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Tuesday, January 25th
LendKey has partnered with a network of credit unions and banks since 2009, providing numerous loan options through their digital platform. "A" rated and accredited by the Better Business Bureau, this service is worth considering if you're looking to refinance at least $5,000 in student loans (up to a maximum of $125,000 for undergraduate degrees, $175,000 for graduate degrees, and $300,000 for certain medical programs).
Glitches in the online application
You'll enter your basic information to see if you prequalify for student loan refinancing here. If LendKey can't match your details with your credit profile, you'll be asked to provide your Social Security number. You'll still only have a soft pull on your credit at this stage. Unfortunately, even with our SSN, LendKey wasn't able to find our information (which is odd, because their competitors didn't have any problem prequalifying us to refinance our student loans).
Positive comments from clients
That left us to rely on what other students had to say about their experiences with LendKey. You'll only find four- and five-star reviews featured on their site, but fortunately those account for almost 90% of their independently-verified ratings (just over 300 in total at the time of this evaluation). Most borrowers limit their comments to the application process alone and say that while it took longer than expected, they got rates they liked and that would save them a lot of money.
More information, please!
But, we wish that LendKey were more transparent. In poking around trying to find out more, we saw comments that indicated that this provider might not be available in all states: if you live in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island or West Virginia, your prequalification application might not go through. There's also no detailed information about which lenders are in LendKey's network or how many there are; the site references "hundreds" of partners, but we imagine that many of them fund loans unrelated to education. And again, we were completely - and inexplicably - unable to even get through the prequalification process.
Could be better, could be worse
For all of these reasons, LendKey isn't our first choice for student loan refinancing. It's just too much of a hassle to figure out in advance if you're even eligible - and it doesn't feel very secure to provide sensitive details like a Social Security number when there's a chance you won't be able to apply after all. LendKey has some very satisfied borrowers and a good reputation, so we don't discount them entirely. However, you may want to see what other student loan refinancing platforms can do for you first.
If you got your student loans back when interest rates were high, you're smart to think it might be a good idea to refinance when rates have dropped. Whether you get a lower rate or take years off your loan (or both!), your savings could be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
You can typically qualify to refinance your student loans if your outstanding balance is at least $5,000, though some lenders have higher minimums. You'll often need to be in good standing and up to date on your current loan payments, have steady income and a credit score of 660 or higher. Otherwise, your refinancing may require a cosigner.
But, be careful if you're considering refinancing your federal student loans into a private loan. There are some benefits offered with government student loans that don't carry over into privately-funded ones. Do your research before you sign on the dotted line and make sure that the benefits you'd gain outweigh the perks you'd lose.
So, you've determined that it's the right time to refinance your student loan. What should you look for in a lender? Here are some factors to guide your decision-making:
To help you determine the best way to refinance your student loan, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's top lenders. We're confident that with this information, you'll easily find the right rate and term on your loan refinancing!
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