Discover vs. LightStream: Which Personal Loan Is Right for You?

Banner image
Edited byMargarita Barresi
Edited byMargarita Barresi

Updated: October 23, 2023

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

Discover and LightStream are reputable lenders that offer personal loans. But the best lender for you will depend on your particular needs. Discover may be ideal if you need a smaller loan, whereas LightStream is best if you want to finance a major purchase.

MoneyGeek gathered pertinent information for this guide to help you compare Discover vs. LightStream and decide which option is most suitable.

Loading...
Loading...

Discover or LightStream: Overview

While Discover and LightStream only accept borrowers with good credit, the latter has a lower credit score requirement. Both have quick fund disbursement times, but LightStream has higher loan amount limits and lower APRs than Discover.

In this guide, MoneyGeek further differentiates the two lenders to help you choose the best option for you. We compared their loan amounts, APR ranges, repayment terms and minimum credit score requirements.

Discover

Loading...

LightStream

Loading...

APR Range

Lender
APR Range

Discover

5.99% to 24.99%

LightStream

4.49% to 20.49%

The annual percentage rate (APR) is the interest a borrower must pay annually on a personal loan. Discover charges an APR between 5.99% and 24.99%, whereas LightStream has APRs ranging from 4.49% to 20.49%. Between the two lenders, LightStream has a more favorable APR range.

Keep in mind that your credit profile determines the rate you will get. A lender will likely offer you a lower rate if you have excellent credit, and a lower APR means you pay less.

Your credit score isn’t the only factor affecting your rate. To determine your actual rate, personal loan lenders also consider your loan type, loan amount and loan term.

mglogo icon
MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

LightStream has APRs ranging from 4.49% to 20.49%, lower than the APR range Discover offers. This means LightStream personal loans with a low APR cost less over time in interest and associated fees.

However, APR isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing a personal loan lender. It’s also important to look at what each lender has to offer in terms of loan amounts and repayment terms.

Minimum Credit Score

Lender
Credit Score

Discover

720

LightStream

660

Although both lenders require good credit scores, Discover has a higher credit score requirement than LightStream. Essentially, borrowers with bad credit should look for personal loans elsewhere.

Your credit score shows how reliable you are at paying debts, including personal loans. Lenders take this factor into account when evaluating your personal loan application. Having a higher credit score — typically 670 and above — can help you secure favorable loan terms, such as a low APR.

You can keep your credit score in good shape by paying your bills on time and spacing out credit inquiries. Also, avoid closing old accounts or using more than 20% of your available credit. Other factors affecting your credit score include outstanding balances and types of credit accounts.

mglogo icon
MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

LightStream has a lower credit score requirement (660) than Discover (720). However, neither lender accepts applicants with bad credit or those with credit scores below 580.

Consider other factors besides minimum credit score requirements when choosing the best personal loan lender for your unique needs and situation. These include loan amounts, APR ranges and repayment terms.

Loan Amount Range

Lender
Loan Amount Range

Discover

$2,500 to $35,000

LightStream

$5,000 to $100,000

The loan amount range refers to the minimum and maximum amount you can borrow from a lender. Discover offers personal loans from $2,500 to $35,000, whereas LightStream personal loans range between $5,000 and $100,000. Thus, Discover is ideal for borrowers looking to finance minor expenses. On the other hand, LightStream is preferable for major purchases, like a new vehicle.

Before shopping around for a personal loan, assess how much you need to borrow. You can then narrow your options to lenders offering good loan amount ranges for your particular situation.

It’s worth noting, however, that the loan amount a lender will offer you depends on several factors, such as your creditworthiness, loan term and other lender-specific criteria.

mglogo icon
MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

LightStream offers a broader loan amount range from $5,000 to $100,000. However, Discover may be preferable if you need a personal loan between $2,500 and $35,000. Knowing how much you need to borrow before applying is critical.

Repayment Terms

Lender
Repayment Terms

Discover

36 to 84 months

LightStream

24 to 84 months

A personal loan’s repayment term dictates the amount of time you have to pay off the loan. Between Discover and LightStream, the latter has more flexible repayment terms — 36 to 84 months vs. 24 to 84 months. Your loan’s actual repayment term will depend on several factors, such as your credit score and debt-to-income ratio.

Although a longer repayment term results in a lower monthly payment, you’ll pay more interest over the life of your personal loan. Meanwhile, a shorter repayment term means you’ll have a larger monthly payment but spend less on interest. Knowing this is important when signing a loan agreement.

mglogo icon
MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

LightStream personal loans can be repaid within 24 to 84 months, indicating that this lender offers more flexible repayment terms than Discover. Keep in mind that a shorter repayment term means lower interest rates but higher monthly payments. It’s best to assess your repayment capabilities before getting a personal loan.

Aside from repayment terms, look into other factors when selecting the best personal loan lender for your unique situation.

Time to Receive Funds

Lender
Time to Receive Funds

Discover

Next day

LightStream

Same day

Both Discover and LightStream are fast-funding options for borrowers in urgent need of a personal loan. However, LightStream is slightly faster as it disburses funds on the same day you sign your loan agreement. On the other hand, Discover releases funds on the next business day.

Applying online is your best option if you want to receive your money as soon as possible. Ensure your loan application is accurate and free of typos. Otherwise, your lender may take additional time to approve your application and release the funds.

Since there’s no significant difference between Discover and LightStream’s loan disbursement times, you’ll need to consider other factors, such as loan amounts and APR ranges, when choosing the best lender for you.

mglogo icon
MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

When it comes to funding disbursement, LightStream has a slight advantage over Discover because it offers same-day funding. Immediate funding is ideal for borrowers who need emergency funds. However, it’s best to consider additional factors when deciding which personal loan lender is the right option for your particular needs and situation.

Final Thoughts

Deciding between Discover and LightStream will depend on your needs. LightStream offers higher loan amounts and more flexible repayment terms than Discover. And although both lenders require good credit and have similar fund disbursement times, LightStream has a lower credit score requirement and quicker funding time.

However, Discover may be the best option if you need a personal loan of less than $5,000. It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you decide you don’t want your Discover personal loan, you can return it within 30 days. The lender won’t charge any interest, and it will cancel your loan.

Ultimately, the best personal loan lender for you will depend on your particular needs. Assess your current situation and determine whether you need a lender that offers smaller loans or shorter repayment terms.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Loan Lenders

It’s important to have all the necessary information before choosing between Discover and LightStream. To help you, MoneyGeek answered some frequently asked questions about personal loans.

What documents do I need to provide to personal loan lenders?
How do I know what my credit score is?
Do lenders conduct a hard inquiry?
Are interest rates on personal loans the same for all lenders?
Do lenders charge fees for personal loans?
What are the advantages of applying for a personal loan online?
Is prepayment allowed on personal loans?
sources
Shield Insurance

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the rates mentioned may have changed. We recommend visiting the lender's website for the most up-to-date information available.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, lender or other entity. Learn more about our editorial policies and expert editorial team.