LendKey Student Loans: 2020 Review

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LendKey, founded in 2009, is a digital lending marketplace that allows borrowers to compare multiple student loan offers at once. It matches anyone interested in refinancing student loans or paying for school with a private student loan with credit union and community bank lenders throughout the nation.

Because LendKey works with multiple partners, it’s best for consumers who want to take some of the hassle out of shopping around for student loans.

LendKey features

LendKey originates and services all loans through its platform. But because loans are funded by its 13,000-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 student loan snapshot

Loan types
Private, refinancing
Loan amounts
Private loans: Up to 100% of the cost of attendance
Refinancing: $5,000 to $300,000
Interest rates
Private loans: 2.99% to 7.75% variable APR, 4.99% to 7.75% fixed APR (with autopay)
Refinancing: 1.99% to 5.25% variable APR, 2.99% to 7.75% fixed APR (with autopay)
Repayment terms
Private loans: 10 years
Refinancing: 5 to 20 years
Grace period
6 months
Co-signer required?
No

Get pre-qualified

Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. The process is quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

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.

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 an annual income less than $24,000 or a short credit history, you do have the option to apply without one if you have sufficient income and credit.
  • No fees: LendKey does not charge any application fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties.

Cons

  • Loan refinancing limitations: Borrowers with undergraduate loans can only refinance 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.

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.
  • Have at least 36 months of credit history and an annual income of $24,000 to apply without a co-signer.
  • Be either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Be legally considered an adult in their state of residence.

Eligibility requirements vary by LendKey’s 13,000-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.

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.

It may also be a good lender for students looking to refinance, since its refinancing rates are extremely low — starting at just 1.99 percent variable APR.

Interest rates and terms

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

Here are the rate ranges for each loan product at LendKey, including the autopay discount:

Loan product Variable rate Fixed rate
Student loan refinancing 1.99% to 5.25% APR 2.99% to 7.75% APR
Private student loans 2.99% to 7.75% APR 4.99% to 7.75% APR

Fees and penalties

LendKey doesn’t charge application, origination or prepayment 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 may depend on the lender you’re matched with.

What are the repayment terms and grace period for LendKey?

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

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. EST.

How to apply for a loan with LendKey

The application process through LendKey can be completed entirely online. After filling out your application, the company will match you with the best lender for your particular circumstances and needs.

Here’s what the process looks like when getting a refinance or student loan through LendKey:

  1. Start the process online and select whether you’re refinancing or paying for school.
  2. Fill out the application — including any required personal, loan and school information.
  3. 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.

Get pre-qualified

Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. The process is quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

What to do if your application gets turned down

If you’re turned down, reach out to LendKey to ask why. It’s possible that you have too little credit, income or job history to qualify.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of being approved. Adding a qualified co-signer with solid credit and income is one way to boost your odds. As a plus, if your income improves and you make the required number of consecutive, on-time full payments, LendKey allows you to release a co-signer from any debt obligation. It’s also a good idea to check your personal credit report to be certain that there are no mistakes or errors that need to be fixed before you apply.

Keep in mind that it’s important to shop around for the best deal. Because LendKey’s platform is limited to its credit union and community bank partners, you won’t see lenders like SoFi or College Ave, which both offer competitive student loan products with low rates and low fees.

How Bankrate rates LendKey

Overall Score 4.0
Repayment Options 3.2
Affordability 4.8
Customer Experience 4.0

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.