Serious Review of Student Loan Refinancing

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When you refinance your student loans, you can take advantage of a lower interest rate while consolidating multiple loans into one monthly payment. The caveat is that you usually need good or excellent credit (at least a 670 credit score) to qualify.

There are very few private lenders, however, whose eligibility requirements allow applicants to have less than stellar credit. Earnest is one of them.

Earnest Student Loan Refinancing is distinguished by the fact that student loan borrowers have a better chance of qualifying. With Earnest, fair credit applicants with a minimum credit score of 650 can qualify, and there are no minimum income requirements. For these reasons, Select ranked Earnest Student Loan Refinancing on our list of the best student loan refinancing companies.

Read on for more details on Earnest Student Loan Refinancing, including APRs, benefits, fees, loan amounts, and term lengths. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best student loan refinancing companies.)

Earnest Student Loan Refinance Review

Serious student loan refinancing

  • Cost

    No origination fees to refinance

  • Eligible loans

    Federal, private, graduate and undergraduate loans

  • Types of loans

  • Variable rates (APR)

    From 1.99% (rates include a 0.25% discount on automatic payment)

  • Fixed rates (APR)

    From 2.98% (rates include a 0.25% automatic payment discount)

  • Loan conditions

    Flexible conditions between 5 and 20 years

  • Loan amounts

    A minimum of $ 5,000, up to $ 500,000 (California residents must apply for a refinance of $ 10,000 or more)

  • Minimum credit score

  • Minimum income

  • Authorize a co-signer

Serious Student Loan Refinance APR

Earnest offers variable and fixed APRs. Variable interest rates fluctuate over the life of the loan, while fixed rates stay the same throughout the life of the loan.

Earnest’s variable rates start at 1.99%. Fixed rates start at 2.98%. Both variable and fixed APRs automatically include a 0.25% auto-pay discount.

Variable rates are not available on Earnest loans in the following states: AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX.


Being able to refinance through Earnest with fair credit is a huge advantage. Most other refinance lenders require borrowers to have at least good credit to qualify.

Earnest doesn’t allow you to add a co-signer, but because the company is open to fair credit applicants, you’re less likely to need it.

In addition to pulling your credit report, refinance lenders also look at your income in general. With Earnest, however, he announces that there is no minimum income requirement.

Earnest offers payment protections for borrowers, such as a 9-month grace period, as well as personal loan personalization. Borrowers who refinance can choose their preferred payment amount based on their budget, select bi-weekly or monthly payments, and increase their payment and / or adjust their payment date at any time. And, if you run out of money for a month, Earnest allows qualified borrowers to skip a payment every 12 months and catch up later.


Earnest does not charge borrowers any origination fees to take out a refinance loan. There are also no late fees, disbursement fees or prepayment penalties.

Loan amounts

Loan amounts start at a minimum of $ 5,000 and go up to $ 500,000. For residents of California, the minimum loan amount is $ 10,000.

Term of office

Borrowers have flexibility, with loan terms ranging from 5 to 20 years.

At the end of the line

Serious student loan refinancing is the best option for borrowers looking to refinance with fair credit. Applicants with fair credit usually need a co-signer to qualify with most refinance lenders, but this is not the case with Earnest. You also won’t need to meet a minimum income requirement to apply for refinancing with Earnest.

If you are a student loan borrower with good credit, you have a lot more refinancing options. We recommend SoFi Student Loan Refinancing (Select’s first choice) for its robust payment protections and benefits such as free career coaching, financial advice from planners, and a career advisory group that can help you search for a new job. . Read our full review of SoFi student loan refinancing here.

Our methodology

To determine which student loan refinancing companies are best for borrowers, Select analyzed and compared private student loan financings from national banks, credit unions, and online lenders. We’ve refined our ranking by only considering those that offer low student loan refinance rates and prequalification tools that don’t hurt your credit.

While the companies we have chosen in this article consistently rank among the most competitive interest rates for refinancing, we also compared each company on the following characteristics:

  • Wide availability: All of the companies on our list refinance both federal and private student loans, and they each offer variable and fixed interest rates.
  • Flexible loan terms: Each company offers a variety of financing options that you can customize based on your monthly budget and how long it takes to pay off your student loan.
  • No creation or registration fees: None of the companies on our list charge borrowers an upfront “set-up fee” for refinancing your loan.
  • No early repayment penalties: The companies on our list do not charge borrowers for prepayment of loans.
  • Simplified application process: We made sure companies offered a fast online application process.
  • Co-signer options: Each company on our list allows a co-signer if the direct borrower does not qualify for refinancing on their own.
  • Automatic payment discounts: All of the companies listed already calculate automatic payment discounts in their advertised rates.
  • Private student loan protections: While you lose the benefits of the federal student loan when you refinance, each company on our list offers some type of protection for borrowers in times of financial difficulty.
  • Loan sizes: The above companies refinance loans in a range of sizes, from $ 5,000 to $ 500,000. Each company advertises their respective loan amounts, and completing a pre-approval process can give you an idea of ​​your interest rate and monthly payment.
  • Credit / eligibility conditions: We took into consideration the minimum credit scores and income levels required if this information was available.
  • Customer service: Each company on our list provides customer service that is available by phone, email, or secure online messaging. We have also opted for lenders who have an online resource center or advice center to help educate you on the student loan refinancing process.

After reviewing the features above, we sorted our recommendations based on overall refinancing needs, having a co-signer, applying with a fair credit score, refinancing parent loans, and medical school loans. .

Note that the rates and fee structures for refinancing private student loans are not guaranteed forever; they are subject to change without notice and they often fluctuate with the Fed rate. Choosing a fixed rate APR when you refinance will ensure that your interest rate and monthly payment will remain consistent throughout the life of the loan.

Your refinance rate depends on your credit rating, income, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), savings, payment history, and overall financial health. To refinance your student loan (s), lenders will conduct a serious credit check and request a full application, which may require proof of income, identity verification, proof of address, etc.

Editorial note: Any opinions, analysis, criticism or recommendations expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the editorial staff of Select and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise approved by any third party.

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