Lendkey Refinance Review

Refinancing is a great way to help manage your debt. Lendkey provides refinancing services, learn more about interest rates, terms, fees and much more. Find out how Lendkey can improve and the pros/cons associated with Lendkey.

Updated by Harshitha B on 10th January 2020

 Refinancing your student loans is a great way to make your debt manageable. With refinancing you may qualify for a lower interest rate and a better repayment term. There are a number of companies that offer refinancing options and services, it is advised to have in-depth knowledge. on what the private lender has to offer. 

Lendkey is one of the refinancing lenders out there here is an overview of what you can expect to avail with Lendkey. 

Before we break down how LendKey works to refinance your loans, let us have a quick look at what Refinancing is, what the buzz surrounding it is all about and how it is supposed to help you pay off your loans in a better way.

Ideally, “refinancing” is supposed to simplify the process of repayment of your loans. Refinancing can do this for you in one or many ways. If you are stuck with an existing difficult student loan (or multiple such student loans) whose demands are hard to meet either in terms of time constraints or financial constraints, refinancing it could be a good idea.

Refinancing is often the process of taking a new loan in order to repay existing loans, both private and federal. This process could allow you to benefit by helping you find a better rate of interest, by lowering your monthly payments and/or merging several loans into one efficient payment.

Let us now have an in-depth look at how refinances loans.

Table of contents

Who is LendKey?

LendKey is a cloud-based, comparison-oriented platform that enables borrowers to receive student loans from credit unions and community banks.

Borrowers who satisfy certain criteria required are matched its partner lenders who come forward to offer loans. Once you choose a loan, make sure you understand that partner lender’s specific terms.

One of LendKey’s main aims is to help borrowers save money on their student loans. Since community banks and credit unions offer some of the lowest interest rates and customer service practices that cater well to student loan borrowers, LendKey has collaborated with thousands of such banks and unions to collect their student loan refinance offers.

These small banks and credit unions often don’t extend their reach beyond a small level. They place very little emphasis on advertising or offering online amenities. Fortunately for them, LendKey steps in and expedites these processes for them, thereby also offering a plethora of lending products to clients seeking competitive rates. LendKey partners with a lot of nonprofit credit unions and banks since their focus is primarily on people and not on profits.

Is Lendkey a lender?

It is, however, important to note that LendKey is NOT a lender. Once a loan is chosen, it moves with the bank or credit union you choose. LendKey merely services the loans and manages much of the loan application process, ensuring that you only see offers from lenders that operate in your area.

LendKey lets consumers explore a range of services such as refinancing, private student loans, and home improvement loans.

LendKey works to offer the best of both the two main types of lenders: startups with low-interest rates but the subdued presence or limited reputation and established banks and lenders with comparatively higher interest rates. Borrowers are permitted to compare these rates, weigh the pros and cons involved and go ahead with choosing a particular lender.


Interest rate, fees, and terms

Let’s first have a look at the figures that LendKey offers.

Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get

No

Loan terms

5, 10 or 15 years

Loan amounts

$1,000 up to the total cost of attendance, minus other aid received

Application or origination fee

No

Prepayment penalty

No

Late fees

Yes; $5 to $15, depending on the lender, after payment is 15 days late

 


Worried about your college tuition? Find the best student loan suited for you


Pros and Cons of Refinancing with LendKey

Top perks

LendKey offers numerous perks. Here are some of the factors that borrowers need to know:

  • Low-interest rates: LendKey’s partners offer low-interest rates. They offer variable rates between 1.90% and 8.59% and fixed rates between 3.49% and 7.75%. Even though these interest rates seem competitive with the offerings of big banks and online lenders, you are required to have a strong credit score and income to be eligible for the lowest rates. Applying with suitable cosigner works too.

  • Easy comparison of multiple offers: The LendKey’s platform for student loan refinancing makes the selection process easy and painless. It is easy to use, and it allows you to compare rates with multiple lenders at once.

  • Provides unique offers: Most local or small-scale setups that could provide you with comparatively lower rates and personalized customer service go unnoticed. LendKey gives us a chance to connect with these lenders.

  • Good unemployment protection:  They offer 18 months of paused payments if you become uneventfully unemployed. It’s always a perk to have considered if your future job stability is unknown.

