Earnest Student Loan Refinancing - Is It Right For You?

Looking to refinance your student loans? Earnest is one of the refinancing lenders which you should consider. Read more on the eligibility, documentation requirements and features one can avail if they refinance with Earnest.

Updated by Taskeen Fatema on 10th June 2020

Earnest is a San Francisco based financial company that offers personal loans, private student loans and refinancing of students loan. The company uses technologies such as algorithm software to evaluate a person’s full education, employment, and financial profile, beyond a person's traditional credit history or FICO score to obtain a complete financial profile of each applicant. It is merit-based lending. It was co-founded by Louis Beryl and Benjamin Hutchinson in 2013.  

Earnest built a modern financial institution that actually conveys on making clients’ lives satisfying by Serving the fundamental role of a lender. It helps the client by providing them with low-cost lending and allows them to customize their repayment plan according to their needs and comfort. By combining technologies like data science, streamlined design, including exceptional service helps people get fast and low-cost hyper-personalized financial experience.

Its goal is to make credit more available by reducing the costs and barriers encountered by people.it operates online uses its own website earnest.com and also has launched mobile apps for Android as well as iOS.

It also grants personal loans including medical, moving, vacation, wedding, engagement ring loan, home improvement loan and credit card consolidation loan. It not only serves the citizens but students as well, it also provides Private Student Loans and Student Loan Refinance. 

Let us dive into refinancing student loans with Earnest and whether Earnest refinance is the right refinancing lender for you.

If you are looking for Earnest reviews, then here is our Earnest review.

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Earnest Student loan refinance review

While applying for Earnest Student Loan refinance there is no applicable application fee, nor the origination fee, or the prepayment fee. There are no late fees even if you miss to pay on time in Earnest. After making 6 monthly payments it provides you with an option of skipping a payment and can be done once every 12 months towards your Earnest loans. It offers payment flexibility you can make prepayments to pay off faster and nothing extra would be charged. 

According to your comfort, you can easily shift from fixed rate to variable rate or variable to fixed even without paying the fee for 6 months. The APR depends on the interest and financial profile that you chose at the time of requesting the Earnest loan. Under the Auto-payments discount, Earnest refinance offers you a discount of 0.25% on enrolling in auto payment.

With a written job offer Earnest allows you refinance even if you are in the final semester at school. Helpful for those who want to pay back their loans.  Earnest also gives hardship assistance. In which in the case of financial hardship Earnest grants forbearance. Earnest allows you to delay your loan for three years. Earnest also gives a grace period,  it may be extended for a maximum of 9 months increasing the applied interest rate on the Earnest loan in the grace period.

Earnest offers loans and refinances in few selected states of the U.S. the following states are Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia or Texas. It also checks whether the client belongs to these states or not.  

Pros of Earnest Student Loans

Earnest student loans have been popularly known for the amazing features that it offers to its clients. It not only focuses on the transaction with the client but takes care of the client's demands. Here are some benefits that a borrower enjoys while applying for Earnest refinance and Earnest private student loans.

There are loan amounts starting from $5,000 to $500,000.

You can choose to start from $5,000 to $500,000. There is a wide range in the amount that can be borrowed from the Earnest. So, if a student looks forward to pursuing higher education which is expensive, now can easily apply for a higher loan amount.

Loan period ranging from  60 months to 240 months. 

It offers you a loan period starting from 5 years to 20 years. You are free to choose the term period depending upon your budget.

Merit-based lending

Even if you don't have a good credit score but a potential study and recover the loan. Earnest will look at your living expenses, savings and also considers other facts, other than your credit. This is the main advantage of Earnest Loans.

The minimum credit score should be 650

Even if the credit history is not good it also considers other factors based on what the loan can be approved. 

Variable rates and fixed rates.

The variable rate is 2.5% and the fixed is 3.50 You can also switch between a variable rate and fixed rate vice versa.

Refinances all the private student loans

With Earnest, federal student loans, consolidated and parent PLUS  student Loans by combining all the loans and merging it into one with low interest.

The application and approval process is faster

There are two applications, one is pre-application and then the application form. After validation of pre-application, you allowed filling the applications for if verified. While availing services from Earnest it should be noted that - 

  • No, extra origination fee charged while applying.

  • No, extra fee charged for disbursement.

  • No extra charges for prepayments. 

  • The total grace period of 9 months, is 3 months more than the other lenders comparatively.

  • No late fee charged on late payments.

  • Covers approximately 100% of a school's certified courses.

  • The option of skipping payments once per year after your repayment has started.

  • Provides Client Happiness team for experts support can directly call the Earnest executive and enquire.

  • Payment flexibility can customize payments accordingly to your budget.

  • A discount of 0.25 % for, enabling an AutoPay facility for your loan. 

Cons of Earnest Students Loan

  • The applicant can apply with a co-signer but cannot release the co-signer until the loan is paid.

  • May not be approved if the individual does not have enough savings.

  • Rates are not low as compared to the other lenders.

  • There is no availability in every state. It only serves in the limited states in the U.S. 

Worried about your college tuition? Learn more about student loans

How does Earnest student loan refinancing work?

Earnest Student Loan Refinance combines and consolidates your existing federal and private education loans into a single loan. This new loan will usually carry a lower interest rate. This new loan comes with no origination fee. The borrowers can always choose between a fixed or variable rate loan when refinancing.

One should consider Earnest refinancing as an option to tackle their student loan debt if they are looking - 

  • for a lower interest rate

  • to customize their loan payment 

  • simplify the payments to be made by combining all their loans 

  • to choose a suitable loan term

  • to remove a co-signer

Features of Refinancing with Earnest Student Loans

Earnest gives student loans and refinancing options to students as well as parents who have student loans and other college debt.  The terms and conditions, and features of earnest student loans and student loan refinance are almost similar. Earnest student loan refinance provides the following features

  • Variable and fixed interest rates. Variable-rate starting at 2.50% and fixed-rate starting at 3.89%.

