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

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Edited byAshley Jacobs
Edited byAshley Jacobs

Updated: July 25, 2023

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Navy Federal offers loans for various purposes, including personal expenses, home improvement, debt consolidation and more. However, since it’s a credit union, its loans are limited to its members. On the other hand, LightStream is the online lending arm of Truist Bank. The lender offers auto loans, debt consolidation loans, refinancing and more.

Deciding between these lenders can be confusing. To help you, MoneyGeek analyzed the essential details of Navy Federal and LightStream using the most up-to-date information. Our guide shares important information on both lenders so that you can decide which one is the best fit for your needs.

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Navy Federal or LightStream: Overview

MoneyGeek compared Navy Federal and LightStream in terms of their APR ranges, credit score requirements, loan amounts, repayment terms and funds disbursement time. Our research can help you determine the best option for your funding needs.

We found Navy Federal to be more flexible and convenient for borrowers as it doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement and offers flexible loan repayment terms. It also has a lower APR than LightStream. However, LightStream offers a high maximum loan amount, which makes it easy to fund large purchases or any emergency need.

Navy Federal

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LightStream

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APR Range

Lender
APR Range

Navy Federal

7.49% to 18%

LightStream

4.49% to 20.49%

Navy Federal charges an APR ranging from 7.49% to 18% for its loans, while LightStream's APR ranges from 4.49% to 20.49%. This shows that LightStream charges a higher APR than Navy Federal.

The annual percentage rate shows how much you will have to pay for a loan. APR includes various fees and costs, including the interest rate, origination fees, discounts and any other fees. The lenders determine your APR after analyzing your credit score and assessing if you will be able to repay the loan easily. Besides these factors, lenders also consider your loan type to determine your rate.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

MoneyGeek compared the APRs of both lenders and found Navy Federal to be the most suitable option for a borrower who is looking to qualify for a lower rate. The lender charges 7.49% to 18% APR for its loans.

A lower APR means you pay less interest on a loan. It also results in lower monthly payments, which makes it essential to consider the APR of a lender before finalizing it.

However, it should not be the only factor you should analyze before making the final decision.

Minimum Credit Score

Lender
Credit Score

Navy Federal

None

LightStream

660

The Navy Federal vs. LightStream comparison shows that LightStream requires borrowers to have a good credit history, with a credit score of 660. However, Navy Federal doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement for its loans.

A borrower’s credit score helps lenders understand if they will be able to repay the loan easily. It shows your creditworthiness represented by a numerical value. Borrowers with good credit scores might be able to get faster approvals and save money by qualifying for a lower interest rate.

Essential factors like your loan payment history, previous debt, length of credit history and other details have an impact on your credit score. You can improve your credit score by making loan payments on time.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

Navy Federal is a better option than LightStream when it comes to credit score requirements. However, it’s essential to understand that Navy Federal is a credit union, which means that although it doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement, the borrowers must be its member to qualify for a loan.

Getting a loan with a bad credit score can result in a higher interest rate, which can increase your monthly payments and the overall cost of the loan. However, it would be best to consider various other factors besides credit score requirements before finalizing a lender.

Loan Amount Range

Lender
Loan Amount Range

Navy Federal

$250 to $50,000

LightStream

$5,000 to $100,000

With Navy Federal, borrowers can get a minimum loan of $250 and a maximum loan of $50,000. On the other hand, LightStream offers a minimum loan of $5,000 and a maximum loan of $100,000.

A lender’s loan amount dictates how much money it lets you borrow. You should always opt for a lender that allows you to borrow sufficient money for your financial needs. To choose the ideal lender, you must first know how much money you need.

However, it’s not guaranteed that you will get the desired loan amount because lenders also consider factors like your credit score, loan purpose, repayment terms and other details to determine how much they will let you borrow.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

Based on our analysis, LightStream offers a higher maximum and minimum loan amount than Navy Federal, as it lets you borrow between $5,000 and $100,000. With a higher maximum loan amount, it appears to be the better option.

However, the best lender for your situation will depend on your financial needs, so it’s essential to know precisely how much money you will need. For instance, if you need to fund a significant expense, LightStream’s loan will suit you best. However, if you want a loan to cover a minor expense, you can benefit from Navy Federal’s loans.

Besides loan amounts, it’s best to consider various other factors before applying for a loan with a lender.

Repayment Terms

Lender
Repayment Terms

Navy Federal

12 to 180 months

LightStream

24 to 84 months

Compared with LightStream’s loan repayment terms, Navy Federal stands out as it offers borrowers a flexible repayment term ranging from 12 months to 180 months.

A repayment term tells you how long it will take to repay the loan to the lender. Lenders usually offer a repayment term of 12 to 24 months for short-term loans. However, the borrower can repay long-term loans for up to 84 months with some lenders.

Many factors affect your loan’s repayment term. These factors include your credit score, monthly income, debt-to-income ratio and other essential details. It’s best to analyze your financial situation first to see which repayment term will suit you.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

Since Navy Federal allows borrowers to repay the loan between 12 months to 180 months, it has a more flexible repayment term than LightStream. However, the lender doesn’t offer a longer repayment term for every loan, which makes it essential to understand your financial situation and the purpose of taking out a loan before applying.

Although borrowers can opt for a loan with a short repayment term, it will increase their monthly payments. That’s why you should be absolutely sure that you can afford the loan before choosing its repayment term.

Time to Receive Funds

Lender
Time to Receive Funds

Navy Federal

Next day

LightStream

Same day

When you apply for a LightStream personal loan, you might be able to receive the funds on the same day. If it is a Navy Federal loan, you might get it on the next day.

Many factors can affect how long your lender takes to disburse loan funds. For instance, lenders will approve and release the funds much faster if you apply online. Other factors like the type of loan and processing fee payment may also affect the disbursement time. The best way to get fast approvals is to complete the application carefully and attach relevant documents.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

LightStream provides same-day loan funding, whereas Navy Federal takes one business day to release the funds. If you need a loan to fund an emergency expense or an immediate need, LightStream is an excellent option for you.

However, the funding disbursement time shouldn't be the only factor in your mind when choosing a lender.

Final Thoughts

MoneyGeek’s analysis shows Navy Federal outshines LightStream in various categories, including APR range, repayment terms and credit score requirements. On the other hand, LightStream offers a higher maximum loan amount and same-day funding.

Choosing one lender over the other might seem challenging. However, it’s essential to know that the best lender for you will depend on the purpose of getting a loan. Before you finalize a lender, you should analyze your financial needs and situation.

Navy Federal is a credit union that only offers loans to its members with a military background. Thus, if you have such a background and want a loan with a low APR and flexible repayment terms, this lender will be the best fit for your needs.

On the other hand, LightStream will suit borrowers looking for a loan to fund a significant expense or who want funds to cover an emergency or immediate need.

Keep in mind these recommendations are based on a general borrower profile. Do your own due diligence to find the ideal lender for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Loan Lenders

The following frequently asked questions will clear up any confusion about personal loan lenders and their requirements, helping you choose the best lender based on your needs.

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.