LendKey Student Loan Refinancing Review: Better Interest Rates With Community Lenders

LendKey Review

Are you looking to refinance your student loans? LendKey has the solution you’re looking for. Having partnered with hundreds of community banks and credit unions, LendKey brings you competitive refinancing offers and attentive customer service.

Before choosing a refinancing lender, check with LendKey to compare the best rates. This full LendKey review will show you how to refinance your student loans with LendKey, step by step.

LendKey review: just the essentials

LendKey is on a mission to help borrowers lower their monthly payments and interest rates by refinancing their student loans. They believe community banks and credit unions offer the lowest interest rates and best customer service.

However, community lenders don’t have the same reach or name recognition as big banks. By partnering with them, LendKey connects these smaller lenders to borrowers on a national scale.

With LendKey, you can immediately see your refinancing offers and choose one with the best terms for you. According to the lender, credit unions and community banks “prioritize people over profits.” Instead of trying to make money, they offer low interest rates while providing personal customer service.

How much can you borrow through LendKey?

When you refinance your student loans, the bank or credit union buys your loan and issues you a new one. If you refinance through LendKey, you can refinance loans from $5,000 to $250,000.

Refinance Your Student Loans with LendKey

What interest rates will you get if you refinance with LendKey?

LendKey features offers with both fixed and variable interest rates. It offers a variable rate as low as 2.52% and a fixed rate as low as 3.25%.

Fixed rates stay the same over the life of your loans, whereas variable rates fluctuate with the prime index. Your interest rate is largely based on your credit score, repayment history, and salary.

LendKey review: what about repayment plans?

In addition to other factors, your interest rates will also depend on the repayment plan you select. You have a choice of five repayment plans through LendKey: five years, seven years, 10 years, 15 years, or 20 years.

There’s no penalty if you pay more than your monthly payment in an effort to pay down your loan faster. For instance, if you choose a 10-year repayment plan, you can pay it off early by paying more than is due every month.

Eligibility requirements

So what are the eligibility requirements for obtaining a refinancing offer through one of LendKey’s partners? First, you must refinance more than $5,000 but no more than $250,000 in student loans.

Second, your credit score and salary must exceed a certain threshold. LendKey doesn’t advertise a minimum for either, as both are likely determined by the actual lender. However, without a certain credit score and salary, you’ll have trouble qualifying for a refinancing loan by yourself.

Refinancing with a co-signer

If your credit score or salary don’t meet LendKey’s requirements, then you can apply with a co-signer. Applying with a co-signer with strong credit can help you become eligible or get more attractive offers.

The co-signer must be willing to have a hard credit check on their account. They also become liable in the event you can’t pay back the loan.

LendKey has a forgiving co-signer release policy. If you make an approved number of consecutive on-time payments, then your co-signer will be released from the agreement.

Are there any fees for refinancing with LendKey?

LendKey is completely free. You don’t have to pay a fee to use the service, and refinanced loans don’t have any origination fees.

You should note that LendKey will run a hard credit check to complete your loan application. Credit inquiries can decrease your credit score. But with on-time repayment of your new loan, your credit score will go back up.

How to apply for a refinancing loan with LendKey

Step 1: Provide your personal details

You can check out refinancing offers through LendKey in just a few minutes. All you need to do is enter your personal details. These include:

  • Name, address, email, phone number
  • Citizenship
  • Total annual income
  • Loan amount
  • Loan type

 

If you have both federal and private loans, you can indicate that under loan type. Otherwise, you’ll choose one or the other. After filling this out, you’ll see your preliminary loan offers.

Once you hit continue, LendKey will perform a soft credit inquiry. Note that this is not a hard credit check at this point; it will not affect your credit score.

Step 2: Review refinancing offers

Once you click through to the next step, LendKey will show you several refinancing offers. You can browse offers with different repayment plans and interest rates. Keep in mind that these offers will be limited by location.

Most credit unions and community banks require that you live in a certain geographic area. Since you provided your address, LendKey can check the banks and credit unions that you’re eligible for.

