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Earnest Student Loan debuted in 2013, and the asset management company Navient bought it in 2017. Earnest offers people loan refinancing without cosigners, and it lets its customers customize their payment terms. Here’s a complete review of Earnest.
With Earnest, you can decide on the length of your repayment period: anywhere from five years to 20 years. The amount of your loan must be at least $5,000 and at most $500,000.
Earnest does not permit cosigners. If your original loan had one, that person will be relieved of all cosigning responsibilities.
Once you’ve begun making your Earnest payments, you can increase your monthly payment amount without a fee. Obviously, by paying more per month, you can pay off your loan sooner. And, if you experience a windfall, you can make multiple payments at one time.
After making six payments in a row on time, you can miss one payment every year. Earnest realizes that, every so often, people lack the cash for their monthly expenses. The downside is that, after skipping a payment, your monthly payment amount and interest rate will go up a little.
After three months of payments, you’re able to apply for hardship forgiveness. If you can prove that you’re facing an unexpected financial crisis, you won’t have to make payments for up to 12 months. A medical emergency or the loss of a job could qualify you for forbearance; quitting a job, however, would not.
With Earnest, there are no late fees. And, if you use an automatic payment system, you’ll get a 0.25 percent rate reduction.
Earnest’s interest rates are relatively low. If your loan duration is less than 10 years, your interest rate will be no more than 8.95 percent. With a 10 to 15-year payment plan, your highest possible interest rate would be 9.95 percent. If you’ll take longer than 15 years to pay off your loan, your interest rate will be 11.95 percent at most. Those rates could change in the future, however.
You can obtain refinancing from Earnest up to six months before your college graduation if you meet one of two conditions. You earn a steady income, or an employer has offered you, in writing, a job after you graduate.
With Earnest, you can defer your payments for as long as three years if you’re serving in the military or enrolled in graduate school or the Peace Corps. Your loan interest will accrue during that deferment period, though.
Generally speaking, both money experts and everyday consumers appreciate the flexibility and dependability of this company.
Reviewers typically give the Earnest dashboard high marks. This online tool lets people make extra payments or change payment amounts quickly and simply.
Some find Earnest’s application process to be a little invasive, particularly how the company investigates people’s spending habits. (You must demonstrate that you spend less per month than you make.) Also, if your credit score is excellent rather than middling, you might find lower interest rates elsewhere.
On balance, reviews usually depict Earnest as an excellent resource for refinancing, especially for those with average credit scores.
To refinance with Earnest, you need an associate’s degree or higher from a Title IV-accredited school. Plus, your credit score must be at least 650. And you should have at least two months’ salary in a savings account.
What about your status as a student? Well, you must meet one of the following criteria. One, you’ve completed school. Two, you’re in your final semester. Or three, you’re less than a half-time student.
Moreover, you must be a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States. You won’t qualify for Earnest’s program with a Sallie Mae loan. And people who live in Nevada, Delaware, Rhode Island, Kentucky and Alabama are ineligible for Earnest refinancing.
Earnest is best for people who are prudent with money. Its customers usually have little debt beyond student loans. They tend to be adept at financial planning, and they habitually make payments on time.
If you’re responsible with money, you can take full advantage of Earnest’s adaptability: deferments, forbearance, the chance to skip one payment a year, the ability to increase payment amounts or make several payments at once, and so forth.
If you meet Earnest’s eligibility requirements, this program should fulfill your refinancing needs. It will let you pay off your student loan in a timely manner, with a minimum of stress and a maximum of convenience.
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