LendKey is a digital marketplace that allows borrowers to compare multiple student loan offers at once. It matches anyone interested in refinancing student loans or paying for school with credit union and community bank lenders throughout the nation.
LendKey is a Student Loan company that works exclusively through credit unions and community banks to bring the best possible interest rates with the best possible customer service experience.
Many people hear about LendKey through promotional offers at their local bank or credit union, but you can actually refinance using LendKey without an established banking arrangement.
LendKey offers a variety of products: student loan refinancing, private student loans, and even home improvement loans.
LendKey works differently from most other private student loan companies. Rather than acting as a lender, they connect prospective student borrowers with best-matched lenders from their network of credit unions and community banks.
Filling out a quick application with your personal and financial details will give you access to hundreds of credit unions and community bank partners that offer affordable student loans.
After you submit the application, you are provided with a list of relevant lenders based on factors such as your financial needs and the lender’s eligibility requirements.
This saves you hours researching the terms and conditions of one lender at a time.
Who Can Take Out a LendKey Student Loan?
LendKey is an especially good option for borrowers interested in refinancing student loans while working with a credit union or community bank. The network allows you to easily compare multiple offers from hundreds of smaller lenders that offer competitive rates and great customer service.
The platform’s comparison tool is limited when comparing private student loan offers, since Sallie Mae is currently the main partner. Instead of being matched to multiple lenders, you’re sent directly to one lender’s main site — often Sallie Mae.
Students looking for a loan to attend school may fair better by researching lenders individually.
Eligibility requirements vary by LendKey’s partners. But the company will only match you with offers for which you are eligible.
Generally, in order to apply, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have completed an associate, undergraduate, graduate or doctorate degree from a Title IV eligible school.
Refinancing Student Loans With LendKey
LendKey requires borrowers to have a credit score of at least 680. They also consider traditional underwriting factors such as the debt-to-income ratio, and length of credit history.
LendKey allows (and even encourages) borrowers to refinance with a cosigner to get a better rate. Aside from spouse’s cosigning on loans (when the couple shares finances), cosigning is risky for the cosigner.
If you default, your cosigner’s money and credit score are on the line. However, LendKey does allow for a cosigner release after you’ve made 12 to 36 on-time payments.
Because of LendKey’s focus on refinancing with a co-signer, it was one of the few refinancing companies that really works well for recent grads who have limited credit history.
That said, many recent grads might continue to benefit from having their loans on Federal income-based repayment plans. It’s risky to refinance Federal student loans while you’re still getting established.
Interest Rates And Terms
Right now, LendKey offers loans with terms of 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years. Like most private loan refinancers, LendKey doesn’t charge any origination fees.
Rates on Fixed loans range from 3.39% – 7.75% APR. Rates on variable loans range from 1.90% – 8.59% APR. These are some of the lowest rates available right now. These rates are current as of January 10, 2020.
Remember, rates and terms are subject to change. Please check LendKey’s website for the most up to date rates.
You must refinance at least $5,000. LendKey also allows borrowers to refinance Parent Plus loans. This includes allowing former students to refinance loans that are in their parent’s names into their own names.
This is an important type of loan that many lenders don’t currently offer. If this is important to you, LendKey is likely to be the best place to find a great rate.
Also, make sure you take advantage of the LendKey student loan bonus offer when you refinance!
Repayment Plans & Protections
LendKey offers repayment terms ranging from 5 to 15 years. This allows you to choose a repayment term that is best suited for your short and long term financial goals.
Borrowers also benefit from unemployment protection. This can come as a real relief since you will be able to defer loan payments for a time if you become unemployed.
The application process through LendKey can be completed entirely online. After filling out your application, it will match you with the best lender for your particular circumstances and needs.
Applications for refinancing student loans differ from private student loans.
For refinancing, you’ll need to gather personal information including your citizenship status, total income, the primary reason for refinancing, the total loan amount, your degree and school name.
For private student loans, you’ll need to select your state of residence and the school you’re attending.
Here’s what the process looks like when getting a refinance or student loan through LendKey:
Start the process online and select whether you’re refinancing or paying for school.
Fill out the application— including any personal, loan and school information.
Compare offers and select a lender and rate from the marketplace.
Once your application is approved, any federal and private student loans you want to consolidate will be paid off by the new lender. Your loan will be serviced through LendKey.
You need to have a credit score of 660 or more to apply without a cosigner. If you have not had a chance to build your credit history, you will need to get a cosigner to qualify for a student loan through LendKey.
If your cosigner has a good credit score, you may even be able to get a lower interest rate on your student loan. Most people are reluctant to cosign student loans because they are ultimately responsible for the loan if you default.
LendKey minimizes the risk for the cosigner by allowing borrowers to release their cosigner after making 24 consecutive on-time payments.
1. What is the difference between consolidation and refinancing?
When you consolidate student loans, you’re combining multiple loans together into one single loan, with one payment. You’re still paying the same total amount and same total interest. You now just have one loan instead of multiple loans.
When you refinance student loans you basically consolidate them into a single loan with a new interest rate, new terms, and monthly payment amount. The lender will evaluate you and your creditworthy cosigner’s (if applicable) financial information to offer you a new low and a lower rate
2. Can I refinance my federal and private student loans together?
If you want to combine your Federal and private student loans together, you have to do it through a private lender. The Federal Direct Consolidation Loan program does not consolidate private loans into Federal loans.
3. What is the difference between the interest rate and APR?
The interest rate is simply the percentage of the loan amount that is charged for borrowing money. The APR reflects not only the interest rate, but also any other fees charged by the lender. The APR represents the total cost of borrowing and for that reason is usually higher than the interest rate.
4. What are the benefits of applying with a cosigner?
While you may apply on your own, applying with a creditworthy cosigner can make all the difference when it comes to a loan application’s chances for success and approval—and even result in a lower rate.
5. Should I choose a fixed interest rate or variable interest rate loan?
A fixed-rate student loan is one that maintains the same interest rate on the loan for the entire life of the loan. A variable rate student loan is where the interest rate can adjust each month based on the current interest rates available.
With no application fee and no origination fee, LendKey is a solid choice for people looking to refinance. With LendKey, you’ll get the best possible rate from a local bank.
Remember, refinancing student loans only makes sense if you lower your interest rate, and you’re confident that you no longer need Federal loans safety nets (such as income based repayment plans).
If you’re still looking to establish yourself financially, hold off on refinancing. On the other hand, if you’re in a solid financial position, look into refinancing your student loans if it lowers your interest rate.
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