  • Auto-payment discount of 0.25%.

  • The option to make customized payment (one can choose the time period and the amount of the payment to be paid).

  • Repayment terms of extending from 5 to 20 years (can be customized by the client).

  • Hardship assistance, Deferment and forbearance benefits for individuals fall into financial hardship.

  • No additional origination fees or prepayment fines.

  • Minimum loan amount of $5,000 and a maximum of $500,000.

  • The borrower should have a minimum credit score of 650.

Earnest terms and features
Existing benefits of the terms
Variable-rate of interest 2.5% - 7.27%
The fixed rate of interest 3.89% - 7.89%
The auto-payment discount of 0.25 points added
Loan period
Minimum 5 years to a maximum of 20 years
Loan amount
$5,000 to $500,000.
Co-signer availability
No co-signer added
Transfer Parent loan to child loan No

Earnest is a modern financial institution, the customized payment option provided by them to their borrowers is a standout feature. Here the borrower has the option to choose the amount and time period during the repayment of the loan to Earnest.

 Online Loan Application

 Today many lenders are on online platforms in this Earnest gives a borrower a quick and easy way to apply for an online loan application for those who are interested in applying for a refinanced loan as the app only takes two minutes and will require basic information such as about borrower education, financial questions, and current residence. The best thing about the application is it will not affect the credit score. 

After the process, Earnest will send a quote to the borrower and will require information about their savings, earning potential, and more into account before accepting your application and offering you a refinanced loan.

Flexible approval process

Earnest refinancing loan approval is possible even with a short or nonexistent credit history and that is the Earnest biggest advantage as Earnest could approve the student loan refinancing based on several other factors such as your checking, savings and investments accounts — are considered during the process.

When you apply for student loans, your bank accounts get linked with your Earnest profile as they do for budgeting the cost. Earnest’s approval process is unique because it looks not just at borrower income and current debt, but also other aspects, like their job history and this, make it easy to get a loan from them as this alternative make convenient to those as well who are not having a good score history.

And one more benefit is that if students looking for refinancing the loan without a degree, Earnest also opens refinancing to current students who are within six months of graduating and hold a job offer.

Flexible repayment options

Earnest is well known for its flexible repayment terms that you can customize before locking in your loan. In this you can choose your repayment term from abroad range of options automatically receiving an interest rate and monthly payment, you’re in control. And for those who have excellent credit, they can choose from one of 180 options spanning every month between five and 20 years.

In this, a borrower can also choose to skip one payment a year and make it up later. An additional advantage of choosing Earnest as it offers forbearance if unexpectedly he/she loses the job, as well as deferment if you’re returning to school or serving active duty in the military. These options can help you extend as they allow the borrower to temporarily pause her/his payments, making it a little easier to manage their student loan debt but note that interest will continue to accrue onto the balance while you’re away from repayment.

Eligibility for student loan refinancing with Earnest

There are some requirements that a client should fulfill for applying for a loan

  • It is compulsory for an applicant to be at least 18 years old or more.

  • The applicant should be a citizen of the U.S. or should have a 10-year Permanent Resident Card (compulsory).

  • Takes account of your savings and the applicant must have at least 2 months of living expenses.

  • The living expense should be less than what is earned by the applicant.

  • We should have an increasing bank balance in your account.

  • The debt on credit card should be less.

  • The applicant must have past of making payments on time.

  • You should not be regularly charged on making late or overdraft fees.

  • The applicant must show earning potential to pay off the loan.

  • It is compulsory for a student to be in the final semester or should be a graduate.

  • The borrower must be employed or having a written job offer is acceptable.

  • The applicant requires to have a credit score of at least 650.

  • The applicant's credit history should be good.

  • The applicant must be situated in one of the states in which Earnest offers loans.

Documentation required to refinance with Earnest Student loans

  • Applicant’s name, address, and phone number.

  • The highest qualification achieved by the students in college or school.

  • The total credit that one earns annually, including monthly rent and mortgage payments. All the accounts, including retirement and investment accounts.

  • The pending student loan balance.

  • The email address for creating an account.

  • The applicant’s address proof of the client to check the client is U.S. citizens or not and is a resident of the state in which Earnest provides its service.

  • SSN, Social security number.

  • Approval for Earnest refinancing conducts a soft credit inquiry.

If you have doubts regarding the documentation required you can get in touch with Earnest by the following - 

Email - hello@earnest.com

Phone - (888)601-2801

Address - 303 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, 94107

Refinancing is a great way to go about tackling your student loan debt but it is not for everyone. And Earnest is a great tool for refinancing. There are situations where a borrower would have been better off without refinancing. It is crucial to be well aware of all the options available before jumping into a conclusion. So be well aware of the options out there and pick one which is best suited for you. For other options, choose from the best companies that refinance your student loans.

What to keep in mind with Earnest loans

 While Earnest offers many benefits some of the things  that should be taken care of when proceeding with the application such as the company didn’t operate in  Delaware, Kentucky, and Nevada while other factors to keep in mind include:

Minimum credit score

Earnest considers the other factors as well for the application eligibility but still, a borrower needs a minimum credit score in fact to get approval for the application you need a score of 650 or above. The earnest loan might be not a good option then for you if you had financial problems in the past and chances may be that you won’t qualify but these situations can be with any lenders so it’s better to improve the financial situation before applying anywhere else.

No cosigner option

Earnest student loans, however, don’t have a cosigner option for refinancing. 

No changing ownership of a Parent PLUS Loan

While Earnest offers parents the ability to refinance Parent PLUS Loans borrowed from the federal government, but you can’t refinance under your child’s name.