Student loan ratings
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
- 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.
- 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 student loan refinancing at a glance
LendKey services all loans.
Extended forbearance for longer loan terms.
Loans aren't available in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island or West Virginia.
How LendKey student loan refinancing could improve
LendKey could improve by:
Offering refinancing to borrowers without a degree and to visa holders.
Offering loans to students in all 50 states.
Allowing biweekly payments via autopay.
LendKey student loan refinancing details
Before refinancing with LendKey
Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple student loan refinance 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 you aren’t eligible to refinance with LendKey
If LendKey denies your refinance application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or need a co-signer.
NerdWallet recommends prequalifying with multiple refinance lenders before you apply. This will let you know which lenders you may be eligible with, without affecting your credit.
Private student loan review
- Forbearance of 18 months is longer than many lenders offer.
- 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 private student loan at a glance
LendKey services all loans.
18 months of forbearance available, in six-month increments.
No personalized rate estimates via soft credit check.
How LendKey could improve
LendKey could improve its private student loans by offering:
Personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
Payment postponement for those who are in school or return to school.
LendKey private student loan details
Before applying for a LendKey student loan
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: NerdWallet’s FAFSA Guide
Compare your private student loan options 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 you aren’t eligible for a LendKey student loan
If LendKey denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.
STUDENT LOANS RATINGS METHODOLOGY
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 editorial guidelines.
Frequently asked questions
LendKey is a 4.5 star lender for both its private student loan and its student loan refinancing based on NerdWallet's student loan rating system. Ratings prioritize low interest rates and flexible repayment options that allow borrowers to repay loans faster and avoid default.
LendKey was founded in 2009 and is a marketplace that connects borrowers with private student loans and refinanced student loans from established credit unions and community banks.
No. LendKey doesn't penalize borrowers for paying off their loans early.