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Earnest Personal Loans: 2024 Review

Updated on Jan. 1, 2024

At a glance

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Check rate with Bankrate
Rating: 3.7 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
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Rating: 3.9 stars out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Customer Experience
Rating: 3.7 stars out of 5
Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5

About Bankrate Score

Earnest is a loan servicer known primarily for its student loans. Earnest has partnered with Fiona, a lender matching platform, to help borrowers find, compare and choose from qualifying lenders.

Lender Details


Loan amount



APR from

Varies by lender

Clock Wait

Term lengths

6 months to 12 years

Earnest is best for comparing loan offers

Earnest’s partner Fiona is a lender matching platform. If you apply with individual lenders, you have to submit a new application for each lender to see the actual rates you qualify for with each one. This could hurt your credit score, as loan applications cause a temporary ding to your score, and multiple applications spread out can have an even bigger impact. With Earnest, you only need to apply once to see all of your offers, and your credit score won’t be affected.

Earnest Pros and Cons


  • Checkmark

    Ability to add co-signer

  • Checkmark

    Impressive term range

  • Checkmark

    Wide range of loan amounts


  • Close X

    No mobile app

  • Close X

    Doesn’t provide loans directly

  • Close X

    APR range not specified

Do you qualify?

Through Fiona, Earnest works with a network of lenders, which have varying creditworthiness guidelines. Its frequently asked questions note that some lenders may require collateral.

An Earnest representative informed Bankrate that the lowest credit score its partners accept is 680, which falls into the good credit range. However, that information isn’t available on Earnest’s website, and they don’t offer specifics around income or state-by-state availability.

Once you have submitted a loan application through Earnest, the platform will match you with lenders that you qualify for and that offer the terms you’re looking for. From there, you can compare your offers before making a decision.

What Earnest doesn't allow loan funds to be used for

Earnest’s website notes that an Earnest loan can be used to fix your home, debt consolidation, a wedding or other unexpected large expenses. It states that personal loans are a bad fit for covering college expenses compared to student loans, but unlike many lenders, it doesn’t forbid this use outright.

How this lender compares

Rating: 3.7 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
APR from
Varies by lender
Loan Amount
Term Length
6 months to 12 years
Min Credit Score
Not disclosed
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
APR from
8.98% to 35.99%
Loan Amount
$1,000 to $40,000
Term Length
24 to 60 months
Min Credit Score
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
APR from
9.95% to 35.99%
Loan Amount
$2,000 - $35,000
Term Length
12 to 60 months
Min Credit Score

Earnest vs. LendingClub 

LendingClub, similar to its competitor Earnest, encourages its borrowers to apply with a co-signer. A co-signer with better credit than yours may help you qualify for a loan or land you better rates. Unlike Earnest, LendingClub has disclosed term lengths and APR ranges. This makes it a better option for a borrower who wants a firm grasp on expected rates prior to applying. However, its maximum loan amount of $40,000 is far lower than Earnest’s.

Earnest vs. Avant  

If your credit score is too low for Earnest and you don’t have a co-signer, Avant may be another good lender option. Avant carries a minimum credit score of just 550. To offset the risk bad-credit borrowers pose, its maximum APR is on the higher side at 35.99 percent. Unlike Earnest, Avant does not allow joint applications. 

Earnest: In the details

What we like and what we don’t like 

Earnest’s partners offer a huge range of loan amounts and repayment terms. But consider drawbacks, such as vague qualification and other loan details, before applying.

What we like

  • Ability to add co-signer. Borrowers without a strong credit history can increase their chance of approval with the help of a co-signer.
  • Impressive term range. Earnest’s lending partners offer repayment terms as low as six months and as high as 144 months — a whopping 12 years. The highest max term competitors we’ve reviewed offers is 84 months.
  • Wide range of loan amounts. You can borrow anywhere from $1,000 up to $250,000. That maximum far exceeds what most competitors offer — only Credible comes close with a max of $200,000. Note that larger loans may require collateral to secure them.

What we don’t like

  • No mobile app. All loan upkeep must be handled through whichever lender services your loan. 
  • Doesn’t provide loans directly. Earnest does not directly provide loans to borrowers and instead works with a network. While Earnest is a trusted name, you may or may not recognize the lending partners Fiona matches you with.
  • APR range not specified. The vast majority of Earnest’s competitors are transparent about the minimum and maximum interest rate borrowers can see. Earnest states only that Fiona’s lenders offer “competitive rates.”


How to contact Earnest 

Earnest offers customer service via the live chat function on its website. A customer service representative can be reached via live chat Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.

How to apply for a personal loan with Earnest

Earnest works with Fiona, a fully online personal loan search engine. In order to apply for a loan through this platform, you’ll start by filling out a basic application form, including the following information:

Once you have filled out the application, Earnest will match you with lenders you qualify for that meet your specifications. This only takes about 60 seconds. You can then compare offers and choose a lender. From there, you will be directed to that lender’s website to finalize the loan. Funding times vary by lender.

Before choosing a lender through Earnest, make sure that you are aware of the interest rates and fees that the lender charges, as well as any other terms and conditions.

Features and additional perks

The major benefit of applying for a loan through Earnest is that you only have to fill out one application to see multiple offers. This saves you from having to fill out multiple loan applications and potentially damaging your credit score. Earnest offers a wide range of loan amounts and repayment terms. Exact loan amounts, APRs and fees vary by lender.

Fees and penalties

Earnest does not charge any fees directly but states the lenders you match with may charge origination fees, late fees and prepayment penalties.  Always make sure to review the terms of a loan offer before signing on.

Earnest FAQs

How Bankrate rates Earnest

Overall Score 3.7
Availability 3.9 Earnest offers a wide range of loan amounts and the ability to add a co-signer, but the funding timeline isn’t clear.
Affordability 3.5 You can’t preview how much you’ll pay in interest and fees for Earnest’s partners’ loans without prequalifying.
Customer Experience 3.7 Customer service has limited hours, but there is online access.
Transparency 3.8 Earnest’s website does not list rates, fees or qualification requirements.


To select the top personal loan lenders, Bankrate considers 20 factors. These factors include credit requirements, APR ranges, fees, loan amounts and flexibility to account for a wide range of credit profiles and budgets. Bankrate reviewed over 30 lenders and gave each a Bankrate rating, which consists of four categories.

  • Availability: What the minimum loan amounts are, its eligibility requirements and loan turnaround are considered in this category.
  • Affordability: The interest rates, penalties and fees are measured in this section of the score. Lower rates and fees and fewer potential penalties result in a higher score.
  • Customer experience: This category covers customer service hours, if online applications are available, online account access and mobile apps.
  • Transparency: This category is measured by how accessible credit requirements, rates and fees are on the lender's page. We also took into account whether prequalification was available, as all these factors are key for consumers to make an informed decision.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.