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BestMoney.com

Earnest Review

Reviews 6,219
Earnest
Earnest
Excellent
Reviews 6,219
Sarah Badani
Jul. 31, 2023
3 min read
Sarah Badani
Earnest Summary
Earnest is a well-known lender that helps people out with personal loans, refinancing, and loan consolidation. Recently, this popular financing option launched the newest branch of its lending program, private student loans, and it has been well received across the board. Earnest private loans provide a 9-month grace period for repayments, no fees, and plenty of repayment options. Check out what else Earnest has to offer.

Pros

  • 9-month grace period
  • No fees structure
  • Skip a payment every year

Cons

  • Full deferment not available in all states
  • Minimum loan amount in some states
  • Only 4-year Title IV institution enrollees are eligible

Earnest at a glance

8.8
Editorial score

Online experience

Has learning resources, access to rates, mobile app
10.0

Customer services and support

Multiple ways of reaching lender but limited hours
6.0

Repayment flexibility

Offers flexible repayment plans & the option for special repayment programs
10.0

Eligibility

Doesn't cover bad credit, low income borrowers
8.0

Variety of Loan Types

Offers all loan types
10.0

Overview

Offering an array of financial assistance including credit card consolidation, home improvement loans, medical bill loans, student refinancing, and now private student loans, Earnest is a good place to turn if you need a little help with funding the various stages of life. Earnest has a great reputation, and that's a great way to kick off a lender-borrower relationship. A quick glance around the internet will yield positive results with glowing reviews from real users and an excellent 5-star rating from Trustpilot.

Here’s a peek at Earnest’s CEO featured on CNBC’s Mad Money explaining a bit more about Earnest:

Suitable For?

Earnest benefits students who have exhausted their federal loan options and are looking for more financial assistance. The program particularly favors borrowers signing up with a co-signer as well.

In addition, Earnest offers international private student loans. These are available for graduate students at select schools and do not need a cosigner to get approved.

Loan Features

Earnest is favored for its flexible personal loans and student refinancing programs, and from what we’ve seen, its private student loans are no different. You can get up to 100% of your cost of attendance covered by the loan, there’s an auto-pay discount, and Earnest even has a 5-second pre-approval process. Here are some of the main features that Earnest boasts over the competition:

  • No fees structure

Earnest makes it simpler for students on a budget by cutting out some of the most common fees involved in student loans. You’ll pay zero fees for origination, disbursement, and even late payments. Plus, you won’t pay any prepayment penalties for repaying your debt off early.

  • Skip a payment annually

Once a year, Earnest lets borrowers skip a monthly payment, assuming you’re in good standing with your regular payments. This is incredibly generous and not something you’ll find with other lenders.

  • Client Happiness team

This is Earnest’s customer service (which we’ll cover below), but how could you not love a brand that calls its customer support Client Happiness team?

The Application Process

Earnest offers a fast online application process and a pre-application checklist. Here’s how it works:

  • You can quickly check your eligibility before you even get started. All you need to complete this form is your school of attendance and an approximate credit score ranking. This is quite simple compared to what some lenders require you to fill out.
  • To continue the process, you can fill out the easy online application form. This includes info on your finances and any information about your co-signer if you’re using one.
  • Next, you’ll receive approval along with loan offers. If you like what you see, you can choose your repayment terms, and complete the application process.
  • Then, recieve your money! Once your school verifies your given information, you’ll be transferred the loan money shortly thereafter.

Earnest encourages students to sign up with a co-signer. In fact, Earnest even makes things easier for the ones co-signing the loan by offering a separate account for co-signers to track loan progress and fast service.

Eligibility Requirements

Earnest has pretty straightforward eligibility requirements. Here are the criteria you’ll need to meet to get approved for a private student loan from this lender:

  • You must be a legal US citizen or permanent resident.
  • You must be attending or enrolled to attend full time at one of the participating Title IV institutions.
  • You must be currently living in Washington DC or one of the states where Earnest is permitted to distribute funds.
  • You must be of legal age within the state of residence.
  • You must have a credit score of 650 or higher.

Earnest is available in all states except the following:

ArkansasNew Hampshire
ConnecticutNevada
DelawareOhio
IllinoisTexas
HawaiiVirginia
Kentucky

Loan Rates

Earnest interest rates are set based on your credit history, loan amount, and other factors. But Earnest is known for having low rates on all its financial aid products, so you can expect to get reasonable private student loan APRs as well. Signing up with a co-signer may entitle you to a lower interest rate, so bear that in mind when applying. If you sign up for autopay, you also get an automatic 0.25% discount. If you opt to apply for autopay, you can expect a meaningful discount, with rates as low as 5.32% - 16.20%.

