With nearly $2 Billion in funded loans to date, LendKey is one of the most promising providers in the student loan space. Offering private student loans as well as student loan refinancing options, LendKey has partnered with more than 250 community banks and credit unions across the United States to emphasize better customer service and lower interest rates.
With one simple application through LendKey, you can receive student loan quotes from hundreds of community lenders who participate in LendKey’s network. You can instantly view the loan interest rates and terms, allowing you to make an informed decision without filling out any additional paperwork. As an added bonus, no hard credit pull is required to review your personalized rates.
Table of Contents
- LendKey Private Student Loans
- LendKey Student Loan Refinancing
- Reviewing the LendKey Refinancing Process
- LendKey Review Summary + $100 Bonus
LendKey Private Student Loans
If you need to obtain one or more student loans to finance your education, the first choice you must make is deciding between federal and private student loans. Federal loans offer generous income-based repayment plans, while private student loans do not. However, private student loans sometimes offer a lower interest rate than federal loans, which is why it doesn’t hurt to shop around before making your final decision.
LendKey allows you to compare private student loans offered by several hundred community lenders using one short application. There is no hard credit inquiry required to review the private loan options and interest rates. If you decide to go ahead and apply for one of the loans offered to you, the community lender offering the loan will review your full credit profile, resulting in a hard credit inquiry.
Private student loan rates through LendKey start at 5.85% APR for variable-rate loans, and 4.68% APR for fixed-rate loans. If you are unsure which to choose, please see my article on fixed versus variable student loans.
LendKey Student Loan Refinancing
If you have outstanding student loans, refinancing offers a way to simplify and lower your monthly payment. Refinancing is distinct from consolidation, although the two terms are often confused.
Only federal student loans are eligible for consolidation, which is the process of combining multiple existing loans into one new loan, with one new monthly payment. The new loan carries the average interest rate of the existing loans, which means you won’t realize any interest savings. The benefit is that you now have one loan to manage instead of multiple loans.
Both federal and private student loans can be refinanced. When you refinance your student loans, you are replacing the original loans with a brand new loan offering a new interest rate, new terms, and new monthly payment amount. Like consolidation, refinancing simplifies loan management, but the primary reason to consider refinancing your loans is to realize interest savings over time. If the new loan offers a lower interest rate than your existing loans, you will reduce the total interest paid.
When you refinance your student loans through LendKey, the loan will be made through a local bank or credit union, but LendKey handles the origination and loan servicing. This means that you will receive personalized customer service from both a community bank and LendKey, while managing the loan through LendKey’s robust online platform.
LendKey Interest Rates
Refinance rates through LendKey begin at 2.67% APR for variable-rate loans and 3.49% APR for fixed-rate loans. These numbers include a 0.25% rate discount for establishing automatic monthly loan payments.
These are highly competitive rates. For reference, the best federal student loans currently offer a 4.45% fixed interest rate + 1.07% origination fee. Historically, most federal loans have carried a fixed interest rate closer to 7%.
By refinancing through LendKey, you might be able to reduce the interest rate on your loans. Your exact monthly payment will vary by the interest rate and loan term, as LendKey allows applicants to select from 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20-year repayment terms.
Borrowers who have used LendKey to refinance their loans have saved, on average, more than $16,000 when compared to their original loan repayment schedule. These numbers are taken directly from LendKey’s internal database, covering thousands of borrowers.
LendKey charges borrowers nothing to provide this service, instead choosing to charge local lenders a fee to participate in the network.
The other important thing to note is that none of the local lenders in LendKey’s network charge any origination fees or prepayment penalties when refinancing. There are absolutely no fees upfront to establish the loan, and no fees if you decide to repay your loan early.
To be eligible for student loan refinancing through LendKey, you must have between $5,000 and $300,000 of existing student loans to refinance. You must also have graduated with a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree from a Title IV eligible school.
After submitting the initial application and reviewing your personalized loan rates, you can select a community lender and submit the full loan application. At this stage, you must consent to a credit check, where the lender will evaluate your credit report and credit score. If your credit is poor, the lender will be worried about your willingness to repay the new loan, which results in higher loan interest rate.
If you lack consistent income, or if you have poor credit, you can include a co-signer on your application. A co-signer is legally responsible for managing the loan, which means that you should only co-sign with someone who is a known and trusted resource. If the co-signer has a consistent income and excellent credit, they will help you obtain the lowest possible loan interest rate.
Lendkey includes a co-signer release policy, which allows the co-signor to officially be released from the loan after 12 consecutive, on-time payments.
Reviewing the LendKey Refinancing Process
Step 1: Provide Your Information
To get started, LendKey requires the following information:
- Name, address, email, phone number, and citizenship
- Total annual income
- School information (where did you graduate from)
- Loan amount (how much are you looking to borrow)
- Loan type (are you refinancing federal or private loans)
Step 2: Review Your Loan Options
After submitting your personal information, LendKey will take about 30 seconds to process the request using the network of lenders. Because the focus is on community banks and credit unions, many of the loan options will be offered by lenders serving your region.
When finished, LendKey will show your personalized results. In my example, I was offered rates between 4-6%, depending on the loan type (fixed vs variable) and repayment term (5-20 years). Keep in mind, this rate will be reduced by an additional 0.25% if you establish automatic monthly loan payments after being approved.
You can also filter available loans by payment amount, loan term, and type of loan.
Step 3: Choose a Loan
If you are happy with the available options, you can select a loan and complete the full application. When you select a loan, the name of the lender will be shown before submitting the application. This will allow you to further investigate the lender if you would like more information.
If you are unhappy with the available loans, you can include a co-signer to reduce the loan interest rate, or you can close your browser and never think about LendKey again. There are no strings attached to compare your options.
The final application is actually extremely simple. You just provide your SSN, date of birth, and create an account login with your email and chosen password. This login will allow you to manage your loan through LendKey’s online platform.
If you press submit, you are consenting to a complete credit check by the lender. The final approval of your loan application requires verification of your credit report and the information provided in your application.
Step 4: Upload Verification Documents
Assuming no problems with the credit check, you will likely be approved within a few business days. At the time of approval, you must upload your existing student loan statements and information to verify your stated income. This could include recent pay stubs or a signed and dated job offer letter from a future employer.
When everything is verified, the new lender will repay your existing loans and you will begin making loan payments to the new lender. You can then establish automatic payments through your LendKey online dashboard to qualify for an additional 0.25% interest rate reduction on your loans.
LendKey Review Summary + $100 Bonus
LendKey is the only company in the student loan refi space partnering with local banks and credit unions. This partnership results in competitive interest rates, quality customer service, and a straightforward application process.
There is no guarantee that LendKey will offer the lowest possible interest rates, which is why it pays to shop around. Because there is no hard credit inquiry to review your personalized loan rates, there is no risk in using LendKey. The ultimate goal of student loan refinancing is to reduce the interest rate on your student loans, and LendKey should be one of the first stops in your search for the lowest possible loan rate.
Lendkey is offering Cash Cow Couple readers a $100 cash bonus. To receive the $100 bonus, you must apply to refinance a student loan through LendKey using our unique link and be approved by your chosen lender. You will not receive any bonus for shopping around and comparing rates. You must successfully refinance through Lendkey to receive the bonus.