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Earnest Review
Reviews 5,677
Earnest
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Earnest
Earnest
Excellent
Reviews 5,677
Sarah Badani
Dec. 14, 2022
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

4.4
Editorial score

Online experience

Has learning resources, access to rates, mobile app
5.0

Customer services and support

Multiple ways of reaching lender but limited hours
3.0

Repayment flexibility

Offers flexible repayment plans & the option for special repayment programs
5.0

Eligibility

Doesn't cover bad credit, low income borrowers
4.0

Variety of Loan Types

Offers all loan types
5.0

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.

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 4.49% - 13.55%.

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
APR4.49% - 13.55%
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, flexible repayment terms, and even an 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 4.74% APR to 14.20% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 4.74% APR to 13.80% 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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See what some costumers are saying about Earnest
Earnest
Excellent
Reviews 5,677
on
Excellent
85%
Great
9%
Average
2%
Poor
1%
Bad
3%
S
susan smith
21 hours ago
It was super simple and quick!
It was super simple and quick!
L
l. rowe
2 days ago
Excellent Service!
Excellent, superb service and work!! Went out the way to help and give much needed assistance, especially in rough situations with schooling. Thanks again for everything! And God bless you ALL.
D
donald garrett
2 days ago
Awesome
Awesome. Simple application and quick results.
K
kelly
2 days ago
Good communication
Good communication
C
casey guerra
2 days ago
Really came through in a time of need.
The process was quick and easy to apply. I got my funds in a respectable amount of time. Constant emails to keep me informed of the whole process.
J
jim hague
2 days ago
Best financial place
The nicest people to work with
K
kimberly butler
3 days ago
Earnest was great
The application process was quick and painless. The customer support team is very helpful and my loan was disbursed quickly!
P
pao
3 days ago
Quick & Easy
It was quick and easy. The company follows up with you regularly and was helpful
D
dakyf
3 days ago
Great for International Students
I appreciate the fact that I was able to get a loan as an international student and that my cosigner didnt need the perfect credit score as proof that I would really pay back. All I needed was an opportunity and Earnest granted me that, I am grateful!
F
frederick van alstyne
4 days ago
The loan process was very simple and…
The loan process was very simple and painless.
M
melissa hyatt
4 days ago
The process was easy
The process was easy. I disagree with the interest rate I received. I have a great credit score so I feel it should've been lower. I still have no instructions on how to set up autonpay for my monthly payments.
M
martin alemajoh
5 days ago
It was a seamless and convenient…
It was a seamless and convenient process. Would highly recommend it
M
martin alemajoh
5 days ago
It was seamless and very fast
It was seamless and very fast. My funds got to school on time. Great service.
K
karleen prince
6 days ago
This experience was amazing
This experience was amazing, easy application, process was quick and everything expedited
V
vicki peters
8 days ago
Very knowledgeable
Very knowledgeable, professional and pleasant staff. Loan was quite executed in a timely manner. This was my second time cosigning on a loan from Earnest.
C
cody campson
8 days ago
Didn’t get approved with others but did with Earnest
Was a seamless experience, kept it simple and got approved the same day.
R
rafael villamizar
9 days ago
the application was qualified well and…
the application was qualified well and turnaround approval was great with reasonable loan interest and terms
W
william garci
10 days ago
The application process was easy and…
The application process was easy and the results were quickly known. Great experience.
C
carlos diaz
10 days ago
Easy
Easy, they made everything so easy, kept me informed of what was going on so there was no confusion. I would choose earnest again, if I absolutely needed a private student loan.
W
william heath watkins
10 days ago
Applying for a college loan for my…
Applying for a college loan for my daughter was fast, quick and easy. Quick responses and quick payment to the college.
L
lee-ruth robinson
13 days ago
Application process was easy and loan…
Application process was easy and loan processing was timely.
D
david gilbert
13 days ago
Earnest, the best lender for Student loaners
Great customer service, Best rates available for student loans on the market. Very easy to apply and approval process is quick. Staff was very knowledgeable and thorough giving options for the borrower. I am very pleased with Earnest as a lender.
S
steven houghton
14 days ago
This was our 2nd time with earnest
This was our 2nd time with earnest. The process is by far the simplest of all their peers. The response and follow up were excellent
M
mark
14 days ago
Low rates
Low rates, simple process and very helpful customer service!
P
phorvath
14 days ago
This process was smooth
This process was smooth, and fast. Took 14 days from start to finish to get my student loans paid off and consolidated with Earnest. Highly recommend
