Updated on January 9, 2019
By Trish Sammer
So you want to refinance your student loans. How do you know which lender to choose?
Many people choose Laurel Road or LendKey. Let's take a look at the advantages and term options for each lender so you can make a better, educated decision about which one is for you.
One of the major drawbacks to refinancing federal loans is that you lose federal protections like forbearance and forgiveness. Most private lenders don't offer these benefits. But Laurel Road solves that problem. The lender is one of the few in the market that offers
Additionally, the lender will forgive the full amount of the loan if the borrower dies. Borrowers who qualify due to a disability can also qualify for full or partial forgiveness. This kind of flexibility could serve you well if your finances or life circumstances change.
The lender also promises savings: Laurel Road customers save an average of $20,000 or more over the life of their loans.
Do you prefer having lots of options but would rather someone else do the legwork of comparing lenders and terms? LendKey might be for you. The lender operates as a portal, with its platform connecting you to direct lenders based on your personalized needs. From there, you're able to see a comparison of terms and rates and make a
This unique approach to refinancing is what makes LendKey a popular choice. But what's more, the company's emphasis is on credit unions and community lenders, rather than big banks, that offer
LendKey's portal gives you the chance to compare interest rates and loan terms of more than 300 community banks and credit unions, all within a single portal and a single application. In other words, the LendKey experience is designed to meet your needs by giving you options. And if you need assistance, LendKey's loan specialists can help you navigate the choices.
On the other hand, Laurel Road offers extreme flexibility. In addition to the benefits outlined above, the lender is a great choice for medical students. A special program for medical students allows them to refinance as a soon as they're matched to a residency or fellowship program. Through this program, medical students enrolled in a residency or fellowship pay just $100 per month while they're enrolled, and accrued interest does not capitalize during this time.
Luckily, both lenders
Remember, a variable rate can fluctuate, while a fixed rate stays the same over the life of your loan. Your credit score and other factors will ultimately affect the interest rate you qualify for).
Neither of the two lenders
Yes, both offer a .25% interest rate reduction when you sign up for automatic monthly payments.
In addition, once you've paid off 10% of your loan principal, LendKey will also offer a 1% interest rate reduction. And while it's technically not a discount, Laurel Road's referral program offers you up to $400 for each person you refer who refinances their loans with the lender.
To qualify with LendKey, you must have an income of at least $24,000 a year, a credit score in the mid 600s, and a degree from an eligible school. You can refinance between $5,000 and $250,000 of existing student loan debt, but the exact amount varies based on your degree.
To keep its interest rates low, you generally must be
Parents refinancing PLUS loans must have children who graduated from Title IV institutions.
To start the process, visit LendKey’s “check your rates” page. Here, you'll enter information about yourself, your school, and your existing loan. Those who qualify will be shown several offers from different lenders. And even though another lender will technically refinance your loans, LendKey will handle origination and servicing. If you want a more detailed explanation of the application process, head over to our LendKey review. The application process takes just 15 minutes.
At the end of the day, it's up to you to decide which lender meets your personal and financial needs. But you can be sure that either LendKey or Laurel Road will provide a means to help you pay down your debt with ease.
Want to compare more lenders? We've done the research for you. See how the best refinancing companies of 2018 compare in rates and loan terms.