Ratings and Methodology

LendEDU’s Editorial Ratings are designed to help consumers better understand and make choices about which products fit their needs.

We do not publish favorable or unfavorable reviews or ratings at the direction of any companies. Instead, our editorial staff and independent contractors are tasked with providing accurate and fact-based analyses. Our editorial staff and independent contractors are not rewarded in anyway for publishing favorable or unfavorable reviews.

Below you will find more information about how we rate products, broken out by category. Click a category below to jump down to the rating methodology for that product. 

Jump to a Specific Product:


Student Loan Refinancing Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: 1/10/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched the student loan refinancing industry since 2014. There are five categories in which the lenders were rated on: Product Information, Fees, Eligibility & Application, Customer Support, and Discounts & Benefits.​ There were multiple data points analyzed within each category and each data point was weighted based on the importance of each. To come up with the overall rating for a lender, we found the weighted average of each category score. Categories deemed more important were weighted higher than those that were deemed less important. See the Description of Rating Categories below for more information.

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Description of Rating Categories

Product (40%): Interest Rates (30%), Term Lengths (35%), Loan Amounts (25%), Fees (10%)

App/Eligibility (20%): Soft Credit Pre-Approval (30%), State Availability (30%), Types of Schools Eligible (40%)

Repayment (20%): In-School Repayment (40%), Forbearance (15%), Deferment (15%), Cosigner Release (30%)

Benefits/Discounts (10%): Benefits (50%), Discounts (50%)

Customer Service (10%): Ways of Contact (40%), Better Business Bureau Rating (30%), Trustpilot Rating (30%)


Private In-School Student Loan Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: 4/04/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched private student loans since 2014. We analyzed each provider using the criteria below. We classified each lender as “Traditional” or “Non-Traditional.” The traditional products allow borrowers to use a cosigner during the application process which applies to the majority of the students in the United States. The non-traditional providers include those that are designed for borrowers without a cosigner and/or international students. Products in each group were rated relative to other products in the same grouping.

For each private student loan grouping, there are five categories in which the lenders were rated on: Product Information, Repayment, Eligibility and Application, Customer Support, and Discounts & Benefits. There were multiple data points analyzed within each category and each data point is weighted based on the importance of each.

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Description of Rating Categories

Product (40%): Interest Rates (30%), Term Lengths (35%), Loan Amounts (25%), Fees (10%)

App/Eligibility (20%): Soft Credit Pre-Approval (30%), State Availability (30%), Types of Schools Eligible (40%)

Repayment (20%): In-School Repayment (40%), Forbearance (15%), Deferment (15%), Cosigner Release (30%)

Benefits/Discounts (10%): Benefits (50%), Discounts (50%)

Customer Service (10%): Ways of Contact (40%), Better Business Bureau Rating (30%), Trustpilot Rating (30%)


Personal Loan Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: 1/09/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched the personal loan industry since 2016. We analyzed each provider using the criteria below. We classified each product as either “For Above Average Credit,” “For Average Credit,” “ For Below Average Credit,” and each was rated relative to other products in the same credit category.

For personal loans, there are five categories which lenders were rated on: Product Information, Fees, Eligibility & Application, Customer Support, and Discounts & Benefits.​ There were multiple data points analyzed within each category and each data point was weighted based on the importance of each. To come up with the overall rating for a lender, we found the weighted average of each category score. Categories deemed more important were weighted higher than those that are deemed less important. See the Description of Rating Categories below for more information.

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Description of Rating Categories

Product (37.5%): Interest Rates (60%), Term Lengths (20%), Loan Amounts (10%), Deposit Time (10%)

Eligibility/Application (10%): Soft-Credit Pre Approval (50%), State Availability (30%), Allows for Co-Applicants (20%)

Discounts/Benefits (12.5%): Discounts (50%), Benefits( 50%)

Customer Service (17.5%): Ways of Contact (50%), Better Business Bureau Rating (25%), Trustpilot Rating (25%)

Fees (22.5%): Origination Fees (50%), Late Fees (20%), Prepayment Penalty (20%), Check Fees (10%)

Description of Credit Rating Categories

For Above Average Credit: For consumers with great credit; generally scores ranging from 680-850.

For Average Credit: For consumers with mediocre credit; generally scores ranging from 620-680.

For Below Average Credit: For consumers with poor credit; generally scores that are under 620.


Pet Insurance Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: 2/12/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched the pet insurance industry since 2017. LendEDU analyzed each pet insurance company based on the Trustpilot rating, Better Business Bureau rating, financial strength, customer support availability, states available, minimum and maximum age limits, illness waiting period, injury waiting period, special surgery waiting period, benefit limit, and discounts available. Each piece of criteria was cross checked and audited by multiple members of the LendEDU team. To come up with an overall rating, all data points were evenly averaged together.

