Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to here as "Credible."
LendKey and Earnest are two student loan refinancing companies that both offer fixed- as well as variable-rate loans and a 0.25% autopay discount. Either lender might be a good choice if you’re looking to get a lower interest rate or more affordable monthly payment through refinancing.
However, the two companies also differ in a few ways, especially when it comes to cosigners.
If you’re considering LendKey vs. Earnest, here’s what you should know:
- LendKey vs. Earnest
- LendKey student loan refinancing
- Earnest student loan refinancing
- Choosing a lender to refinance your student loans
LendKey vs. Earnest
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of LendKey vs. Earnest to help you make the right choice for your student loan refinancing needs. Keep in mind that LendKey and Earnest aren’t Credible partners.
|Rates||Fixed or variable||Fixed or variable
(variable rates not available in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, or TX)
|Loan terms||5 to 20 years||5 to 20 years|
|Loan amount||$5,000 to $300,000|
(depending on your degree, loan type, and state of residence)
|$5,000 to $500,000
($10,000 minimum for CA residents)
|Minimum credit score||Does not disclose||650|
|State restrictions||None||Not available in DE, KY, or NV|
Although LendKey and Earnest aren’t Credible partners, you can use Credible to fill out a single form in two minutes and request prequalified rates from other top lenders that offer student loan refinancing.
LendKey student loan refinancing
Best for borrowers who:
- Want to refinance with a cosigner
- Need flexible repayment options
- Have earned at least an associate degree
LendKey provides a digital platform that matches its partner banks and credit unions with borrowers looking to refinance or take out private student loans.
With LendKey, you can refinance $5,000 to $300,000 — though keep in mind that exact loan limits will depend on your degree, loan type, and state of residence. Terms range from five to 20 years.
- Rate discounts: Borrowers who sign up for automatic payments can get a 0.25% rate discount.
- Cosigner release: You can apply for cosigner release after making a certain number of consecutive, on-time payments. Keep in mind that the exact amount of payments you’ll need to make as well as other requirements will depend on which LendKey partner bank or credit union you refinance through.
- Referral bonus: You can get a $200 referral bonus if you refer a friend who takes out a loan with LendKey. There’s also no limit to how many of these referral bonuses you can get.
- Degree required: Unlike some lenders that allow borrowers to refinance if they didn’t graduate, you must have earned at least an associate degree to refinance with LendKey.
- Undergraduate loan limits: Borrowers who have earned an undergraduate degree can only refinance up to $125,000 — which might not be enough if you attended a more expensive program.
- Can’t refinance parent loans: If you took out loans as parent — such as Parent PLUS Loans — to help your child pay for college, you won’t be able to refinance them with LendKey.
Check out our LendKey review to learn more about its student loan refinancing.
Earnest student loan refinancing
Best for borrowers who:
- Need to refinance a large amount
- Don’t need a cosigner
- Want the option to set up biweekly or monthly payments
Earnest offers both student loan refinancing as well as private student loans and has designed its application process to be as simple and convenient as possible. With Earnest, you can refinance $5,000 to $500,000 ($10,000 minimum for California residents) with repayment terms from five to 20 years.
- Rate discounts: If you sign up for automatic payments, you can get 0.25% off your rate.
- Options for fair credit: Earnest’s minimum required credit score is 650, which means borrowers with fair credit might be able to qualify.
- High loan maximum: With Earnest, you can refinance up to $500,000. This could be helpful for borrowers who attended more expensive programs, such as law or medical school.
- Cosigners not accepted: Unlike many other refinancing lenders, Earnest doesn’t allow borrowers to refinance with a cosigner. This means you’ll have to qualify on your own merit, which might be harder if you have poor credit or unstable income.
- State restrictions: Earnest isn’t available in Delaware, Kentucky, or Nevada.
- Variable rate restrictions: You can’t choose a variable-rate loan with Earnest in Alaska, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, or Texas.
Check out our Earnest review to learn more about its student loan refinancing.
Choosing a lender to refinance your student loans
Depending on your credit, you might be able to lower your student loan interest rate through refinancing to money on interest and even potentially pay off your loan faster.
Or you could opt for a longer repayment term to reduce your monthly payment and lessen the strain on your budget — though keep in mind that choosing a longer term means you’ll pay more in interest over time.
But before you refinance, it’s important to compare as many student loan refinance companies as possible — including LendKey and Earnest — to find the right loan with the best rate for your needs.
For example, if you need to refinance with a cosigner or want flexible repayment options, then LendKey could be a good choice. But if you need to refinance a larger loan amount or have fair credit, then Earnest might be a better option.
If you’re wondering how much you might be able to save by refinancing your student loans, use our calculator below.
If you’re ready to refinance your student loans, Credible can help. While LendKey and Earnest aren’t Credible partners, you can use Credible to compare your prequalified rates from several other vetted refinancing lenders in just two minutes.