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Earnest vs Credible: Knowing the Difference Is Key

Earnest and Credible consistently rank as two of the best student loan refinance opportunities in the market. Both platforms provide competitive interest rates, and are known for their user-friendly websites and fast application experiences. But both entities function completely differently when comparing Earnest versus credible.

Earnest is an online private student loan lender that works directly with borrowers to provide its refinancing product. Whereas, Credible is an online platform designed to quickly compare multiple refinancing lenders. It serves as a middleman connecting borrowers with personalized offers using one convenient form.

So, which option is right for you? Let’s breakdown the details and look at what Earnest versus Credible has to offer.

Earnest vs. Credible: Student loan refinancing at a glance

Refinancing can save you money by lowering your interest rate or reducing your monthly payment. To get the best deal, you’ll need to compare rates and terms between the two.

Here’s an Earnest vs. Credible comparison of loan terms:


credible logo
4.5 out of 5

Credible: Best for comparing multiple lenders

  • Positives: Strong application experience
  • Allows cosigners: Yes
  • Deferment or forbearance available: Yes with some lenders
  • Interest rates: Fixed starting at 5.28% APR (with autopay)*; Variable starting at 5.28% APR (with autopay)*
  • Bonus: $1,250 bonus for loans over $100k, and $350 for loans $50k to $100k


4.5 out of 5

Earnest: Best for flexible repayment

  • Positives: Flexible repayment terms, custom loan payments
  • Allows cosigners: Yes
  • Deferment or forbearance available: Yes, up to 36 months
  • Interest rates: Fixed starting at 5.19% APR; Variable starting at 5.99% APR
  • Bonus: $200 for refinancing 50k to $99,999; $1000 for refinancing 100k or more.

Earnest and Credible both have consistently low fixed and variable APR rates and a variety of repayment terms to choose from, ranging from five to 20 years. They both also offer autopay discounts that can reduce your interest rate and save you money.

Both refinancing options have similar loan ranges, too. But Earnest’s refinancing minimum bumps up to $10,000 for residents of California. The amount you can refinance through Credible’s partner lenders might depend on your degree level.

Additionally, Earnest doesn’t provide refinancing opportunities to residents of Nevada. It also doesn’t offer variable rate refinance loans to residents of Alaska, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.

Check out our full Earnest student loan refinance review and Credible student loan refinance review for a more in-depth analysis of each refinancing option.

Earnest vs. Credible: Benefits and features

Depending on your situation, you might be interested in more than just a lender’s rates and terms. Maybe you can’t qualify for refinancing on your own (e.g. you don't meet the minimum credit score or other eligibility requirements) and need a cosigner. You might even be hoping to score some serious cash back, along with a lower interest rate.

Here are some more benefits and features to compare Earnest vs. Credible.

Check rates with soft credit pullYesYes
Flexible repayment termsYes, customizedYes
(varies by lender)
Requires a completed degreeYesNo
(varies by lender)
Cosigner optionNoYes
Cosigner releaseN/AYes
(varies by lender)
Cash-back bonusup to $1,000up to $1,250
  • Can I check my rates without impacting my credit score? Both Credible and Earnest allow you to check your rates within minutes with a soft credit inquiry. Just keep in mind these initial rate quotes are estimates and an accurate rate will be given once the lender pulls your credit report.
  • Which option offers the most flexibility for repayment? Earnest uses Precision Pricing that lets you customize your payment amount and terms to match how much you can afford to pay. You’ll also have the option to skip a payment every 12 months, if needed. Credible’s partner lenders offer a range of flexible repayment options, but you’ll have to compare these options once you receive your personalized offers.
  • Do I need a completed degree to refinance? Earnest works with borrowers who will complete their degree at the end of the current semester. Otherwise, it requires your refinancing debt to be from one or more completed degrees. Fortunately, Credible has partner lenders that offer refinancing without a degree.

Because Credible is a platform-based lending option, it’s difficult to summarize the various loan products under one general umbrella. You can visit Credible’s partner lender profiles to see which lenders it works with.

Should you refinance with Earnest or Credible?

Earnest is the top lender that our readers use when refinancing their student loans. We give it five stars, particularly for its payment flexibility and consistently low rates.

But Credible is close behind, earning 4.5 stars with its strong application experience and convenience of being a one-stop-shop for comparing offers.

If you’re still on the fence about which lender to refinance through, here are some general scenarios to help make your decision easier.

Go with an Earnest student loan refinance if:

  • You’d benefit from customized monthly payments. Earnest lets you adjust your rate and term (e.g. 11 years instead of 10) to align with what you can realistically afford each month.
  • You want to work directly with a trusted lender that has consistently low rates. Earnest makes the ultimate lending decision on its rate and terms, instead of being a middleman. It will then service your loan going forward.

Choose a Credible student loan refinance if:

  • You want to shop around for multiple offers. Credible can do the legwork for you at no cost to you.
  • You didn’t finish your degree. Credible’s partner lenders provide opportunities for borrowers who didn’t graduate or are no longer enrolled in school.
  • You want a big cash-back bonus. For a limited time with Credible, get up to a $1,250 bonus for refinancing. Use our Credible link to earn your bonus, or our Earnest affiliate link for up to $1,000 cash back if you refinance with them instead.
  • You need a cosigner to qualify. Credible works with multiple partner lenders that encourage using a cosigner to get a better rate and increase your chances of approval.
  • You live in Nevada. Earnest doesn’t provide lending in these states, but Credible has lending partners in these states.

We partner with the top refinancing lenders in the business to make sure you’re getting the best deals. We always recommend shopping around with at least three lenders before moving forward with refinancing.

Check out more of our refinancing comparisons to see which lender is right for you:

Refinance student loans, get a bonus in 2024

Lender Name Lender Offer Learn more
$500 Bonus
*Includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. For 100k or more.
Fixed 5.24 - 9.99% APR*
Variable 6.24 - 9.99% APR*
splash logo
$1,000 Bonus
For 100k or more. $300 for 50k to $99,999
Fixed 5.19 - 10.24% APPR
Variable 5.28 - 10.24% APR
$1,000 Bonus
For 100k or more. $200 for 50k to $99,999
Fixed 5.19 - 9.74% APR
Variable 5.99 - 9.74% APR

Not sure what to do with your student loans?

Take our 11 question quiz to get a personalized recommendation for 2024 on whether you should pursue PSLF, Biden’s New IDR plan, or refinancing (including the one lender we think could give you the best rate).

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