Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
Fees and penalties
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.
- 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.
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.
36 or 60
1.00% - 6.00%
on LendingTree’s secure website
LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates.... Read More
Minimum Credit Score
36 or 60
1.50% - 6.00%
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 Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
36 to 72
No origination fee
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.