LendKey is on a mission to help borrowers save money on their loans, and it believes community banks and credit unions offer some of the lowest interest rates and best customer service to student loan borrowers.
That’s why LendKey has partnered with thousands of community banks and credit unions to collect their student loan refinance offers. If you’re interested in refinancing your student loans, read on to learn how the LendKey student loan refinancing platform could help you find the best rates.
The basics of refinancing student loans with LendKey
Even if you’re ready to refinance your student loans, you might not know which lender to choose. LendKey helps you find the right one by connecting you with community banks and credit unions. Local banks and credit unions don’t have the same name recognition as big banks, so this service shows you offers you might otherwise never learn about.
Both these institution types typically have geographic or other requirements, so LendKey reviews your information and only shows you offers from banks and credit unions for which you’re eligible. For instance, if you’re affiliated with the military, LendKey might show you Navy Federal Credit Union refinancing offers. If you then see an offer you like at Navy FCU, you can use the LendKey student loan refinancing platform to choose an offer and submit a full application.
LendKey’s refinancing partners offer variable rates starting at 2.67% and fixed rates from 3.49%. The amount you can refinance varies by state, and typically you can choose repayment terms of five, seven, 10, 15, or 20 years.
Note that even if you choose a longer repayment term than what you currently have on your loans, you can always pay off your student loan ahead of schedule without penalty.
What we like about the LendKey student loan refinancing platform
The LendKey refinancing platform makes the loan-shopping process easy. Here are three features that make LendKey especially useful for student loan borrowers looking to refinance.
It shows you offers with low interest rates
LendKey promises that its community bank and credit union partners offer low interest rates, and it delivers on this promise. LendKey’s partners offer variable rates between 2.67% and 8.96% and fixed rates between 3.49% and 8.93%.
These interest rates are generally competitive with what big banks and online lenders have to offer, though of course, you must have a strong credit score and income to qualify for the lowest rates (or apply with a cosigner who does).
But if you can qualify, you could lower your student loan interest rate considerably and save money over the life of your student loan.
It allows you to compare multiple offers at once
The LendKey student loan refinancing platform makes the rate shopping process easy and painless. Its streamlined platform is easy to use, and it allows you to check your rates with multiple lenders at once.
All you have to do is provide a few basic pieces of information, such as your income, your loan amount and the school you attended. LendKey reviews this information and instantly tells you if you pre-qualify for refinancing.
Plus, this rate check only involves a soft credit pull, so it won’t affect your credit score. It also ensures you’re eligible for each institution you see, so you don’t have to do the work of figuring out which banks or credit unions are in your area.
It provides unique offers you might not find otherwise
Community banks and credit unions often don’t have the same reach or budget for marketing as do big banks and national online lenders. As a result, you might never hear about local or small-scale institutions that could provide you with low rates and personalized customer service.
Thanks to LendKey, though, you’ll get a chance to connect with these community lenders. Of course, checking your rates doesn’t require any commitment to refinancing with any of them. But you’ll get to see offers, so you can decide if any are right for you.
What to keep in mind about LendKey refinancing offers
Although LendKey is a great resource for student loan borrowers, there are some potential drawbacks. Consider these downsides so that you don’t miss out on the best refinancing offers and lender benefits.
The platform is limited to LendKey’s partner lenders
LendKey partners with more than 13,000 community financial institutions to bring you student loan refinancing offers. But this number gets cut down considerably based on each lender’s eligibility requirements.
Plus, you won’t see offers from other banks (such as Citizens Bank) or online lenders (such as SoFi or Earnest), which could have better terms. If your goal is to find the lowest interest rate, it’s a good idea to shop around with a variety of lenders, including national banks and online lenders.
Although the LendKey student loan refinancing platform could be part of your search, it’s a good idea to look elsewhere, too, so you don’t miss out on even better deals.
You should still do extra research on the lender you choose
Although LendKey matches you with lenders, it doesn’t necessarily give you all the information about each lender. Before selecting an offer, take time to find out about the lender’s requirements, terms and conditions.
Check out customer reviews, for instance, and see if the lender offers more benefits, such as cosigner release, unemployment protection or the option to skip a payment if you run into financial hardship.
LendKey facilitates your application with a lender, but ultimately your loan will come from the bank or credit union itself. So make sure you’ve gotten answers to all your questions before finalizing any paperwork.
Is the LendKey student loan refinancing platform right for you?
LendKey offers an alternative to big banks by bringing credit unions and local banks into the forefront of the student loan refinancing market. Because there’s no commitment, there’s no reason not to check with LendKey and see what offers you get.
Keep in mind that no offers are final until LendKey runs a hard credit check on your account. Assuming your credit score is strong enough, you should have no trouble getting a refinanced loan. Since LendKey is not the actual lender, read the fine print of any agreement before signing.
You should also note that refinancing student loans has some downsides. If you’re refinancing federal loans, you’ll lose some federal programs and protections. For instance, you’ll no longer be eligible for federal income-driven repayment plans or forgiveness programs.
Before turning your federal student loans into a private refinancing loan, make sure you understand what doors you’ll be closing. And check with your new lender to see if it offers any protections in the event of financial hardship.
If refinancing is the right option for you, LendKey could help you find an offer with competitive terms. As a result, you could consolidate multiple loans into one, possibly lower your interest rates and maybe even save a nice chunk of money on your student loan repayment.
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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.