In a Nutshell
- Network of more than 300 credit unions
- Competitive rates on private student loans
- Quick funding decisions
- Credit union membership a requirement of loans
- No rates without contact details
LendKey at a Glance
Loan types: Undergrad and postgrad
Loan amount: $1,000 up to full cost of degree
Repayment terms: 5-15 years
APRs from: 3.79%
Minimum credit score: No minimum credit score and can apply with cosigner
Fees (including prepayment fees): No origination, application or prepayment fees
LendKey (formerly Fynanz) is a lending platform that connects borrowers with private student loans, student loan refinancing, and home improvement loans from community lenders. LendKey’s network comprises more than 300 credit unions and community banks with a combined loan portfolio of more than $700 million. As of 2018, LendKey said it was responsible for more than $2 billion in loan originations.
LendKey is the best online service for finding a private student loan from a credit union or other community lender. A credit union is a type of financial cooperative that is owned and operated by its participants. Members pay a membership fee and get access to benefits including affordable loans. When it comes to finding a suitable credit union for your student loan, no other platform offers such an extensive network as LendKey.
LendKey’s platform connects users with private student loan products as well as plenty of free tools and resources.
Private student loans with cosigner option, from a network of community lenders around the country.
Student loan refinancing from network of community lenders; can be used to refinance private student loans, federal student loans, or a combination of the two.
Tools and resources, including loans calculators and guides to refinancing and federal student aid.
The Application Process
It takes only a few minutes to fill out the LendKey application form and get connected with the best community lenders. It usually takes about 15 minutes for LendKey’s system to run a soft credit check (without affecting your credit score) and return a list of pre-qualified lenders.
Depending on your location and when you apply, you may be offered the chance to apply directly to one of LendKey’s priority partners. We did a few test runs, and on a couple of occasions LendKey showed us this message: “We have partnered with Sallie Mae to give borrowers in your state the best options for the 2019 Winter and Spring Semester.”
When applying for a private student loan or refinancing, you’ll be asked for the following information:
Personal information (for yourself and/or your cosigner), including name, contact details, citizenship, Social Security number, and total annual income.
Loan information, including school, degree, estimated graduation date, and requested loan amount.
At the end of the form, read and sign the disclosure agreement and wait a few minutes to be contacted with LendKey’s findings.
Because LendKey works with hundreds of community lenders, eligibility requirements can vary. As a general rule, borrowers must be enrolled or have been accepted to eligible academic institutions. Credit score is only one component of applying for a private student loan. Borrowers without any credit history or with a poor credit score may bring a co-signer to secure a better rate.
The other thing to be aware of when using LendKey is that it works with credit unions, which generally require borrowers to register for membership in order to qualify for a loan. Some credit unions require that a person meet certain conditions in order to become a member, such as military service or working in a certain profession such as teaching. Most credit unions charge their members a monthly or annual fee on top of the costs of loans and other financial products and services.
LendKey’s student loan rates are lower than most other online lending platforms. The reason for this is that the loans are offered by credit unions, which typically offer market-beating rates in exchange for signing up as a member.
Each of LendKey’s partnering lenders sets its own repayment terms. In general, most lenders offer terms of between 5 and 15 years for private student loans.
How Safe Is It?
LendKey’s website has all the necessary security and encryption protocols in place to protect user information. It vets all its partnering lenders, as any good loans marketplace should. Judging by the list of partnering credit unions and community banks it works with—such as Sallie Mae, Everence, McGraw-Hill, WSFS Bank, Veridian, and University Federal Credit Union—it appears to work with lenders with strong reputations.
LendKey has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, attesting to the fact that it has had only a handful of customer complaints during the years it’s been in business. New borrowers can speak to customer support during extended weekday business hours.
Address: 104 W. 27th St. New York, NY 10001; 9999 Carver Rd, Suite 400, Cincinnati, OH 45242
How LendKey Compares
LendKey is the place for finding private student loans from respected credit unions. Its system works as well as any other good loans marketplace, but its focus on community lenders helps it stand out from the crowd. Credit unions aren’t right for every borrower: for example, not everyone likes the idea of signing up for membership. But if you’re the type of person who’s willing to sign a bit of extra paperwork and pay annual dues in return for extremely low interest rates on your student loan, then you should begin your search with LendKey.