LendKey Review: Student Loan Refinancing
With over 300 of credit unions in their network and $3 billion in loan originations, LendKey is an excellent choice if you want to find the best student loan refinancing option. It’s a lending platform that originally started out as a peer-to-peer student loan platform. While it’s currently working with credit unions and small banks to help you succeed, it’s still keeping its origins in mind. That’s why you’ll certainly enjoy features such as: (1) one-stop shopping; (2) unemployment protection; (3) location-based special deals, and (4) flexible terms.
One-stop shopping. While LendKey doesn’t refinance your loans directly, they give you the option of accessing their network of over 300 small banks and credit unions. You can get deals from financial institutions that you haven’t even thought of. Then, you can simply compare different options and choose the student loan refi that’s the best fit for your current situation.
Unemployment protection. If you’re worried about what would happen if you lose your job, you no longer have to. LendKey has a generous 18 months paused payment period that could help you get back on your feet should the worse come to worst. They can do so by carefully selecting their partners that want you to succeed (so they could succeed, too).
Location-based special deals. Depending on your financial profile and LendKey lenders in your area, you could get plenty of special deals you wouldn’t get if you refinanced with a big company or a big bank. Additionally, all loans contracted through LendKey come with no origination fees.
Flexible terms. LendKey and its partners are big on giving you the flexibility you need to make the best choices for your future. Plenty of people who’ve refinanced their student loans through LendKey were surprised to have received an offer they couldn’t get it anywhere else. It’s also particularly good at servicing $20,000 to $100,000 student loans. You can choose from 5 to 20 year loans, and their interest rates are competitive as well. You can refinance private, federal, as well as graduate loans – all within the same loan. While LendKey doesn’t work with huge financial institutions, it works with reliable credit unions and small banks who are invested in your success. It’s a good option for reducing headaches and paying off that student debt sooner so you can focus on investments.
Who are LendKey's competitors?
LendKey is a solid student loan refinancing company with a legitimate chance of giving you a great deal but to get a full sense of the interest rates available to you it's a good idea to check out the competition. The list below includes the other student loan refinancing companies that you may want to consider when searching for the lowest interest rate.
- Earnest. Flexible repayment plans allows you to pick your own term. Financially backed by Navient, giving them some of the lowest interest rates available in the current market.
- First Republic Bank. This is a traditional bank looking to build a long-term customer relationship with you and is willing to refinance your student loans at below-market rates to build the relationship. You'll be required to open up a checking account, initiate direct deposit of your paycheck, and jump through other hoops, but if you're willing to do so they offer the lowest rates available.
- CommonBond. With their Pencils for Promise program, CommonBond offers a social mission to student loan refinancing. They have a dedicated law firm group located in NYC, which means a team is available to specifically help you through the refinancing process.
- SoFi. SoFi is by far the largest lender in the student loan refinancing market. They may not be able to offer you the best rate as they can rely on their brand name to bring in borrowers but there are lots of other perks when you refinance with SoFi and they are actively expanding their products if you're interested in keeping your financial life with one company.
- Credible. Known as the "Kayak of student loan refinancing", Credible offers you access to a marketplace of lenders. Fill out a form once and Credible will pre-qualify you with a bunch of lenders to get rates (soft credit check). To confirm the actual rates, you'll have to continue the application with the individual lender.
- ELFI. A relatively new player, ELFI is backed by SouthEast Bank, a retail bank that recognized the value of getting into the student loan refinancing market. More competition is always better and if you end up with multiple offers, you can use them to play off the various student loan refinancing companies to get the best deal for you.
- Splash Financial. Splash Financial is based in Cleveland and one of the newest players in the refinancing space. Originally they only offered loans to medical residents and fellows but have recently been expanding thanks to a partnership with Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed).
- Laurel Road. Primarily a good option for medical professionals (which seem to be their target audience), Laurel Road is an option for parents that want to refinance Parent PLUS loans in their child's name.
- Interest Rates: 2.70%+
- Bonus Cashback: $300
- Loan Types:
- Loan Terms:
- Rating: 8/10
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