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Renters Insurance Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: 1/25/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched the renters insurance industry since 2017. LendEDU analyzed each renters insurance provider based on overall customer experience (Trustpilot score and Better Business Bureau composite score), maximum liability coverage, valuation, overall coverage options, states available, and policy discounts. Each piece of criteria was cross checked and audited by multiple members of the LendEDU team. To come up with an overall rating, all data points were averaged together evenly.

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Small Business Financing Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: 1/21/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched small business financing since 2017. Each provider’s small business financing products were categorized as “Term Loan,” “Line of Credit,” or “Invoice Factoring.” Some lenders offered more than one of the aforementioned products. To find an overall score for a lender with multiple products, the scores of each product were averaged together. Other small business financing products besides the three mentioned were not considered in our ratings.

To come up with an overall rating for each product, we found the weighted average of the scores for all data points considered. The providers were analyzed based on the following criteria: Better Business Bureau score, Trustpilot rating, availability of customer support, minimum required credit score, minimum business age requirement, APRs, fees, loan terms, loan amounts, and deposit time.

Term Loan: BBB Rating/Trustpilot Rating/Customer Support Availability (15%), Fees (15%), Loan Terms (15%), Loan Amounts 15%), Minimum Required Credit Score (10%), Minimum Required Credit Score (10%), APRs (10%), Deposit Time (10%)

Line of Credit: BBB Rating/Trustpilot Rating/Customer Support Availability (15%), Minimum Required Credit Score (15%), Fees (15%), Loan Terms (15%), Loan Amounts (15%), Deposit Time (10%)

Invoice Factoring: BBB Rating/Trustpilot Rating/Customer Support Availability (15%), Minimum Required Credit Score (15%), Minimum Required Business Age (15%), Revenue Needed (15%), Loan Terms (15%), Loan Amounts (15%), Deposit Time (10%)

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Credit Card Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: 2/25/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched credit cards since 2018. Each credit card was placed into one of eight credit card categories: rewards credit card, secured credit card, business credit card, student credit card, store credit card, hotel credit card, low balance transfer credit card, or travel credit card.

All credit cards that featured bad credit or repairing credit were assigned to the secured card category. The credit cards that featured small business or businesses in general were placed in the business card category. Credit cards that were primarily aimed at students were put in the student card category. The credit cards that featured rewards for a certain store were assigned to the store credit card category. Credit cards that displayed a certain hotel or points awarded for the hotel brand were designated to the hotel card category. Travel cards that highlighted a certain airline, gave out miles, or focused on travel were named to the travel credit cards category.

To come up with an overall rating for each product, we found the weighted average of the scores for all data points considered. The data points varied based on the credit card card category which you can see below.

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

​Rewards Credit Cards

​To figure out the amount of rewards earned for each card, we assumed a monthly spend of $1,517 on each card broken down into different spending categories. We assumed a monthly spend of $540 for grocery, $167 for dining, $158 for gas, $76 for hotel, $76 for travel, and $500 for other purchases.

​To quantify the points earned for each category, we multiplied the rewards rate by the monthly budget for that spending category. Rewards outside of these categories were given a cash value. All points were summed together and converted into a dollar amount and were then added to the outside rewards cash value for the annual rewards value.

​To come up with an overall rating for each card, we found the weighted average of the scores for all data points considered. Rewards credit cards were weighted based on the following criteria:

Rewards Cards: Regular APR (10%), Purchase APR (5%), ​Transfer APR (2.5%), Annual Fee (10%), Late Fees (2.5%), Foreign Transaction Fee (2.5%), Cash Advance Fee (2.5%), Introductory Bonus (15%), Rewards (50%)

Secured Credit Cards​

To come up with an overall rating for each card, we found the weighted average of the scores for all data points considered. The credit cards were weighted based on the following criteria: Which credit bureaus the card reported to, Minimum Deposit, Maximum Deposit, Regular APR, Annual Fee, Late Fees, Foreign Transaction Fees, Cash Advance Fee, and Rewards.

Secured Cards: Credit Bureaus Reported (10%), Minimum Deposit (15%), Maximum Deposit (15%), Regular APR (15%), Annual Fee (15%), Late Fee (5%), Foreign Transaction Fee (5%), Cash Advance Fee (5%), Rewards (15%)​

Business Credit Cards​

To figure out the amount of rewards earned for each card, we assumed a monthly spend of $3,192 on each card broken down into different spending categories. We assumed a monthly spend of $1,080 for travel, $152 for hotel, $158 for gas, $334 for office supplies, $316 for dining, $152 for phone, and $1,000 for other purchases.

