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LendKey Student Loans Review 2023

Borrower tip: Refinancing federal student loans into a private student loan can make you ineligible for certain types of protections, such as income-driven repayment plans, federal debt forgiveness programs and forbearance/deferment options through the Department of Education.

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Borrowers can choose between fixed and variable rates for:

  • Undergraduate student loans.
  • Graduate student loans.
  • Student loan refinancing.

You apply online for new and refinance loans, and LendKey will match you with the best lender for your needs. For new loans, the company recommends applying at least one month before tuition is due. Processing and certifying a loan may take several weeks but generally happens in less than 30 days, according to LendKey. You may receive conditional approval for your loan quickly after initial review of your application and credit report. But final approval won’t come until after you submit supporting documents and your school certifies the loan.

For student loan refinancing, you can start with LendKey’s “check your rate” tool online to estimate annual percentage rates and terms. The tool uses a soft credit inquiry that will not hurt your credit. If you select a loan and apply for it, the lender will run a hard inquiry that might temporarily lower your credit score.

Next, you will indicate the loans you want to refinance and provide documents such as a copy of your government-issued ID, proof of income and statements for each loan. After your documents have been approved, you will electronically review your loan disclosures and sign your loan agreement before LendKey pays off your old loans and creates a new refinanced loan.

Generally, this process takes at least 10 days, and it may be up to 30 days from the time you sign your loan agreement to the time LendKey pays off your loan. You are responsible for making your monthly payment with your previous loan servicer until that time.

Terms, fees and conditions hinge on your choice of loan. However, LendKey services all loans, and all applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and be at least the age of majority where they live.

The company advertises private student loans with fixed APRs from 4.89% or variable APRs from 5.36% when you opt for autopay. You may be able to borrow up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance, which can include tuition, room and board, books, and other expenses.

You can get approved for a full academic year at once, but interest only accrues on what you borrow, and you can cancel any future disbursements with no penalty.

If you are refinancing, you can choose from terms of five to 20 years and fixed APRs from 6.61% or variable APRs from 4.76% with autopay. The minimum loan amount for refinancing is $5,000; it is $10,001 in Arizona, $10,001 in Connecticut; and $6,000 in Massachusetts. Borrowers do not pay either application fees or origination fees, but some lenders charge late fees and nonsufficient funds fees.

You can receive an interest rate reduction by signing up to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a checking or savings account.The company may also offer promotional bonuses, such as specific dollar amount bonuses if you are a member of a specific partner.

Borrowers need to be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program from an approved school to take out a private student loan through LendKey. You should also be either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and must be at least the age of majority where you live. If you don’t have a credit history and a steady income, you will likely need a co-signer for the application.

You can refinance your loans even if you are in school, as long as you graduated with at least an associate degree from a participating Title IV institution. But you might not want to: You will have to start paying your loans right away, and you could lose certain borrower protections.

The company does not disclose a credit score or range of scores required by lender partners. If you are refinancing, you can see if you are eligible and check your rates without hurting your credit score.

You will receive an emailed adverse action notice if your loan application was rejected to explain the reason, according to LendKey. Another email may follow with a counteroffer, such as reapplying with a co-signer.

The company specifies that refinancing is available in eligible states.

Is LendKey Reputable?

LendKey receives an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. The company has an excellent rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from Trustpilot based on more than 380 reviews.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau logged 17 complaints in 2021 about LendKey. The top issue was trouble with how payments were handled. All but one complaint received a timely response. LendKey closed 14 complaints with an explanation, two with monetary relief and one with nonmonetary relief.

For new loans or student loan refinancing, you can call 888-549-9050 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday or email [email protected]. If you already have a loan, call 888-966-9268 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday or email [email protected].

If you have a loan, you can also sign into the LendKey portal to complete a number of tasks.

LendKey partners with credit unions and banks to offer various loans through its digital platform. Borrowers can apply online and check rates online for student loan refinancing with no harm to credit scores.

The LendKey portal allows co-signers to complete their portions of loan applications. Borrowers can also use the portal to access an account, continue a loan application, make a payment, view a statement and more.

What Are the Deferment and Repayment Options?

Forbearance options are available, but you will need to reach out to a customer service representative to find out what your lender offers. There is a six-month grace period after you graduate or otherwise stop being enrolled at least half-time in your program.

What Are the Discharge Options?

Loan discharge may occur when circumstances outside your control make it hard or impossible for you to repay your loan. Check your loan’s terms or contact customer service for information about discharge options.

  • Borrowers who want a digital application process.
  • Students who plan to use a co-signer to qualify for a loan.
  • Consumers who want to check rates for student loan refinancing.

Find the Best Student Loan Refinance Lenders

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Sarah Goldberg
Sarah Goldberg

Sarah is a seasoned financial market expert with a decade of experience. She's known for her analytical skills, attention to detail, and ability to communicate complex financial concepts. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance, is a licensed financial advisor, and enjoys reading and traveling in her free time.

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