LendKey Student Loans Review 2024: Is It Right For You?

Brenda Williams

LendKey is a private student loan marketplace that connects borrowers with community banks and credit unions. Working with smaller lenders, LendKey can offer you competitive interest rates on private student loans. With an automated loan process, you are able to apply for a loan and make repayments through their online portal.

Overall rating


Summary: LendKey’s loans are best for borrowers looking for competitive rates from a smaller bank or credit union.

LendKey Student Loans

lendkey logo


Min. Credit Score

2.81% - 7.21%

Variable APR

3.99% - 10.68%

Fixed APR



Application Process


Loan Requirements


Loan Options


Loan Terms, Fees & Rates


Repayment Options


Forberance Options


Customer Service


Safe & Secure


  • Provides extended forbearance for long-term loans
  • There are no origination fees or application fees
  • Work with institutions that prioritize people over profits
  • Co-signers are not required but are encouraged


  • Payments are required 6 months after graduation
  • Credit-based application

Best For

  • Borrowers who prefer to work with community banks and credit unions instead of larger financial institutions
  • Offers you competitive rates through working with non-profit lenders
  • Simplifies and automates the process of finding a lender through its online portal, passing the savings onto you


HQ104 W. 27th St. New York, NY 10001
Min. Loan Amount$1,000
Max. Loan AmountUp to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance
Loan Terms5, 10, or 15 years
Interest Rate TypeFixed or Variable
Min. Credit Score660
Auto-Pay Discount0.25% reduction (for payments made from a checking or savings account)
Grace Period6 months from the time that you graduate
CosignerNot required
International StudentsMust be a US citizen or permanent resident
State RestrictionsAvailable in all states

In depth review on LendKey Student Loans

While each lender has its specific criteria, LendKey’s streamlined digital application process saves you time and effort by taking the hassle out of shopping around. Partnering with smaller lenders, students can check their eligibility for a private student loan through the application process instantly. 

LendKey is best for

  • Loans from smaller banks and credit unions: LendKey gives you access to smaller lenders that may otherwise be hard to find online. Credit unions offer lower loan rates and a more hands-on approach to customer service. It can also be easier to obtain a loan from a credit union than from a larger bank.
  • Competitive rates: LendKey offers a wide selection of lenders, so your rate is competitive.
  • Streamlined application and repayment process: The application and repayment process are managed through a centralized online portal.

 LendKey benefits

  • Extended forbearance: For longer-term loans, many lenders offer forbearance of 18 months or longer at their discretion. You will need to check the terms and conditions with your specific lending institution once you’re connected.
  • No origination fees or application fees: When applying for a student loan with LendKey, there are no origination fees or application fees.
  • Prioritize people over profits: LendKey partners with hundreds of credit unions and community banks to ensure borrowers benefit from lower interest rates and costs.
  • Co-signers are not required: Co-signers are accepted and may help you get loan approval, but are not required to be eligible for a loan.

LendKey drawbacks

  • No full in-school deferment: Payments are required 6 months after graduation. You can either pay a fixed payment of $25 a month or interest-only payments for up to 60 months.
  • Credit-based application: The application is credit-based. While a co-signer is not required, if you do not have a credit history or stable source of income, you may be required to have a co-signer.

 Application process


To start the process, you can apply online and LendKey will connect you with a lender based on your financial circumstances. The application takes a few minutes and you’ll receive either a conditional approval or application refusal almost instantly. Processing the loan can take an additional 30 days, and may require you to submit further documentation to support your application.

You’ll need the following information to complete your application:

  • Name and address
  • Government-issued ID
  • Social security number
  • Proof of income
  • Co-signer information
  • The school information
  • Expected date of graduation
  • Loan amount

Once connected, you’ll have access to the marketplace with lenders and their rates. If you are matched with a credit union, it may be a requirement to join a credit union membership and make a small donation to be eligible for the loan. If your application is rejected, it’s helpful to ask LendKey for the reasons why your application was turned down. To improve your chances of being accepted, ensure that your credit report information is accurate. Adding a co-signer with a favorable credit history and reliable source of income can also assist you with your application.

Loan requirements 


The application process is credit-based and students require a minimum credit score of 660. If you do not have a credit score or a stable income, you will likely need a co-signer.

As an applicant, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program
  • Must attend an eligible school
  • Must be considered a legal adult in your state
  • Must not have filed for bankruptcy in the past five years
  • Have good credit or a co-signer with a strong credit history
  • You must meet your school’s academic requirements for entry

Loan options


LendKey offers private student loans and refinancing options. It is strongly encouraged that you apply for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before taking out a private student loan.

Loans are available for undergraduate students and graduates who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Loan terms, fees, and rates


LendKey offers variable and fixed-rate private student loans with terms lasting from 5 to 15 years. When you sign up for automatic payments, you’ll receive a 0.25% reduction on your interest rate. Your actual rate will depend on your income and credit history and that of your co-signer if applicable.

There are refinancing options for private and federal student loans. There is extended forbearance for longer-term loans and loan terms can range from 5, 7, 10, 15, to 20 years. Undergraduates can refinance up to $125,000, graduates up to $250,000 and medical students up to $300,000.

There are no origination or application fees when you apply for a loan with LendKey and no penalties for early repayment. However, some lenders do charge late fees, so be sure to review your loan contract so you are aware of these costs. You can borrow up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance and payments start while in school at a fixed amount of $25 a month or interest-only payments for up to 60 months. Interest accrues on what you borrow and there are no penalties for canceling future disbursements. Also, keep in mind that while LendKey is responsible for providing some of the terms, you’ll need to read these in conjunction with the terms and conditions of the specific lender. 

To see your rate, please visit LendKey here.

Repayment options


The repayment options in-school are:

  • Fixed amount of $25 a month or interest-only payments for up to 60 months
  • No deferment

The repayment options for post-school are:

  • Full payments are due after the 6-month grace period
  • There are no options for income-assessed repayments
  • Forbearance of up to 18 months available 
  • Borrowers can pay back more than the minimum amount via autopay

Forbearance options


If you require forbearance, LendKey does not have a standardized forbearance or discharge policy. This will need to be reviewed in the policy documentation when you take out the loan with your lender. LendKey advises that if you require forbearance, reach out to the customer care representative for more information about forbearance options available to you.

Customer service


LendKey services all of its loans that are taken out on its platform. Customer service can be accessed via phone, fax, or email. There is an in-house customer service team, but borrowers do not have a dedicated support representative to contact in case of escalation.

According to Trustpilot, many of the satisfied customers mention how the process is easy to understand and the support staff is helpful. There’s always someone available to answer any questions and very often provide a better rate for their customers.

Many of the complaints come from customers that were not approved for a loan and found the process frustrating. There were also complaints that LendKey does not provide income-driven repayment options.

Safe and secure


LendKey protects all the information that is transmitted through its servers. However, in some cases, LendKey may share your information with third-party lenders that can help finance your loan. While LendKey takes necessary steps to ensure the protection of your data, once it is in the hands of a third party, it cannot guarantee its security. Although these institutions that handle your information, have bank-grade level security.

Is LendKey right for you?

LendKey student loans can be a great option for borrowers looking to match with smaller banks and credit unions for more competitive rates on their loans. Furthermore, their online portal makes the application and repayment process seamless. LendKey also provides you access to a marketplace where you can compare lenders and the rates offered.