Fintech companies are disruptive entities that have truly shaken up the student loan industry for good. Two large of the larger student loan companies are SoFi and Earnest. While both of these companies are groundbreaking, they’re also direct competitors in the student loans business, especially in the refinancing business. With this in mind, let's take an in-depth dive into the dealings of both SoFi and Earnest.

Background

SoFi

SoFi is one of the newer companies in the student loan industry, and their disruptive business has already made waves throughout the country.

SoFi was founded in 2011 by four students of the Stanford School of Business who saw a hole in the student loan industry. They believed they could provide more affordable loan options for people willing to take on debt to better themselves through education.

The company has moved away from only refinancing and consolidating student loans, and has since become a premier finance company. SoFi considers itself as a new age finance company, and their products match this mantra.

They are currently offering life insurance designed for young professionals and students, wealth management options, personal loans, mortgages, and student loan refinancing which includes medical students as well. 

SoFi is a powerful player in the student loan industry which they have showcased through their aggressive refinancing options for students across the country.

Earnest

Earnest is a company that specializes in student loans but lacks the typical brick and mortar locations of the big banks. The company has excelled in the online realm and has expanded to become a major player in the industry. Earnest was founded in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Francisco in 2013 by Louis Beryl, Benjamin Hutchinson, and Andreessen Horowitz.

Earnest was established as a company that focused on merit-based lending, which provides a full financial profile before establishing loan commitments. However, Earnest is a company that is fueled by technology, and their use of it within the financial sector has showcased why Earnest continues to be a major player in the industry. The company offers student loan refinancing, and personal loans designed for home improvement, credit card consolidation, moving, and engagement. Earnest was recently acquired by student loan servicing giant, Navient.

Student Loan Refinancing

Although these companies offer a variety of financial items, their main focus is student loan refinancing. Thus, it is time for SoFi and Earnest to go head to head with their student loan refinancing options.

Interest Rates

SoFi offers their clients an option. You can choose variable refinancing rates which currently range 2.75 to 6.84 percent if you enroll in the company’s autopay option. Fixed rates range from 3.25 to 7.24 percent.

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Earnest offers their clients both variable and fixed rate options. For the variable option, the rates currently start at 2.57 percent APR while fixed rates start at 3.35 percent APR with their autopay options.

Application Process

At SoFi, the application process is fairly simply. You start with checking your interest rate, which generally takes about two minutes. With the online pre-approval, you will get to select the loan that is right for your situation. Variable or fixed, as well as terms and monthly payments, they are all variable and customer options. Finally, you will need to upload your loan documents via screenshot and sign your paperwork electronically. It is that easy.

The Earnest application is an impressive streamlined process. It takes about two minutes to fill out their form, and the powerful artificial intelligence in Earnest will prepare your estimated refinancing rate. You will then need to fill out the rest of the loan application, including your financial details that will allow Earnest to build your credit profile. Finally, you will need to execute on a refinance loan decision that gives you better options for the future.

Loan Amounts

Both SoFi and Earnest do not have a maximum within their loan amounts, but the amount a client owes will affect the interest rates that are offered.

Repayment Options

SoFi offers a number of repayment options for their refinancing product. This includes flexible rates, terms, and an ability to set automatic payments that drop your rate by 0.25 percent. Repayment terms range from 5 to 20 years.

Earnest refinance loans offers the flexibility in the way of terms that range from 5 to 20 years. With their loans, you will be able to increase payments, pay lump sums, provide bi-weekly payments, skip a payment to pay later, and offers an interest break for those who set up automated payments.

Additional Benefits

SoFi offers a variety of additional benefits for their student loan refinancing clients. This includes the ability to combine federal and private loans, access to wealth advisors via SoFi, and career support, as well as unemployment protection that allows clients to pause payments, and provide them with career coaches to find a job.

Earnest allows their clients to consolidate private and federal loans with ease, access to precision pricing, and a simple to use dashboard that provides clients with insights into how the loan works.