Earnest realized that the present financial lenders in America were focusing more 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. They goal was to help Americans that are financially responsible.  Earnest offers low-cost lending 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 it's brand and it's 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, but 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 do 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 Refinancing from $5,000. to $500,000.
  • You are not requesting new loans for future schooling from other lenders
  • The debt is from paying for a Title IV-accredited school
  • The debt is from your own education
  • The debt you’re refinancing is from one or more completed degrees or a degree that will be completed by the end of this semester
Required Credit Score

Minimum Credit Score accepted - 650

Your credit report must also show:

  • you are employed or have a written job offer for a position that starts within 6 months,or have consistent other income in the U.S.
  • Your student loan accounts are all current and in good standing
  • You are current on your rent or mortgage payments
  • You do not have a bankruptcy on your credit report or recent collections
Doesn't lend in Alabama,  Kentucky,  Mississippi,  Nevada,  South Dakota
Types of Income You are employed, have a written job offer for a position that starts within 6 months, or possess consistent income (in USD).
Variable Rate Option Yes - Starting at 2.55% with AutoPay
APR Range

Variable Interest Rates starting at 2.57% with AutoPay

Fixed starting at 3.89% with AutoPay

Loan Term Earnest offers 5,10,15 and 20 year Terms
Repayment Schedule Monthly
Credit Inquiry Initial inquiry - soft, hard inquiry for obtaining loan
Fees and Closing Costs No fees. $8 on all NSF Checks
Secured Loans Unsecured
Co-Signer Not at this time
Direct Deposit Yes
Loan Purpose Refinance Federal and Private Student Loans
Qualifications 18 years of age, enrollment status is currently less than half-time or your degree will be complete at the end of this semester
Allows Military Yes
Insurance Payment Deferment for pursuring a graduate degree or active military service
Legal Documents Required U.S. Citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card.
Number of Offers Not Applicable
Customer Service Phone, email, text or chat

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.

Terms

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 My 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

Anchor
  1. Earnest - About Us - Earnest - Their Focus and Goal
  2. Earnest acquired by Navient - Navient purchases Earnest - 2017