Earnest Reviews

Earnest Review

The process of refinancing student loans can be difficult. It may even seem like a tall order trying to trim down the number of loans you have and looking to get the lowest interest rate, and you may end up giving up. You shouldn’t though.

There are companies that specialize in helping students tackle their debts in a more organized and affordable manner.

Earnest is one of the companies that aims to streamline this refinancing process for college students. They use a merit-based underwriting that takes more factors into account compared to other lenders in the industry.

Under the Earnest system, borrowers can find acceptable ways to save their money while refinancing their loans.

Earnest is good for Refinancing:

Earnest provides loans of up to $75,000 to borrowers who have got good credit and solid finances. It Is, therefore, a good fit if;

You have a good credit score – The minimum credit score for you to qualify for an earnest loan is 680. You must also have a history of on-time payments.

If you don’t carry consumer debts – If you have large amounts of consumer debts, you most probably will not qualify for an earnest loan. These debts include credit cards and personal loans.

If you consistently save your money – Earnest is happy with customers that are good with money. If you have a savings account and can show proof of how much savings you make per month or year, then, you are a good candidate for an earnest loan.

Earnest loan rates and terms:

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Loan amounts $5,000 to $75,000
Typical APR 6.99% – 18.24%
Fees Origination fee: None
Late fee: None
Prepayment fee: None
Time to funding In a weeks' time.
Repayments The repayments are done monthly for a period of 3 years.
Soft credit check? Yes
How to qualify Minimum credit score: 650. History of on-time payments.
Proof of consistent income.
No bankruptcies in past 3 years. No open collections account.
You must be living in the District of Columbia or in any other state other than Alabama, Nevada Delaware, Kentucky, or Rhode Island.
Best for People who have a good credit score, have consistent income and are low in debt.

Other features of Earnest loans:


This is one of the biggest advantages of Earnest loans. They are extremely flexible, and the approval process only requires very few qualifications. You can qualify for one of their loans even with a non-existent credit history.

If you do not have good credit, earnest can easily approve your loan for refinancing by simply looking at a few other factors that concern you, such as stable employment, the ability to repay the loan at hand and also your saving culture. However, if your credit history is extremely bad, then you may not qualify for one of their loans.

Whenever you apply for an earnest loan, you must link your banking history to the application.

Repayment period:

Earnest has flexible repayment terms, which you can easily customize before getting approval for your loan. They give you plenty of control to pick your repayment period and the rate that you want if you qualify.

Another option you have with earnest loans is the ability to skip a payment and make up for it later on in case you are in a fix. This is what they call forbearance for people who accidentally lose their jobs before they complete the repayment.

If you are serving in active duty, you can also defer your payments. These are options that allow you to temporarily pause the repayment of your loan until such a time when you are stable financially, and you can resume the repayment.

Their loans are serviced in-house:

They offer one on one management of the loan applications and rarely do they pass you off to a third party to handle your loan request. Their on-hand loan officers will call you and talk to you about the loan you have applied, which makes it easy for you to negotiate for your loans.

Non-traditional underwriting techniques:

This is a technique that helps borrowers who have trouble getting approval of their loans from other lenders.

In addition to credit score evaluation, they go a step further and look at other issues such as the borrowers' education level, their financial aspects, and work history.

In addition to all this; Earnest loans;

  • Do not charge extra fees for early or late repayments of the loans.
  • You can repay the loans weekly, which enables you to save money on interest.
  • Have a mobile app for tracking and managing your repayment.
  • Give a 0.25% discount if you are enrolled in their autopay system.
  • Gives you the ability to switch from variable and fixed rates every six months.

Earnest is not good for: Parent Plus Loans:

Earnest credit has plenty of benefits, but the one thing you must put in mind is the fact that; You cannot refinance a Parent Plus loan. This is quiete disadvantageous especially if the loan has been exhausted and you still have a year or two of college.

In addition, if you have bad credit or have consistently been making the wrong decisions concerning your savings and income, they will not offer you a loan, and if they do, it will be at a very high-interest rate.

Also read: What to do if your parent plus loan is denied

Minimum credit score:

As mentioned earlier, the minimum credit score for an earnest loan is 650. You must meet this requirement for you to qualify for one of their loans.

If you have had financial problems in the past, then this may not necessarily be the right loan company for you. Once you realize that you have bad credit, you will need to improve on it before you can qualify for a loan.

Another point you must consider is that you may still not be able to refinance your loans with Earnest if the loans you have currently are not in good standing.

Also read: A guide to Credit Score for College Students

Cosigner option:

Earnest doesn't have the option for a cosigner. A cosigner is important when taking a loan, especially if you have bad credit. They can help improve your chances.

Other loan providers allow this option of a cosigner, and it enables you to even qualify for a bigger loan and to also qualify even when your credit score is bad.

Eligibility requirements:

In order to qualify for an earnest loan, you must have the following;

  • A debt that must have accrued by paying for your education from a Title IV accredited college.
  • You should either be undertaking your degree or be in the last semester in school.
  • If you are employed, ensure to have a letter of offer, and show that you have a steady income that can be used to pay the loan.
  • You should be at least 18 years of age, and a permanent resident of the US, or US citizen.
  • You must be the primary borrower of the loan because Earnest does not allow co-signer option.

Earnest Vs. Sofi Vs. Upstart

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SoFi Logo


upstart logo


6.99% – 18.24%

Min credit score


Time to funding

Within a week


5.74% – 16.99% (with autopay)

Min credit score


Time to funding

Typically 7 days


8.89% – 35.99%

Min credit score


Time to funding

one day or three days for education loans


Upstart and SoFi offer similar loans to students who are new to credit, but they have a poor score and a low earning potential. They should, however, be responsible for their finances.

SoFi offers higher loans of up to $100,000 compared to Earnest, and they do not require minimum credit history, although borrowers must have a credit score of at least 700 or higher. They must also have high-income levels and a demonstration of good money management.

Upstart, on the other hand, offers loans that range between $1,000 – $50,000. They have a higher APR compared to Earnest and SoFi, and they consider a borrower's academic credentials during the underwriting process in addition to the credit scores.

Our thoughts on Earnest Loans:

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Eanest loans figures


Fixed APR

3.89% – 7.89%

Good This is very good and much lower compared to the other lenders in the market.
Loan amount:


$5,000 – $500,000

Good This is a high amount, however some users claim that other lenders can give up to $750,000
Loan repayment terms:


5-20 years

Good This is the average for most lenders.


Does not operate in all states.

Not good If you reside in any of the excempted states, it means that you are not eligible for an earnest loan.
Origination fees:



Very good Most other lenders charge this, and therefore it is a big plus for Earnest loans.


Earnest loans have a lot more to offer their clients in terms of flexibility and the application process compared to other options, and in addition, their terms are better too.

Choosing to refinance your loans is a great idea, especially if you find yourself stuck in a rut, where you are spending too much money paying off your student loans. Refinancing helps you save some money in the process, and consolidate the loans into one.

We recommend Earnest loans as they have better terms and they pay closer attention to the borrowers, in ensuring that they get what they need.

You can also be able to choose how you wish to repay the loan, and more importantly, you can defer the loan in case of a financial challenge, which almost everyone will appreciate.

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