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Earnest student loan refinancing review

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Save on federal and private loans with rates and terms that fit your wallet.

finder.com’s rating: 4.1 / 5.0

★★★★★

  • Best if you have near-perfect finances and want repayments tailored to your exact needs.
  • Pick something else if you were hoping to apply with a cosigner or never completed your degree.

1.99% to 5.64% APR with autopay

APR

$500,000

Max. Loan Amount

650

Min. Credit Score

Details

Product NameEarnest Student Loan Refinancing
Minimum Loan Amount$5,000
Max. Loan Amount$500,000
APR1.99% to 5.64% APR with autopay
Interest Rate TypeVariable
Fixed rate2.98% to 5.79% APR with autopay
Minimum Loan Term5 years
Maximum Loan Term20 years
Requirements650+ credit score, $5,000+ in student debt from a Title IV school, meet income and credit history requirements, live in an eligible state, US citizen or permanent resident, ages 18+
Go to Earnest's website
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Review by


Aliyyah Camp is a writer and personal finance blogger who helps readers compare personal, student, car and business loans. Aliyyah earned a BA in communication from the University of Pennsylvania and is based in New York, where she enjoys movies and running outdoors.

Expert review

You might want to consider refinancing with Earnest if you have near-perfect credit and savings that grow each month. Rates start ridiculously low, and it tailors repayments to fit your exact budget. Plus, it offers both deferment and forbearance options if you face a financial rough patch or decide to go back to school.

But it has high financial standards. And you can’t apply with a cosigner to help you qualify. You also aren’t eligible if you never completed your degree.

Not sure Earnest is right for you? Compare other refinancing options below.

How much will it cost to refinance with Earnest?

Earnest prides itself on a technique called Precision Pricing to make your repayments fit your budget. The minimum loan balance you’ll need to refinance is $5,000, with Earnest.

Refinancing starts at a variable 1.99% APR or fixed 3.19% APR with autopay. The autopay discount only applies, as the name suggests, when you’re enrolled in autopay. And it won’t overlap with discounts from private repayment programs.

Variable rates aren’t available in Alaska, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.

Terms range from 5 years to 20 years. Those terms can be broken down by month as part of Earnest’s Precision Pricing. Use our calculator to calculate how much it’ll cost you to refinance with Earnest monthly and overall.

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Pros and cons

Earnest might be able to help some borrowers save. But weigh the benefits and drawbacks before you apply.

Pros

  • No origination, late or prepayment fees
  • Offers refinance during your last semester
  • Ability to skip a payment
  • Offers deferment and forbearance

Cons

  • Doesn’t accept cosigners
  • Spending and savings habits could hurt you
  • Variable rates not available in all states
  • Can’t refinance an incomplete degree

Compare Earnest to other refinancing providers

Name Product Min. Credit Score Loan amount
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing (Variable Rate)
620
$7,500 - $300,000
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $5,000
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
650
Starting at $5,000
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing
650
Starting at $7,500
Save on your student loans with this market-leading newcomer.
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing
680
Starting at $15,000
Lower your student debt costs with manageable payments, affordable rates and flexible terms.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing
650
$5,000 - $500,000
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Earnest reviews and complaints

BBB accredited Yes
BBB rating A+
BBB customer reviews 1.63 out of 5 stars, based on 24 customer reviews
Trustpilot Score 4.7 out of 5 stars, based on 2,596 customer reviews
Customer reviews verified as of 16 October 2020

Am I eligible?

You’ve got your finances on lock, and you’re ready to apply. First, you’ll want to make sure you meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum credit score of 650
  • Employed or have a consistent source of income
  • Not a resident of Delaware, Kentucky or Nevada
  • Enrolled less than half time and in repayment or plan to graduate at the end of the semester
  • At least $5,000 in student loan debt from a Title IV school
  • Student loan account in good standing
  • Primary borrower on student loans you’re refinancing
  • Student loan debt is from your own education
  • Current on all mortgage or rent payments
  • No bankruptcy or recent collection accounts on credit report
  • US citizen or permanent resident with 10-year green card
  • At least 18 years old

Earnest provides guidelines on its website. They aren’t hard-and-fast rules but are heavily suggested if you want to improve your chances of application approval.

If you want to refinance an Earnest student loan, it must have at least six months of on-time repayments

What do I need to apply?

Getting your rate should take about two minutes. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Visit Earnest’s website by clicking Go to Earnest’s website or Check my rate.
  • Choose either Student Loan Refinancing or Parent PLUS Refinancing.
  • Complete the required forms with your education, finance, contact and personal information.
  • Get your rate within moments.

To continue with your application after you get your range of potential rates:

  • Connect your financial accounts through Earnest.
  • Submit any extra documentation.

I got the Earnest student debt refinancing loan. Now what?

On agreement, you should have been able to set up autopay to ensure that your payments are on time and get the rate discount. And if you didn’t sign up then, you can enroll through your Earnest online account.

Simply log in to your account and click Loan details. Sign up from there, shifting your pay schedule to biweekly at the same time, if you’d like. Keep in mind that if you have a multiparty loan, only one party can enroll in autopay.

If your finances start getting rocky and you think you might not be able to make a payment, call Earnest’s customer support team right away. They’ll may be able to work with you to find an alternative solution.

Who services Earnest student loans?

Earnest services its own student loans, so you won’t have to contact a different company when you have questions about repayments or forbearance. While Earnest was acquired by student loan servicer Navient in 2017, it still operates independently and handles all student loan repayments.

Don’t have the finances to qualify with Earnest? Compare your other options with our guide to student loan refinancing.

Frequently asked questions

Our answers to commonly asked questions about refinancing student loans with Earnest.

Can I refinance my debt if it’s due to working toward an associate’s degree?

Yes. If your associate’s degree is from a Title IV–accredited school, it’s acceptable.

Will Earnest be the company that services my loan after I sign?

Yes. Earnest is a direct lender that stays with you throughout the life of your loan.

My current loan has a grace period. Will Earnest match it?

Yes. Earnest will match up to nine months of a documented grace period.

Do I have to refinance all of my loans with Earnest?

No. You can refinance one or more as long as your minimum balance is $5,000. You don’t have to refinance all open accounts.

Student loan ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We rate student loan providers on a scale of 1 to 5 stars based on factors like transparency, costs and customer experience. We don’t take into account elements like eligibility criteria, state availability or payment frequency — we save that for our reviews.

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