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LendKey Student Loans vs Earnest Student Loans

LendKey is a good option for customer service. How does it compare to Earnest? Read our comparison chart below.

LendKey connects borrowers with a network of community banks and credit unions to get the best rates. Lendkey's lenders offer both private student loans and refinancing & consolidation services. Many lenders offer the option to make interest-only payments during the first four years. Each lender has its own minimum loan and salary requirement.

While Earnest sets itself apart by taking a more personalized approach to lending. Instead of just looking at your credit score, Earnest also considers your job, savings habits, and how you handle finances. It offers flexibility in payments, with the option to switch between fixed and variable rates. You also can skip a payment every 12 months without penalty. Minimum $5,000 in loans to be eligible.

Compare LendKey with Earnest, side-by-side. Read on for an in-depth look, including ratings, reviews, pros and cons.

 LendKey Student Loans
 Learn MoreLearn More

LendKey Student Loans

Earnest Student Loans

Refinance Student Loans - Learn More

Read LendKey Review

Refinance Student Loans - Learn More

Read Earnest Review


Benefits and Features

Variable APR
2.51% to 7.51% (with AutoPay)
5.99% - 9.74% APR (includes 0.25% autopay discount)
Fixed APR
3.49% to 7.54% (with AutoPay)
5.19% - 9.74% APR (includes 0.25% autopay discount)
Minimum Amount
Maximum Amount
Loan Term
5 to 20 years
Custom term from 5 to 20 years (180 term options)
State ResidencyMost states except: ME, ND, NV, RI, and WVMost states with the exception of: DE, KY, and NV and no variable rate loans to residents of: AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN and TX
Degree Requirements
Bachelor's or higher
Associates or higher
Income Requirements
Employment Requirements
Must be employed
Must be employed or have an offer for a position to start within 6 months
Interest Only Payments
Yes for the first 4 years
Origination Fees
Prepayment Penalty
Can Use a Cosigner
Can Release a Cosigner
Only on existing loans
Auto-Pay Interest Rate Reduction
Soft Credit Check
Unemployment Protection

CreditDonkey® Reviews

 LendKey Student Loans
Loan TermStarStarStarStarStarStarStarStarStarStar
Customer ServiceStarStarStarStarHalf StarStarStarStarStarEmpty Star
Ease of UseStarStarStarHalf StarEmpty StarStarStarStarStarStar
Interest RatesStarStarStarStarStarStarStarStarStarStar
Payment FlexibilityStarStarStarHalf StarEmpty StarStarStarStarStarEmpty Star
Pros & ConsPros:
  • Offer interest rate reduction beyond auto-debit reduction
  • Excellent customer service
  • Return policy within 30 days you can return your loan
  • Cumbersome application process
  • Lack of transparency regarding loan documents
  • Looks beyond your credit score
  • Custom term based on budget
  • Option to skip one payment every 12 months
  • Tougher requirements
  • No co-signer option
Bottom LineGood option for customer service... Read full reviewMerit-based lender with custom terms... Read full review

Refinance Student Loans

Refinance Student Loans

LendKey: Pricing information from published website as of 11/15/2018

Earnest: Pricing information from published website as of 11/28/2023

Which is Better: LendKey or Earnest?

Still need help deciding which student loans is better? Read the in-depth reviews below. You may also be interested in comparing LendKey or SoFi.

In short: Earnest's ease of use is outstanding.

Articles on LendKey Student Loans

LendKey Reviews

Saving thousands of dollars on your student loans sounds perfect, and that's just what LendKey promises. Is it the real deal, though?

Articles on Earnest Student Loans


Earnest offers low student loan refinance rates and customizes payments based on your budget. But approval may be harder. Read on for the pros and cons.

Which Do You Think is Best?

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About CreditDonkey
CreditDonkey is a student loan comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.

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