Earnest is an online lender that uses new technologies to provide loans to individuals and small business that wouldn't qualify for traditional loans. Instead of focusing exclusively on credit scores and debt-to-income ratios, Earnest uses its own algorithms to analyze a wide range of financially relevant factors to determine whether a customer qualifies for a loan.
Earnest offers loans with rates as low as 5.25% APR to borrowers with credit scores that would only qualify them for subprime rates with traditional lenders by filtering for borrowers with a good education, high-income potential, responsible spending patterns and low credit card balances.
Rates vary from 5.25% APR to 12% APR depending on the term of the loan. For example, the lowest rate for a 12-month loan is 5.25% APR, while the lowest rates for a 24-month and 36-month loan are 5.50% APR and 6.00% APR, respectively.
Available loan amounts range from $2,000 to $50,000 and terms range from 12 to 36 months. To illustrate, a 12-month $10,000 loan at 5.25% APR will cost you $857 a month for a total cost of $10,284. The same loan with an 11.25% APR would cost you $885 a month and a total cost of $10,620.
Earnest loans are currently available in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The only catch of Earnest's ultra-low rates is you have to reveal a lot of information most lenders don't require. For instance, Earnest requires access to your LinkedIn account, your savings account, and your retirement accounts to confirm your education, employment, salary and financial situation. The good news is Earnest uses the information collected from your accounts to automatically populate the application form, so you won't have to waste time filling forms. Borrowers should expect a reply within one week. After you're approved, you have one week to either accept or decline the loan. The money will take 1 to 3 days to reach your account.
Earnest is a merit-based lender that looks at more than your credit score when assessing your loan application. If you fit Earnest's guidelines, such as a having a good employment history, working in a sector with high-earning potential, having a good education and solid spending and saving habits, you could qualify for rock-bottom rates even if you have little or no credit history.
There are no initiation or prepayment penalty fees and they guarantee the best rates among no-fee lenders. The only catch is the entire process could take up to 10 business days and only borrowers who fit Earnest's stringent eligibility criteria are eligible.