Earnest vs SoFi: Compare before choosing

Learn about Earnest and SoFi. Understand the comparison made between Earnest and SoFi Student loans and student loan refinancing. See the differences and deciding factors to conclude on your choice of lender.

Updated by Kanishkar P on 17th July 2020

Exhausted your federal student loans and still in need of money for your study expenses? Or looking for good refinancing options?

You can seek private student loan lenders. But again, are you confused to choose a particular private lender from the long lenders’ list?

Here’s something that can help you make your choice. In this article, we give you a comparison between the two biggest lending firms.

Table of Contents

About Earnest

Earnest is a financial institution founded in 2013, with its headquarters located in SanFransisco. Since then it has been actively providing its services in terms of personal loans, student loans, student loan refinancing, and few other programs. Earnest has grown as one among the leading lenders in the US in a short period because of its customer-friendly policies and lower interest rates. In addition to student loan refinancing, Earnest distributes personal loans ranging from $5,000 to $75,000. Earnest’s services are spread over the country in almost all the states except for a few.

Explore more on Earnest, to know about student loans and student loan refinancing by earnest.  

About SoFi

SoFi was founded in 2011 at SanFransisco.Its founders came up with this institution to help the students who were in need. Over time SoFi has not only restricted its services to students but has widened them for other borrowers also. Sofi by far being the leading lending firm, provides personal loans, student loans, mortgage refinancing, student loan refinancing and more. To keep up its primary motto to serve students in need, it offers students with various benefits on their loans. Knowing more about SoFi Student Loans might be useful for you to decide on the lender options. 

Earnest vs SoFi Student Loans

Earnest and SoFi being the top-ranked student loan lenders, have most of their student loan features in common. They differ in a few aspects as well. Take a look at the comparison made between Earnest and SoFi.





Minimum loan



Maximum loan


No maximum limit

Variable APR

1.99% to 6.89%APR

2.31% to 7.36%APR

Fixed APR

3.20% to 6.99%APR

3.46% to 7.36%APR

Autopay discount

0.25% discount

Available (rate not specified)

Loan Term

5 - 20 years

5 - 20 years

Pay ahead penalty



State Residency

Most states with the exception of some

All states eligible

Degree Requirements

Associates or higher

Associates or higher

Income Requirements



Employment Requirements

Must be employed or have a job offer to start within 6 months

Must be employed or have a job offer to start within 90days

Can use a cosigner?



Is cosigner release available?

Only on existing loans


Interest-only payments

Not allowed 

Not allowed

Organization fees



Soft Credit check



Unemployment Protection



Loan discharge on disability or death



The comparisons made above in the table describe most of the features that play a major role in choosing a lender.  

Earnest vs SoFi Student loan refinancing

Almost all private lenders offer refinancing as a service. Refinancing your student loans will help you reduce the interest rates on your student loan. Even Earnest and SoFi provide student loan refinancing facilities.

Interest rates on the refinanced student loans set by Earnest and SoFi are:

Student Loan Refinancing



Variable APR(starts at)



Fixed APR(starts at)



Earnest claims that student loan refinancing helps clients to save $30,939 on an average.

Similarly, SoFi claims that its clients save an average of $290 per month through student loan refinancing. 

Learn more about Earnest Student Loan Refinancing if you are interested to refinance your student loans with Earnest.

If you feel SoFi is the right option to refinance your student loans, explore more on SoFi student loan refinancing.

Differences and deciding factors

  • Most prior, application criteria for getting approved for your student loan differs between the two companies. SoFi is more concerned about your credit scores and income when you apply. But Earnest is least concerned about these two factors. Instead, Earnest’s approach looks at more financial records to get a better idea of your responsibility with money and the ability to pay. But this approach has a drawback, it might require more records before your loan is approved successfully. 

  • The main factor that distinguishes SoFi from Earnest and any other lender is the job placement program. In case if you lose your job during your student loan repayment period and are unable to make payments towards your loan, you can apply for a deferment or forbearance. Most of the lenders provide options in such cases. A deferment or forbearance can keep you away from making payments towards your student loan for a short period. But SoFi is a bit different from other lenders, it offers a better solution than deferment and forbearance. At SoFi, there are employees who help you find a new job so that you can return to a state of financial stability. This helps you resume the repayments regularly. It’s a mutual benefit for both the lender and the borrower. SoFi, by fetching a job for you rescues you from falling behind and inturn helps itself to get its money back from you.

  • SoFi offers a bonus of $150 to its new borrowers when they consolidate their loans, whereas there is no such bonus or any discounts offered by Earnest on student loan consolidation.   

Concluding Thoughts

Earnest and SoFi are being the top lenders as both of them have good offers and provide student loans and student loan refinancing at lower rates when compared to other private lenders. Except for a few features, both have similar core characteristics. When interest rates are considered SoFi might take an over edge with slightly lesser rates when compared to Earnest. The interest rate alone doesn’t decide which lender is better, and between these two top lenders, it is hard to choose. You can go for either of them depending on your convenience and requirements. These are not the only options either, there are other lenders also whom you need to explore. You need to understand the student loans in-depth and know about different lenders to get the best student loans

If you are seeking private student loans then Earnest and SoFi must be your primary options to go. Only in case, if you don’t qualify for any of these two, check out the other lender options available.

Use the following information to contact Earnest and SoFi:  

Contact Details

If you wish to get in touch with Earnest you can use the following-

Email - [email protected]

Phone - (888)601-2801

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

If you wish to get in touch with SoFi you can use the following - 

Telephone number - 855-456-7634

E-mail[email protected]



PO Box 1022

Chesterfield, MO 63006-1022