Earnest is a student loan refinancing company that makes a bold claim - borrowers can save over $30k on average. That's a lot of cash. If you've got high-rate student loans and a credit score of 650+, refinancing with Earnest might just save you a boatload of cash.

Earnest Student Loan

About Earnest

Earnest realized that the present financial lenders in America focused on a select group of people rather than helping all Americans reach their dreams. They started Earnest to rebuild the trust between the bank and the consumer. The goal was to help Americans that are financially responsible.

Earnest has low rates and allows their customer to customize the repayment plan that will fit their unique needs. They want to build and foster a relationship that lasts a lifetime. They state that they 'have created a company that combines data science, streamlined design, and exceptional service to bring people a fast, low-cost and hyper-personalized financial experience.'

Earnest was purchased by Navient, one of the largest student loan providers, in 2017. Earnest has retained its brand, and its original management team runs the company.

One of the products that Earnest offers is their 'Student Loan Refinancing' product. They state that the consumers who refinance with them can save on average, $30,939. Earnest looks at your complete financial picture, which includes your credit score and credit history. Still, they also consider your income, education, saving patterns, and your future earning potential when offering you a loan. They believe that by being more thorough in their underwriting process, they can reduce and /or eliminate loan defaults and thus offer lower rates. They will make a soft inquiry on your credit when you apply for a rate estimate and then a hard inquiry if you accept a loan offer.

Loan Amounts Minimum of $5,000 or more (California minimum of $10,000 or more)
Required Credit Score A minimum credit score of 650 is required. No bankruptcy or accounts in collection.
Doesn't lend in Delaware,  Kentucky,  Nevada
Minimum Annual Income $50000
Types of Income Must be employed with consistent income
Variable Rate Option Yes
APR Range SLR Fixed Headline Rates - 2.44% - 5.79% (includes 0.25% autopay discount) SLR Variable Headline Rates - 1.88% - 5.64% (includes 0.25% autopay discount)
Loan Term Loan Terms: 5 years to 20 years.
Repayment Schedule Bi-Weekly, Monthly
Credit Inquiry Soft Credit to qualify
Fees and Closing Costs No Origination, Prepayment, or Late Fees
Secured Loans Not Disclosed
Co-Signer No
Direct Deposit Yes
Loan Purpose Student Loan Refinance
Qualifications US Citizen, 18 Years Old +, Hold a Permanent Resident Card
Allows Military Yes
Insurance Not Disclosed
Legal Documents Required US Citizen, Permanent Resident Card
Number of Offers 1
Customer Service Personal Customer Service Team

Are you eligible?

  • U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card
  • You are 18 years of age or older
  • your enrollment status is less than half-time or you will graduate at the end of the semester
  • you live in one of the 45 states that Earnest originates loans in
  • must be enrolled or have graduated from a Title IV-accredited school.  
  • Current loan requirements:
    • you are the primary borrower on your current loans and the loans are for your education
    • you are applying for a minimum of $5,000
    • you are requesting to refinance an existing Earnest loan (unless you have made 6 on-time payments)
  • Credit requirements:
    • Credit score is a minimum of 650
    • you are employed, have consistent income (USD) or have a written job offer that commences within 6 months
    • you are current on your rent or mortgage payments
    • you have not declared bankruptcy or have recent collections on your credit report
  • Other requirements that are considered
    • you have a low DTI (debt-to-income) you spend less that you earn and have increasing bank account balances (shows fiscal responsibility)
    • you do not have other large amounts of debt (credit cards and personal loans)
    • you have a savings account with enough money to cover two or more months of normal living expenses including housing
    • your credit history shows you are responsible to make payments on time

ParentPLUS loans 

Earnest offers refinancing for ParentPLUS loans as long as they are the primary borrower on the loan and the loan must be for their child's education from a TitleIV-accredited school.  All other lending criteria is the same as for the primary borrower on the student loans.

Loan Repayment

Earnest has many flexible repayment options for their clients.  They offer monthly, bi-weekly, along with being able to make extra payments or increase your monthly payment amount.  You can make your payment by the following methods - autopay and checks.  Your Earnest on-line profile allows you to make changes to the dates, bi-weekly to monthly, to autopay.  No lengthy wait times on the telephone - everything is managed on-line.


Earnest determines your minimum loan length and interest rate on your financial profile.  During the underwriting process they decide how affordable each of their loan terms are for you personally.  They look at the best and worst case scenario with your current finances and then give you the options to choose from.  The longest term loan Earnest offers is up to 20 years.

Sallie Mae Student Loans

Earnest is not able to refinance any Sallie Mae loans as Earnest was acquired by Navient in 2017.  Navient has an agreement with the Sallie Mae Bank that prohibits the refinancing of Sallie Mae loans until 2019.  If you have any questions you can contact Earnest at hello@earnest.com.

In Our View

If you are at the place in your life that you want to combine all of your existing student loans into one loan- one payment then refinancing is definitely something that you should look at.  Before applying at Earnest, I would recommend that you review your credit report.  You can view your report through AnnualCreditReport.com where you can look at your report from all three agencies, Transunion, Equifax and Experian.  If you are wanting to apply with Earnest, then focus on your Experian Report.  Clean up the errors, if any, before applying.  Earnest looks for more than your score, so be sure to send as much information as possible.  They are looking for a growing savings account, strong score, low DTI, investments, assets etc.  Since Earnest does NOT sell your personal information, you can submit as much as you want knowing it is safe and secure.  You will want to prove that should you lose your job you have enough savings for at least two months of living expenses.  If you are self-employed, apply after you have submitted your taxes for proof of income.  As well, if you are expecting a raise or a significant bonus, my recommendation would be to wait until that is in place.

The only time you cannot apply to refinance your existing student loans, is if your existing loans are Sallie Mae.  (See explanation above).  

Contact Information

You can reach Earnest through their Client Happiness Team - hello@earnest.com

By Phone -  (888) 601-2801 Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

Address - Suite 4011N - 303, 2nd St., San Francisco, CA. 94107

  1. Earnest - About Us - Earnest - Their Focus and Goal
  2. Earnest acquired by Navient - Navient purchases Earnest - 2017
Earnest Disclaimers: AutoPay Discount You can take advantage of the AutoPay 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 AutoPay. 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 AutoPay. Grace Period A nine-month grace period is not available for borrowers who choose our Principal and Interest Repayment plan while in school. No Fees Earnest does not charge fees for origination, late payments, or prepayments. Florida Stamp Tax: For Florida residents, Florida documentary stamp tax is required by law, calculated as $0.35 for each $100 (or portion thereof) of the principal loan amount, the amount of which is provided in the Final Disclosure. The lender will add the stamp tax to the principal loan amount. The full amount will be paid directly to the Florida Department of Revenue. Certificate of Registration No. 78-8016373916-1. Skip A Payment 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.