C
chris sr. franks
14 days ago
It's fairly easy.
It's fairly easy.
S
susan chipman
15 days ago
Very easy!
It was so easy to do everything online. It did not take very long to do.
B
bianca c
15 days ago
Fast and Easy
The process was easy and the turn around time has been very prompt.
L
lauryn hulett
16 days ago
Super user friendly and explained the…
Super user friendly and explained the process very clearly. Thank you!
E
edward raikowski
16 days ago
Worthy
Had no issues for reapplying for another semester for my daughter. They kept us informed and any issues that had risen. Went very smooth.
J
jayne maranhas
16 days ago
Quick process
Quick process easy to follow instructions Quick response
M
melissa arcos
16 days ago
Quick and easy to apply
Easy process, quick approval, and great timing in disbursing funds to the university.
M
monique f.
16 days ago
They respond swiftly
The site is easy to navigate and the agent respond to your chat quickly. I will like them to work on their phone number. Tried reaching out but couldn't.
A
aa
16 days ago
Excellent and fast customer service
Excellent and fast customer service. Very responsive even over the holidays.
S
shannon simonds
16 days ago
Super easy to apply and quick decision
Super easy to apply and quick decision. Getting my masters degree wouldn't be possible without your help
C
christopher staaf
17 days ago
Scam
Don't do it. Not worth it.
Z
zibriana davis
17 days ago
Great response time
Great response time. Keep up the good work.
S
stephanie
21 days ago
What a relief
Nothing was confusing about the application process and it was easy to see interest rate up front with no surprise changes after the process was completed. Comparing with other refinance options Earnest offered me the best rate and was the most transparent. My student loan servicer suddenly increased my interest rate by a ridiculous amount and it kept getting higher. What a relief to have this option for refinancing.
F
frances cozza
21 days ago
Prompt and easy service
The website was very intuitive and the service to process my loan was quick. I greatly appreciated your promptness and ease in processing my loan and how it was quickly sent to the university in Italy. Had I know of your lending institution sooner, I would have started the process sooner. Thank you!
Y
yvonne director
21 days ago
The two young men I spoke to Customer…
The two young men I spoke to Customer Service very polite and extremely helpful
M
mary jean fabian
21 days ago
Easy application and quick
Easy application and quick
A
ali sadeghinia
22 days ago
Very smooth and easy with acceptable rate
Very smooth and easy! Great rate compared to other private loans. Easy and smooth communication on earnest side with university as well
K
k.p.
23 days ago
Low rates
Low rates, but when I went to add money to my initial loan for books that I didn’t know I couldn’t afford, they said I could only increase the loan by 5% which didn’t cover even close. Not good for nursing students who have to buy expensive books. Otherwise good customer service
M
mckenna lee
23 days ago
Easy
Easy, responsive and great communication
J
jesse johnson
24 days ago
The easy process and got approved for…
The easy process and got approved for what I requested
Y
yelena
a month ago
Easy and prompt
Easy and prompt
M
martina
a month ago
It takes a very long time compared to…
It takes a very long time compared to Sallie Mae. I am frustrated because we had issues with the certification for school and I never had any issues with that with other private student loans.
S
sharon watson
a month ago
Co-signor form question/answer.
Is almost very easy to complete form as to being a co-signer. I have filed the form out, I believe, 5 times so knew what to expect. I did question and called about having to provide my accounts open to analysis. Most areas on form are no problem but being a co-signer, some of the questions cannot be answered with answers supplied. When I had to give an incorrect answer I filled in another answer with an explanation of what I said. I would feel much better answering “Other” as I would not have to give a wrong answer. Sharon Watson, Mary P. Watson’s grandmother.
E
elisabeth m
a month ago
I really appreciated the prompt…
I really appreciated the prompt communication and quick payment to my son’s college. Earnest also had better internet rates and better payment options than I found elsewhere. Thank you!
T
twanna bell
a month ago
Really easy to work with
Really easy to work with. It initially said to expect a response within 48 hours. I had my approval literally within an hour of submitting the application.
K
k petersen
a month ago
Applying for the loan was quick and eeasy
Applying for the loan was quick and effortless. Customer service is always helpful and speedy. I have co-signed two loans with them and I am very pleased with their service
J
juan galindo
a month ago
Someone to trust with your son's education
Earnest has been there for my son and I. They have given my son an opportunity to continue his education at the college level
C
carlyle herman
a month ago
No help for people who cannot afford…
No help for people who cannot afford their payments
M
michelle m
a month ago
I went through Earnest for two of my student loans
