there could be an opportunity for you to qualify for a LightStream personal loan if you apply with a creditworthy cosigner. However, you may find that it is difficult to find someone who is willing to cosign your loan, and it may not be worth the time and effort when you could apply and qualify for a loan elsewhere on your own merits.
An Upstart loan can be used for whatever purpose you choose.
However, a LightStream loan must be used for the stated purpose in your application. You can still use your loan for multiple purposes such as credit card debt consolidation, home improvements, medical expenses, etc, but you must use it for the purpose specified in your application. This can be limiting if you were hoping to use your loan for multiple purposes or to have some wiggle room if other expenses came up, but it can also ensure that you don't borrow more than you need, saving you more money on interest.
On Best Company, Upstart has upwards of 340 reviews, while LightStream only has upwards of 80 reviews. Thus, it is difficult to make a fair comparison since there is such a large disparity in total reviews for each company.
Upstart reviews are majority positive, with 86 percent of customers rewarding the company 4 or 5 stars. However, it is important to note that the majority of these favorable reviews are outdated and more recent reviews (2019, 2020, and 2021) are mostly negative. From more recent reviews, it appears that customer service has diminished with many customers complaining of lack of communication and poor overall customer support.
Similarly, the majority of recent LightStream reviews are 1-star. Customers outline bad experiences with customer service as well as difficulty being approved.