Repayment Terms

Earnest offers students 4 different repayment plans to choose from:

  • Total deferment: This repayment plan allows you to push off all payments of your private student loan until after you’ve completed your schooling or until the end of your grace period. This option is not recommended since it means you’ll end up paying the most. Total deferment is not available in all states.
  • Fixed payments: This option allows you to make a fixed monthly payment of $25 toward your loan while you are still in school. This will reduce the overall amount of your loan that needs to be repaid once you get out of school.
  • Interest-only payments: Interest-only repayment plans let you pay off just the accruing interest each month. This is another great way of staying ahead of your student loan, so you aren’t left with massive debt when your schooling is completed.
  • Full repayment: Finally, Earnest offers students full principal and interest payments. This is a great option if you can afford it because it will reduce the overall cost of your loan (since you’ll be paying off the loan faster, thereby accruing less interest over time).

As mentioned previously, you can also skip one payment annually.

How Safe is It?

All data shared and stored on the Earnest website is secured using industry-standard SSL technology. Some security measures in place include firewalls, multi-factor authentication, and private subnets. Plus, Earnest never sells any information.

Customer Service

Earnest has customer service that it calls the Client Happiness team. You can reach out to this friendly and helpful support staff via email or phone during normal business hours: Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm PT.

How Earnest Compares


EarnestLaurel Road
APR5.32% - 16.20%
4.11%
Credit score650650
Loan amountUp to 100% COA$5,000-total COA
Accepts co-signersYesYes
Suitable forStudents with a cosignerStudents in eligible schools and degrees

Summary

Earnest is a user-friendly, feature-rich option for private student loans. With a 9-month grace period, international private student loans, flexible repayment terms, and even a annual payment skip, you can get the most out of the student loans. Plus, Earnest has some of the friendliest customer service around, covers up to 100% of your cost of attendance, and encourages co-signers. Needless to say, Earnest private student loans come highly recommended.

Disclaimers

Interest Rate Disclosure

Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 4.68% APR to 16.15% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 5.57% APR to 16.45% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan origination loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Although the rate will vary after you are approved, it will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for this loan). Please note, Earnest Private Student Loans are not available in Nevada. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.

THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO MAKE ANY PAYMENT OR TAKE ANY OTHER ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THIS OFFER.

