How To Apply Online For Unsecured Personal Loans

Where do you get a loan for a motorcycle? A wedding? A vacation? A horse? New options in unsecured personal loans offer financing for almost anything, with far better rates than traditional credit cards.

Let’s face it: It’s not everyday you can get an online loan to buy a horse.

But if you go to the website for LightStream, and scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll see it right there: a link for horse loans. It’s right alongside other links for aircraft financing and season ticket loans. (Speaking as a long-suffering Cubs fan, I have to question the wisdom of that last category, at least in the Windy City.)

LightStream: Fast, easy personal loans

Bank loans are one thing, but the loans offered by LightStream, the private, online lending division of SunTrust Bank, represent a new phenomenon altogether. That’s because they belong to, what’s at this point, a small market niche: the unsecured low(ish) interest loan.

Julie Olian, a spokeswoman for LightStream, says the loans can range in size from $5,000 to $100,000. That’s a large range, especially considering that these unsecured loans don’t require you to put up collateral, such as a home or property, to get them.

So what do you need? A good credit score doesn’t hurt, but it’s not the primary thing LightStream looks at, it turns out. “Credit scores are one element in the mix, as FICO is a good aggregate risk predictor; but it’s not determinative,” Olian says.

LightStream looks at other factors for its loans, including a stable and sufficient income, the ability to easily make loan payments, and an ability to save evidenced by some or all of the following; liquid assets (stocks, bonds, bank deposits, etc.), cash down payments on real estate, retirement savings, and manageable revolving credit card debt.

LightStream stands out, at least from a categorical standpoint, because there just aren’t many other options to compete with them in the unsecured category.

Peer-to-peer lenders

On the one hand, you’ve got peer-to-peer lending sites, but the interest rates can be astronomical if you don’t fall into the very top credit categories.

At Lending Club, the rates can soar to over 30 percent APR. Another peer-to-peer site, Prosper, goes just as high. The application process can be lightning fast (especially if you’ve been pre-approved), but your individual credit situation will play a huge role in the APR you’re offered.

The interest rates with the Lightstream will typically be much lower—in the single digits and fluctuating depending on the category where you choose to borrow.

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