LendKey student loans review 2022


Overview: best for getting low rates from community banks and credit unions.

LendKey is a strong name in the student loans background: born in 2009 in the context of fintech lending companies on the rise, it works like a digital service that aggregates private student loans and refinancing solutions. Unlike other similar online services, it has the unique feature of considering more than 13,000 community and national banks and credit unions mostly as lenders in its network, rather than alternative lenders, to cater to borrowers favoring the service and reliability offered from a bank or credit union. LendKey was actually the first company to bring those lenders online.

LendKey search among hundreds of the partnering providers, both national and local, then find the most favorable rates from each, so to save you the effort and time to do the research by yourself.

They are not just a bunch of lenders, but the ones that can offer a respectable service to customers, affordable and transparent rates through pre-qualifying offers: this means you will see rates that you can be eligible for before committing to making the final application.

A great edge of a community bank operating locally over a national big bank is that it understands better the needs of families in the context they live, rather than just offering appealing numbers: you will get a highly individualized offer, accounting also for the State and city you reside in. Does your school cost a big sum? These lenders will consider average incomes and people’s tenor of life in the community among the factors to determine a reasonable rate.

Since its birth, LendKey has demonstrated to be reliable, and rapidly gained a high reputation among customers, also receiving authoritative mentions, such as from the Wall Street Journal, and Forbes.

The main highlight of the company is the ability to give you access to low rates from reputable financial institutions, exploiting the tech benefit of streamlining the whole process of getting your loan. And LendKey is committed to putting at your disposal a dedicated customer service to serve you at best: as we will discuss, it is positively acclaimed by the vast majority of current customers.

LendKey deals with student loans, refinancing current loans, and can also provide financing for home improvements. Today, it funded over $3.1 billion in loans through its partnering banks and credit unions.

The company also offers a scholarship search section: you are faced with a form where you input the school name and select parameters such as applicants’ success rate, type of school, ethnicity, and more; you can also choose to sort the results based on your preferences.

Keep on reading to find out how LendKey can support your education needs.


What student loan options are available through LendKey?


With LendKey, you can start your education journey from scratch by taking a private student loan, or find better conditions on your current loan through refinancing. To follow, both the two solutions are discussed in detail.

  • Private student loans. The premise is that most students will need a cosigner. LendKey allows joint applications with a cosigner, who must be creditworthy enough to make your loan approved. However, it is not a strict requirement: if you have a certain annual income, you may be able to qualify alone.

Rates from LendKey are highly advantageous, and you can choose either a fixed or a variable interest. If adopting a variable rate, it can start as low as 1.49%, (depending on the lender and your credit score) which is rare to find in the student loans market. The key to getting such low percentages is still using a cosigner with strong credit.

Disclosed APR for your offers will include a 0.25% rate discount: it is obtained when automatic repayments are set.

LendKey charges no origination fee for its service, nor through its partnering lenders, so you don’t have to worry about upfront costs. However, additional fees, such as a fee for opening a share account, and a membership fee will be required from at least some credit unions. Instead, there is usually no early repayment penalty, as well.

Repayment terms range from 5 to 15 years, with several options available: besides the immediate full principal plus interest option, you also have “interest-only”, a flat $25 while in-school monthly payment; once you get your degree, you will have a 6-month grace period, and further deferments are possible, while there won’t be deferment during school attendance or returning to school. Forbearance is also obtainable, for a period of up to 6 months, and the conditions for its application will depend on the lender. In special eligible cases, a few lenders may grant the loan forgiveness.

The overall time to get a private student loan through LendKey is claimed by customers to be very short, moreover, its straightforward process takes out much of the stress typically present when one deals with an educational loan. Disbursement timing will greatly depend on the bank concerned.

At a glance, LendKey private student loans look like in the below table:


Loan amounts Up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance
Interest rates
1.49% -7.62% variable APR; 3.99% – 8.49% fixed APR. Both cases are intended with autopay
Grace period
6 months
Co-signer requirement
Must be creditworthy
Minimum credit score
Not disclosed
Basic requirements
U.S. citizen or permanent resident, of legal age in your State, enrolled at least 50% of the time in an eligible degree programme or school. Minimum annual income not disclosed.

By using the LendKey network, you can borrow as low as $1,000.

LendKey clearly states that to be eligible for student loan refinancing, you must have completed an associate’s, undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate degree from a Title IV eligible school, and be a US citizen or permanent resident.

A worry of yours as a student is not meeting the credit score requirement. Of course, banks and credit unions in the LendKey network will consider the use of a cosigner to reach that number. The individual can be a parent, a trusted person, or even your spouse. Besides, through LendKey your cosigner can be released once 12 consecutive on-time payments are made so that he or she is lifted from the liability.

LendKey gives you access to among the lowest possible rates for a student loan, by checking through many providers. These rates are naturally subject to changes, so it is important to take advantage of them while they are live. Your credit score (and your cosigner’s one) will be a relevant factor to determine your actual rate; what there is in your credit history, including its length and management of outstanding debts, is decisive as well. 

Plus, the company charges no fee for originating a refinanced loan. However, if you accept an offer from some credit unions you might be required an association fee. There is no prepayment fee if you decide to accelerate the payoff of your refinanced loan.

