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Earnest loans

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When you’ve got good financial habits, why wouldn’t you borrow from a lender that rewards you for them?

Needing to refinance your student debt, refinance a Parent PLUS loan or make a big purchase is no rarity. And it gets more likely that you’ll need to borrow at some point as you venture further into adulthood. According to a recent study, more than 40% of adults in the US have car loans. That’s just car loans.

You’re financially savvy and shopping around for your loans though. Earnest is a lender that’s looking to reward your financial mindfulness with better rates.
Earnest personal loans logo

First, am I eligible?

Qualification requirements depend on what type of loan you’re applying for, but you must at the very least be:

  • At least 18 years old.
  • A US citizen or legal resident.
  • A resident of an eligible US state.

Earnest loans are not available to residents of…

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • Rhode Island

What types of loans does Earnest offer?

Student loan refinancing, Parent PLUS refinancing and personal loans are all available through Earnest. For either refinancing options, you’ll need to request loans for existing student debt — and not future schooling. Earnest also does not currently offer financing for small businesses.

Student loan refinancing

You could refinance $5,000 or more in student debt to cover the full cost of refinancing with Earnest, depending on your eligibility. Existing terms are from 5 to 20 years in one-month intervals.

Refinancing rates start at 2.47% APR for variable and 3.89% APR for fixed-rate repayments with autopay. You can get an estimate of your rate range before you submit a full application.

Personal loans

Financing runs from $2,000 to $50,000 for personal loans with Earnest. You’ll also get to choose from among a one-, two- or three-year term.

Rates run between 6.99% and 12.99% APR, depending on the results of the data analysis that Earnest’s underwriters use. Because Earnest wants only those who are the most financially responsible, the process is more intensive than just your credit score and history.

Why should I consider taking out an Earnest personal loan?

Quite a few features come with borrowing from Earnest. Here are just a few:

  • Low interest rates for the most qualified borrowers.
  • 0.25% rate discount on student loan refinancing when you use autopay.
  • Repay your loan early without running into any penalties or fees.
  • Forbearance protection, whereby Earnest can delay repayment until you’re back on your feet.
  • Potential deferment for student loan refinancing.

Compare Earnest to other top online lenders

Rates last updated October 19th, 2018

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Unfortunately, none of the personal loan providers offer loans for that credit score. If you are in urgent need of a small loan, you might want to consider a short term loan.
Name Product Product Description Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
Credible Personal Loans
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose a loan offer from several top online lenders.
Good to excellent credit
4.99%–36% (fixed)
Upgrade Personal Loans*
Affordable loans with two simple repayment terms and no prepayment penalties.
6.99% to 35.97% (fixed)
Monevo Personal Loans
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit score.
3.09%–35.99% (fixed)
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Personal Loans
Consolidate your debt or pay off large expenses with competitive rates and no fees.
Good to excellent credit
6.99% to 24.99% (fixed)
Even Financial Personal Loans
Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.
4.99%–35.99% (fixed)
LendingClub Personal Loan
A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.
6.16% to 35.89% (fixed)
Conveniently check your loan options without affecting your credit score.
9.95%–35.99% (fixed)
SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)
No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.
6.99% to 14.87% (fixed)
OneMain Financial Personal and Auto Loans
An established online and in-store lender with quick turnaround times. Poor credit is OK.
16.05%–35.99%* (fixed)
NetCredit Personal Loan
Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
34%–155% (Varies by state) (fixed)
CashUSA Installment Loans
A connection service for quick cash loans up to $10,000.
Bad credit OK
5.99%–35.99% (fixed)

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated October 19th, 2018
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR Product Description
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
Good to excellent credit
2.57%(As low as ) (variable)
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
full balance of your qualified education loans
2.480% – 6.990% (variable)
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing
2.72%–9.66% (variable)
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (w/ autopay)
2.47% to 6.23% (variable)
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
PenFed Student Loan Refinancing
3.75%–7.03% (fixed)
Straightforward refinancing with competitive rates.
CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing
2.72%–7.25% (with autopay) (variable)
Trade in your existing school loans for competitive APRs that come with a discount for autopay.
LendingTree Student Loans
Good to excellent credit
Varies by lender
3% (As low as) (fixed)
Compare multiple student loans and student loan refinancing options in one place.

Compare up to 4 providers

How much will it cost me to borrow with Earnest?

Rates through Earnest are highly customized to the individual borrower. This means that Earnest will likely build your repayment plan around your specific needs and budget.

While you won’t pay origination or repayment fees, Earnest does charge up to $8 for returned payments.

Are Earnest loans safe?

When you submit your information with Earnest, your personal and financial details are protected by 256-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. No one at Earnest has access to your user names or passwords for linked accounts either.

The overall layout of the website is straightforward and easy to navigate. Earnest also has a clear, extensive privacy and security page that explains its policies.

What does the Internet say about Earnest?

