Earnest is a fast-growing fintech lender specializing in student loan refinancing and other financial products and services. Its tech-powered underwriting software quickly analyzes each applicant’s unique profile, allowing it to make quick decisions and offer competitive rates. Earnest offers what it calls “radical flexibility” on student loan refis, allowing borrowers to pick their payment and loan term. Earnest was founded in 2013 and acquired in 2017 by Navient Corp, but continues to operate as a separate brand.
Loan types: Refinance federal and private loans
APRs: From 1.74% (variable) APR and 2.44% (fixed) APR *with autopay discount²
Repayment terms: 5-20 years³
Refi amount: $5,000 to $500,000 (N.B. California residents must refinance at least $10,000)
Origination fees: No
Earnest offers variable-rate loans starting from 1.74%* APR and fixed-rate loans starting from 2.44%* APR (with autopay discount²), ranking it among the best providers of student loan refinancing in America. There is one catch with variable rates: residents of Alaska, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas are not eligible (in addition to residents of Delaware, Kentucky, and Nevada – who are not eligible for any of Earnest’s products).
Once you're approved, Earnest lets you choose your monthly payment. As you move towards a lower monthly payment, you’ll see how much your loan term and total interest increase. As you move towards a higher monthly payment, the exact opposite will happen and you’ll see how much your loan term and total interest decrease.
Earnest never charges origination fees or prepayment penalties.
*Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account.
Earnest lets you pick your preferred repayment term in monthly increments from 5-20 years (e.g. 8 years, 3 months; 12 years, 10 months; 16 years, 7 months).³ As your loan term changes, you’ll see how it affects your monthly payments and total interest3. In this respect, Earnest is much more flexible than most other student loan refinance providers.
Earnest builds a lot of flexibility into your student loan refinance, including:
When you share your personal referral link or code with your friends and family, you will each receive $200 when they refinance their student loans with Earnest. Due to state limitations, Earnest is unable to provide bonuses to residents of Massachusetts, Michigan, and Kentucky.
Earnest takes applications for student loan refinancing online, on mobile (the website is optimized for mobile), or on the phone. Simply apply and upload all your documents and review the loan options. Most approved borrowers get a final decision within 72 hours.
Eligible students must be:
Unfortunately, Earnest does not allow cosigners when applying for a student loan refinance. If you have a cosigner on your old student loan(s), then they will automatically be released upon approval of a student loan refinance from Earnest.
Judging from the 4.7-star Trustpilot rating from 4,000+ reviewers, Earnest is a hit with the vast majority of borrowers it serves. Check out the Help Center on the Earnest website for answers to frequently asked questions and contact information. Earnest Operations LLC is based in San Francisco.
Earnest stands out from its competitors in the student loan refinance market for two reasons: its seamless application process and the flexibility it gives borrowers. When you use Earnest to refinance your old student loans, you really do get the power to customize the loan the way you want. If low monthly payments are priority, good for you; and if paying less interest over the life of the loan is more important, good for you too.
Choosing to refinance to a longer term may lower your monthly payment, but increase
the amount of interest you may pay. Choosing to refinance to a shorter term may
increase your monthly payment, but lower the amount of interest you may pay. Review
your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
Earnest clients may skip one payment every 12 months. Your first request to skip a payment can be made once you’ve made at least 6 months of consecutive on-time payments, and your loan is in good standing. The interest accrued during the skipped month will result in an increase in your remaining minimum payment. The final payoff date on your loan will be extended by the length of the skipped payment periods. Please be aware that a skipped payment does count toward the forbearance limits. Please note that skipping a payment is not guaranteed and is at Earnest’s discretion. Your monthly payment and total loan cost may increase as a result of postponing your payment and extending your term.
You can take advantage of the Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. For multi-party loans, only one party may enroll in Auto Pay.
These examples provide estimates based on payments beginning immediately upon loan disbursement. Variable APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 5.89% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,042.39. For a variable loan, after your starting rate is set, your rate will then vary with the market. Fixed APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 6.04% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,249.77. Your actual repayment terms may vary. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit earnest.com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
Nine-month grace period is not available for borrowers who choose our Principal and Interest Repayment plan while in school.