LendKey Review: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

LendKey connects borrowers with student loans from community banks and credit unions. It also services its own loans.
Cecilia ClarkAug 9, 2021

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Student loan ratings

LendKey
  • Student loan refinancing

  • Private student loan

The bottom line: LendKey is a marketplace that connects borrowers with private student loans and refinanced student loans from credit unions and community banks. Its loans are best for borrowers who prefer to work with these institutions, rather than a big bank. The requirements below apply to all loans made through LendKey. Once you choose a loan, make sure you understand that partner lender’s specific terms.

Student loan refinancing review

LendKey Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on LendKey's website

LendKey Student Loan Refinance

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on LendKey's website

Fixed APR

2.49 - 7.75%

Variable APR

1.90 - 5.25%

Min. Credit Score

660

Pros

  • Forbearance of 18 months for 15- and 20-year loan terms is longer than many lenders.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Loans aren't available in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island or West Virginia.
  • No payment postponement available if borrowers return to school or serve in the military.

Best for borrowers who prefer to work with a community bank or credit union, rather than a big bank.

LendKey offers the opportunity to work with a community bank or credit union rather than a big bank, which is important to some borrowers. Also, LendKey’s average refinance borrower earns $65,000 a year, making the company a strong option for those who don’t earn six figures.

LendKey could improve by:

» MORE:

Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lenders’ repayment options and the flexibility they offer borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

If LendKey denies your refinance application, the lender will Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or need a co-signer.

NerdWallet recommends before you apply. This will let you know which lenders you may be eligible with, without affecting your credit.

How does this loan compare?

LendKey Student Loan Refinance
PenFed Student Loan Refinance
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Check RateCheck Rate
Fixed APR

2.49 - 7.75%

Fixed APR

2.89 - 5.08%

Variable APR

1.90 - 5.25%

Variable APR

N/A

Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Credit Score

670

Private student loan review

LendKey Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on LendKey's website

LendKey Private Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on LendKey's website

Fixed APR

4.25 - 12.59%

Variable APR

1.13 - 11.23%

Min. Credit Score

660

Pros

  • Forbearance of 18 months is longer than many lenders offer.

Cons

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Payment required while in school and during the grace period.

Best for students who value working with a community bank or credit union.

LendKey’s undergraduate private student loans are best for those who value working with a community bank or credit union, and those who like the idea of a long forbearance period as a safety net. LendKey offers 18 months of forbearance for undergraduate student loans, more than many other lenders provide, but requires payments while you're in school.

LendKey could improve its private student loans by offering:

Before taking out a LendKey student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

» MORE:

to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

If LendKey denies your student loan application, the lender will . Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider or specialize in .

NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That's why NerdWallet’s student loan ratings reward lenders that offer a variety of loan terms, limit their fees and penalties, and extend borrowers multiple options to avoid default. Points are also awarded for soft credit checks, underwriting transparency and other consumer-friendly features. Use these ratings as a guide, but we encourage you to shop around for the lowest interest rate you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our .

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