Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser Disclosure

Compare SoFi vs. Earnest student loans

Student loan refinancing at low rates that reduce your payments with no added fees.

Choosing the right student loan option could mean thousands of dollars in savings over the years. Refinancing or consolidating your student loans can put you back in control and give you some breathing room on your monthly payments. When you’re ready to start reconsidering your student loan options, SoFi and Earnest are both solid places to start. But how do they stack up against each other?

Winner snapshot

Earnest personal loans logo
Lowest rates
  • Winner
Strongest reputation
  • Winner
Widest lending limits
  • Winner
Lowest fees
  • Winner
Fastest turnaroundTieTie
Go to SoFi's site
Read Review
Go to Earnest's site
Read Review

An overview of SoFi and Earnest

SoFi and Earnest are two online lenders that aim to help alleviate the problem of overpaying in interest for your current student loans. On top of offering multiple loan products, SoFi could be great for young professionals with great credit looking for career support.

Earnest might be a better choice if you’re just starting out, since it has a unique way of assessing potential borrowers that goes beyond the standard credit check. It also could be a better choice for parents looking to refinance a loan into their child’s name.

Am I eligible for student loan refinancing with SoFi or Earnest?

To be eligible for student loan refinancing with SoFi or Earnest, you must:

  • Have good to excellent credit.
  • Be at least 18 years old and a US citizen.
  • Have a minimum student loan balance of $5,000.
  • Have an associate’s degree or higher.
  • Be employed.

How are they different?


Borrowing from SoFi is kind of like joining a club. SoFi gives existing members who qualify an extra 0.125% rate discount in addition to access to a long list of perks including career advice, forbearance, deferment and a startup funding program for member entrepreneurs.

If you do choose to apply with a cosigner, inform them that there isn’t a cosigner release option. Instead, you’ll need to refinance your loan again.


Earnest has a unique Precision Pricing program that could be beneficial to someone with entry-level income or who is currently trying to building credit. You can extend your payments up to seven days, and you have the option of switching between fixed and variable rates once every six months after you’ve paid your bill on time for six months.

Unlike SoFi, Earnest doesn’t let you apply for a loan with a cosigner.

Which lender offers lower interest rates?


SoFi offers student loans with variable rates from 1.74% to 6.59%
and fixed rates from 2.49% to 6.94%.


Earnest student loans have variable rates as low as 1.74%. For fixed rate loans, it offers rates of 2.44% to 5.79% APR with autopay.

  • Winner: Earnest

    SoFi only beats out Earnest if you’re looking to refinance your loan for a set term of 10 years or more. If that’s not what you’re looking for, Earnest’s starting APR for variable-rate loans is the lower of the two. But remember, these are only the advertised starting rates and aren’t guaranteed. Every applicant has a different credit history, which makes it difficult to predict which lender will give you the best deal in your unique situation.

Which lender has fewer fees?


SoFi doesn’t charge any origination or prepayment fees, but if you make a payment more than 15 days late, you will face a late fee.


Earnest also won’t hit you with any origination or prepayment fees, and you won’t have to worry about paying a late fee if you miss a payment.

  • Winner: Earnest

    Earnest wins this category by not charging late fees. But if you’re thinking about possibly racking up late fees before you even apply for the loan, you may want to reconsider taking on the loan in the first place.

Must read: Perks both SoFi and Earnest offer to its borrowers

  • Autopay discount.
  • Cash bonus for each student loan you refer.
  • Consolidation of federal and private loans.
  • A rollover of your existing grace periods when refinancing.
  • Refinancing of a Parent PLUS Loan into the student’s name — often at a lower rate.
  • Up to six months of deferment, if eligible.

Which has a better reputation?


SoFi’s 9.5 Trustpilot review as of December 2018 is nothing to sneeze at. Its program to assist with unemployment shows that it care about its customers. Members also seem to enjoy the handful of perks — SoFi events, mentor services and more.


Earnest has around over 400 Trustpilot reviews as of December 2018, scoring it a decent 9.4 out of 10. Customers seem to find the application process simple and the customer service helpful. The Precision Pricing tool may give applicants with little credit history a better chance of approval, as the process is not as traditional as other lenders.

  • Winner: SoFi

    Although Earnest walks away with a slightly higher score, SoFi has nearly 2,000 reviews on Trustpilot. People not only trust its services, but rate it highly time and again. There’s a lot to be said for that when it comes to picky online reviewers.

How much can I borrow with each lender?


Student loans from SoFi can be anywhere between $5,000 and the Full balance of your qualified education loans.


Earnest student loan refinancing ranges from $5,000 up to $500,000.

  • Winner: SoFi

    While both lenders have a minimum of $5,000, SoFi has no limit to how much student loan debt you can refinance.

Which lender processes applications more quickly?

Both online lenders have quick, easy applications that can get you preapproved rates within minutes. If you decide to move forward with a full loan application after preapproval, both lenders will conduct a credit inquiry to give you the most accurate rates.


If approved, SoFi will likely get you your money within seven to 10 days.


If approved, Earnest will likely get you your money within 10 days.

  • Winner: Tie

    Depending on how quickly you can get you documents together, both lenders tend to move quickly.

Which is more cosigner-friendly?


SoFi allows borrowers to apply with a cosigner, but only if they can qualify on their own. It also doesn’t offer cosigner release, meaning that you’d have to refinance if you want to take the cosigner off your loan.


Earnest currently doesn’t allow borrowers to apply with a cosigner at all.

  • Winner: SoFi

    While SoFi isn’t the most cosigner-friendly lender out there, Earnest has no cosigner option as of December 2018.

Go to SoFi's site
Go to Earnest's site

Bottom line

In the end, it all comes down to what you want out of your lender. The difference in fees is marginal, and if you’re preapproved, the rates might be nearly identical. But what SoFi offers that Earnest doesn’t is a well-rounded social and professional networking space for its members. If neither lender feels like a fit, shop around for other student loan providers and see what seems like the best deal.

Be aware that if you refinance your federal loans with a private lender, you could lose some of the benefits, including longer deferment.

See how other top student loan providers compare

SoFi vs. CommonBond vs. Earnest
SoFi vs. CommonBond

Frequently asked questions

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    BrianJanuary 23, 2018

    Does Earnst forgive parent plus loans in the case of death

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayFebruary 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Brian,

      Thanks for your question. With Earnest, they usually have provision for “death discharge” in case the original borrower dies. Please note though that some private loans do not have that provision.


Go to site