Sarah Badani
Written by
Sarah Badani
Sarah Badani has extensive research and review experience in the finance industry. With a degree in psychology and education, she brings a level of depth and understanding to her writing along with her own flavor to spice up each topic in a unique and inviting way. She writes for BestMoney and enjoys helping readers make sense of the options on the market.‎
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Trustpilot reviews
See what some customers are saying about Earnest
Earnest
Excellent
Reviews 6,219
on
Excellent
85%
Great
9%
Average
2%
Poor
1%
Bad
3%
A
anthony sandora
15 hours ago
Easy
Easy, fast, no hassle.
K
kira hall
15 hours ago
Awesome
Awesome! Extremely helpful, easy to use website & quick loan send off to my university.
P
prem bhaskar rao chintada
2 days ago
About your Services and hastle free
The great platform with great team
S
shannon turco
2 days ago
Application process was very easy and…
Application process was very easy and quick.
R
regina
2 days ago
Great Process and very quick!!!
Great Process and very quick!!!
L
livia whitesel
3 days ago
Refinance private loans here!
Earnest was extremely helpful when it came to refinancing my private student loans, they answered all of my questions and simplified the process!
H
horace arthur trent iii
3 days ago
The Earnest representatives were excellent!!!!
The Earnest representatives were very professional, supportive, knowledgeable, and understanding. The private graduate student loan was tailored to my needs with a great locked-in fixed rate. The terms are great, and the turnaround time was excellent!!!! I now feel that I can complete my education thanks to Earnest!!
t
teresa page
3 days ago
What i didnt like was that it wasnt…
What i didnt like was that it wasnt explained to me on how it worked.
D
dennis salfer
5 days ago
Getting loan, easy. Interest, ridiculous!
Getting the loan was pretty easy, but having to pay almost 10% interest on a school loan is robbery.
K
kyel wolff
6 days ago
Very easy experience!
Easy experience, quicker than expected.
J
joseph elkassis
6 days ago
Easy and low interest rates
Easy and low interest rates
N
niesha d.
8 days ago
Good experience
Easy to apply, fast qualification response, best interest rates. The only feedback I'd give is if they can decrease the amount of time paying off and consolidating loans. It may be standard to take a couple weeks, however. Overall, good service and good experience.
A
andrew fay
9 days ago
Making it easier to pay student loans
Making it easier to pay student loans
M
mitesh patel
9 days ago
Easy website and quick responses and…
Easy website and quick responses and follow ups
G
gail skemp
10 days ago
Quick
Quick, easy
L
lee shermanjustanswer customer
10 days ago
Most daunting part of overall process…
Most daunting part of overall process was the filling in application form. I completed form and thought I was done. Next day a message asking me to complete form with required signature. Thought I did it. After several calls it was determined that there existed not one but two applications. Finally situation was solved - I hope.
J
jacquelyn cornett
10 days ago
My experience was very good
My experience was very good. It didn’t take long and was fairly simple!
H
heather m.
11 days ago
Easy approval
Easy approval, didn't need excessive documents to prove income, etc. Quick deposit of funds.
K
k.a
13 days ago
Great Experience
After getting denied from a couple student loan refinancing companies I was stressed out about making my monthly payments since I was re-entering my payment period. I took a shot in the dark with earnest, I got approved instantly for the full amount before they even pulled a credit check and somehow my interest rate went down as well as my monthly payments, even though my term didn’t increase. I can’t stress how much relief this gave me as I am now able to save for my life plans. Thank you earnest!
T
thelma
15 days ago
Predatory company that doesn't care about you
I would give them no stars if I could. Earnest is a predatory company that acts like they care about their clients. They only care about making money, mainly from young adults that don't know better.
L
lizette taruc
16 days ago
It was easy to do.
It was easy to do.
J
james horvath
20 days ago
Easy to do
Easy to do. The online service to Ernest was very easy to use and I appreciate “ease of use”
M
mimi
21 days ago
I did not have to wait long.
I did not have to wait long.
C
chad ovitt
21 days ago
Fast service and very easy to work with.
Fast service and very easy to work with.
A
abayomi dehinsilu
21 days ago
Quick response to every questions.
Quick response to every questions.
S
samantha habon
21 days ago
Great experience with Earnest!
Great experience with Earnest!
W
wayne carter
22 days ago
help received throughout the process
help received throughout the process
J
jordan
22 days ago
Super straightforward
Super straightforward. The application was easy and not overwhelming!
J
john k
23 days ago
Hard to reach anyone by phone
Hard to reach anyone by phone. Processing was slow.
J
jared
23 days ago
It was a smooth undertaking
It was a smooth undertaking. Only issue at times is uploading docs.
J
joshua moore
24 days ago
The entire process went smooth
The entire process went smooth. The website was easy to follow for myself and my cosigner. We were very pleased.
D
daniel
a month ago
Very easy and helpful with refinancing…
Very easy and helpful with refinancing loans!
M
mr
a month ago
Flawless process
After many years of high interest rate private loans with no options to refinance, I heard about Earnest and it was a flawless process. This refinance has helped me reduce my private loan interest rate and save a lot of money.
G
gabby
a month ago
Solid customer service
Great chat bot capabilities and helpful articles to answer any questions.
