If you’re looking for a way to fund your college education, LendKey and SoFi are two solid options. While SoFi is a more traditional student lender, offering specific loans for undergraduates, graduates, law students and more, LendKey is a loan comparison tool that connects you with smaller banks and credit unions. The choice between the two comes down to the value you place on flexibility in your loan choices and which features you prioritize.
Take away key
LendKey is better if you’re looking to quickly compare multiple lending companies, while SoFi is better if you want an established company with plenty of opportunities for discounts and member benefits.
SoFi vs. LendKey
|Interest rate||1.89% to 13.17% variable, 3.27% to 12.55% fixed (with automatic payment)||2.14% to 8.3% variable, 3.99% to 8.49% fixed (with automatic payment)|
|Repayment Terms||5 to 15 years old||10 years|
|Loan amounts||$1,000 for the total cost of participation||$2,000 for the total cost of participation|
|Advantages||No charges; rewards and discounts for members; unemployment protection benefit||Compare several lenders at once; low APR ceilings; no application fees|
|Disadvantages||high rate caps; associate degrees not eligible||A repayment term option; loan details and fees vary by lender|
Details accurate as of June 15, 2022
SoFi Student Loans: Pros and Cons
SoFi offers loans for undergraduate, graduate, law, and MBA students. Although this is one of the most well-known student lenders, it is important to consider the pros and cons before applying.
- No charges: There are no setup fees, application fees, or late fees with SoFi.
- Reward Opportunities: SoFi offers membership rewards points for things as simple as logging into the app and checking your credit score. As you accumulate these points, you can use them to pay off your loans faster.
- Membership discounts: If you already have an account with SoFi, you could qualify for a 0.125% discount on your student loan.
- Protection against unemployment: If you lose your job, SoFi’s unemployment protection policy can help you adjust your payments while you get back on your feet. SoFi also offers help with planning your professional life and finding a job.
- High APR: If you have a below average credit score, a SoFi loan could be expensive. Its maximum interest rates are well over 12% for some of its loans.
- Bad customer reviews: Between poor rankings on Trustpilot and numerous complaints from former customers registered with the Better Business Bureau, the company’s track record is far from perfect.
- Limited eligibility: Borrowers looking to fund an associate’s degree will need to look outside of SoFi; the company only accepts borrowers who are enrolled at least half-time in a four-year degree program or graduate school.
LendKey Student Loans: Pros and Cons
LendKey does not offer separate loan products for undergraduate, graduate, medical, and law students like many companies do. If you are looking for a student loan, you will go through a single portal and your information will be reviewed by multiple companies. Here’s what you need to know before you start the process.
- No administration or set-up fees: None of LendKey’s partner lenders charges a fee for applying for or granting your loan.
- Compare rates from multiple lenders: LendKey is not itself a student lender; instead, it matches borrowers with the banks and credit unions it partners with. Because of this, borrower information will be processed for multiple lenders at once, making LendKey a quick way to compare multiple companies.
- Resources for students: LendKey goes beyond offering student loans. Its website also includes a scholarship finder, a downloadable college payment guide, and a hub with helpful articles on student loans.
- Outstanding customer reviews: Borrowers who have worked with LendKey in the past give the company excellent ratings on Trustpilot.
- Loan details vary by lender: The biggest downside to LendKey’s model is that borrowers won’t have a clue about rates, terms, or fees until they’re matched with a lender. Some of LendKey’s lenders may charge late fees, and some may not offer sufficient forgiveness.
- Limited refund terms: LendKey’s loans all come with a 10-year repayment term, which is extremely limited compared to other student loan companies.
- Relatively short grace period: No matter which lender you’re matched with, all student loans through LendKey have a six-month grace period. Some other companies offer grace periods of nine months or more, especially for higher education borrowers.
Which is better: SoFi or LendKey?
SoFi and LendKey are two solid options for student loans. Both companies offer competitive rates for borrowers with good credit, and they both offer several unique benefits that can make the student loan process easier.
If you have good credit and want a more comprehensive lender, SoFi is for you. SoFi will lend you money for your education, but it will also want to entice you to use it for virtually everything else in your financial life – and if you do, you can earn awesome discounts and membership perks. It’s also the more digitally savvy of the two options, with online chat support.
If you’re hoping to stick with a credit union or want to make your life easier by comparing lenders, LendKey may be better for you. It’s an easy way to submit your loan details to multiple companies, and you’ll end up with a smaller bank or credit union that can offer more personalized service.
Either way, it’s always a good idea to get quotes from multiple sources before taking out a loan. If you have time, compare quotes from SoFi and LendKey to see which offers you the best combination of interest rates, terms, benefits, and fees. From there, you can decide which lender really suits your needs.