It’s hard to find talk about Earnest loans online, especially personal loans. It has a page with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), though it’s not accredited, that only a total of six customer reviews: Two positive two negative. It gets an A+ rating, which is based on factors like how many customers have filed a complaint and how the business responded.

It doesn’t have a Trustpilot page, but Earnest does come up in some other online forums. Customer service got mixed reviews, with some praising its representatives for being friendly and knowledgable and others complaining they didn’t feel valued.

Other comments were mostly complaints. Earnest requests more information than competitors. It’s difficult to switch from a variable to a fixed interest rate. It doesn’t always make it clear when it does a hard pull. Rates are not always as competitive as what you can get with the competition.

Still, Earnest still maintains its status as a top online lender, especially when it comes to student loans. In other words, it’s still worth a look.

How to apply for a personal loan with Earnest

Once you’ve done your shopping and compared options, it’s time to apply. If you decide to go with Earnest, you’ll find the application to be comprehensive but not complicated. Click Go to Site and complete the entirety of the requested information. From there Earnest evaluates your application, and if it’s accepted you’ll receive notification that your offer is ready for review.

Eligibility for Earnest is broken up into guidelines and requirements highlighted below.

Personal loans

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must be an American citizen; permanent resident of the US; have a TN, E, O or H1B Visa; or have an F1 Visa and a 17- or 24-month STEM OPT/EAD.
  • You must not reside in Alaska, Delaware, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada or Rhode Island.

Student loan and Parent PLUS loan refinancing

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must be an American citizen or a permanent resident of the US.
  • The debt must be from a Title IV–accredited school.
  • The debt must be yours or your child’s.
  • The debt must be for a completed degree or one that will be completed at the end of the current semester.
  • If you are a student, you must be enrolled less than half-time if you will not complete your degree at the end of the current semester.
  • If you’re employed or have an employment offer that starts within six months, you may also qualify if you have sufficient income, as determined by Earnest.
  • The loan cannot be used for future schooling.
  • All existing student loans must be in good standing.
  • You must be and intend to remain the primary borrower on the loan.
  • You must not reside in Alaska, Delaware, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada or Rhode Island.

Benefits and drawbacks


  • Repayment schedules are tailored to your specific needs, with a 180 possible loan terms to fit what is best for you.
  • Protection programs are in place in the event of undue economic hardship.
  • You won’t be faced with origination or repayment fees. You can pay as much of your loan off as often as you want without penalty.
  • Earnest’s streamlined dashboard and mobile app for iPhone can help you manage your repayments and account.


  • Earnest does not provide loans in every state. You currently can’t borrow from Earnest if you live in Alaska, Delaware, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada or Rhode Island.
  • You won’t be able to check your rates for personal loans. When you apply, you apply fully right away, which means a hard credit pull.
  • The underwriting process is rigorous, which makes Earnest an exclusive provider. It takes a good deal of financial responsibility and opportunity to qualify.

I got a loan from Earnest. Now what?

Student loan refinancing

After Earnest approves your student debt refinancing loan, there’s a transition period when you pay off your old lender that Earnest calls the “10-day payoff.” As soon as you’re approved, it’s your job to calculate exactly how much you will owe your former lender after approval so that Earnest can write it a check to close the loan 10 days after approval.

Payoff = current balance + interest on principle over the next ten days.

Once your old loans are closed, it’s time to start repaying Earnest. Set up autopay to get a 0.25% discount on your interest rate (and have one less payment to worry about remembering). You can adjust your repayment date easily on your Earnest dashboard and have the option of skipping one payment ever 12 months (once you’ve had six months of consistent repayments, that is ).

Personal loans

Repaying a personal loan is pretty straightforward compared to student loan refinancing. You can get the same discount on interest if you set up autopay, though you don’t have the option of skipping repayments.

Earnest recommends that you try making half of your monthly repayment every two weeks and make extra repayments whenever you can in order to save on interest.

If you run into any trouble with making repayments or have any other questions, contact customer service as soon as possible. Its team can be reached by calling 888-601-2801 on weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm PT or by filling out a form on its website.

My application was denied. What can I do?

Getting denied isn’t the end of the world, especially with a lender with a relatively quick turnaround time. You can find out why Earnest rejected your application by visiting your online account. If something looks wrong, don’t hesitate to reach out to customer service. You might also want to check your credit report for errors, correct any you find, and contact customer service to have your application reconsidered.

If the loan isn’t urgent (refinancing typically doesn’t involve a life-or-death situation) consider taking steps to strengthen your application, like paying working to pay off your other debts or getting another source of income. Don’t have time for that? Consider looking at lenders that allow you to have a stronger candidate cosign your loan (currently, Earnest doesn’t offer this option).

Bottom line

Earnest could be a good choice for you if you’re financially stable with a fair amount of savings and a spotless credit report. The low rates and protections for customers can be quite appealing, but it’s always smart to shop around. To increase your chances of getting the best possible rate and terms, compare several lenders before applying.

Questions you might have about Earnest

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