N
nurse nad
a month ago
Whole process took less than a week and was easy!
Applying with Earnest for a student loan was simple and straighfoward. I did use a cosigner and his application was also simple enough that he was able to get through it fairly quickly. We were approved the next day and my loan was promptly sent to my college and certified in less than a week. I am very happy with my repayment terms as well. The whole process was quick and did not give any headaches at all. I am very happy with Earnest, HIGHLY recommend this company for your loan needs, and will use them again in the future if I need to.
J
joygopal das
a month ago
Excellent service
Excellent service
J
jibril stewart
a month ago
Fast and easy
Fast and easy. Didn't make me jump through a bunch of hoops plus I like that I had the option to pay a small amount monthly.
M
mr. ken zaslav
a month ago
Easy to Apply
Easy to fill Out forms and send in data on line. Works well with co-signers
N
natalia albright
a month ago
It was a very seamless process for me…
It was a very seamless process for me to refinance my private loan. So far I’m very satisfied with my ability to navigate the website.
K
kennedy baines
a month ago
I appreciate the money they gave me for…
I appreciate the money they gave me for school. I am forever grateful for the help they gave me!
C
carol chaney
a month ago
Good communication when I had…
Good communication when I had questions! Everything from approval to paying the loans was pretty quick!
M
manohar burra
a month ago
very prompt response for every single…
very prompt response for every single email. User friendly platform for application and tracking of loan.
Y
yvonne director
a month ago
I was really surprised how smooth the…
I was really surprised how smooth the process for my granddaughter‘s college loan. The team is very professional and very helpful who is available to answer questions
T
t grytza
a month ago
The interest rates are predatory
The interest rates are predatory. If you are actions against your company, I will not be surprised.
consumer-image
tyler welch
a month ago
Predatory, potentially illegal behavior
I loved Earnest at first when I refinanced and consolidated my private student loans. The rate was good and experience fine. The bad parts come after my in-school (for grad school) deferment. My deferment extension was denied (due to being in a business PhD and not law or medical school). This should tell you two things: 1) the company has very poor risk management (they are not able to deal with risk on a more granular level than if you will be a doctor or lawyer - making no use of publicly-available job and salary data) and 2) the customer service agents are inept (a representative told me on the phone not to worry about the extension - which was then denied by a different person). Then they doubled down on their troubling behavior. When repayment began, the roughly $260 minimum payment the representative quoted on the phone in July (when we discussed what the worst case scenario of an extension application would be) had become nearly $400 by mid-October. How could she be so wrong? How could the company miss the mark that much, by not only encouraging me not plan for much given the chance of an extension and then being off my nearly double? Then the worst part: I received a paper bill indicating $0 due by November 16th. When I log into my account to see why repayment hadn't begun, I notice the $380 payment required by 11/16. This is trickery in its clearest form and a very clear effort to both 1) rack up fees and 2) extend the length of the loan and interest-bearing period. Don't. Use. Earnest. Just don't. Why set your kids up to fail?
C
crystal joseph-regis
a month ago
Fast and efficient
Very quick and efficient
T
tina kohli
a month ago
immediate feedback and easy to navigate
immediate feedback and easy to navigate
D
declan finn
a month ago
Your step by step guidance through the…
Your step by step guidance through the whole process was great.
L
luiza alves
a month ago
Easy and Reliable Experience!
Easy, trustworthy, and reliable service!
S
sean burke
a month ago
fast and informative
fast and informative
M
miranda adam
2 months ago
Easy streamline process
Easy streamline process
S
stefanie
2 months ago
The easiest process
The easiest process
R
richard andress
2 months ago
The overall process was extremely easy
The overall process was extremely easy, all downloads were simple and quick. Customer service people were extremely helpful answering my questions.
A
andrew luczak
2 months ago
Earnest was easy to navigate through…
Earnest was easy to navigate through and the whole process was quick and efficient
U
ulysses
2 months ago
The communication was very good
The communication was very good. Keeping me informed every step of the way.
D
donald
2 months ago
It was an easy experience
It was an easy experience. I filled out my part as the co-signer and my daughter was emailed her part.
S
sherman potillo
2 months ago
Being able to select a plan that fits…
Being able to select a plan that fits you best was easy. Working with the staff on the phone was just as nice. Any question I had was answered and made clear. My wait time was so fast and painless. It was shorter than they said it would be. Not sure if it was because this was not my first loan thru them, but it just took the worry out of the proses. The people were just so nice that all I can say.
G
george mays
2 months ago
Very smooth
Very smooth, and efficient resulting in good results
J
jeffrey sykes
2 months ago
Easy
It was so easy and the rates are not that bad.
A
anaeli tellez
2 months ago
All online based with great answers to…
All online based with great answers to my many questions. It was fast.
D
donna givens
2 months ago
The application process was easy and…
The application process was easy and fairly quick.