I went through Earnest for two of my student loans this school year. Yes, two. My student loan experience has been quite the hassle only because of the way my university handled both throughout the entire process. Earnest made each of these processes much easier. I went through Earnest for my first and second loan because they offer rate matching, no late fees, 9 month’s grace period after I graduate, they offer lower finance charges and their customer service is far superior to any other company I spoke with. My school certified my first loan for a much lower amount than my budget, so I submitted a request for an increase in my personal budget to my university. My school sat on my budget increase for 2 months and by that time my first loan had expired, making my loan amount unable to be increased. The only way I could receive the additional amount was to take out a second loan. I used Earnest for my second student loan for the same reasons. Earnest handled both of the student loans professionally and with grace. Their customer service is amazing: excellent communication, they explain the process well, emailed me personally with issues I had with my university certifying my loans. I also received an Amazon gift card for each of my student loans. I would highly recommend using Earnest for your student loans.
A
amenyo doe
a month ago
Earnest was fast
Earnest was fast, they keep me waiting.
C
cleon martin
a month ago
Easy to apply
Easy to apply, quick responses.
J
jeffrey speiden
a month ago
Earnest is timely and instructive and…
Earnest is timely and instructive and not overly burdensome in the loan process.
A
apoorva singh
2 months ago
It's fast
It's fast, and easy! It's my third time with earnest!
L
lisandra wilmott
2 months ago
Quick & Easy
The entire process was very efficient and quick. Rates were good. No complaints at all.
C
casey patten
2 months ago
The process to consolidate my loans…
The process to consolidate my loans went smoothly. I had a difficult time consolidating my loans in the past. So far, I have had a great experience.
Y
yeoun bae
2 months ago
Easy and fast
Easy and fast
H
hayley bernard
2 months ago
The amount given in the loan doesn’t…
The amount given in the loan doesn’t cover even a 3rd of what I still owe for this term or year. And I requested to cancel it because it was embarrassingly small and I got confirmation it was being canceled. However today I got an emailing confirming that the funds were sent to my school anyways.
S
sudershan gupta
2 months ago
No hassle college Loans
They have an easy and smooth process for loans. I looked at others few and the process was so cumbersome for one where it took approx. 1 month with various documents uploads, while Earnest was quick and approved in few hours. Their support team is also easy to reach anytime, and they take care of the process. Would do business again.
A
anthony
2 months ago
Disappointed, but Appreciate the Loan
Disappointed that my credit score, which is good and my dad who has excellent credit couldn't offer a better interest rate. My rate doubled from last semester, so really bummed. Also, the electronic application process wasn't easy and somehow, I withdrew my dad's application, had to reapply, and then Earnest will just leave it on my account anyway. The live reps I talked to in order to figure out what was happening made things easier. I appreciate you funding my sophomore year, so I gave a higher review.
L
larry moore
2 months ago
It was a very easy process.
It was a very easy process. The customer service was outstanding and friendly. Their website was extremely easy to use and their policies are student friendly compared to other lenders.
consumer-image
guy e lovell
2 months ago
Guy Lovell
This company assisted me in securing my financial woes on getting my degree paid for. No issues and fast service. I was very pleased.
B
bryan mulletman n.
2 months ago
Repeat customer here if I need student loans in the future,
Fast, straightforward, easy to use. I appreciated the depth of information presented for my loan and terms but I also appreciate even more how I was able to review everything quickly and review the terms and conditions without having to check through all the other parts of a financial agreement I have seen plenty of times before.
J
jose guzman
2 months ago
Incredible agile process!!
Incredible agile process!!! Wow
K
ki kim
2 months ago
So great 👍
It was great service.
D
desmond agudey
2 months ago
The way the explained the loan offers.
The way the explained the loan offers.
Z
zibriana davis
2 months ago
Application process was very…
Application process was very understandable.
S
steve deschon
2 months ago
Terrible Customer Service
Struggling with finances currently. Not their problem I know. But I reach out to make my payments bi-weekly instead of monthly. They tell me it’s impossible to move the payment date back 2 days and change it to a bi-weekly payment due to “system limitations.”
H
heather dring
2 months ago
It was easy
It was easy, clear, and straight to the point. I do wish the loan would be sent out to the schools faster but that’s also on me for applying a few weeks before tuition is due.
M
marcus king
2 months ago
The website is easy to understand and…
The website is easy to understand and all of the information is right there. Earnest staff always replies to my questions in a timely manner.
J
janene dotts
2 months ago
Easy process
Easy process, straightforward documentation. Thanks for letting me finish school with less stress!
D
david c
3 months ago