​To quantify the points earned for each category, we multiplied the rewards rate by the monthly budget for that spending category. Rewards outside of these categories were given a cash value. All points were summed together and converted into a dollar amount and were then added to the outside rewards cash value for the annual rewards value.

​To come up with an overall rating for each card, we found the weighted average of the scores for all data points considered. Business credit cards were weighted based on the following criteria:

Business Cards: Regular APR (10%), Purchase APR (5%), Transfer APR (2.5%), Annual Fee (10%), Late Fee (2.5%), Foreign Transaction Fee (2.5%), Cash Advance Fee (2.5%), Introductory Bonus (15%), Rewards (50%)

Student Credit Cards

To figure out the amount of rewards earned for each card, we assumed a monthly spend of $425 on each card broken down into different spending categories. We assumed a monthly spend of $50 for gas, $100 for grocery, $125 for dining, $50 for online spending, and $100 for other expenditures.

To quantify the points earned for each category, we multiplied the rewards rate by the monthly budget for that spending category. Rewards outside of these categories were given a cash value. All points were summed together and converted into a dollar amount and were then added to the outside rewards cash value for the annual rewards value.

To come up with an overall rating for each card, we found the weighted average of the scores for all data points considered. Student credit cards were weighted based on the following criteria:

Student Cards: Regular APR (10%), Purchase APR (10%), Transfer APR (5%), Annual Fee (10%), Late Fee (10%), Foreign Transaction Fee (5%), Cash Advance Fee (5%), Introductory Bonus (20%), Rewards (25%)

Store Credit Cards

The monthly budget was reduced to around $600 for store cards and was split evenly between the specific store the card was for and spending elsewhere. To quantify the points earned for each category, we multiplied the rewards rate by the monthly budget for that spending category. Rewards outside of these categories were given a cash value. All points were summed together and converted into a dollar amount and were then added to the outside rewards cash value for the annual rewards value.

​To come up with an overall rating for each card we found the weighted average of the scores for all data points considered. Store credit cards were weighted based on the following criteria:

Store Cards: Regular APR (15%), Purchase APR (5%), Transfer APR (5%), Annual Fee (10%), Late Fee (5%), Foreign Transaction Fee (5%), Cash Advance Fee (5%), Introductory Bonus (25%), Rewards (25%)​

Hotel Credit Cards​

To figure out the amount of rewards earned for each card, we assumed a monthly spend of $1,517 on each card broken down into different spending categories. We assumed a monthly spend of $540 for hotel, $167 for travel, $158 for dining, $76 for grocery, $76 for gas, and $500 for other purchases.

To quantify the points earned for each category, we multiplied the rewards rate by the monthly budget for that spending category. Rewards outside of these categories were given a cash value. All points were summed together and converted into a dollar amount and were then added to the outside rewards cash value for the annual rewards value.

To come up with an overall rating for each card, we found the weighted average of the scores for all data points considered. Hotel credit cards were weighted based on the following criteria:

Hotel Cards: Regular APR (10%), Purchase APR (2.5%), Transfer APR (2.5%), Annual Fee (10%), Late Fee (5%), Foreign Transaction Fee (5%), Cash Advance Fee (5%), Introductory Bonus (10%), Hotel Rewards (35%), Other Rewards (15%)

Travel Credit Cards

To figure out the amount of rewards earned for each card, we assumed a monthly spend of $1,517 on each card broken down into different spending categories. We assumed a monthly spend of $540 for travel, $167 for dining, $158 for gas, $76 for grocery, $76 for hotel, and $500 for other purchases.

To quantify the points earned for each category, we multiplied the rewards rate by the monthly budget for that spending category. Rewards outside of these categories were given a cash value. All points were summed together and converted into a dollar amount and were then added to the outside rewards cash value for the annual rewards value.

To come up with an overall rating for each card, we found the weighted average of the scores for all data points considered. Travel credit cards were weighted based on the following criteria:

Travel Cards: Regular APR (10%), Purchase APR (2.5%), Transfer APR (2.5%), Annual Fee (10%), Late Fee (2.5%), Foreign Transaction Fee (2.5%), Introductory Bonus (15%), Travel Rewards (35%), Other Rewards (15%)


Homeowners Insurance Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: ​2/14/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched the homeowners insurance industry since 2018. LendEDU analyzed each homeowners insurance company based on their Trustpilot rating, Better Business Bureau rating, financial strength (including A.M Best, Moody’s, and S&P), state availability, household discounts, policy discounts, basic coverage, and JD Power score. Each piece of criteria was cross checked and audited by multiple members of the LendEDU team. To come up with an overall rating, all data points were averaged together evenly.