For example, here are a few of the offers I got when I entered an address in Massachusetts, salary of $55,000, and loan amount of $30,000.

You can also filter your options by interest rate, repayment plan, or type of rate. The site also reminds you that applying with a co-signer could get you a better rate.

Step 3: Choose your refinancing offer

Once you’ve reviewed your options, you’ll select an offer for a LendKey student loan. Make sure that you’ve selected the repayment plan, interest rate, and interest type that makes sense for you. Even though it may be tempting to choose a five-year plan over a 15, don’t select it if the monthly payments are too much for your budget.

Visit LendKey Now

Step 4: Create an account and agree to a credit inquiry

To finalize your application, you’ll enter your social security number and date of birth. You’ll also create an account by entering your email and a password.

At this point, LendKey will ask whether you consent to a credit inquiry. This will be a hard credit check, so it will affect your credit score. The offers of a LendKey student loan are not final until the company has checked your credit score and confirmed your eligibility.

Step 5: Upload verification documents

Once your offers are confirmed, you can complete the application process. LendKey will ask you to verify your personal details with documentation. You’ll upload documents to verify your income and loan balances.

Typically, lenders accept pay stubs or a letter of acceptance from a future employer. They usually need official statements from your current lenders that show a history of repayment and the loan’s outstanding balance. Since LendKey works with credit unions and local banks, some of which have geographic requirements, you may have to provide proof of residence.

LendKey will review all your information and contact you if any further documentation is needed. Don’t stop repaying your current loans in the meantime. Wait until your refinanced loan is confirmed and you’ve entered into repayment with your new lender.

How to get a deduction on your interest rate

LendKey offers a 0.25% interest rate deduction if you sign up for automatic payments. If you qualified for a 5% interest rate, for instance, it would effectively go down to 4.75%. Use a student loan refinancing calculator to see how lower interest rates save you money over the long term.

Automatic payments are also a great idea so you never miss a payment. Missing payments would hurt your credit score, cause interest to build up, and could lead to default.

Pros of refinancing your student loans with LendKey

  • LendKey connects you with over 320 credit unions and local banks to offer some of the lowest interest rates around. The community lenders offer strong customer service.
  • LendKey lets you apply with a co-signer, plus it releases that co-signer after 12 months of on-time repayment.
  • You won’t have to pay any origination fees for your refinanced loan.
  • There are no penalties if you want to pay off your loan early. You can make more than the minimum monthly payment at any time.
  • If the lender allows, you can pause payments for up to 18 months if you become unemployed. This is one of the longest unemployment protection periods you’ll find from refinancing lenders.

LendKey review of customer service

LendKey customer reviews are largely positive, with many of them citing the company’s helpful customer service. You can contact LendKey at 888-549-9050 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. You can also email them at customer.care@lendkey.com.

How to get started

To apply for a refinanced loan, go to the LendKey website. You can browse its educational resources, or go straight through the 15-minute application process. To finalize everything, you’ll just need to provide documentation to verify your salary, student loans, and residency.

Take advantage of LendKey’s low interest rates

LendKey review verdict: is LendKey right for you?

LendKey offers an alternative to big banks by bringing credit unions and local banks into the forefront of the loan refinancing market. Because there’s no commitment, there’s no reason not to check with LendKey and see what offers you get.

Keep in mind that no offers are final until LendKey runs a hard credit check on your account. Assuming your credit score is strong enough, you should have no trouble getting a refinanced loan. Since LendKey is not the actual lender, read the fine print of any agreement before signing.

You should also note that refinancing student loans has some downsides. If you’re refinancing federal loans, then you’ll lose some federal programs and protections. For instance, you’ll no longer be eligible for federal income-based repayment plans or forgiveness programs.

By working with a private lender, you won’t have as many options if you lose your income. That being said, LendKey does have one of the best protection plans for borrowers in the event of unemployment.

LendKey is an excellent option for borrowers looking to refinance their student loans. It especially appeals to consumers who prefer credit unions and local banks to big, for-profit institutions.

If you want to simplify your monthly payments and lower your interest rates, then head to LendKey. You could save thousands of dollars over the life of your student loans.

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