Refinancing with Earnest
Refinancing rates from 2.54% APR. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.
Unlike one-size-fits-all federal loan consolidation, student loan refinancing comes in all shapes and sizes, due to the wide variety of private banks, credit unions and online lenders which offer it.
These lenders’ competition for your business has spurred on new ways to refinance — and new ways to benefit from it beyond the traditional perks of lowering your interest rate or adjusting your monthly payment.
Consider these five useful innovations that could make student loan refinance worth your while.
1. Accessible eligibility requirements
Along with putting your financials under the microscope, refinancing companies also require you to meet basic eligibility requirements. Many lenders, for example, require you to be a citizen holding a diploma.
But not all lenders demand this. Citizens Bank is an example of a refinancing lender that opens its doors wider than the competition:
- Noncitizens: Many lenders work with green card-holders, but Citizens Bank takes the step of also working with some foreign nationals who don’t have green cards — so long as they have a cosigner who has citizenship or permanent residency. In the future, you could see other lenders adopting this innovation, as CommonBond announced in August 2018 it would start lending to noncitizens who hold work visas.
- Non-graduates: Students who left college without a degree are eligible to refinance with Citizens after making 12 on-time payments toward their debt. EdVestinU goes further, allowing you to refinance while you’re still enrolled. “We just require that they make interest-only payments,” Rich Neilsen, EdvestinU’s education program manager, told Student Loan Hero.
If you don’t fit the traditional criteria for refinancing, you might find a lender with more accessible eligibility requirements. Just ensure they also offer the loan term, rate, and repayment protections you want.
2. Holistic underwriting practices
Although there are still industry standards around credit scores, online lenders typically have more creative underwriting than was what available when student loan refinancing in its infancy. Instead of checking boxes on a black-and-white form, online lenders offer more ways for you to gain approval.
One lender, Earnest, boasts that it considers thousands of data points to gauge your reliability as a prospective borrower. It reviews your bank accounts, for example, to determine whether you’re a good saver and have historically avoided late, overdraft and insufficient-funds fees.
Similarly, Earnest and other top-rated companies don’t require that you have a job or earn a certain income — only that your (or your cosigner’s) debt-to-income ratio is good enough to reasonably repay your refinanced loan.
That could make refinancing a more viable option if you’re a freelancer or are self-employed.
3. Hybrid loan rates
No, this isn’t an auto loan for fuel-efficient vehicles. Some student loan lenders have begun offering mortgage-like hybrid-rate loans since CommonBond pioneered the practice in 2015.
With a hybrid loan, you would typically receive the cost assurance of a fixed rate for the first portion of your repayment, followed by a riskier variable rate for the remainder. That makes hybrid loans attractive to borrowers who plan to prepay the loan before the variable rate activates. The variable rate could also remain affordable in a low-rate environment.
If you’ve debated between fixed and variable rates, a hybrid loan — with a low introductory rate — could be the perfect solution.
4. Flexible repayment options
If you’re looking to refinance student loans in order to lower your monthly payments, you might be intrigued by LendKey’s unique offering — interest-only payments for up to four years. Such an arrangement would lengthen your repayment (and make it more expensive), but it could be the right option for your finances, particularly if you’re early on in your career and expect to increase your income.
That’s just one example of lenders’ greater flexibility when it comes to repayment options.
Many refinancing companies have moved to feature loan terms of 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years, for example. More recently, however, Earnest began offering you the ability to choose any loan term between 5 and 20 years. For example, you might run the numbers using a student loan payment calculator and decide you’re best suited to repay your debt over six years, or eight years, or 13 years — the choice is yours.
If you value this sort of flexibility, you might be happy to learn that Earnest doesn’t stop there. The Navient-owned lender also allows you to choose your monthly payment due date and skip one payment each year, as long as you’re in good standing.
5. Job-loss protection
You might think you’d completely yield job-loss protection when you refinance federal student loans. After all, it’s generally only federal loans that come with up to three years of unemployment deferment, a period where you could push the pause button on your loan repayment.
But although private lenders haven’t come close to matching that offering, they’re meeting refinancing borrowers halfway. SoFi’s Unemployment Protection program, for example, offers its members up to 12 months of forbearance in three-month spans. It even includes career-coaching services to help you find your next position.
If your part- or full-time job serves as your primary source of income, but it’s on shaky ground, consider lenders with such job-loss protections.
And note too that the best student loan refinancing company for you might not always be the most innovative one. Sometimes your local, brick-and-mortar bank or credit union might be a better fit for you than a cutting-edge online lender. But while you’re shopping around for refinancing options, it can’t hurt to see what online lenders are offering. Their latest innovation could help you refinance and, eventually, erase your debt.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.54% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of March 18, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 0318/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.5% effective February 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.54% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.54% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.67% – 8.96%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.23% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.69% – 7.43%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|