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Life Insurance Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: ​5/6/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched the home equity line of credit industry since 2018. LendEDU analyzed each company based on the following:

A.M. Best Rating (12.5%), Moody’s Rating (12.5%), S&P Rating (12.5%), JD Power Score (15%), BBB Rating (15%), Trustpilot Score(10%), Minimum and Maximum Coverage Amount (15%), Minimum and Maximum Issue Age (7.5%)

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Home Equity Line of Credit Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: ​4/29/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched the home equity line of credit industry since 2018. LendEDU analyzed each company based on the following:

APR (15%), Loan Amounts (15%), Maximum Loan to Value (10%), States Available (5%), Annual Fee (15%), Application Fee (5%), Closing/Origination Fees (10%), Funding Time (10%), BBB Rating (5%), JD Power Score (10%)

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Home Equity Loan Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: 4/29/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched the home equity loan industry since 2018. LendEDU analyzed each company based on the following:

APR (20%), Loan Amounts (20%), Repayment Terms (15%), Application Fee (5%), Closing/Origination Fees (10%), BBB Rating (10%), Maximum Loan to Value (15%), States Available (5%)

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Auto Insurance Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: ​4/21/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched the auto insurance industry since 2018. LendEDU analyzed each company based on the following:

JD Power Score (20%), A.M Best Rating (15%), Moody’s Rating (15%), S&P Rating (15%), BBB Rating (10%), Trustpilot Score (10%), States Available (5%), Discounts (10%)

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Auto Loan Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: ​4/15/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched the auto loan industry since 2018. Each auto loan company was placed in one of four categories: Traditional Bank, Online Lender, Car Dealership, or Credit Union. Each category was analyzed by the following: 

Traditional Bank: APR (35%), Loan Terms (20%), BBB Rating (15%), Minimum and Maximum Borrowing Limits (10%), States Available (10%), Application/Origination Fees (10%), Discounts (5%)

Online Lender: APR (35%), Loan Terms (20%), BBB Rating (12.5%), Minimum and Maximum Borrowing Limits (15%), States Available (5%), Application/Origination Fees (12.5%)

Car Dealership: Loan Terms (30%), Minimum and Maximum Borrowing Limits (20%), BBB Rating (25%), Trustpilot Score (25%)

Credit Union: APR (30%), Loan Terms (20%), BBB Rating (15%), Minimum and Maximum Borrowing Limits (15%), States Available (5%), Application/Origination Fees (10%), Discounts (5%)

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Auto Loan Refinance Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: ​4/15/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched the auto loan refinance industry since 2018. LendEDU analyzed each company based on the following:

APR (30%), Loan Terms (20%), Minimum and Maximum Borrowing Limits (15%), Maximum Car Age (15%), Maximum Miles on Car (15%), BBB Rating (10%), States Available (5%)

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Dental Insurance Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: ​4/9/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched the dental insurance industry since 2018. LendEDU analyzed each dental insurance company based on the following:

Dentist Network (20%), Annual Maximum Benefit (15%), States Available (10%), BBB Rating (10%), A.M. Best Rating (10%), Preventitive Waiting Period (10%), Basic Waiting Period (10%), Major Waiting Period (10%), JD Power Score (5%)

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Dental Discount Plans Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: ​4/9/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched dental discount plans since 2018. LendEDU analyzed each dental discount plan on state availability, average annual cost, average annual savings, BBB rating, and the locations available. To come up with an overall rating, all data points were averaged together evenly. 

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Vision Insurance Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: ​5/13/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched vision insurance since 2018. LendEDU analyzed each vision insurance company based on the following:

A.M. Best Rating (10%), S&P Rating (10%), BBB Rating (15%), Glasses Allowance (20%), States Available (5%), Eye Exam Allowance (20%), Contacts Allowance (20%)

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers

Vision Savings Plans Rating Methodology

Ratings Last Updated: ​5/13/2019

LendEDU has reviewed and researched vision savings plans since 2018. LendEDU analyzed each vision insurance company based on the following:

Eye Exam Coverage (20%), Glasses Coverage (15%), Lasik Coverage (15%), Contacts Coverage (15%), Sunglasses Coverage (10%), BBB Rating (15%), Customer Support (10%)

– Our highest recommendation, the top tier option for consumers
– Excellent selection for consumers
– Average selection for consumers
– Below average selection for consumers
– Poor selection for consumers