LendKey Student Loans: 2019 Comprehensive Review

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LendKey, founded in 2009, is a digital 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 credit union and community bank lenders throughout the nation.

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

LendKey Bank student loan snapshot

Loan types
Refinance, undergraduate, graduate
Loan amounts
Varies by lender and state
Interest rates
Variable: As low as 2.38% APR
Fixed: As low as 3.64% APR
Repayment terms
5-20 years
Grace periodGrace period
Six months
Co-signer required?
No, but option is available.

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.

Who can take out a LendKey student loan/who is it good for?

LendKey is an especially good option for borrowers interested in refinancing student loans while working with a credit union or community bank. The network allows you to easily compare multiple offers from hundreds of smaller lenders that offer competitive rates and great customer service.

The platform’s comparison tool is limited when comparing private student loan offers, since Sallie Mae is currently the main partner. Instead of being matched to multiple lenders, you’re sent directly to one lender’s main site — often Sallie Mae. Students looking for a loan to attend school may fair better by researching lenders individually.

Eligibility requirements vary by LendKey’s partners. But the company will only match you with offers for which you are eligible.

Generally, in order to apply, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have completed an associate, undergraduate, graduate or doctorate degree from a Title IV eligible school.

Interest rate and terms

Variable and fixed-rate loans are available through LendKey.

Variable-rate loans for refinancing start as low as 2.38 percent, while the lender’s fixed rates start as low as 3.64 percent. Private student loans for undergraduate or graduate school start with a variable rate as low as 4.40 percent and fixed rates as low as 5.36 percent. LendKey doesn’t provide a top range limit for any of its student loans.

Quoted rates include a 0.25 percent discount for autopay.

Here are the rate ranges for each loan product at LendKey:

Loan product Variable rate Fixed rate
Student loan refinance 2.38% APR and up 3.64% APR and up
Private student loans 4.40% APR and up 5.36% APR and up

Fees and penalties

LendKey doesn’t charge an application fee for private student loans or an origination fee for refinancing.

It doesn’t specify fee amounts for prepayment, late payments or returned checks, since those fees vary by partner.

Repayment terms and grace period

Repayment terms differ by the lender you’re matched with. Its partners generally offer repayment terms of five, seven, 10, 15 and 20 years.

Depending on the lender, repayment options may include:

  • Deferred: You make no principal or interest payments until six months after leaving school
  • Interest-only: You make only interest payments while you’re in school
  • Partial: You pay $25 per month on your loan while in school
  • Immediate: You make principal and interest payments as soon as you start school

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.

The customer service department is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST by phone or email.

For new student loans, contact customer.care@lendkey.com or 888-549-9050. For current student loans, contact servicing@lendkey.com or 888-966-9268.

Application process

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

Applications for refinancing student loans differ from private student loans.

For refinancing, you’ll need to gather personal information including your citizenship status, total income, the primary reason for refinancing, the total loan amount, your degree and school name.

For private student loans, you’ll need to select your state of residence and the school you’re attending.

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 personal, loan and school information.
  3. Compare offers and select a lender and rate from the marketplace.

Once your application is approved, any federal and private student loans you want to consolidate will be paid off by the new lender. Your loan will be serviced through LendKey.

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 application is turned down

Make sure you get an explanation from the lender as to why your loan was rejected. 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 cosigner with solid credit and income is one way to boost your odds. As a plus, LendKey allows you to release a cosigner from any debt obligation.

It’s also a good idea to check your personal credit report and correct any blemishes.

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 3.5
Repayment Options 3.0
Affordability 4.0
Customer Experience 3.5

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.