LendKey is different from the other student loan refinancing options that NerdWallet reviews because it doesn’t directly lend to borrowers. Instead, it compares student loan refinancing offers from more than 300 community banks and credit unions.
Borrowers with undergraduate or graduate student loans can refinance through the LendKey platform. Eligibility requirements and loan terms vary among the lenders that the company works with; the information we provide here is a range of what the various lenders offer.
» MORE: Banks vs. credit unions
AT A GLANCE
- Fixed: 3.25% to 7.26% APR. Variable: 2.43% to 5.97% APR.
- Option to pay interest only for the first four years.
- Compare offers from more than 300 community lenders.
With LendKey, you can refinance $7,500 to $175,000 in student loans and choose a five-, seven-, 10- or 15-year loan term. As is common with student loan refinancing, most lenders on the platform give a 0.25% interest rate discount to borrowers who sign up for automatic debit payments.
Keep in mind that not all lenders will be available to every borrower. To join a credit union, you have to fit a specific profile that includes factors such as where you live, your career, or an association you belong to. To use a community bank, you typically have to live in the geographical area that bank serves.
LendKey will help you narrow your search to find the loans for which you’re eligible.
» COMPARE: Student loan refinancing options
Do you qualify?
|Minimum qualifications||The typical borrower|
Student loan refinancing through community lenders
When you compare lenders through LendKey, the company makes loan offers based on the underwriting criteria you fit. If you get a loan, it will technically be through a local bank or credit union, but LendKey handles the origination and servicing.
In most cases, you’ll become a customer or member of the bank or credit union that funds your loan. But you’ll continue to manage your loan through LendKey’s platform, and if you have any questions about your loan, you can contact the company.
Still, you’ll reap the benefits of working with a local bank or credit union. Community banks, which are for-profit institutions, and credit unions, which are nonprofit organizations, are known for their friendliness, competitive interest rates, and emphasis on customer service. For example, many lenders on the platform offer borrowers with 15-year terms the option to make interest-only payments for the first four years if they can’t afford the typical payment of both interest and principal.
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Community banks and credit unions also provide services that most student loan refinancing lenders don’t: checking and savings accounts, as well as auto, personal and home loans. If you refinance through a lender on LendKey’s site, you’ll get access to its other products too.
If you’re ready to use LendKey to compare student loan refinance offers from more than 300 community banks and credit unions, you can begin an application on the company’s website.
If you want to compare refinance offers from lenders that include new, online-only ones, you can fill out one application through Credible, a student loan refinancing marketplace and NerdWallet partner.
This article was updated. It was originally posted July 22, 2015.