Earnest is a student loan service that offers loan refinancing and private loans for undergraduate and graduate students. You may want to look into Earnest loans out of so many other loan services out there because they offer flexible repayment options, which can come in handy for those who might struggle to make their monthly payments. In this review, we’ll look into Earnest’s customizable payments, loan terms, fees, and other features this service can offer you.

Basic Info

Loan Types Undergraduate, graduate, co-signed, business, medical, law, parent, refinancing
Loan Amounts $5 000 - $500 000 for refinancing loans, $1 000 to 100% of school attendance costs for private loans.
Interest Rates

0.99% variable APR and 2.99% fixed APR for private loans

1.74% variable APR (and 2.44% fixed APR for refinancing.

Repayment Terms 5 to 20 years
Grace Period 9 months
Co-signer Required You cannot apply with a co-signer

Who Is This Loan Good For?

If you’re looking for a loan service that allows you to customize your repayment schedule or pay off your debt faster without dealing with prepayment penalties, Earnest is a great option. With so many customizable repayment plans, Earnest loans offer you a great way to quickly pay off your college debt by refinancing it. With the ability to increase monthly payments or make multiple payments at once, Earnest allows you to get this burden off your shoulders quickly if you have the funds to do so.

Pros & Cons

  • They offer customizable payments and loan terms.
  • Many repayment options are available, including deferments and options to skip monthly payments if necessary.
  • They do not allow you to apply with a co-signer.
  • Earnest loans are not available in Kentucky and Nevada.

Rates & Fees

As with many money lending services, Earnest requires a soft credit check before you can find out what kind of interest rates you qualify for. With that said, the exact interest rates will depend on your credit score and financial situation. The good thing about Earnest is that they don’t charge application or origination fees, and there are no prepayment or late payment fees.

That makes Earnest loans one of the best options for those wanting to avoid additional payments on top of their loan repayment plan. When it comes to loan amounts, Earnest allows loans ranging from as little as $5,000 up to $500,000. Their loan terms range from 5 to 20 years, although they allow you to choose a precise loan term, including the month of your final payment.


When it comes to financial requirements needed to qualify for an Earnest loan, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 650. You also must have a stream of income or a written job offer with employment starting within the next six months. There is no minimum income requirement, meaning as long as you have some type of income, you’ll be good to go.

Besides connecting the checking account where your income is being deposited, Earnest also allows you to connect savings accounts, investments, or credit cards to give the company better insight into your financial situation. The more in-depth you go when showcasing your financial situation, the better chance you’ll have at landing a lower interest rate (assuming that your financial situation is acceptable).

Other requirements include being a US citizen or having a 10-year green card, attending a school authorized to receive federal aid, and graduating. It’s important to mention that Earnest doesn’t allow you to apply with a co-signer. If your credit score or other financial information is insufficient to take out a loan, you will have to look elsewhere.

Repayment Options

Earnest allows academic and military deferment on loan payments, as well as significant forbearance. That means you can postpone payments in increments of three months if you meet certain criteria, including a decrease in income from a reduction in hours or unpaid leave, involuntarily losing employment, or having a significant increase in emergency expenses, such as medical costs or urgent home repair costs. This list also includes unpaid maternity or paternity leave. If you find yourself in one of these situations, Earnest will allow you to postpone your payment for three months. Moreover, you can skip one month’s payment every 12 months, regardless of your situation. However, keep in mind that if you do this, the payments you skip will be spread out across your future payments, which will increase them slightly. In case of death or disability, the loan will be fully discharged.

Earnest has an online system to set up monthly or biweekly payments via autopay, so you don’t have to manually go through the process every single time. Unfortunately, the company’s old features are no longer available, such as the Earnest mobile app, where you could access your entire payment history and adjust payment due dates. This part of the service was removed in 2017 when Navient took over the company.

Customer Service

Earnest loan service has its own in-house customer support team, which is good for those who need help with their loan-related questions. However, the average response time of their customer support team has not been disclosed.

Bottom Line

Overall, Earnest is a reputable online lender that allows you to take out private student loans or refinance your old student debt. If you opt for refinancing, you’ll get several options to cut down your debt quickly by making multiple payments at once or increasing your monthly repayment amount.

Either way, Earnest is a great lender offering plenty of repayment plans and longer repayment terms of up to 20 years. Keep in mind that you will need to do a soft check with them to see what rates you qualify for. On top of that, you will not be allowed to bring on a co-signer.

Advertising Disclosure

The information shared through this website is based on our team’s personal judgements and views. We use our own comparisons to assign values, which are not intended to reflect a certain benchmark of precision. To keep our website free for use, we accept referral fees from various service providers, which have the potential to influence their respective appointed scores. A third party’s participation on toploansadviser.com is not an indication of endorsement. The information and vendors which appear on this site is subject to change at any time.The site does not include all companies offering loan products or all available loan offers.

Nina Ailen Kimimela

Nina Ailen Kimimela

Nina Ailen Kimimela is a freelance writer. You can find much more works in her own Facebook named Nina' s Area. She is good at economical proper noun explanation and analysis of current financial situation.

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