Earnest Refinance Student Loans – Earnest is an online lender that offers both private and refinanced student loans for undergraduate and graduate students. In this article, we will review the features, benefits, drawbacks, and customer feedback of Earnest refinance student loans. We will also compare Earnest with other popular student loan refinancing options and provide some tips on how to choose the best one for your situation.
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What is Earnest and How Does It Work?
Earnest is a fintech company that was founded in 2013 and acquired by Navient, a student loan servicer, in 2017. Earnest aims to provide flexible and personalized lending solutions for borrowers who want to save money and pay off their debt faster.
Earnest refinances both federal and private student loans into one new loan with a lower interest rate and a customized repayment term. Earnest uses a unique underwriting approach that considers not only your credit score, but also your income, savings, spending habits, and future earning potential.
To apply for Earnest refinance student loans, you need to fill out an online application and provide some personal and financial information. You can also use Earnest’s prequalification tool to check your eligibility and estimated rates without affecting your credit score.
What are the Pros and Cons of Earnest Refinance Student Loans?
Earnest refinance student loans have some advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of before making a decision. Here are some of the main pros and cons:
- Competitive interest rates: Earnest offers fixed and variable interest rates that are among the lowest in the market. As of October 27, 2023, the fixed rates range from 4.96% to 9.79% APR (with autopay discount) and the variable rates range from 5.49% to 9.74% APR (with autopay discount).
- Flexible repayment terms: Earnest allows you to choose your repayment term from 5 to 20 years, down to the exact month. You can also adjust your monthly payment amount, change your due date, or make extra payments at any time without any fees or penalties.
- No fees: Earnest does not charge any origination, application, prepayment, or late fees for its refinance student loans.
- Skip a payment option: Earnest lets you skip one payment every 12 months, as long as you have made at least six consecutive on-time payments before. You can also request a forbearance of up to three months in case of financial hardship
- Referral bonus: Earnest offers a $200 bonus for each person you refer who successfully refinances their student loans with them.
- High credit score requirement: Earnest requires a minimum credit score of 650 to qualify for its refinance student loans, which may exclude some borrowers with lower or limited credit history.
- No co-signer option for refinancing: Earnest does not allow you to add a co-signer to your refinance student loan application, which may limit your chances of approval or lower rates if you have a weak credit profile
- No co-signer release for private student loans: Earnest does not offer a co-signer release option for its private student loans, which means that your co-signer will remain responsible for the loan until it is paid off or refinanced
- Limited availability: Earnest does not offer its refinance student loans in Nevada. It also does not offer private student loans in Nevada or Kentucky.
How Does Earnest Compare with Other Student Loan Refinancing Options?
Earnest is not the only lender that offers student loan refinancing. There are many other options available in the market, each with its features, benefits, drawbacks, and eligibility criteria. Some of the most popular ones are:
- SoFi: SoFi is one of the largest and most well-known online lenders that offers student loan refinancing, as well as personal loans, mortgages, investing, and banking products. SoFi has competitive interest rates, flexible repayment terms, no fees, and various perks such as career coaching, financial planning, and member discounts. SoFi also allows you to add a co-signer to your refinance application or release them after making 12 consecutive on-time payments. However, SoFi requires a minimum credit score of 650 and does not offer its services in Nevada or Vermont.
- Laurel Road: Laurel Road is an online lender that specializes in student loan refinancing, especially for medical and dental professionals. Laurel Road has low-interest rates, flexible repayment terms, no fees, and a referral bonus. Laurel Road also offers a co-signer release option after making 36 consecutive on-time payments. However, Laurel Road requires a minimum credit score of 660 and does not offer its services in Nevada or Kentucky.
- CommonBond: CommonBond is an online lender that offers student loan refinancing, as well as private student loans and personal loans. CommonBond has competitive interest rates, flexible repayment terms, no fees, and a social impact mission. CommonBond also allows you to add a co-signer to your refinance application or release them after making 24 consecutive on-time payments. However, CommonBond requires a minimum credit score of 660 and does not offer its services in Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota, or Vermont.
