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A monthly student loan payment can be a significant, long-term expense, and refinancing could make it easier to manage. Under the right circumstances, refinancing your student loans can lower your monthly payment, help you repay your loans faster, or reduce how much you pay in interest.
SoFi and LendKey are popular lenders offering student loan refinancing. In this LendKey versus SoFi review, you’ll learn more about each lender and circumstances that may make one lender better for you than the other.
In this review:
SoFi vs. LendKey: at a glance
|Fixed APR||3.46% – 6.48%||3.49% – 8.36%|
|Variable APR||2.05% – 6.48%||2.06% – 8.93%|
|Loan Terms||5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years||5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years|
|Loan Amounts||$5,000 – Total outstanding loan balance||$5,000 – $300,000|
LendKey vs. SoFi: Which is right for you?
One of the primary differences is how the loans are funded. SoFi originates its own loans through the SoFi Lending Corp. LendKey, on the other hand, works with community banks and credit unions across the U.S. Rates, loan terms, and other factors vary based on the lender it matches you with.
You can compare interest rates and other loan characteristics in the table above. And for more information on each lender, you can read our full LendKey Student Loan Review and our full SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Review.
However, even with these details, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which lender is right for you. So in this comparison, we’ll cover some situations where one lender might be better than the other.
- If you need to refinance a large amount
- If you want a cosigner release
- If you want free career coaching
- If you live in one of these five states
- If you want a long forbearance period
- If you prefer to work with a smaller lender
- If you need multiple financial products
If you need to refinance more than $300,000
Most borrowers will find both LendKey and SoFi can accommodate their student loan debt from federal loans and private student loans. But if you plan to refinance more than $300,000, you’ll need to consider SoFi.
LendKey caps its refinance loans at this amount, but SoFi claims that it can refinance your total outstanding loan balance.
If you want a cosigner release
Adding a cosigner to your loan could help you get approved and access low interest rates you couldn’t qualify for on your own. Many lenders offer an option for cosigner release, meaning the cosigner is no longer responsible for the loan after a set number of on-time payments.
Both SoFi and LendKey let you apply with a cosigner, but SoFi doesn’t offer an option for cosigner release. Because LendKey works with a variety of lenders, your lender may have a cosigner release option.
If you want free career coaching
Sometimes the right lender comes down to the extras. If you want some guidance on the career front, SoFi may be the right choice. When you become a SoFi member, whether by taking out a loan or opening a banking or investment account, you’re entitled to career coaching.
With this service, you can take advantage of one-on-one advice, help with your resume, and other types of assistance to help you find a new job or transition to a new industry.
If you live in one of these five states
SoFi offers student loan refinancing in all 50 states, but LendKey only works in 45 states. If you live in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, or West Virginia, you won’t be able to find a loan through LendKey.
If you want a long forbearance period
Both SoFi and LendKey offer student loan forbearance for your refinance loan, but SoFi limits it to 12 months over the life of the loan through its Unemployment Protection Program.
LendKey’s network of lenders may give you access to a longer forbearance period, but that depends on the lender you’re paired with.
If you prefer to work with a smaller lender
LendKey connects borrowers with community-based banks and credit unions that don’t typically get the exposure that larger lenders often receive.
If you’d prefer to work with a smaller lender with physical locations for in-person customer service, LendKey could help you find the best match.
If you need multiple financial products
SoFi offers an array of financial products, including mortgages, personal loans, bank accounts, and investing (learn more about SoFi’s other products here). SoFi members can qualify for loyalty discounts for repeat borrowing.
If you already have a loan with SoFi or plan to take out another in the future, you could take advantage of a 0.25% interest rate reduction on your refinance loan.
SoFi vs. other lenders
If you want to see how SoFi stacks up against other lenders, check out our comparisons of:
You may also want to review our list of the best student loan refinance companies to see which lenders got the best ratings.
Author: Jennifer Lobb