If you’re thinking about refinancing your student loans, you’ve probably come across ELFI and Earnest, two major players in the student loan refinancing space. It’s hard to know which is the better lender between ELFI vs. Earnest without digging into the details.
When comparing the two student loan refinancing options, it’s best to review not just the basics like interest rates and terms, but the perks each lender offers that make refinancing easier.
Having the facts about each lender in front of you can help you decide if it’s best to pursue an ELFI or Earnest student loan refinance. Here’s what ELFI and Earnest refinance products look like when compared, side-by-side.
ELFI vs. Earnest: The basics
Since you’re most likely refinancing to save money, let’s get an understanding of how each lender can help you reduce the cost of your student loans.
2.79 - 5.99%
2.98 - 5.49%
2.39 - 9.95%
1.99 - 5.34%
5 to 20 years
5 to 20 years
If you need to finance less than $15,000 — Earnest is the lender for you. On the other hand, ELFI has the lowest fixed rates between the two lenders. If you qualify for the lowest fixed rate with both lenders, ELFI could end up being the most advantageous simply because of its lower APR. That is, unless you want a variable rate, in which case, Earnest offers a lower rate (if you qualify). Remember, with variable rates, there’s a chance that your interest could increase.
Also, it’s important to remember that you might not be eligible for these rates based on your location. For example, Earnest doesn’t offer variable rates to borrowers in the following states: Alaska, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.
Before choosing either lender, it’s important to review the extra benefits of each lender that can make your refinancing experience better.
ELFI vs. Earnest: The best perks
Not all lenders are created equal and where they can really start to distinguish themselves is with the extra features and benefits they offer. Here’s how ELFI and Earnest stack up against each other when it comes to additional perks or policies.
5% or $50, whichever is less
Refinance without a Degree
Skip a Payment
One per Year
Although ELFI might be attractive to borrowers who need a cosigner, Earnest has a few more perks that help sweeten the deal if you want to refinance your student loan.
For starters, Earnest doesn’t charge any late fees. It also doesn’t charge a fee if your payment is declined, while ELFI charges $30 per returned, unpaid payment.
Earnest also has more flexibility with repayment — it allows you to skip up to one payment a year. Life and finances can get complex and sometimes it can be helpful to take advantage of the opportunity to skip a payment. Also, knowing you won’t be charged a fee if you’re late for any reason is a great plus.
Should you refinance student loans with ELFI or Earnest?
Not sure if ELFI vs. Earnest is best for you? Here are a few scenarios that can show who is likely to get the most out of each lender.
Borrowers likely to benefit from ELFI
- If you have great credit and qualify for the lowest rate: ELFI technically has a lower fixed APR than Earnest. If you qualified for ELFI’s best interest rate, refinancing your student loans through them could be a smart way to save money on your overall student debt.
- If you need a cosigner: Since Earnest doesn’t allow cosigners for student loan refinancing, ELFI is your only option in this scenario.
Borrowers likely to benefit from Earnest
- If you need less than $15,000: Since Earnest offers student loan refinancing for amounts as low as $5,000, borrowers who have a balance below ELFI’s $15,000 cut off will need to go with Earnest.
- If you want flexible repayment options: Earnest gives you the ability to skip one payment a year, plus they offer a choice between biweekly or monthly payments, and they allow you to change your payment date at any time.
- If you want to manage your repayment through a mobile app: Earnest’s intuitive mobile app makes it easy for borrowers to manage their loans on the go. Not everyone wants to use an app to manage their finances, but if this is you then Earnest would be the better student loan refinance lender for your scenario.
You should always shop around to compare several lenders before deciding with one. After narrowing down your top prospects, get quoted rates at several lenders and use your rate plus any added perks to help you decide which lender is best for you.