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SoFi vs. LendKey: Picking the Better Refinance Company

SoFi and LendKey both offer excellent interest rates on their student loan refinance product. Each lender also offers unique features that will appeal to some borrowers.

Written By: Michael P. Lux, Esq.

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SoFi and LendKey are both premium student loan refinance lenders.

At present they are both ranked in the top ten in our student loan refinance rankings. What separates these lenders?

SoFi vs. LendKey Basics

Variable-Rate Loans5.53 - 8.70%6.24% - 9.99%
Fixed-Rate Loans5.49 - 12.18%5.24% - 9.99%
Loan Terms5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 Years5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 Years
Minimum Loan$5,000$5,000
Signup Bonus$150NA

Interest rates and loan terms are quite similar for both lenders.

Arguably the biggest difference between the two companies is their structure. SoFi is a financial services tech company and LendKey works with a vast collection of banks and local credit unions.

Like all legitimate lenders, neither company charges loan origination fees, application fees, or prepayment penalties.

The LendKey Edge

LendKey’s edge comes from the fact that they work directly with local banks and credit unions.

These smaller local institutions have a desire to create lasting financial relationships with local college graduates. Because many of the credit unions are not-for-profit, they are able to offer lower interest rates than most national lenders.

[Further Reading: LendKey Student Loan Refinance Review]

SoFi’s Edge

SoFi originally started out as the “premium” student loan refinance company. They had the best rates, but these rates were reserved for people with excellent credit scores and debt-to-income ratios. This left many borrowers with less than perfect credit upset over being rejected.

However, for SoFi to grow as a lender, they had to be willing to accept more than just high earners with perfect credit. SoFi has largely accomplished this goal. As a result of the growth of SoFi, borrowers are now much more likely to be approved, and more likely to get a preferable interest.

SoFi has also expanded far beyond student loans. They now offer personal loans, mortgages, and wealth management services. These other financial services can be far more profitable than student loan refinancing. This creates a huge incentive for SoFi to offer low interest rates to establish a relationship with as many borrowers as possible. Even if a borrower has no interest in any of these services, the fact that SoFi offers them gives SoFi a reason to provide quality service in hopes of getting a borrower to sign up for more SoFi financial products.

In our In-Depth Review of SoFi, we also noted that SoFi offered a job placement program for borrowers. The bet that SoFi is making is that they will make more money by investing in their borrowers and helping them find jobs than they would if customers were left to struggle on their own.

SoFi vs LendKey: Loan Details

As an incentive for new borrowers, LendKey also offers $150 to borrowers who sign up for their service.

One item that all borrowers should understand is that both lenders are willing to refinance or consolidate federal government student loans. The advantage to borrowers is that it allows them to lock in lower interest rates. The danger is that federal perks like income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs are gone forever if they refinance.

Ultimately, from a loan term standpoint, there is very little that separates these two lenders.

SoFi vs. LendKey: Interest Rates

The one number that matters to all borrowers is interest rates.

Both lenders consistently offer excellent interest rates.

The advertised interest rates in all categories are currently very close with these two lenders. Borrowers looking to find the best deal would be wise to apply with both to find the company that actually offers the lowest interest rate.

Click Here to check your rate with SoFi.

Click here to check your rate with LendKey.

About the Author

Student loan expert Michael Lux is a licensed attorney and the founder of The Student Loan Sherpa. He has helped borrowers navigate life with student debt since 2013.

Insight from Michael has been featured in US News & World Report, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other online and print publications.

Michael is available for speaking engagements and to respond to press inquiries.

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