LendKey Student Loans Review – Sophisticated Digital Marketplace

Lnedkey connects community banks and credit unions to online borrowers. How it works, what are the requirements and which drawbacks you should be aware of?
LendKey Student Loans Review

This is a student loan lending company that connects community banks and credit unions to online borrowers.

It was founded in 2009, and has so far served more than 90,000 borrowers and disbursed slightly over $2.8 billion. They also offer graduate and undergraduate loans as well as loan refinancing.

It is a digital marketplace where borrowers can compare many different student loan rates at once.

They can match anyone interested in refinancing their student loans with a community bank or credit union from all over the country.

They originate and service all their loans through this platform, and because their loans are issued by their partners, the rates and loan amounts. Plus, the repayment options differ from one lender to another.

Their main aim is to only partner with businesses that are willing to offer highly competitive rates and excellent customer service to their customers.

LendKey Loans Rates and Terms

Rates and TermsRefinancing LoanPrivate Loans
Loan Amounts
  • From $5,000 to $125,000 for students in the undergraduate levels, and up to $250,000 for graduate students. They also offer loans of up to $300,000 for students in dental, medical or veterinary degree courses.
  • From $1,000 up to the total cost of attendance for the course, and less the amount of aid you have already received such as federal loans.
Fixed APR
  • 3.39 – 7.75%
  • 4.86 – 11.24%
Variable APR
  • 1.90 – 8.55%
  • 3.12 – 10.19%
Fees
  • Origination fee: None
  • Late fee: Yes. From $5 up to $15 depending on the lender you have chosen, if your payment is late by around 15 days.
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Origination fee: None
  • Late fee: Yes. From $5 up to $15 depending on the lender you have chosen, if your payment is late by around 15 days.
  • Prepayment fee: None
Time to Funding
  • 27 days from date of application
  • Instant approval
Loan Terms
  • 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
  • 5, 10 or 15 years
Soft Credit Check?
  • Yes
  • No

LendKey Loans Requirements

Here are the main requirements for both refinancing and private loans:

 

RequirementsRefinancing Private Loans
Minimum credit score660
Co-signer – 754
Student – 660
Co-signer – 768
CitizenshipAmericanAmerican
Minimum IncomeAt least $24,000 per year, and at least $12,000 per year if you have a co-signerAt least $24,000 each year.
Debt to income ratio50%.33%
LocationNo loans are available in the following states: Nevada, Maine, Rhode Island, North Dakota, and West Virginia.All states
Must have graduatedYes. Should at least have an associate degreeMust be enrolled in school, either part-time or Full-time.
Co-signer?Yes.Yes.
DefermentNo. No academic or Military deferment.No. No academic or Military deferment.
Bankruptcy?Yes, you can qualify after 5 years.Yes, you can qualify after 5 years.

 

LendKey Student Loan Refinancing

Refinancing with LendKey allows you to work with credit unions and community banks, rather than deal with huge banks with high-interest rates, which is great for student borrowers. They, however, require their refinance borrowers to earn an income of $63,000 each year, which gives people who don’t earn six-figure salaries to use their services.

To qualify for refinancing, you must have a credit score of 680, but they also look at other traditional underwriting factors before they approve or reject your loan such as the length of your credit history, your debt-to-income ratio, and your income level.

They encourage refinancing borrowers to use a cosigner if their credit score is not as required and also to get a better rate. Cosigning is a risky affair, and you must find someone who completely trusts you, as they shall be required to repay the loan in case you default.

A refinance co-signer can be released after 12 on-time repayments of the loan.

Because this company focuses on co-signers, it was one of the few companies that worked very well with recent grads and people with limited to no credit history at all.

It is however not advisable to refinance your federal student loan, as you shall not find a lender with interest rates that are as low as the federal government, and only do so if you absolutely must.

Pros & Cons Of LendKey Student Loans

Here are the most important pros & cons you should know as a borrower:

Eligibility Criteria

The company has very few requirements for application.

For instance – ensuring that you are 18 years and above, be a US citizen or a permanent resident, ensure to be enrolled in school at least half of the time, which are easy to achieve for most students.

Interest rates and Fees

This is one of the best benefits of this company.

Their interest rates are reasonable and achievable, plus, since you get to choose from a variety of lenders, you can always manage to go for the lender with the least interest rate.

Alternatively, if you do not have a credit history, then, you can always opt to use a cosigner who shall increase your chances of getting approved for a refinancing or private student loan.

The cosigner can also help you get the lowest interest rates.

They do not charge any processing or origination fees for their loans. They also do not charge you for prepayments. You can, therefore, pay off the loan as early as you wish without having to pay for it.

The company shall give you a 0.25% discount off the interest rate quoted if you do sign up for their automatic payment system. If you meet all of their conditions also, you shall qualify for an additional 1% reduction in the interest rate after you have paid off at least 10% of the total loan amount.

Repayment Plans

LendKey does offer its customers’ repayment plans that range from 5 years to 15 years.

This enables them to choose a period that can best suit their current financial position.

They also have unemployment protection that is a great relief in case you lose your employment through no fault of your own.

Application Process

LendKey accepts applications from grad students, undergrad students, as well as their parents, and the entire process can be completed online.

All you have to do is fill out the application form, which is a process that takes just a few minutes, and after submitting the form, you shall get a long list of lenders who are your best match.

After this, you should compare each lender’s terms and conditions, together with their rates of interest and then choose the lender that works best for you. For you to finalize this, you shall be required to sign a promissory note and finish all other formalities for the loan to be processed.

Co-signer Options

One of the problems that most student lenders face is the lack of good credit history.

As such, they are ineligible for the loan, but LendKey allows them to look for a cosigner, who can stand in for them in case they default on the loan.

Another big advantage with LendKey when it comes to cosigners is the option of releasing them. Cosigner release with LendKey happens after you have made 12 payments on the loan.

Hard Credit Pull

Most loan companies will carry out a soft credit check of the borrower before determining whether they qualify for the loan or not.

LendKey, however, does a hard credit pull for qualifying a student, which is not the best thing at all?

The reason behind this is that; a soft pull does not affect your credit report, but a hard pull adversely affects it.

Do Not Allow Deferment

This is a big limitation of this company because they do not allow students to defer their loan repayments while they are still in school.

Other companies allow students to defer their loans while in school and they also offer deferment options for military personnel.

LendKey Repayment Options

Here are the repayment options available to LendKey borrowers

  • You can opt to pay a flat fee of $25 each month while you are still in school, for 60 months. Full payments, however, shall be due after this period.
  • You can make interest-only payments on the loan while still in school for 60 months as well, and thereafter, full payments shall be due.
  • When you finish school, the company gives you a 6-month grace period before you are entitled to start repaying the loan.
  • They do not offer deferment, either for school students or active military personnel.
  • You shall be given 18 months forbearance when you qualify for it over the life of the loan.
  • A co-signer release is available after 24 months for private loans and 12 months for refinancing loans.

Company Reputation

According to the Consumer Advocates site, LendKey has an excellent rating of 4.7/5.

This shows that the company is keen on customer satisfaction.

Also, on the Better Business Bureau site, they have been given an A rating, with only 12 customer complaints since 2009.

Conclusion

LendKey is a great option for people who wish to refinance their student loans as their rates are very low.

Eligibility requirements also vary from lender to lender, but LendKey will ensure that they match you with offers that will approve your loans at the quickest time possible.

Generally, for you to qualify, you must be a US citizen or possess permanent residency papers. You should also have completed an undergraduate or associate, or a graduate or doctorate from one of the IV schools.