LendKey Student Loan Refinance and Consolidation Review

Michael Lux Blog, Consolidation, Student Loan Consolidation Reviews, Student Loans 9 Comments

Article Updated 8/22/20 to include $150 signup bonus information and the latest interest rate information.

LendKey is a bit of an oddity in the student loan consolidation and refinancing marketplace. Most lenders fall into one of two groups. Group one would be the startups like SoFi and CommonBond that are newer companies with low interest rates, but they lack a local presence or longstanding reputation. Group two would be established banks and lenders like Wells Fargo or Citizens Bank. These companies have higher interest rates, but borrowers can visit a local office when they have questions or concerns.

LendKey attempts to offer the best of both worlds. Their interest rates are presently among the lowest we have ever seen. However, the low rates don’t come at the expense of customer service and a local branch. Using LendKey, borrowers are matched with a local community bank that provides the loan.

The LendKey approach to refinancing has some major advantages, but there are also a few negatives that should be cause for concern for some borrowers. Due to LendKey’s low interest rates and high customer satisfaction, LendKey checks in at first place is our Student Loan Refinance Company Rankings.

How does LendKey Refinancing work?

The application process is identical to any other lender. Borrowers fill out basic loan information and authorize a credit check. At the end of the process, the borrowers are matched with a local credit union that will ultimately be providing the funds for the loan.

The goal behind this approach is to allow smaller credit unions and local banks to compete on a national scene. By working together, they can reduce advertising costs, which enables them to offer the lowest interest rates on the market. However, because they are local credit unions, acceptance rates tend to be slightly higher than many of the national lenders.

The LendKey Pros

Without question, the big advantage to LendKey is the interest rates that start at 2.60% and the more forgiving underwriting criteria. The 1.99% is among the lowest, but not quite the best-advertised price on the market. The fixed-rate loans with LendKey start at a similarly impressive 2.99%.

LendKey Refinancing

Interest Rates
Co-Signer Release
Loan Terms
Repayment Length

Great

LendKey matches you with a local not-for-profit credit union to consolidate your student loan. The result is low interest rates, but better approval chances.

LendKey offers 5, 10, 15 and 20-year loans, and each repayment length comes in either the fixed-rate or variable-rate variety. LendKey will refinance student debt as small as $5,000, while the maximum amount that can be refinanced is $300,000.

As with any reputable lender, LendKey offers no origination fees with their loans, nor is there any prepayment penalty.

LendKey also advertises an interest-only repayment option for the first four years of the loan. While it sounds nice, it is something we likely wouldn’t recommend for most circumstances. That being said, if you are a resident physician or someone who will have a relatively low salary before an expected major hike, it could be a nice route.

Finally, LendKey is currently offering a $150 bonus to new customers. We don’t think $150 is really enough to tip the scales one way or another when it comes to finding the best lenders, but it is definitely a nice perk.

A Warning About LendKey and Others…

LendKey consolidates private loans with federal government loans. Going this route makes sense in some circumstances, but in others, it could be a huge mistake. Because there is no way to “undo” a student loan consolidation, it is essential the borrowers know whether or not combining their federal and private loans is a good idea.

Borrowers who are worried about a possible job loss or income reduction in the future would be wise not to refinance their federal loans. Federal loans come with borrower protections that no private lender can match.

Switching from one private lender to another does not carry the same risk. In fact, borrowers with private loans can utilize a refinance to lock in lower interest rates and lower monthly payments. For this reason, it is often advisable to just refinance private loans.

Should I Refinance with LendKey?

If you are shopping for student loans, LendKey is a company that deserves some serious consideration. With the economy in chaos, now might be the best time to consolidate your loans. Ultimately, whether or not LendKey is a good option will depend almost entirely upon interest rates. Click here to check rates directly with LendKey.

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krantcents

Students loans are much more complicated than I realized. There is so many choices and pitfalls. Thanks for the information.

iMortgage Broker Brisbane
Reply to  krantcents

I agree.

Chad Donald
Chad Donald

Lendkey was very disorganized with my application. They pulled my credit as well as my cosigners and did not give me an offer, call me back, or return any of my calls. Avoid at all costs!

carl calabrese
carl calabrese

Can you consolidate your private loans but not your federal?

The Student Loan Sherpa
Reply to  carl calabrese

Yes you can. It can be a really smart move to go this route.

Tricia Yost
Tricia Yost

If you’ve consolidated once before at say 7%, can you sell off/reconsolidate for a better percentage?

danielle
danielle

Lendkey reps were always pleasant while speaking with them, but nobody could give me the correct answer about my loans. It took way too long for lendkey and nelnet to communicate leading to a high principle amount because of the time it took to switch over.
I also was told that when paying extra, it would be separate from my automatic monthly payment. this was also not true. Their website takes >/= 1 week to become accurate after payments and is not very user friendly.
The low interest rate was nice but the website is inconvenient and if you plan to pay your loan off faster than intended with automatic payments, don’t choose lend key. Because I paid extra towards my loan my automatic monthly payment was lowered, therefore making it even more difficult for me to knock down the principle amount.
thumbs down honestly, and I rather have stuck with Nelnet and paid extra than have switched to lendkey.

iMortgage Broker Brisbane

Students loans are much more complicated issues now-a-days. But there are so many choices. Thanks for your good review

Poincare
Poincare

The rates in this article are bullshít. You should update them as no lender can offer rates this low. In fact, I went through Lendkey myself but they could not even put together a loan.