Earnest Personal Loan November 2023 Review
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Best for high loan amounts
|Fixed APR||5.99% - 35% at fixed and variable rates|
|Loan Amounts||$1,000 - $250,000|
|Repayment||Six months to 12 years|
|Fees||1-6% origination fee. Other fees not listed.|
|Time to fund||One business day is possible but not guaranteed|
|Min. Credit Score||Varies|
- Competing loan offers from different lenders
- Long loan terms
- High loan amounts
- Interest rate ranges not listed
- Origination fee up to 6%
- Minimum credit score not listed
Earnest Personal Loan Top Features
Originally a lender of student loans, Earnest later added personal loans to the services it provides. It has since partnered with the loan marketplace, Fiona, to help customers find personalized loan offers. Neither Earnest nor Fiona lend money for the loans.
Partnering with Fiona resulted in two main benefits for Earnest: higher loan amounts and longer loan terms. Earnest can now help people find loans for up to $250,000, with loan terms as long as 12 years. Previously, loan limits were smaller and the maximum term was shorter.
Some of Earnest’s top features are:
High dollar amounts: Loans found through Earnest are available up to $250,000.
Long loan terms: Customers can choose loan terms from six months to 12 years to make it easier to find a payment that fits their budget.
Many lenders to choose from: Fiona, which searches for loans for Earnest customers, has a network that includes 31 loan providers, some of which are credit unions. Filling out an online application will help narrow that list to lenders that want to make you a loan offer, based on your credit score and other qualifications.
Multiple loan purposes: Some personal loan providers won’t ask you to disclose the loan purpose, but others may, according to Earnest. Loans can be used for many purposes, including:
- Home repairs
- Debt consolidation
- Medical bills
Some lenders offer home improvement loans or medical loans specifically for those scenarios, so you may be referred to a specific type of loan instead of a personal loan. Earnest does not recommend using a personal loan for college expenses.
Origination fee: Fiona says that some lenders may charge an origination fee of 1-6% of the loan. The fee will be deducted from the loan amount before the rest of the loan proceeds are sent to you.
No other fees: Fiona is a loan marketplace that searches for loans for Earnest customers. Fiona doesn’t charge any fees, but lenders you see on Fiona might. These may include a loan origination fee, late fees, and prepayment penalties. You won’t know what the possible fees are until you are offered loan options by Fiona when you submit an application.
Online preapproval: Fiona will run a soft pull of your credit profile, which won’t affect your credit score.
This soft pull can lead to preapproval offers from lenders who have determined you meet certain approval criteria. These are conditional commitments for an exact rate from a lender, and let you know if you qualify for that loan. The rates may change but very rarely do, according to Fiona.
Qualifying for an Earnest loan
All loan information for Earnest loans are available at Fiona’s website, and neither Fiona nor Earnest list a minimum credit score needed to be approved for a loan. Fiona says that requirements vary by lender, but that Fiona provides options for virtually any credit score across all of the lenders on its platform.
If you have a poor credit history, you may improve your chances of qualifying by having a qualified cosigner apply with you. You can also research what’s pulling your credit score down so that you can try to improve it before you apply. There are many places where you can check your credit score for free online, including Discover and Capital One. When you apply for your loan, the lender will do a hard credit pull, which can lower your credit score by a few points. So it’s good to know where your starting point is.
A fair (or better) credit score can make the application process easier, and so can applying with a marketplace like Earnest that can help you find the loan that best fits your personal situation.
How to apply for an Earnest loan
Clicking the “Check My Rate” button on Earnest sends you to a prequalification form set up by Fiona. An application can be completed in less than one minute, according to Earnest. The process is straightforward.
- Provide basic information about yourself and what you want the loan for.
- Review rates and terms for different loan options.
- Choose a loan and read the details about fees and loan terms.
- Sign to finalize on the lender’s website.
Loans may be funded as quickly as one business day after you complete an application on the lender’s website.
Loan approval and loan funding from Earnest
After you apply for a loan through the prequalification process, you are given a choice of lenders that are likely to offer you loans. You then apply through the lender’s website, where you may be asked for more information about your finances.
You’re not obligated to accept any loan offers or move forward with an application if you’re not happy with the offers listed.
Loans may be funded as fast as one business day.
Earnest: Customer service and customer satisfaction
Earnest has customer service support for its customers, but since it doesn’t provide direct personal loans or compile a list of lenders for applicants, you’ll be sent to Fiona to have your personal loan questions answered. At Fiona’s website you can email or call for help.
Earnest has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and Fiona isn’t listed by the BBB. TrustPilot gives Fiona 4.3 stars out of 5.
When an Earnest personal loan might be the best choice
You need flexible credit requirements
Neither Earnest nor Fiona list a specific credit score that should help applicants get approved. Fiona says that across their marketplace they can accommodate most applicants. Having a fair credit score can make the application process easier.
FICO scores range from 300 to 850. There is no standard definition of a fair credit score, but it could be something between 580 and 660. Higher scores are good to excellent; lower scores would be considered poor. Every lender sets its own cutoffs, and if you’re not sure if you qualify, you should chat with a lender about your situation.
You want to easily search multiple lenders
Fiona is a search, comparison, and recommendation engine for personalized loan offers. It doesn’t provide loans but matches applicants with loan options.
In about one minute, applicants can fill out an online prequalification form that is sent to up to 31 lenders that Fiona works with to provide personal loans. Finding a loan this way is easier than filling out multiple loan applications individually.