Earnest student loan refinance was founded in 2013. They stand out for an underwriting approach based on a borrower’s earning potential, being one of the easiest companies to get a loan with, and having extremely competitive rates.
In our Earnest student loan refinance review, we provide an overview of the company, pros, and cons as well as who may want to use them. Be sure to check out the other companies by checking out our Best Student Loan Refinance Company review page.
NOTE 7/22/2020: At the onset of the COVID outbreak, Earnest raised their rates significantly. However, a few weeks ago they dropped their rates and are again one of the most competitive in the industry.
Also, to help you, we developed a step-by-step student loan refinance checklist. Complete the info below and we’ll send you the checklist via email!
Table of Contents
- Earnest Student Loan Refinance Overview + Earnest Interest Rates
- 4 Benefits Of Refinancing With Earnest
- 7 Disadvantages Of Refinancing With Earnest
- Earnest Vs. Sofi
Earnest Student Loan Refinance Overview + Earnest Interest Rates
As mentioned above, Earnest student loan refinance uses a unique approach to decide who qualifies for refinancing. They do so by incorporating your earnings potential. In 2017, Earnest was acquired by Navient.
- Currently, they offer fixed and variable rate student loans that range from 5 years – 20 years. Here is an article about fixed and variable rate student loans if you’d like to learn more.
- Current fixed interest rate: 2.98% – 5.89% (Reality: you will probably receive a rate in the 4% range)
- Current variable interest rate: 1.99% – 5.74%
- Loan amounts: $5k – $500k
- You have to have a 650 credit score or higher (Learn one trick to increasing your credit score in this article)
4 Benefits Of Refinancing With Earnest
Below are the benefits of working with Earnest student loan refinance:
- Extremely Good Interest Rates: Earnest has consistently ranked in the top three for having the lowest interest rates in the industry over the past 4 years
- Best Technology: Hands down, Earnest has the best technology of all the student loan refinance companies. From application to funding the loan, they are the fastest. FitBUX has had Members complete refinancing with Earnest in less than a day.
- Unique Approach: Earnest has a unique approach for qualifying you. This approach requires you to link your bank account so they can look at your banking history. Some call this a Pro because it may help qualify applicants who would not qualify with other refinance companies. Others call it a Con because they don’t want to link their accounts. If you don’t want to link your accounts, you don’t need to waste your time applying to refinance your student loans with Earnest.
- Easy To Be Approved: For new grads, Earnest student loan refinance is one of the easiest companies to be approved by. In addition, they provide an additional, albeit indirect, benefit to FitBUX members: 2 of our refinance partners offer to match or beat Earnest’s rate regardless of what you initially qualified for with these partners. We can get a low rate for our Member’s with Earnest and then have others compete to beat it. In the end, you benefit by getting the best rate!
7 Disadvantages Of Refinancing With Earnest
Below are the disadvantages of refinancing with Earnest student loan refinance. Although there are 7 disadvantages vs 3 benefits (mentioned above), in our opinion the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. Also, many of this disadvantages won’t apply to you.
- Availability: Currently, Earnest student loan refinancing is not offered to residents of Kentucky and Nevada.
- Minimal Rep Support: One major benefit of FitBUX’s free refinance service is that we help our Members throughout the refinance process should they need it. We do so by having reps at each company we partner with in case you are having issues with front-line customer service. Unfortunately, we get very limited support from Earnest and often have to go through their general customer service line.
- Not Good For Non-New Grads: If you aren’t a recent graduate and have a decent credit score, then other refinance partners FitBUX works with will give you far better rates than Earnest.
- A Hard Credit Pull: This is actually a warning. When you apply for a quick rate with Earnest, they do a soft-credit check (i.e. it doesn’t hurt your credit score). However, if you go through this process and they don’t show you a rate initially, then they will say something along the lines of “Earnest needs more information to determine your eligibility. Please submit the following information.” What they don’t highlight when displaying this is that you are submitting a formal application at that point, i.e. they will do a hard credit check. A note of caution: 100% of the Members who had to complete this extra step have been denied. In short, if they don’t show you rates initially, then don’t continue.
- No Co-signor: They are the only student loan refinance partner FitBUX works with that doesn’t offer you the ability to add a co-signor.
- No Parent-Plus Loan: If you are a parent, then you can refinance your parent plus loan with Earnest. However, you can not transfer the loan to your child.
- Bought By Navient: As previously mentioned, Earnest was acquired by Navient. So far, they have kept operations separate. However, many times within 3 – 5 years, the company purchasing the new company will completely change everything about them…let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
Earnest vs. Sofi
Earnest, Sofi, and Commonbond were the first innovators in the student loan refinance race. Many of you have seen/heard of Sofi because of their massive marketing efforts. Therefore, we get questions daily asking us to compare Earnest vs Sofi.
Sofi tends to give really good interest rates to the best of the best. For example, those that go to “top notch” schools and have high paying jobs. In regards to interest rates, Earnest doesn’t come close to Sofi for those “upper echelon” student loan borrowers.
SoFi is also better for those that have a co-signer. This is obvious because Earnest doesn’t allow you to have a co-signor. However, if you are using a co-signer, there is a very good chance that another one of our student loan refinance partners will beat Sofi.
However, Earnest is 1,000x better for everybody else relative to Sofi. That is, if you don’t have a co-signor, have a credit score that is 650-775, and have a good amount of student loan debt, then Earnest blows Sofi out of the water….its not even close in regards to who will give you a better interest rate.
Student Loan Refinance Company Reviews By FitBUX
As noted in our Student Loan Refinance Guide, FitBUX partners with 10 student loan refinancing companies. We have an in-depth knowledge of their underwriting guidelines and have been asked by each company not to disclose certain items. We honor their wishes by not giving out specific information such as typical rates for various FICO scores and DTI ratios.
Student loan planners are hard to find. Our FREE student loan planners have helped thousands of Young Professionals manage and eliminate over $1 billion in student loans. We help you develop your plan for free because planning your financial future should not cost you your financial future.
If you would like free expert help deciding if student loan refinancing is right for you, check out FitBUX’s free student loan refinance service.
Also, if you are pursuing student loan forgiveness via an Income-Based repayment plan, do not refinance!