  • Quality customer service: LendKey’s customer service reps will serve you from the time you start browsing until the last payment on your loans.

  • Offers death and disability protection: So far, LendKey has forgiven loans where the borrower uneventfully became disabled or passed away.

  • Autopay discount: LendKey also provides a 0.25% interest rate reduction for clients who agree to automatic debiting of their loan payments from a bank account.

  • No fees: No origination or prepayment fee is charged by LendKey for its loans.

  • Flexible terms: Borrowers can choose from five, seven, 10, 15, and 20-year repayment terms.

  • LendKey also advertises an interest: only repayment option for the first four years of the loan.  While not recommended for most circumstances, if you are a resident physician or someone who is likely to have a relatively low salary initially, it could be a good option.

  • Federal and private loans: LendKey allows borrowers to refinance both loans, unlike most refinancing lenders who only refinance private student loans.

  • Soft credit pull: LendKey allows customers to check interest rate offers without affecting their credit score.

  • Cosigners welcome: Borrowers can apply with an eligible cosigner in order to improve their chances of availing a loan approval and to possibly get lower interest rates.

  • Deferment options: Borrowers are permitted to temporarily suspend their payments during times of financial hardship.

  • Long loan forbearance: You can delay payments for up to 18 months, in six-month increments, if you become unemployed.

  • Return Policy: LendKey agrees on a 30-day no-fee return policy that permits you to cancel the loan within 30 days of issuance without fees or interest.

Cons

  • Not available to all states: Borrowers who live in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and West Virginia are not eligible to avail loans.

  • Maximum loan limits: LendKey’s professional degree loans cap out at $250,000 and $300,000.

  • Excludes offers from other banks and online lenders: You may miss out on a better interest rate if they aren’t LendKey’s partner lender.

  • Payment postponement is unavailable if borrowers return to school or serve in the military.

  • You may have to join a credit union and open a checking or savings account if they provide your loan.

  • Rates may vary depending on where you live. Due to this, even if you have good credit and little debt, you may not get the low rate. The published rate on LendKey is the least possible but some lenders are only available to residents of specific areas.

  • Lack of filters when comparing offers: It is only possible to filter the loans based on annual percentage rate, monthly payment, term and type of rate.

To compare other important features of comparison, such as a graduated repayment plan, co-signer release, forbearance options, you’ll need to select a loan offer to see the lender and contact the lender directly.

  • Refinancing of parent loans or test-prep loans is not possible. LendKey may allow you to combine your federal and private student loans, but you can’t include parent loans. 

  • You must earn your degree to qualify. If you leave before earning a degree after taking out a student loan, you won’t be able to refinance through LendKey.


Looking to refinance? Pick from our list of top places to refinance student loans


How Lendkey could improve?

While LendKey does have its list of perks, there are some potential drawbacks that could be worked on:

  • A degree is a must: completion of associates, undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate degree from an eligible school makes one eligible for refinancing.

  • Good credit required for low-interest rates: the best rates are reserved for clients with exceptionally good credit scores of 830 or higher and only to those requesting a five-year loan term.

  • No interest rate range stated: LendKey does not specify a high and low bound on the interest rate offered by lenders.


Eligibility Criteria

Financial Requirements

Minimum credit score

660

Minimum income

$24,000 per year. $12,000 per year with a co-signer

A typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers

754

Typical income of approved borrowers

$63,000 per year

Maximum debt-to-income ratio

50%

Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy

Yes, after five years

Other Requirements

Citizenship

U.S. citizen or permanent resident

Location

No loans available in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island or West Virginia

Graduation Status

Graduated with at least an associate degree

Must have attended a school authorized to receive federal aid

Yes

Percentage of borrowers with a cosigner

18%


Application Process

Follow the following steps to apply for refinancing your loan with LendKey.

Fill out the application

Share the following details:

  • Name, address, email address and phone number

  • Citizenship status

  • Total annual income

  • School you graduated from and the type of degree you earned.

  • The estimated total loan amount you want to refinance and the loan type or types

You may need to include a co-signer’s information.

There is no need for your Social Security number, although it is required that you be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Compare loan offers

The number of results you’ll get depends on the information in your application, including your location and the types of loans you are eligible for.

