Based in San Francisco, California, Earnest provides personal and student loans. The business was established in 2013, but with only two years of experience in the industry, it has already expanded to provide services in 42 states.
Conveniently, the process for applying and being approved for a loan from Earnest is quick and easy. They estimate that it will take you two minutes to get an estimated rate and 15 minutes to apply for a loan. Typically, you'll then hear back from them within 48 hours whether you're approved or not.
Earnest offers a wide range of loan amounts as well. You can borrow as little as $2,000 or as much as $50,000 from them. This provides a nice selection for a variety of borrowers' needs. Furthermore, if you want to pay off your loan faster than you signed up for, they won't charge you prepayment fees. They make a profit off of your interest rate, not off hidden fees.
Perhaps one of the most attractive aspects of Earnest loans is that they are customized. As a borrower, you won't be locked into a one-size-fits-all loan. Your interest rate, loan amount, and length of the term will be determined by your individual situation, financial history, and current needs. Earnest even considers the individual case when they look at your credit score for determining eligibility. You don't necessarily need a minimum credit score to qualify; credit is just one of many factors that Earnest takes into account. Many of Earnest's loan features are just evidence for how much respect this company has for their individual borrowers. Rather than locking their clients into fixed terms, they strive instead to provide a loan that you feel comfortable paying back.
As customizable as Earnest's loans are, there is one limitation they have. That is the amount of time you can take to pay off a loan. For personal loans, Earnest requires you to sign up for at least one year to pay it back, but you can only extend that term to three years. For some borrowers (particularly if your loan is higher), three years might not be enough time to pay back in full. It would be nice if Earnest extended these options to a longer amount of time.
Earnest has several limitations that might dissuade some borrowers from seeking a loan. For example, while many lenders provide same-day approval on applications, Earnest does not. Earnest minimum requirements-such as credit score-also vary from borrower to borrower. Lastly, the company is only available in 42 states, whereas industry leaders provide nationwide coverage.
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