B
bona lee sungay
2 months ago
Efficient and friendly.
Efficient and friendly.
T
tv
2 months ago
It was a very easy process.
It was a very easy process.
R
ralph walker
2 months ago
My school requested my loan to be…disbursed on 10/10/23.
My school requested my loan to be disbursed a day before the day that Earnest had my loan scheduled to disbursed which was past 5 days. I don't know why Earnest didn't change the loan disbursement day.
H
high interest
2 months ago
Website is really easy to navigate
Website is really easy to navigate, only negative is the crazy high interest rates.
A
am
2 months ago
Accuracy and Ease
Everyone I worked with, was clear about the process and timelines. No confusing or conflicting information.
J
john baig
2 months ago
Eligibility is most important n the responsibility most students don’t realize the responsibility that comes with securing a loan the repayment of it
Keep up the good work
V
victoria auger
2 months ago
I got an real person and the answers to…
I got an real person and the answers to my questions and she walked me thru the process.
L
lisandro zamora
2 months ago
Applying with Earnest was easy and…
Applying with Earnest was easy and great! It was very easy to navigate through the process and to apply for a rate match if another provider had a better deal. I was very happy with my experience.
K
k. m. hirahara
2 months ago
Everything went smoothly
Everything went smoothly, and on time.
A
arthur mcglone
2 months ago
All this was done in a very simple way
All this was done in a very simple way. It was for my grandson which is in England for school. Thank to you it was fast and simple
D
don aquilano
2 months ago
My experience has been a complete…
My experience was initially a bit bumpy as my application was more complicated than most, but the team there ultimately reached out and helped me with the process.
S
susan espino
2 months ago
You’re service is very fast.
You’re service is very fast.
J
jalyn forrer
2 months ago
Truly easier than I had anticipated
Truly easier than I had anticipated! We are very happy with Earnest.
O
okechukwu ajuba
2 months ago
Great service
Great service
G
guest george.
2 months ago
It has been a great experience every…
It has been a great experience every time we do loan applications with Earnest and simple with no problem whatsoever with the program!
A
attibaud xavier-jrme kouassi
2 months ago
Great experience
Very easy, Very fluid, Very simple, Very fast reply from Earnest. Great experience of loan application.
A
athletic director tom
2 months ago
Simple and quick response
Simple and quick response
C
craig simmers
2 months ago
Better rates than SOFI and better…
Better rates than SOFI and better service.
A
abi
2 months ago
It was helpful that there wasn't…
It was helpful that there wasn't onlyone kind of loan I could get and it was also helpful that I didn't have to wait a long time to hear back from.
J
john d.
2 months ago
Very smooth & simple process.
Very smooth & simple process.
B
bachittar singh
2 months ago
That you don’t do direct disbursement.
Was unaware that disbursement is through the school only.
J
jayson sneed
2 months ago
Good job
The speed of the loan was very helpful
S
simon boyarskiy
2 months ago
"your wait time is 0 minutes"
"your wait time is 0 minutes" that is amazing!
A
alexander barnett
3 months ago
Quick easy application
Quick easy application! If you haven’t heard from them in 3 days, You have to check your sometimes confusing portal for additional requests required.
K
k petersen
3 months ago
Always very helpful and polite
Always very helpful and polite
J
j. hamilton
3 months ago
Incredibly easy and fast process
Incredibly easy and fast process to apply for an education loan. I went through the application process online and then I called the support to have them answer my question. The support were so helpful and friendly.
A
adam
3 months ago
Earnest was a life saver
Earnest was a life saver. It was the only company that would allow me to consolidate my loans. I save $400 a month. The process was easy and seem less.
K
kathlyn laraway
3 months ago
took forever
took forever. Frustrating process for document uploads.
S
sherman potillo
3 months ago
All phone conversations were pleasant…
All phone conversations were pleasant and complete. Made the process easy.
E
edwin rosa
3 months ago
Co-signer
What I appreciate was the fact that they worked with you step by step through the process of attaining the loan.
J
jackson
3 months ago
Earnest made my loan process easy and…
Earnest made my loan process easy and direct, I will definitely recommend Earnest to friends and family.
R
r. northcutt
3 months ago
How much more simple could it be?
How much more simple could it be?! What an enjoyable experience. I literally was thinking, “It can’t be that easy!” But, it was! Thank you! I’m excited about my lower interest rate and solid plan for retiring this student loan debt ASAP!
T
ts
3 months ago
Easiest College Loan Experience Ever!
Our experience with Earnest was refreshing, straightforward, and easy. The documents arrived in a timely manner, loan selection was easy to understand. Our loan rate was competitive. We are happy with this experience and will use them again next year.
F
francis anim
3 months ago
Simple and easy
The process was fast
J
justin
3 months ago
Interest rates are robbery.
Interest rates are robbery.
L
leslie
3 months ago
it was easy to apply again with…
it was easy to apply again with Earnest, I just wish I got the low interest rates advertised!
A
andrea foncerrada
3 months ago
Excellent
Best rate, fast, kind, effective.
M
mark meers
3 months ago
Your company was very communicative…
Your company was very communicative online and the co-signing process went very smooth.
M
milena bonilla
3 months ago
Easy Peasy
Quick loan processing and fund dispersement