You can filter the results by searching for an interest range, monthly payment range, loan terms or interest rate type, and sort the results based on desired factors.

Choose a lender

You will be shown which banks or credit unions can refinance your loans with preferred terms. Confirm once you’ve decided on the terms and picked your lender.

Submit an application

Submit your application and permit the lender to do an inquiry. You may have to enter your Social Security number and date of birth. Also create an account, which will allow you to log in and submit the required documents or check your loan status later.

Review the loan disclosure form before submission of the application. Opt for a graduated repayment plan if you might want to release a co-signer. You may want to contact the specific lender to check if it offers other benefits.

Review the conditional loan offer

After submission, LendKey will review your credit and approve it for a loan. Review the terms before proceeding.

Verify your information

Verify your information. You could upload relevant documents and details for the same.

Final approval and loan disbursement

LendKey will send through your information to the lender, who will reply with the official loan document for you to sign. After you sign, the lender will pay the student loans that you’re refinancing and you’ll start making payments toward the new loan.

Continue paying your loans until completion of the process.


Repayment Options

In-School Repayment Options

Flat-fee

Pay a fee of $25 a month when you’re in school for up to 5 years. Complete payments are due after that point.

Interest-only

Pay monthly interest when you’re in school for up to 5 years. complete payments are due after that point.

Post-School Repayment Options

Grace period

6 months

In-school deferment

No, borrowers are prohibited from requesting deferment of payments when returning to school.

Military deferment

No.

Forbearance

Borrowers are eligible for 1.5 years of forbearance, in six-month increments, over the duration of the loan.

Co-signer release available

Yes, after 2 years.

Death or disability discharge

Loan agreements do not guarantee it, but automatic discharge has been a common practice among lenders.

Repayment Preferences

Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay

Yes

Allows biweekly payments via autopay

No


When is refinancing with LendKey a good idea?

Here are the following factors when refinancing with Lendkey is a good idea - 

  • You got your degree

  • You have excellent credit. Student-loan refinancing is always a good idea if your income or credit situation is very good.

  • You’d prefer to do business with a community bank or credit union. LendKey allows you to compare rates offered by various lenders.

  • You are looking to save money on origination fees.

  • You have multiple loans and wish to consolidate them into one with lower interest for efficient handling given that you satisfy the other mentioned factors. This could even end up saving a good amount of money on your repayment.


When is refinancing with LendKey a bad idea?

Here are the following factors when refinancing with Lendkey is a bad idea - 

  • LendKey might not be a good option if you have federal student debt. Government benefits such as a range of repayment and forgiveness plans, prolonged or delayed repayment periods, income-based repayment plans and some forgiveness plans would be eliminated with LendKey.

  • LendKey doesn’t offer exhaustive and transparent information about the banks and credit unions, including their reputation or any other fine details that are part of the loan. Depending on your interest in detail, LendKey might not be the best pick for you.

  • Keep an eye out for your long term expenditure over the course of the loan.

  • Location-based loan offerings by LendKey is another con. So do look for other options if you are looking for the absolute best fit for your needs, regardless of your location.


A brief comparison with others

Although LendKey is one of the leading student loan providing platforms in the market currently, there are also many others who are dominating the market. Let us see how LendKey sizes up against them.

 

LendKey

Citizens Bank

PenFed Credit Union

Loan repayment terms in years

5, 7, 10, 15, 20

5, 7, 10, 15, 20

5, 8, 12, 15

Loan amount

$7,500 to $175,000

$10,000 to $350,000 (depending on your level of education)

$7,500 to $300,000

Cosigner release

Check with your lender

Yes, applications accepted after 3 years of continuous payments(36 months)

Yes, applications accepted after 1 year of continuous payments(12 months)

Transfer of parent loan to a child

No

Yes

Yes

Servicer of loan

LendKey Technologies Inc.

Firstmark Services

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed)

Apt for

Graduates with exceptional credit

Those who wish to reduce their monthly payment

With a cosigner

With the above table, we get to know what Lendkey has to offer when compared to other refinancing lenders. It is advised to have an in-depth understanding of what a refinancing lender has to offer before you go ahead with them. Be well aware of all the options available to you before you go ahead with a decision.