Refinancing with Earnest
Refinancing rates from 2.47% APR. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.
Student loans are definitely a struggle. Luckily, there are a lot of big banks, small startups, and innovative fintech companies competing to refinance them for you. But with so many to choose from, it becomes harder to tell them apart.
In most cases, the key factor is how much money each lender can save you. Beyond that, it’s important to consider what each lender does best — and how it can work best for you.
So if you’re shopping around and hoping to break a tie between lenders, look no further. Here’s what sets each of the top student loan refinancing lenders apart from the rest.
1. SoFi: Extra support
It’s not uncommon for lenders to let you pause your payments for a few months if you lose your job, but SoFi goes above and beyond. The company will set you up with a career advisor, whether you’ve lost your job or not.
SoFi promises to help borrowers with:
- Career transitions: Guidance toward a promotion, new job, or a new field.
- Job searches: Help improving your resume and networking skills.
- Personal branding: Valuable advice to differentiate yourself from other candidates.
SoFi also offers extra support for professionals who have risky but rewarding jobs: entrepreneurs. With the entrepreneur program, borrowers can get six months of loan deferment, executive mentorship and workshops, and access to its network of investors.
The program also promises to connect you with other business founders, including those who have completed the program and gone on to success.
2. Laurel Road: Larger loans
Laurel Road is the national online lending division of Darien Rowayton Bank. Established in 2006, Darien Rowayton Bank is among the veteran refinancing companies in the market.
Since Laurel Road is part of Darien Rowayton Bank, it can refinance any loan amount under the sun. Other refinancing companies might work with banks and are dependent upon those banks to help set the minimum and maximum loan amounts.
To achieve its promise, Laurel Road performs a processing trick. If you need to refinance more than $300,000 in student loans, it will refinance those loans into two or more new loans.
Laurel Road also has one of the largest spectrums of potential loan amounts; you can refinance as little as $5,000 worth of existing loans.
It should be said that other lenders are competitive on this front. SoFi says it can refinance the full balance of “qualified” loans, but it decides which loans would qualify. Similarly, CommonBond offers as large of a refinancing package as you could possibly need. It maxes its refinancing amount at $500,000.
3. CommonBond: Social good
While other lenders might perform charitable works, CommonBond separates itself from its peers by having a one-for-one donation model, like Warby Parker and TOMS. Instead of its members gifting a pair of eyeglasses or shoes to the less fortunate, though, CommonBond members give the gift of education.
In fact, CommonBond’s social promise is that every time one of its new members refinances or takes out a loan, it funds one year of schooling for a child in a developing country such as Ghana. This work, in conjunction with the nonprofit Pencils of Promise, has benefited more than 2,000 kids.
If giving back while paying off debt sounds appealing, CommonBond could be the right lender for you.
4. LendKey: Compare offers
Unlike refinancing lenders that work directly with large banks (or are large banks themselves), LendKey has a different model. Its refinanced loans are funded through credit unions and community banks. This allows customers to compare multiple offers instead of being presented with one set of terms from a single lender.
LendKey claims that this difference also keeps rates low. While its APRs are, on average, similar to competitors, you might find more attractive terms through a particular offer on the LendKey platform.
One other unique benefit of choosing LendKey is that you can make interest-only payments for the first four years of your new loan. Few lenders offer this option.
5. Citizens Bank: Fewer academic requirements
All lenders have certain requirements for their prospective members to qualify for refinancing. Almost always, they will require that you have graduated from a four-year Title IV school.
If you never finished your degree, you’ll be relieved to learn that Citizens Bank will still consider you for a refinanced loan. The bank is satisfied as long as your former school is located in the U.S.
Citizens Bank does have a few rules for non-graduates (or graduates of non-Title IV schools) looking to refinance their student loans. You must:
- Have a Social Security number (resident aliens need an eligible cosigner to apply)
- Not currently be enrolled in school
- Have made 12 consecutive on-time, monthly payments on your existing loans
We wouldn’t suggest leaving school just to begin paying off your student loan debt. But it’s nice to know that if your life plan no longer includes college, you can still refinance your existing loans.
6. Education Loan Finance: Low variable rates
Education Loan Finance enters the spotlight by offering some of the lowest variable rates around. The bottom of Education Loan Finance’s current range of variable-rate student loans (2.55%) is 0.33% lower than its next-closest peer.
What would that mean for your wallet if you refinanced $50,000 worth of loans? A 0.33% rate difference could save nearly $1,400 over the life of your loan.
Of course, the interest rate on variable-rate student loans (new or refinanced) can increase over time. So it’s important to consider the differences between variable and fixed rates — and that’s the biggest.
Comparing student loan refinancing lenders
No matter which student loan refinancing company you’re considering, think about the one thing each does better than the competition.
Whatever aspect is most important to you, go to the source and ask the lenders themselves about that defining feature. If they don’t have a good answer, that should tell you all you need to know.
If you’re still on the fence, here are some reasons you shouldn’t wait to refinance your student loans.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 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 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.30% 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 Month/Day/Year, 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 08/21/18. 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.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
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.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
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 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 6.30%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.51% – 8.09%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.02% – 6.44%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.69% – 7.21%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|