Earnest Review - Student Loan Refinance

Application & Approval Process
Rates & Fees
Payment Terms
Customer Support & Benefits

About Earnest

Founded in 2013 by Louis Beryl & Benjamin Hutchinson, Earnest is a fintech lender with their headquarters situated in San Francisco. The company was later acquired in 2017 by Navient Corp. Earnest specializes in providing personal loans and student loans and refinancing student loans. With customizable plans, Earnest provides an easier alternative to repayments of burdensome debt. Earnest has granted financial services to over 150,000 clients and refinanced $8.6 billion worth of student loans.

Earnest takes a more humanized approach to lending. Through technology, Earnest can go beyond the traditional credit score background check and is able to evaluate an applicant’s qualification, career and financial capacity. The company uses an online dashboard to offer customization of repayment plans, thus allowing clients to take control of their finances. The company is addressing the gaps in the financial sector by reducing the costs and barriers to accessing credit. Their mission is to provide access to credit for financially responsible people.





  • Flexible repayment options
  • Precise pricing model for users
  • No fees
  • Considers low credit score applicants


  • Cannot apply with a co-signer
  • Rates on the higher side

Key Highlights

  • Financing options available in the form of personal loans, student loans and refinancing of student loans.
  • Curate a loan repayment plan that suits your budget.
  • No additional fees for borrowers with zero pre-payment charges.
  • Minimum credit score of 650 with financing as high as $500,000.
  • Flexible payment plans which allow you to skip once one payment period every 12 months.

Application & Approval Process

Initial Quotation

The entire application process is fairly quick and simple. The first step is getting a quick quotation where you will be required to fill a basic form requiring information such as:

  • Qualification
  • Income
  • Housing payments
  • Loan balance

Earnest will then take a quick look at your credit score information (minimum of 650 credit score to get approval) and get back to you with a rate. This takes no more than two minutes. If you’re satisfied with the rate, you can proceed to the next step.

If you agree with the rate offered, you will need to fill an official application form that explores more in-depth information such as:


  • Name of the institute
  • Degree
  • Field of study

Income Details

  • Work experience
  • Income
  • Income tax
  • Monthly house rent/housing payments
  • Any other source of income
  • Monthly expenses
  • Sufficient bank balance to cover 2 months of living expense
  • Payment history
  • Increasing monthly bank account balances

Personal Information

  • Social security number
  • Government-issued identification number
  • LinkedIn profile

Earnest analyzes your bank statements to understand your payment habits. This permits them to offer flexible payment options catered to your needs.


The next step will impact your credit report as Earnest uses the shared information to accept or decline your loan application. Once approved, Earnest provides the applicant with possible loan options, ranging in rates (fixed or variable) and terms for the applicant to choose from.


Earnest has a limited period of 30 days for the applicant to accept their offer. Once you accept the offer, the company pays off your student loans while you make one payment to Earnest each month.

The company focuses on trust and transparency and has a very stringent privacy policy. All data entered by the user on the website is encrypted and the off-site data centers are supported by multiple layers of protection. They promise not to sell your information, however, information might be shared with their relevant partners for requested services.

Earnest Rates & Fees

While the rates may be slightly higher in comparison to other brands in the market, they are still competitive as Earnest will consider your loan application even if you have a lower credit score. Earnest offer two types of rates;

SLR Fixed Headline Rates – 3.19% – 5.99% (includes 0.25% autopay discount)
SLR Variable Headline Rates – 1.99% – 5.99% (includes 0.25% autopay discount)

Earnest is transparent about its fee structure. They have no application fees or prepayment penalties, not even an origination fee unlike some other financial service providers.

Payment Terms

Earnest offers flexible payment terms. They have several options to choose from, and you can even have a customized payment term to the month through their precision pricing model. Instead of payment terms such as 5, 10, 15 or 20 years, you can get a precise term with Earnest. You could essentially end up with a 7-year term loan instead of the 10-year market term. This allows you to minimize your interest payments.

You can refinance loans up to $500,000 and skip one payment term per year. They also provide a grace period of up to 9 months to successful applicants, if required. You can also browse through discounts, forbearance options and more.

Customer Support & Benefits

Earnest has a user-friendly website, offering a FAQ section that is tailored to concerns regarding student loan refinancing. They also have a blog section on their website that features data-driven insights, real-world experience and expert advice relevant to students and the working class. The website has a resources section that provides materials explaining the details of personal and student loan refinancing. There are also how-to guides and calculators to calculate your student loan.

For urgent help, users are asked to contact on their available phone number during business hours 8 AM to 5 PM (Pacific Time), Monday to Friday, as well as through an online contact form.




Contact Details

Phone: 888-601-2801
Email: [email protected]




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