We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare information for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which TheSimpleDollar.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. The Simple Dollar does not include all card/financial services companies or all card/financial services offers available in the marketplace. The Simple Dollar has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, Capital One, Chase & Discover. View our full advertiser disclosure to learn more.
LendKey Student Loans Review
LendKey at a glance
|Lender||Loan Amount||APR||Terms||Key Benefit|
|LendKey||100% of cost of attendance||As low as 1.51% (variable); 3.99% (fixed)||5 – 20 years||6-month payment grace period|
Rates accurate as of December, 2020
What we like about it
LendKey student loan rates are competitive to those of traditional banks, and the platform shows you offers from lenders you may not have considered before. You can compare different offers from multiple lenders so you can choose the best student loans for your college education.
And when you apply with a creditworthy cosigner, you may qualify for some of the best student loans for bad credit; this could help build up your credit scores. Once approved, you get rate discounts for automatic payments, cosigner release after 12-months of on-time payments and up to 18-months of forbearance for financial hardships.
Things to consider
When you refinance federal student loans into private loans, you give up any federal loan protections such as income-based repayment programs and student-loan forgiveness. To qualify for a Lendkey refinance loan, you must be a U.S. citizen, have at least an associate’s degree from an eligible school and meet credit history and income requirements.
Something to consider about the LendKey platform is that it will only connect you to offers matching lenders based on your information and credit profile. For example, military personnel may get offers from Navy Federal Credit Union. If you’re searching for the absolute lowest rates, expand your search outside the LendKey marketplace.
What you need to know
One of the best ways to save money on your student loans is by combining multiple loans into one, so you can lower interest rates. While LendKey doesn’t offer the highest maximum limits for refinancing ($125,000 for undergraduate; $175,000 for graduate degree), it does offer some low, competitive rates and five to 20-year loan terms. If you’re a college graduate with multiple high-interest student loans, consolidating your student loans with a credit union may be less stressful than working with a traditional bank.
If you’re still in school and in need of a student loan, LendKey has private student loans with variable rates as low as 1.51% APR and fixed rates as low as 3.99% APR. You can borrow up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance, and you only need to be enrolled part-time in a degree-granting program at the time of application. LendKey offers five-, seven-, 10-, 15- and 20-year loans. After graduation, you’ll get a six-month grace period before the first payment is due, and LendKey offers 18-month forbearance for financial hardships.
When you’re ready to check your rates or apply for a loan, start by filling out the application online:
- The application requires personal information such as name, address, citizenship and annual income. For private loans, input school information, degree, GPA, academic status and loan amount.
- Compare offers from the list of lenders curated for you and pick a lender to continue the application process.
- Submit any supporting documentation (proof of income, identification, cosigner information, etc.) and continue the application process as needed.
Once approved, LendKey will be the servicer of your loan. You’ll be able to access your account and make all payments to the lender through the LendKey platform, making the whole lending process more straightforward.
LendKey vs. Earnest
Similar to LendKey, Earnest has no fees or penalties for early payment; however, Earnest loans are not available in all 50 states. The company does, however, offer a nine-month grace period for private loans, bi-weekly payments and a mobile app to make paying your bills more manageable. This is something LendKey does not feature.
Earnest also offers more loan choices than LendKey. In addition to student loan refinancing, Earnest also has five low-interest private student loans starting at 1.24% APR for variable loans and 4.00% for fixed loans. It also offers parent loans and personal loans.
LendKey vs. Sallie Mae
Unlike LendKey, Sallie Mae does not offer student loan refinancing. However, it does give borrowers the chance to get a loan for non-degree career training.
Sallie Mae offers the most choices when it comes to student loans. You can finance schooling for part-time education or get a loan for career training. There are also parent and K-12 loans available. For undergraduate loans, variable rates are 1.25% to 11.15% APR, and fixed rates are 4.25% to 12.35%. Graduate loan rates will vary depending on the specialty you choose. Unfortunately, personalized rates require a hard credit check.