Lendkey is an on-line company that partners with small banks and credit unions to reach more consumers by using a digitally based lending platform. Lendkey was established in 2009 and have become an end-to-end partner with hundreds of banks and credit unions. The credit unions and banks can now offer credit products online in a very secure and efficient way to give borrowers more choices.

Lendkey is not the lender. Lendkey connects borrowers with over 100 credit unions and small banks. They do not represent the larger 'national' banks as they believe community based financial institutions offer more personalized services. Lendkey's motto is to match consumers with community banks in the areas they live in, so not all lenders are available to all applicants. These small community banks and credit unions are not-for-profit institutions that whose main goal is to help their members. Credit Unions can offer lower rates as they reinvest their profits back to their members with lower rates and service fees.

Why a private student loan.

Students would apply for a private student loan if federal loans, grants and aids are not sufficient to pay for their college tuition. Lendkey encourages all students to complete the FAFSA each year that they require student loans. Government backed student loans offer benefits that private student loans do not. Some of the benefits of Federal Student loans are:

  • fixed interest rates (variable rates not available)
  • income driven repayment plans
  • you do not need to start repaying the loan until you graduate, leave school or change your attendance status to part-time
  • a credit check is not required (PLUS loans do require a check)
  • Interest may be tax deductible
  • they offer forbearance or deferment is you are struggling with repaying the loan
  • if you work in public service, your loans may be eligible for loan forgiveness.

So, why a private student loan? Federal loans have limits that students can apply for each year of school. They are:

  • Undergraduate students -
    • $5,500 per year in Perkins Loans depending on other aid and availability of funds at your college
    • $5,500 to $12,500 per year in Direct Subsidized and Unsubsized loans dependent on several criteria
  • Graduate students -
    • $8,000 per year in Perkins Loans depending on your financial needs and other aid you receive
    • $20,500 per year in Direct Unsubsidized Loans
    • You can apply for a federal backed PLUS loan to cover the remainder of your college costs not covered by federal aid or other federally backed student loans

Depending on where you attend college, the federally backed student loans may cover your tuition, but you may be short living expenses, books and possibly tuition. This is where a Private Student Loan fills the gap. Unlike the federally backed student loans, you will need to qualify with your credit score, history and usage. If you have not had the length of time to establish credit and a strong score, you will be required to find a cosigner (usually a parent or grandparent). When you apply with a creditworthy cosigner, your chances of being approved and qualifying for a lower interest rate increases.

Bottom Line

LendKey loans are funded by over 380 community credit unions and community banks. These financial institutions work with LendKey to keep operating costs low and pass on the savings directly to you

  • Community banks and credit unions channel most of their loans to the neighborhoods where their depositors live and work, helping to keep local communities vibrant and growing
  • Because these institutions operate on a not-for-profit basis, the savings are passed on to the members in the form of low-interest rate loans and high-interest rate savings accounts keeping more money in the local community. This enables credit unions to be at the forefront of providing thrift and high-value financial products and customer service to their membership

What's good about Lendkey - Student Loans?

Looking for a Private Student Loan, Co-signer with Co-signer release.

What's bad about Lendkey - Student Loans?

If you are looking for a Federal Backed Student Loan

Loan Amounts Minimum Loan Amount - $2,000 Maximum Loan Amount - $160,000
Required Credit Score 600+
Doesn't lend in Maine,  Nevada,  North Dakota,  Rhode Island,  West Virginia
Minimum Annual Income $24000
Types of Income Salaried, Other Income with Proof of Income
Variable Rate Option Yes - 4.70% +
APR Range Variable - 4.70%, Fixed - 5.36%
Loan Term 10 year Term -Repayment of $25 per month including the 6 month grace period after graduation. Principal and Interest payment begins after grace period is over.
Repayment Schedule $25.00 per month while in school & grace period. Full payments commence after that
Credit Inquiry Soft Inquiry for rate offer, hard inquiry for obtaining loan
Fees and Closing Costs No Application, Origination or Prepayment Fees
Secured Loans No
Co-Signer Yes, with eligible credit and income
Direct Deposit Funds are disbursed to accredited school that you are attending
Loan Purpose Private Student Loan
Qualifications U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident, Over 18 years of age
Allows Military Yes
Insurance Loan Insurance not offered
Legal Documents Required U.S. Citizen, permanent resident
Number of Offers Multiple
Customer Service By phone -

Required Qualifications

In order to be approved, Lendkey does have requirements for borrowers to meet to be successful. Lendky looks for a credit score of 660+ with good history and usage, if the borrower does not want a cosigner. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Student Aid states that approximately 90% of all student loans have a creditworthy cosigner. When applying for a private student loan with Lendkey, if you have a cosigner, your chances of being approved and getting a better rate are much higher. Lendkey also offers cosigner release, if the student makes 24 on-time monthly payments. Your cosigner needs to have a credit score of 660+ and be earning a minimum of $24,000 annually with a low Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio. The applicants that are the most successful have a cosigner with a credit score of 750+ , earn over $85,000 annually and have an extremely low DTI.

Application Process

Lendkey's on-line application process is fairly easy.

  • Fill out the application form on-line. You will need to consent to a soft credit inquiry which will not affect your credit score. You will see how much your monthly payment will be and your rates
  • You will receive multiple offers from Lendkey's affliated lenders. Compare rates and monthly fees
  • Once you choose your lender, you will fill out the application form and consent to a hard inquiry.
  • You wil verify your identity, provide your school and degree information and upload through Lendkey's on-line portal.
  • Lendkey's underwriting team will review your application and documents and let you know when you are approved.

In My View

Looking for student loan financing can be a daunting task, especially if you are not sure what to do. Always, always, always fill out the FAFSA forms https://fafsa.ed.gov/ to access any and all federally backed student loans and student aid. If you are looking for loans to fill the 'gap' that federal student loans don't, I would definitely recommend applying with Lendkey. You must have good to excellent credit or have a creditworthy cosigner. Lendkey offers cosigner release after 24 months of on-time payments. You receive multiple offers and so have the ability to choose a loan that best fits your needs.

Lendkey Contact Information

Phone: (888) 549-9050

email: customer.care@lendkey.com

  1. FAFSA Student Aid - Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  2. cfpb - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - cfpb - Student Loans
  3. Federal Student Aid - Federal Student Aid