Refinancing your student loans is not a simple process, and things are often much more confusing than they have to be.
Earnest is a student loan consolidation and refinancing company that aims to change that. They have a merit-based approval process that looks at many indicators rather than traditional lenders. As a result, more borrowers have been able to refinance and consolidate their student loans to save money.
This Earnest student loan refinancing review will cover how the application and approval processes work, and if it’s the best fit for your needs.
Earnest student loan refinancing review
If you have a short credit history or a series of negative events on your credit report, refinancing a student loan can be tough. The current credit score system benefits those who are the most active with credit. But if you have never had a credit card or loan, you could have a bad score or no score at all – without ever having done anything wrong!Personalized interest rates with Earnest
Earnest takes into account other aspects of your personal finances – checking, savings, and investments – and includes those in the approval process. This makes Earnest loans different from other lenders and benefits you as a borrower.
Both personal and student loan-related products are available. For this review, we will focus on the student loan offering. But any borrower looking to consolidate credit cards with a personal loan should consider Earnest.
Earnest student loans work differently than most other loans throughout the application and signup process. This setup specifically benefits potential borrowers with a limited credit history. Even if you have never had a credit card, auto loan, or mortgage, Earnest will look at your other financial accounts. They will use that information to help approve you as a borrower.
Applicants are requires to connect the Earnest platform to their bank accounts when applying for a loan. The connection process works similarly to budgeting tools such as Mint and Personal Capital. It requires your username and password to download your account information.
Once Earnest approves you as a borrower, things get even better!
Earnest offers flexible repayment terms that you can customize before locking in your loan. Adjust the payoff term to choose your monthly payment. Instead of choosing a term and automatically receiving an interest rate and monthly payment amount, you’re in control. You can choose your monthly payment as part of the loan application process.
Be aware – Earnest currently does not serve customers in Nevada, South Dakota, Kentucky, Alabama, or Mississippi. If you are reading this Earnest review from those states, look into alternate lenders.
Using the Earnest online platform
Earnest offers the ability to get your rate in two minutes. To see if they can live up to the promise, let’s walk through and take a look at the application and signup process.
The application starts with a request for your basic information (name, email address, phone number, and residency status).
Then, you’ll answer questions about your education, student loan balance, and your current finances. Next, you’ll need to provide info about your income, total student loan balance, and balance of your checking, savings, and investments.
On the next screen, you’ll enter your address.Refinance with Earnest today
Finally, choose a password and enter your social security number to get your rate. It really is that easy.
The simplicity and speed with which you can create an account and get your rate blew me away. It looks like they live up to their two-minute promise!
Earnest interest rates and fees
Earnest bases its student loan interest rates on your personal financial information, your repayment term, and various market factors.
Current interest rates for fixed rate loans start at 3.25% and variable rates start at 2.57%. Fixed rate loans can charge as much as 6.32% interest while the current maximum variable rate is 5.87%.
As is common with student lenders, you can save .25% by enrolling in automatic payments.
With its variable payment platform, you can adjust the term of your loan to get the perfect monthly payment for your needs. If that results in an odd interest rate and a repayment term of seven years, four months, and nine days, that’s fine.
Loans are available for any length from five years to 20 years. Expect your interest rate to rise with a longer loan term.
Earnest eligibility requirements
Even with a short or nonexistent credit history, approval is possible. If you don’t have a long credit history, Earnest can still approve you for a student loan refinance based on other factors. A particularly negative history, however, can prevent you from approval.
Earnest looks at over 1,000 signals when approving borrowers for student loan consolidation or refinancing. Those factors do include your credit, but also other aspects of your finances.
By looking at your income, job history, and bank accounts, Earnest’s approval process is unique. Earnest is a great option for borrowers struggling to refinance or consolidate due to a short credit history.
Major factors considered by Earnest include:
- Employment status and salary (including average monthly income compared to average expenses).
- A trend to increase savings and investments over time.
- On-time payments and little to no credit card debt.
- No regular overdrafts or late charges.
- No recent bankruptcies or collections.
To refinance your student loans with Earnest, you must be at least 18 years old, and a United States citizen or permanent resident. Your debt must be from a Title IV accredited college or university. The debt must be for a completed degree or a degree estimated to complete the next semester.
If that sounds like you, Earnest might be the perfect fit for your needs, even with a low credit score.Earnest: Repayment on your terms
Earnest customer service
The company’s customer service ratings are generally quite good. Most people have a positive experience going through the online signup process. They can handle most of their needs online without any assistance from an Earnest employee.
However, not all users were as happy with their experience. Some users shared that they ran into bugs on the Earnest website. One customer shared that his tax forms were late to show up online two years in a row.
If you do need help, the best option is to send Earnest an email through the help section of the website. You can also call Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST..
More about Earnest
The Earnest company is in the heart of Silicon Valley in San Francisco, California. The company is focused on extending credit to individuals who are financially responsible, even if they don’t have a high credit score.
The company was founded by CEO Louis Beryl and COO Benjamin Hutchinson in 2013. It has received funding from major venture capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, Maveron, and Atlas Venture. The company has raised a total of $107 million through three funding rounds.
Earnest is located at 1455 Market St., 18th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103. The company offers a detailed help section in addition to customer support contact. You can start a live chat on the site or reach email support here. Chat hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.
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Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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|2.54% - 7.38%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
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|2.80% - 7.02%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.56% - 8.12%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.55% - 6.49%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.88% - 8.34%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|