LendKey Review 2017 – Loans From Local Lenders

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LendKey has served approximately 60,000 borrowers and overseen over $1.6 billion in loan issuances from partner community banks and credit unions, but what should know before getting started? Let’s take a look in this LendKey review.

Primarily, LendKey serves students who need a loan to attend school and graduates who wish to refinance existing loans.

LendKey also serves borrowers who want to make home improvements with mortgage loans but we’ll focus on student loans and refinancing where LendKey has carved out a unique market opportunity to benefit borrowers and lenders.

In the good old days, students would have had no choice but to knock on the door of big banks, who would generally charge hefty interest rates on issued loans. Then came along student lending industry disruptors, SoFi and CommonBond, who lowered rates but lacked the long operating histories and brand reputations of big banks.

But what if you wanted a new student loan or to refinance an existing student loan at lower rates yet still wanted the convenience of walking into a brick-and-mortar establishment?

Naturally, a credit union might be worth considering but comparing rates across dozens or hundreds of credit unions would be tough sledding for any one person.

That’s where LendKey found a niche in the student lending market by connecting borrowers to local credit unions and community banks who may otherwise not be on the radar of students in need of funding.

LendKey Spotlight

LENDKEY SPOTLIGHT

lendkey logo

InvestorMint Rating

4.5 out of 5 stars

  • No Origination Fees
  • Low Fixed and Variable Rates
  • AutoPay Discount

via LendKey secure site

How LendKey Works

LendKey allows you to compare student loan rates without hurting your credit score and is by your side from start to finish of the application process, unlike most comparison websites.

Whether you are refinancing or consolidating your federal or private student loans, LendKey can help you connect to credit unions and community banks to find low borrowing rates.

Historically, finding the right loan has been the first stumbling block for borrowers. The application process is another spaghetti mess altogether. Where LendKey wins brownie points is not only in comparing rates but also in simplifying the application process.

LendKey doesn’t actually issue loans but it supports you all the way up to that line in the sand where the bank or credit union takes over. The actual loans are issued by a community bank or credit union.

What’s nice about LendKey is it’s not simply a comparison website where your information is gathered and then you are referred over to some other company to complete the application steps.

LendKey basically holds your hand from the start of the process to the end. It begins with real-time rates that you see without hurting your credit score.

Next, you can customize monthly payment amounts and term lengths before applying.

When you hit apply, a decision is made instantly, so you can then submit application documents, and ask support staff questions at any stage if you get stuck.

LendKey Fixed Rate vs Variable Rate Loans

Fixed rate loans have predictable monthly payments, unlike variable rate loans, but have higher repayment amounts at the start.

Which student loan should you pick, a fixed rate loan or a variable rate loan?

Each loan type has pros and cons. On the day you need to pick between the two loan types, the fixed rate loan will have a higher interest rate than the variable rate loan. But the risk is over time that interest rates rise due to say a Fed rate hike, and you end up paying more on the variable rate loan.

Although day one, the fixed rate loan will cost you more in monthly payments, you lock in a fixed monthly cost from the time you take out the loan to your final payment. However, the variable rate loan may start out small but end up ballooning into a much larger payment.

FIXED RATE LOAN EXAMPLE

Imagine you took out a 10-year fixed rate loan at 7% interest rate, and assuming no other fees or charges.

Your repayment and total payments made would be as follows:

Loan Details Amount
Original Balance $40,000
Monthly Payment $464.43
Total Interest Paid $15,732.28
Total Payments Made $55,732.28

With the fixed rate loan you could count on the monthly payment staying the same at $464.43 each month.

VARIABLE RATE LOAN EXAMPLE

Now imagine a variable rate loan over the same ten year period on the same amount of money, $40,000.

If the variable interest rate is 2.76% and stays steady for the life of the loan, the repayment schedule and total loan repayments will be as follows:

Loan Details Amount
Original Balance $40,000
Monthly Payment $381.83
Total Interest Paid $5,819.24
Total Payments Made $45,819.24

The total interest paid is $5,819.24, which is much less than the $15,732.28 you would have paid on a fixed rate loan.

But what if interest rates were to rise?

Imagine now that interest rates rose from 2.76% to 12.84% (which was a peak Libor rate back in March 1989) over the life of the loan.

