Skip to Main Content

LendKey Student Loans: 2023 Review

Updated on November 16, 2023

At a glance

Get my custom rates
Check rate with Bankrate
3.8
Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
Caret Down
Repayment Options
Rating: 3.2 stars out of 5
3.2
Affordability
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2
Customer Experience
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
4.0

About Bankrate Score

Established in 2009, LendKey is a digital lending marketplace that connects borrowers with reputable lenders offering private student loans. You can use the platform to compare multiple offers from credit unions and community banks. There’s also the option to refinance your existing loans to make them more manageable.  

Lender Details

Moneybag

Loan amount

Up to total cost of attendance; min. $5,000 for refinancing

Rates

APR from

6.00% Variable; 3.99% Fixed

Clock Wait

Term lengths

10 years (private student loans); 5 to 20 years (refinancing)

LendKey features

LendKey originates and services all loans through its platform. But because loans are funded by its 300-plus partners, interest rates, loan amount limits and repayment options vary by lender and state. LendKey aims to partner only with lenders that offer very competitive rates and solid customer service.

LendKey’s student loan options include private student loans and student loan refinancing.

LendKey: In the details

Pros and cons of LendKey student loans

While LendKey can be a great resource to find a loan that works for you, there are some downsides. It’s important to be aware of both the pros and cons before applying for a loan with LendKey.

Green circle with a checkmark inside

Pros

  • Simplified process: You’ll be matched with a reputable lender, making the research process a bit easier.
  • Co-signing options: Many private student loan lenders require you to add a co-signer. While LendKey requires a co-signer if you have insufficient annual income or a short credit history, you do have the option to apply without one if you have stable income and good credit.
  • No fees: LendKey does not charge any application fees or origination fees.
Red circle with an X inside

Cons

  • Loan refinancing limitations: Borrowers with undergraduate loans can refinance only up to $125,000 in student loans, which may not be enough if you attended an expensive private school.
  • Additional requirements: If LendKey matches you with a credit union lender, you may have to meet additional application requirements. Many credit unions require you to become a member of the credit union in order to borrow money.
  • Limited accessibility: You’ll need a steady income and established credit history to qualify for a private student loan or refinancing. Otherwise, a cosigner may be required.

LendKey student loan requirements

The specific student loan requirements will vary depending on the lender, but LendKey does have general student loan eligibility requirements. In order to qualify, students must:

  • Be enrolled at least half time in an eligible degree-granting program or school.
  • Be either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
  • Be legally considered an adult in their state of residence.

Other eligibility requirements are set by LendKey’s 300-plus partners, which are made up of banks and credit unions, but the company will only match you with offers for which you are eligible.

If you’re seeking refinancing, you must hold at least an associate degree from an eligible institution. 

Who is this loan good for?

LendKey is an especially good option for borrowers interested in taking some of the work out of loan comparison. The network allows you to easily compare multiple offers from hundreds of smaller lenders that offer competitive rates and great customer service.

Interest rates 

Variable- and fixed-rate loans are available through LendKey. LendKey also offers an autopay discount of 0.25 percent for all of its loans.

Here are the annual percentage rate (APR) ranges for each loan product at LendKey, including the autopay discount:

Loan product Variable rate Fixed rate
Student loan refinancing N/A 5.24%-9.60% APR
Private student loans 6.00%-13.75% APR 3.99%-12.61% APR

Fees and penalties

LendKey doesn’t charge application or origination fees on either of its loan products.

It doesn’t specify fee amounts for late payments or returned checks. The fees and penalties you could be charged depend on the lender you’re matched with.

Repayment terms and grace period

LendKey’s repayment period for its private student loans is 10 years, and its student loan refinancing products come with offers terms from five to 20 years. All private student loans come with a six-month grace period.

You may be eligible for forbearance if you experience financial hardship. However, the availability and terms vary by lender. 

How to apply for a loan with LendKey

The application process through LendKey can be completed entirely online

  1. Visit the website and select the “Get Started” button. (If you’re seeking refinancing, you’ll need to get preapproved online before continuing with the application process). 
  2. Fill out the application — including any required personal, loan and school information.
  3. The company will match you with lenders that suit your circumstances and needs. Compare offers and select a lender and rate from the marketplace.

During the application process, you’ll likely need to provide your government-issued ID, Social Security number, co-signer information and proof of income. You’ll also need information on your school if you’re seeking a private student loan and loan statements from your current servicer if you’re refinancing.

Customer service

LendKey gets an “A” rating from the Better Business Bureau. That score takes into account complaint history and the company’s response to those complaints.

For new student loans, contact customer.care@lendkey.com or call 888-549-9050. For current student loans, contact servicing@lendkey.com or call 888-966-9268. The customer service department is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

LendKey frequently asked questions

  • No, LendKey is a digital lending marketplace that connects borrowers seeking private student loans or refinancing with credit unions and community banks. 

  • LendKey does not specify minimum credit score requirements, but you’ll need an established credit history to qualify for a private student loan. 

How Bankrate rates LendKey

Overall Score 3.8
Repayment Options 3.2 LendKey is scarce on details about its private loan repayment options. However, it does have high maximum loan amounts.
Affordability 4.2 LendKey offers low APRs, though added costs will vary based on the lenders you’re matched with.
Customer Experience 4.0 While LendKey has a decent online experience, its customer service hours are limited to weekdays.

Methodology

The Bankrate team evaluated over a dozen lenders to select our top picks for the best student loans. To do this, Bankrate considers 14 factors, including loan amounts, fees, repayment terms and options, as well as fixed and variable APR ranges. Then, lenders are rated using our vetting system known as the Bankrate Score, which focuses on three main categories.

  • Availability: We looked at minimum and maximum loan amounts, as well as the lender’s eligibility requirements, co-signer option, degrees covered and state availability. Lenders that offered the most flexibility as well as nationwide servicing and that offered financing for a variety of programs ranked higher in this section.
  • Affordability: Fixed and variable interest rates, fees, penalties and discounts were measured in this category. Lenders with the lowest rates, fewer fees and multiple discounts got the higher scores.
  • Customer experience: Our team looked at the ease of the application process, as well as online account management tools, customer support hours, app availability, repayment options and grace periods offered by the lenders. This allowed us to determine the lenders’ ability to satisfactorily serve customers.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com 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.