How to Choose the Best Student Loan Refinancing Option for You?
Choosing the best student loan refinancing option for you depends on several factors, such as:
- Your credit score and income: These are the main factors that determine your eligibility and interest rate for student loan refinancing. The higher your credit score and income, the more likely you are to qualify and get a lower rate. You should also check your debt-to-income ratio, which is the percentage of your monthly income that goes toward paying your debts. The lower your debt-to-income ratio, the better your chances of approval.
- Your current loan balance and interest rate: These are the main factors that determine how much you can save by refinancing your student loans. The higher your current loan balance and interest rate, the more you can save by refinancing to a lower rate and/or a shorter term. You should also consider the remaining term of your current loans, which is the number of months or years left until you pay them off. The longer your remaining term, the more you can save by refinancing to a shorter term.
- Your repayment goals and preferences: These are the main factors that determine what kind of repayment plan suits you best. You should think about how much you can afford to pay each month, how fast you want to pay off your debt, and how much flexibility you need in case of financial changes. You should also consider whether you want to consolidate all your loans into one or keep some separate for strategic reasons.
To choose the best student loan refinancing option for you, you should:
- Compare multiple lenders and their offers: You should shop around and compare different lenders and their interest rates, terms, fees, features, and customer reviews. You can use online tools such as Earnest’s prequalification tool or Student Loan Planner’s refinance calculator to get personalized estimates from multiple lenders without affecting your credit score.
- Evaluate the trade-offs and risks: You should weigh the pros and cons of each option and understand the trade-offs and risks involved. For example, if you refinance federal student loans into private ones, you will lose access to federal benefits such as income-driven repayment plans, forgiveness programs, deferment, forbearance, and subsidized interest. You should also consider the potential impact of variable interest rates, prepayment penalties, or co-signer obligations on your future finances.
- Choose the option that meets your needs and goals: You should choose the option that offers you the best combination of savings, convenience, flexibility, and security. You should also make sure that you can comfortably afford the monthly payments and stick to the repayment plan until you pay off your debt.
In conclusion, earnest refinance student loans are a great option for borrowers who want to save money and pay off their debt faster with flexible and personalized lending solutions. Earnest offers competitive interest rates, no fees, customizable repayment terms, a payment option, and a referral bonus. However, Earnest also has some drawbacks, such as high credit score requirements, no co-signer option for refinancing, no co-signer release for private student loans, and limited availability.
Before choosing Earnest or any other student loan refinancing option, you should compare multiple lenders and their offers, evaluate the trade-offs and risks, and choose the option that meets your needs and goals.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ): Earnest Refinance Student Loans Reviews: A Comprehensive Guide for 2023
Does earnest offer a refinanced student loan?
Yes, Earnest offers both private and refinanced student loans for undergraduate and graduate students. You can refinance your federal and private student loans into one new loan with a lower interest rate and a customized repayment term.
Is Earnest a good lender?
Earnest has a 5-star rating for its refinancing loan and a 4.5-star rating for its private student loan, as reviewed by NerdWallet. Earnest uses a unique underwriting approach that considers not only your credit score, but also your income, savings, spending habits, and future earning potential.
Does Earnest offer a referral bonus?
Yes, Earnest offers a $200 bonus for each person you refer who successfully refinances their student loans with them.
Is earnest eligible for federal loan forgiveness?
No, Earnest is a private lender and will not be eligible for federal loan forgiveness through the Department of Education If you refinance your federal student loans with Earnest, you will lose access to federal benefits such as income-driven repayment plans, forgiveness programs, deferment, forbearance, and subsidized interest.
Does Earnest have a mobile app?
No, Earnest does not have a mobile app at the moment. However, you can access your account and manage your payments online through their website.