The multiple terms and options of repayments available, also while in school, add flexibility to refinancing from the Lendkey’s network of lenders.

Undergraduates can borrow up to $125,000 when refinancing. Moreover, some customers revealed they were able to obtain long periods of forbearance.

Some lenders who can refinance your loans will allow you to also receive promotional bonuses. On the website, in the related disclosure section, you will find a comprehensive list of which ones are currently available.

Checking your refinance rates won’t affect your credit score. Only if you choose a loan offer and submit its application, you will go through a hard credit inquiry, which will impact the score by a few points (generally five).

Thus, if you are a recent graduate with little credit history, and need to refinance your current student loan by using a cosigner, LendKey is a highly convenient choice. And refinancing through LendKey can be one of your best life choice since it has among the lowest rates possible on the market.


Why choosing LendKey?

Like with any company, you have still to weigh the many advantages with few possible drawbacks. As far as we could find, here they are.



LendKey makes the point to work only with trustworthy lenders, and you are matched with several of them: in this way, you can obtain access, depending on your financial status, to very affordable rates, either if you were seeking a new student loan or wanted to refinance an old one. Accounting for the absence of origination, application, and prepayment fees, the overall cost of a student loan through LendKey could prove to be the lowest you can find.

The main highlight is that you can find many different top quality offers in a unique instance, without any obligation to finalize your loan, or risking your credit score.

A basic requirement of LendKey is use of a cosigner if your annual income is not above a certain threshold. Since this is very likely among students, as it is not having a credit base, it is anyway recommended by the company itself because it allows you to qualify and to get a more favorable rate.

In case you want to be informed, the website has a rich resources section, including a blog, with the cornerstone topics about student loans.


Since LendKey provides you with most banks and CUs offers, and they are prone to have relatively high credit score requirements, it might be not easy to qualify. Alternative lenders have more lax requirements, and there is still the chance that you miss good deals. We recommend finding a cosigner with a good credit score, that is to say above 670; anything below will greatly reduce your likelihood to see your loan approved.

Unfortunately, LendKey’s partners cant’ grant a loan to students who are not enrolled in a degree program. Visa holders are also cut off, but we reasonably think that the company will integrate this last feature in the upcoming future.


How do you apply to LendKey?


The application process for a student loan or refinancing is the same. It just takes two steps:

  • Compile a very simple one-page form
  • See your rates.

You are asked for personal information along with other crucial details: your citizenship, annual income, type of degree and school, purpose, and amount of the loan. The completion requires a matter of two minutes. Once done, you will finally receive the best prequalifying offers from a number of banks and credit unions. That’s it: one of the main goals of LendKey is to streamline the process, and you will be surprised at how easy that was.

If you like an offer and want to proceed, you will need to provide the necessary further documentation:

  • A valid ID
  • Social Security Number
  • Proof of income
  • Current loan statements if refinancing
  • Cosigner’s files

At this point, going through the picked lender will require a hard pull on your credit, in order to allow you the final approval. Though there is a high likelihood to be approved if you were already pre-qualified, there will still be a little chance to be denied: this can happen because of a lower than required credit score, an unsteady or uncertain source of income, a too-short credit history, errors in the credit report.

If not eligible, you will receive an explanatory e-mail, along with a possible counter-offer, such as applying with a cosigner with a suggested credit score.

LendKey commits to be absolutely transparent about all the conditions of its loans. As a general recommendation, you should be aware of your credit score before applying. This is important because knowing where you stand lets you make the right step forward certain offers, avoiding applying to others.


How is LendKey rated?


As a guarantee and expression of the high quality of LendKey’s service, you may want to consider the company receives an A+ from the Better Business Bureau: this means a top level of commitment towards its customers, and a great capability to handle potential claims.

Moreover, you certainly want to know what other people are saying about LendKey: on Trustpilot, which is a well-known unbiased source of valuable customer reviews, it gets a 4.6/5 stars score, suggesting it is an excellent choice.

Current customers happily agree with basically the same crucial things: the convenience of use, the ease and speed of applying, the low rates they are able to obtain, and a general seamless experience. LendKey’s customer service is much appreciated and proves to answer the questions promptly and in a professional manner. Moreover, other people like specific things, like to be in control during the whole process of the loan submission from their account or to receive offers from local lenders rather than big institutions.

There are also several reports of a positive overall experience with refinancing their student loans, especially referring to the low rates they get and which couldn’t find elsewhere.


Final verdict


LendKey is your point of reference when you want to get a student loan or refinance from banks or credit unions, and need to compare multiple offers with the hassle of doing your research completely spared. You will be able to save time, energy, and money, by getting the best rates from reputable servicers, with the sense of safety that only traditional lenders can give you. They also leave room for different repayment schedules, so that you have great flexibility in your choice; lastly, but nonetheless, LendKey demonstrates to have top-notch customer support, that will guide you properly to find the best possible deal for your situation.

On the other hand, you might not be able to qualify if you or your cosigner are not enough creditworthy. Being the case, you will be more likely to find your deal among alternative lenders; or you just don’t like to be put in front of more options, and prefer to be directly oriented towards a single choice.

Thus, we also recommend viable top student loan lenders that will certainly meet your needs.