NerdWallet rating: 4.0 / 5.0
Good for: Good credit
Earnest provides low-interest personal loans up to $75,000 for borrowers with good credit and solid finances.
Earnest is a good fit if you:
- Have a good credit score: Earnest requires a minimum credit score of 680 and a history of on-time payments.
- Don’t carry consumer debt: You likely won’t qualify with large amounts of consumer debt, such as credit cards and personal loans.
- Save money: Earnest looks for borrowers who have consistent income and enough savings to cover at least two months of regular expenses.
Earnest loan rates and terms
|Loan amounts||$5,000 to $75,000|
|Typical APR||6.99% - 18.24%|
|Fees||Origination fee: None
Late fee: None
Prepayment fee: None
|Time to funding||Within a week|
|Repayments||Monthly payments over three to five years|
|Hard credit check with application?||Yes|
|How to qualify||
|Best for||Borrowers with good credit, consistent income and low debt|
» MORE: Best loans for good credit
Earnest personal loan review
To review Earnest’s personal loans, NerdWallet collected more than 30 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives, completed the online loan application process with sample data, and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. Loan terms and fees may vary by state.
Online lender Earnest collects and analyzes thousands of data points about each prospective borrower, which is how the San Francisco-based lender says it’s able to assess risk and offer low rates to financially responsible borrowers.
Loan uses: Earnest personal loans cannot be used for tuition, to fund a startup or an existing business, or to purchase or invest in real estate.
» MORE: Earnest for student loans
No fees: Earnest offers some of the lowest rates among online lenders that NerdWallet has reviewed. The company doesn’t charge origination or late fees, which many online lenders do.
How to qualify: Credit history matters to Earnest, but just as important is the financial strength of the applicant.
The company desires borrowers who make on-time payments on accounts reported to a credit bureau (such as student loans and credit cards), spend less than they earn each month, and have enough savings to cover at least two months of regular expenses.
Flexible payments: Borrowers can adjust the monthly payment amount, and there are no penalties for higher, early or extra payments. You can move your payment due date at any point during the loan.
Earnest also has an iOS app, where you can track and manage your loan, modify your payment schedule, or adjust your payment amount.
Loan example: For a borrower with excellent credit, a three-year, $10,000 personal loan at 13.9% APR would have monthly payments of $341, according to NerdWallet’s personal loan calculator.
How Earnest compares
SoFi offers higher borrowing amounts — up to $100,000 — than Earnest. It requires no minimum credit history, but borrowers have strong credit scores (typically 700 or higher) and high income (its borrowers’ average is over $100,000). It also has services to help young professionals.
Upstart provides personal loans between $1,000 to $50,000 and has a slightly higher APR range than Earnest and SoFi. It considers a person’s academic credentials in its underwriting, lending to those with average credit scores as well as those who are new to credit.
How to apply for an Earnest loan
You can apply on Earnest’s website in a six-step application. You will have to provide your requested loan amount and repayment term, the reason for your loan, your education and profession, and permission to scan bank account transactions to learn about your financial behavior. The company conducts a hard credit check when you submit your application.
For help with the application, Earnest provides an in-house team that be reached through website messaging, e-mail and phone. A help center on its website answers frequently asked questions.
NerdWallet recommends comparing loans to find the best rate for you. Click the button below to see estimated rates from multiple lenders on NerdWallet.
Before you shop for a personal loan:
- Learn how personal loans work
- 4 steps to pre-qualify for a personal loan
- Read more personal loan reviews
— Among the very best for consumer-friendly features
— Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features
— Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features
— Good; may not offer something important to you
— Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features
— Poor; proceed with great caution