CommonBond v. LendKey Student Loan Refinance Review


Updated on October 29, 2018
By Julissa Trevino


Once you've decided to refinance your student loans, selecting the right lender is your next step.

Two popular lenders are CommonBond and LendKey. While they each have their advantages, you might find that one works best for your particular circumstances. Let's take a look at how they compare.

Who should refinance with CommonBond?

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If you're looking to refinance with a company that's committed to making student loan payments simpler, CommonBond might be for you.

The company offers a diverse range of fixed- and variable-rate loans to fit a wide range of financial situations. It has also been recognized for its best-in-class customer service.

They do a lot of good, too. While keeping interest rates below double-digits for their lenders, CommonBond also finds time to partner with an organization that builds schools and promotes literacy in Ghana.

Who should refinance with LendKey?

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LendKey is known for its unique approach to refinancing.

Its mission is to connect people with lenders they might not normally have access to — like credit unions and community lenders that offer low interest rates and personalized customer service. This means LendKey could be a great option for people looking save money while supporting small businesses.

And since LendKey operates as a portal — a platform that connects you to direct lenders based on your individual needs — it offers side-by-side comparisons of lenders and terms so you can make an informed decision without any of the legwork.

Advantages of CommonBond and LendKey

Both CommonBond and LendKey have made names for themselves when it comes to providing excellent customer service and dedication to low interest rates and cost savings.

CommonBond's loan products offer flexibility for a wide range of financial needs (more about that in a minute).

But they're also committed to helping you advance in your career. The company runs regular networking events, panel discussions, and dinners that help connect customers with industry thought leaders.

For customers between jobs, their CommonBridge program helps customers transition to their next role—a novel benefit for a lender.

With LendKey, the focus is on meeting your particular needs through a wide range of loan options.

With one single application, LendKey's portal helps you find a lender by showing you refinance quotes from more than 300 community banks and credit unions.

That means you don't have to shop around for the best rate on your own or have to fill out multiple applications.

Throughout your application process, you will have access to LendKey's loan specialists who can help you decide which loan option best fits your needs. Those same customer service reps will be there to help you through your application and during your entire payment period. 

Comparing interest rates and loan terms

One reason LendKey is popular is because it offers extremely competitive rates, starting at 2.56% for a variable interest loan or 3.15% for a fixed interest loan. To be clear, a variable rate can fluctuate, while a fixed rate stays the same over the life of your loan. Of course, rates are also dependent on other factors, like your credit score.

LendKey also offers flexible repayment plans including 5-, 7-,10-, 15- and 20-year loan terms.

CommonBond's interest rates start as low as 2.76%. Their refinancing options include a fixed interest rate loan and variable interest rate loan.

Plus, they also offer a unique hybrid option in which the interest on your loan stays fixed for five years before becoming variable for the next five. Interest rates start at 4% and term loans range from five to 20 years.

CommonBond boasts another impressive figure: their customers save about $24,000 over their loan’s lifetime on average.

Neither LendKey nor commonBond charge origination fees, so you can be sure all your hard-earned cash is going directly into paying back your loans.

Does either lender offer discounts?

Yes, both offer a .25% interest rate reduction when you sign up for automatic monthly payments.

CommonBond also offers an option that's similar to forbearance that allows you temporarily postpone loan payments if you qualify during a time of financial hardship.

What are the eligibility requirements and application processes?

CommonBond:

You must have at least $5,000 in student loans and be a graduate of a Title IV-accredited university or graduate programs in the United States. Your credit history will also help determine eligibility and interest rates.

You can apply online, and you'll need two of the following:

  • Proof of employment,
  • A recent loan statement, or
  • Proof of residency

A preliminary decision is usually made within minutes. Once your application is approved, CommonBond will handle the refinance process with your current lenders.

LendKey:

To qualify, you must have between $5,000 and $300,000 of existing student loan debt (the exact amount varies based on your degree), an income of at least $24,000 a year, a credit score in the mid 600s, and a degree from an eligible school.

LendKey's online application process takes 15 minutes. All you have to do is go to LendKey’s “check your rates” page and enter information about yourself, your school, and your existing loan. If you qualify for refinancing, you will be shown several offers from different lenders. LendKey will handle origination and servicing.

Want to see what interest rates you qualify for with LendKey and CommonBond? Compare the two and cash in the savings.

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