Earnest is anything but a traditional lender for unsecured personal loans and student loans. They offer merit-based loans instead of credit-based loans, which is good news for anyone just starting to establish credit. Their goal is to lend to borrowers who show signs of being financially responsible. Earnest is working to redefine credit-worthiness by taking into account much more than just your score.
They have a thorough application process, but it’s for good reason – they consider different variables and data points (such as employment history, education, and overall financial situation) that traditional lenders don’t.
Earnest*, unlike traditional lenders, says their underwriting team looks to the future to predict what your finances will look like, based upon the previously mentioned variables. They don’t place as much emphasis on your past, which is why a minimal credit history is okay.
Additionally, as their underwriting process is so thorough, Earnest doesn’t take on as much risk as traditional lenders do. With their focus on the financial responsibility level of the borrower, they have less defaults and fraud, which allows them to offer some of the lowest APRs on unsecured personal loans.
Personal Loan (Scroll Down for Student Loan Refinance)
Earnest offers up to $50, 000 for as long as three years, and their APR starts at a fixed-rate of 5.25% and goes up to 12.00%. They claim that’s lower than any other lender of their type out there, and if you receive a better quote elsewhere; they encourage you to contact them.
Typical loan structure
How does this look on paper? If you needed to borrow $20, 000, your estimated monthly payment would be $599-$638 on a three- year loan, $873-$911 on a two- year loan, and $1, 705-$1, 744 on a one-year loan. According to their website, the best available APR is on a one-year loan.
Not available everywhere
Earnest is available in the following 36 states (they are increasing the number of states regularly, and we keep this updated): Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Get on LinkedIn
Earnest no longer requires that you have a LinkedIn profile. However, if you do have a LinkedIn profile, the application process becomes a lot faster. When you fill out the application, your education and employment history will automatically be filled in from your LinkedIn profile.
What Earnest Looks for in a Borrower
Earnest wants to lend to those who know how to manage and control their finances. They want borrowers to know the importance of saving, living below their means, using credit wisely, making timely payments, and avoiding fees.
They look at salary, savings, debt to income ratio, and cash flow. They want borrowers with low credit utilization – not those maxing out their credit cards and experiencing difficulty in paying.
Borrowers must be over 18 years old and have a solid education background. Ideally, they attended college or graduate school, have a degree, and have a history of consistent employment, or at least a job offer that gives them the opportunity to grow.
Overall, Earnest wants to make sure borrowers are taking their future as seriously as they are. After all, they’re investing in it! The team at Earnest knows that money often holds people back when it comes to being able to achieve their dreams and goals, and they’re all about helping borrowers get there.
For that reason, Earnest seeks to learn more about those that apply for loans with them. They review every line of your application, and they want to develop a lifelong relationship with their borrowers. They genuinely want to help and see their borrowers succeed.
The Fine Print – Are There Any Fees?
Earnest actually doesn’t charge any fees. There are no late fees, no origination fees, and no hidden fees.
American Financial Services Association (AFSA) is a trade association for the U.S. consumer credit industry headquartered in Washington, D.C.. AFSA’s 350 members include consumer and commercial finance companies, vehicle finance/leasing companies, mortgage lenders, credit card issuers, industrial banks and industry suppliers. AFSA is a founding...