Earnest Personal Loan Review

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Earnest personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: Earnest loan terms range from 36 to 60 months.
  • APR range: The APR for this loan is 5.99% to 17.24%.
  • Loan amounts: You may borrow between $5,000 and $75,000.
  • Time to funding: Earnest aims to respond to most loan applications within five to 10 business days.
  • Hard pull/soft pull: Earnest performs a hard inquiry on your credit and only shows your rates once you have submitted your loan application, though the company says it’s working on a rate check for personal loan applications. This inquiry will appear on your credit report and will slightly lower your credit score.

Not only are there no fees, if you find yourself in a difficult situation that affects your ability to repay your loan, Earnest will work with you. It offers several ways to help borrowers.


  • Late payments: Earnest extends a seven-day grace period beyond the originally scheduled payment date to all clients. The lender also allows borrowers to adjust their monthly auto-payment date.
  • Unexpected financial changes: Earnest staff are available to immediately discuss borrowers’ situations with them.
  • Death or disability: If the borrower dies or becomes permanently and completely disabled, the executor of of the borrower’s estate can petition Earnest for relief.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: Earnest requires a minimum credit score of 680.
  • Minimum credit history: The lender looks for those with enough savings to cover two months of expenses, spend less than they earn, do not carry large amounts of credit card debt and have a history of making payments on time.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Though Earnest’s website does not specify a certain debt-to-income ratio, the lender consistently describes its target audience as responsible borrowers who keep their credit levels relatively low.

Earnest personal loans are not available everywhere — residents of Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada and Rhode Island are ineligible. You must be 18, a U.S. citizen, long-term permanent resident alien or conditional permanent resident alien or hold certain visas through the life of the loan. Applicants must show that they are paid in U.S. dollars and have a consistent income.

Applying for a personal loan from Earnest

Earnest’s loan application process starts online like many other lenders, but it may require you to submit more information than competitors. The process begins with the borrower selecting a loan amount, terms and reason for applying such as credit card consolidation, debt refinance, or paying for a home improvement, security deposit on a rental property, vacation or honeymoon, wedding, a move or career development. “Other” also is an option.

The borrower must then create an account, providing name, state of residence and email address.

Applicants also will be asked to provide:

  • Education and employment information: The application will ask for all of your educational background and work history. Underwriters will use the information to get a picture of your academic and career growth as well as your earning potential to assess how likely you are to pay back your Earnest loan.
  • Financial information: You must provide Earnest with read-only access to financial transactions in your bank accounts by linking them to your Earnest profile. Underwriters will look at your balance history and transactions only, not your charges, and will use secure data from your accounts and LinkedIn profile to verify your identity. Earnest doesn’t sell any personal data or ever have access to your usernames or passwords.
  • Personal information: Earnest does not operate physical branches where staff could verify an applicant’s identity in person, so applicants are asked to securely upload a government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license. You also will be required to enter your Social Security number so that Earnest can run a hard pull on your credit.

Earnest communicates through email once you submit your loan application. You may check the status of your loan during the review process by signing in to your Earnest account and clicking on “My Loans” at the top of the page. You may receive an email asking for additional information, and the final decision will be emailed. You can find more details about your loan offer when you sign in to your Earnest account.

You have seven calendar days to accept an offer. Earnest encourages successful applicants to contact the company during this period with any questions or concerns. Earnest will transfer the money to you by the next business day after you accept the offer and provide your bank account information. The funds should appear in your account within one to two days of signing.

Pros and cons of an Earnest personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Low rates. Earnest has some of the lowest rates on the market, with a maximum APR of 17.24%.
  • Smooth application process: Despite the lengthy application process, Earnest’s reviews praise its ease and helpful customer service.
  • Comprehensive website: Earnest is upfront about its terms, rates and loan requirements, and its website is easy to navigate and provides detailed information about Earnest personal loans.
  • Extensive application: Earnest has a more involved application process than many other lenders, and it requires documentation of your financial, personal, education, and employment information.
  • Hard pull: Personal loan applicants will not receive their rate until their loan is approved, a process which requires a hard pull on your credit.
  • Responsibility required: Even though Earnest doesn’t base its loan decisions solely on credit scores, borrowers must prove they are financially responsible. Applicants who have struggled to pay bills in the past and whose finances are disorganized likely will not be approved.

Who’s the best fit for an Earnest personal loan?

Earnest personal loans are an excellent option for people in their 20s and 30s who have a college education and are establishing their careers but need to build credit. Unlike most lenders, Earnest will make a decision about their loan application based on their potential and career trajectory rather than just their past. As long as underwriters can determine that an applicant is financially stable, financially responsible and likely to pay back the loan, the applicant likely will be approved.
Borrowers who want a good deal on a versatile loan also should consider Earnest. The lender does not charge any fees, and its APR range is lower than many other lenders. While Earnest personal loans cannot be used to repay student loans or for businesses, they can be used for everything from consolidating debt to new job expenses to relocation.

Alternative personal loan options

Before you sign up, it’s important to research other lenders who offer different terms, stipulations and rates to make sure you get the best loan for your situation. MagnifyMoney’s online tool for comparing personal loans will give you a comprehensive look at your options.

This roundup includes loans that allow you to check rates with a soft pull.

Lending Club

APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

Not Specified

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates and approvals for people with credit scores as low as 0.... Read More

LendingClub, established in 2007, works with borrowers with credit scores as low as 600, though their minimum credit requirements are not specified on their website, which is lower than Earnest’s minimum credit score of 680 though APR rates are as high as 35.99%. Unlike Earnest however, LendingClub will conduct a Soft Pull of your credit; it will not affect your credit score and will allow you to get rates and terms before deciding to apply.

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

6.98%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.50% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Upgrade is an online lender that offers fairly priced personal loans for a term of either 36 or 60 months.... Read More.


Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.98%-35.89%. All personal loans have a 1.5% to 6% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by WebBank, Member FDIC.

Like LendingClub, Upgrade is an online lender available to those with fair credit that also offers a Soft Pull. A LendingClub loan may be a quicker turnaround than Earnest — once your application is approved, the money will be transferred to your bank account within four business days.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

6.99%
To
28.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® offers personal loans for up to $40,000 for debt consolidation and credit consolidation. ... Read More


Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans).Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. For New York residents, rates range from 6.99% to 24.99% APR.

This relatively new line of personal loans was launched by Goldman Sachs Bank USA. The lender offers no-fee personal loans, which sets it apart from others in this list, but its APR rates are somewhat higher than Earnest’s. Marcus will conduct a Soft Pull on your credit to generate rates and offers borrowers the option to defer one payment without accruing extra interest or fees. More than 80% of borrowers last year had a credit score of at least 660, according to Goldman Sachs’ most recent annual report.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Marty Minchin
Marty Minchin |

Marty Minchin is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Marty here

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