About Each Company
Credible is an online student loan marketplace - meaning they aren’t the lender, but rather connect you with other lenders. You can compare different lenders and their rates for both private student loans, as well as existing student loan refinancing.
Splash Financial is a direct lender that works with just three lenders to underwrite their loans - U-Fi, Laurel Road, and PenFed. A single application will get you multiple loan options and repayment terms.
Earnest is an online student loan lender, providing both private student loans and refinancing of existing student loans. They’re not a marketplace, so you’ll get the loan directly through Earnest.
Credible vs. Splash Financial vs. Earnest - Quick Highlights
Since Credible is a loan marketplace that connects you with a variety of other lenders, their standout features really come down to their simple to use platform. You can get a free rate quote without a hard pull on your credit and compare multiple lenders on one, intuitive table -- making it easy to compare your loan options.
One of the unique benefits of Splash Financial is the ability of married couples to refinance their student loans into one, single loan. We also like the fact you get a dedicated personal banker to work with as you’re refinancing, and there is no application fee or prepayment penalty.
Earnest allows you a high degree of customization with your payment amount and terms. They also give you the option to skip a single payment every 12 months.
The ability to consolidate loans is helpful enough, but to be able to combine loans with a spouse is unique and will be a big draw to a lot of borrowers who are married.
Because they’re a loan marketplace, the credit score and other requirements you’ll need to qualify depend on the lender you choose. It’s important to note that the free rate quote with Credible is not a full application - therefore, they don't have your complete credit history. So, it’s possible that you may end up getting some lenders you don’t qualify for after your credit is pulled and reviewed.
If you’re applying on your own, you’ll need a credit score of at least 700 to qualify (note: if you’re not there yet, you can follow these simple steps to improve your credit score quicker). You can get this requirement dropped to 670 if you apply with a qualified co-signer, though. You also need to make at least $42,000 a year and a debt to income ratio no higher than 50%.
Earnest requires a minimum credit score of 650 to qualify. Other things to be aware of include that Earnest will not allow you to apply with a co-signer and if you live in Kentucky, Nevada, or Delaware, their loans are not available at this time.
A minimum credit score of 650 isn’t too high, and as long as you don’t live in one of the three states that don’t offer loans, your odds of qualifying are good.
Rates & Terms
Credible offers both fixed and variable rates that start at 1.99% (with autopay)*, and you can get a loan term between 5 and 20 years. One thing to note is that Credible offers a Best Rate Guarantee, where you’ll get $200 if you find a lower rate elsewhere.
Splash offers both fixed and variable rates, starting at 1.89% APR, through the three companies they work with, and you can get a loan term of 5, 7, 8 10, 12, 15, or 20 years. Note that for medical residents and fellows, this only goes up to 17 years.
Earnest offers fixed and variable rates, starting at 1.99% (with 0.25% autopay discount) APR (with autopay), and you can get a loan term of 5, 10, 15, or 20 years.
Splash offers the lowest rates and a wide range of loan terms. We also like the ability to refinance medical school loans for up to 17 years.
Credible has highly-accessible customer service -- open seven days a week. You can connect with them via phone, email, or live chat. They also have a great Frequently Asked Questions section to address any common questions you have beforehand.
Splash has a dedicated customer service team to help you with any questions you have. You can reach them via phone Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM EST, but we also like that they have other options to get in touch, such as a live chat, email, as well as social media accounts.
Earnest has its own, in-house customer service team, available 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM PST, Monday through Friday. They also have a Frequently Asked Questions section to help you answer common questions before contacting them.
Customer service any day of the week, plus a chat option is a winner in our book.
Overall, all three of these are excellent choices. It really just comes down to which one gives you the best rate and repayment terms. Also, if there are any unique features (such as Splash Financial’s ability to combine spouse loans), make sure you’re taking those into consideration.