Waste of time, not beneficial
Waste of time. No reason I should have been denied for a refinance. They do a hard inquiry on your credit and if anything have negative affects on your finances. Do not apply it’s a waste of time
Y
yesenia ortiz
3 months ago
Great customer service,always helpful!
Great customer service,always helpful! Funds are proveded to the school quickly.
T
tad's dad
3 months ago
Very quick and relaiable
Very quick and relaiable
R
rebekah soltero
3 months ago
Run From This Company
I followed the prompts for the loan I should apply for, which I did. The loan said I should apply for an undergraduate which I did and got approved for. Three months later an earnest rep reaches out via email and says I applied for a graduate loan, and my school could not certify, so I will have to re-apply which means they will pull another hard credit pull lowering my chances of approval now. This company is a joke!
M
matthew talaga
3 months ago
The overall experience was great
The overall experience was great, phone calls were answered quickly and information given was clear and straight forward. However, information pertaining to refinancing for those who attended school, but did not graduate could be more straight forward.
K
kelley graham
3 months ago
It was easy to do and i liked the way…
It was easy to do and i liked the way the system helped my son and i work together
B
bhagath kondepati
3 months ago
Quick and easy
The Loan application process is very easy, easy to understand, very fast and very helpful.
K
khadija franklin
3 months ago
Easy Peasy to apply!
The process to apply and get approved was fast and easy. I wish I would've refinanced sooner!
F
frankie o.
3 months ago
My experience with Earnest was exceptional
My experience with Earnest was captivating from my very first call. They are professional, courteous, attentive, and very accommodating.
G
graham emmett
3 months ago
Great & expedient service
Great & expedient service , did what they said said what they did. Is this enough characters?
J
jeff voll
3 months ago
Fast response
We applied and it said it could take a week, we got approved same day, verified documents and everything went smooth, all info was sent to school and the longest part is just waiting for the school to verify all the information . Overall great experience.
J
jacob davis
3 months ago
Very informative and helpful staff
Very informative and helpful staff
A
amy haefs
3 months ago
good customer care
good customer care
P
peter sengelmann
3 months ago
Quick efficient service
Quick efficient service
A
andrew yarber
3 months ago
Great experience
Great experience. Perfect technology experience.
N
nicole acosta
3 months ago
They misinform you
They misinform you. They don't tell you if you are or aren't eligible and they make a hard inquiry on your credit report before they're supposed to. I have contacted them and they have shown a complete lack of integrity. I wouldn't trust them with anything because they try to fool you with their eligibility check.
T
talyn
3 months ago
Easy online application
Easy online application. And decision within minutes
A
aaron slough
3 months ago
Process was quick and easy to get…
Process was quick and easy to get through. The site is sleek and easy to navigate. Good experience all around!
A
abhiram kondajji
3 months ago
Intuitive pay slider that makes sense
They made the whole process easy and in a language that everyone can understand. The slider scale is very unique and truly lets the user understand what the pay-off options look like.
A
asha
3 months ago
The lady I spoke to was very nice
The lady I spoke to was very nice. She answered all my questions and double checked information for me.
C
christine harrison frei
3 months ago
Reps. Making Shet Up
Representatives couldn’t tell me what monthly payment I was signing up for. I was offered a payment at $487.74/mo and ready to sign the 2nd week of September. But then there was “a bug” in your system the minute I tried to accept what the phone rep had told me I was offered. They amounts were made up every time I spoke to a different person who didn’t know what they were talking about. No one had any clue and they were incorrect on my offer. Every. time. Not sure if you quite understand how to instill confidence in your customer base, but altering loan amounts and percentages in every conversation is not legal nor the best way to go. Your company has a lot of problems and I only hate Sallie Mae enough to switch processors. “Earnest” is a funny name for a company that is unethical and your tactics barely legal - only so much that your profit margins are wide enough off predatory loans. Thanks for the worst sign up process ever! If you here from a lawyer, don’t be surprised.
L
lynn ingram
3 months ago
Personal Opinion
Personally, I feel that to pay $9,000 in interest to borrow $13,000 is darn near Usury. I’m only the co-signer, but I feel terrible for my grandson to start his adult life already in an interest rate hole that’s difficult for him to get out of. I may buy him out of this once he learns what he’s getting himself into.
D
driton shala
3 months ago
Great service from coustemer care!
Great service from coustemer care!
C
christine corona
4 months ago
Fast and efficient serveice
Fast and efficient serveice
K
kimberly morton
4 months ago
Morton’s review
The options should be more than that but once I spoke to a representative then things went smoothly.