Loan Details Amount
Loan Amount $40,000
Initial Interest Rate 2.76%
Initial Payment $381.83
Ending Interest Rate 12.84%
Ending Payment $485.65
Total Interest Paid $13,491.43
Total Payments Made $53,491.43

As you can see, the total interest rate is still slightly lower than the fixed 7% rate but depending on how fast interest rates climb, it’s possible that a rapid rise could result in higher interest rate payments overall when selecting a variable rate loan.

LendKey Interest Rates & Fees

With AutoPay, LendKey rates for variable and fixed rate loans start as low as 2.58%.

Loan Type Rates Start At
Variable APR 2.58%
(student loan refinancing)
3.98%
(private student loans)
Fixed APR 3.15%
(student loan refinancing)
4.99%
(private student loans)
Origination Fees $0

Why Choose LendKey

Federal, private, and graduate loan consolidations as well as flexible repayment schedules and no origination fees are highlights at LendKey.

LendKey looks to lower your monthly payments during the student loan refinancing process, so you get to save potentially thousands of dollars over the life of a loan.

Federal and private student loans, as well as graduate loans can be consolidated into a single rate.

And you won’t pay any origination fees with any of LendKey’s community lenders. Plus, repayment options tend to be flexible – it’s even possible to pay interest-only for the first four years.

You also get access to a refinancing calculator, which allows you to easily adjust your current debt, monthly payment, and term length to compare new fixed and variable rate loan options.

lendkey how much you can save

LendKey Pros and Cons

LendKey has an exceptional rating from the Better Business Bureau after serving tens of thousands of borrowers, can track down low student loan and refinancing rates, offer discounts for ACH / AutoPay features, and has top notch customer support. A drawback on the main website is not having access to comparison rates to shop around.

LendKey Pros LendKey Cons
Low Rates: Starting at 2.58% for variable rates and 3.15% for fixed rates with auto-pay, lending rates via LendKey are among the lowest nationwide. Website Details: Perhaps because each loan from each bank and credit union is different, you don’t get to see a whole lot of details about loans on the LendKey website, so you will need to conduct your own due diligence on small print details prior to signing.
No Origination Fees: Like any top tier company in the lending space, LendKey does not charge any origination fees. Website Details: Unlike pure comparison websites where you can shop for rates before signing in, LendKey does not offer that same easy navigation – though it adds a lot more value than comparison sites by walking you through the application process too.
ACH Interest Rate Deduction: When you pay via ACH, you enjoy a 0.25% interest rate charge reduction.
Start To Finish Loan Application: LendKey is not a simple comparison site where you enter your details and then get bumped to another website to fill out an application. From start to finish, LendKey guides you through the loan process.
CoSigner Release: It is possible to remove your co-signer from a loan when you show that you have established a track record of paying back your loan twelve consecutive times on schedule.
Easy Consolidation: Federal and Private loans can be consolidated, though you will lose grace periods and any military service forgiveness that may be applicable.
Customer Support: You can call anytime between 9am ET → 8pm ET Monday to Friday.
Better Business Bureau Rating: LendKey has an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau after serving approximately 60,000 borrowers which is an exceptional record for a consumer-facing company.

LendKey Loan Types

LendKey supports consolidation of Federal, Private, and Graduate loans.

  • Federal
  • Private
  • Graduate
  • Home Improvement
  • CUGREEN Loans

LendKey At A Glance

LendKey has among the most inclusive eligibility criteria in the market, including:

  • Minimum loan balance to refinance: $7,500
  • Maximum loan balance to refinance
    • Undergraduate degree only: $125,000
    • Any graduate degree: $250,000
    • Medical, dental, or veterinary degree: $300,000
  • Eligible loans to refinance
    • Private student loans
    • Subsidized and unsubsidized federal student loans
    • GradPLUS federal student loans
  • Minimum target credit score (without a cosigner): 680+
  • Minimum annual income (without a cosigner): $24,000
  • Refinancing Maximum to $250,000 for All Graduate Degrees

LendKey Summary

LendKey connects student loan and loan refinancing borrowers to community banks and credit unions who offer competitive rates and charge no origination fees.

With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau after serving tens of thousands of borrowers and a simplified borrowing process that starts with comparison shopping and holds your hand through the application phase, LendKey wins lots of brownie points.

You don’t get the big brand name with LendKey as you would with a big name bank but you stand a good chance of getting better rates.

The bottom line is if you want lower monthly payments on student loans, LendKey has the online platform to make it easy to find lower rates, consolidate your federal and private loans, and hold your hand along the way.

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