Earnest Review

ByBestmoney StaffJul. 31, 2019

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In a Nutshell

Earnest at a Glance

Loan typeUnsecured short-term personal loans
Loan amount$2,000 - $50,000
Repayment terms1, 2, or 3 years
APRFixed from 5.25%
Best forFinancially responsible borrowers with good credit

Earnest Earnest Visit Earnest


Earnest was established in order to use advanced data analysis to make the loan approval process faster and better. Earnest aims to provide high-quality service, fast funding, and low rates to financially responsible borrowers with good credit scores who want better loan terms.

  • No origination, prepayment, early payment, or extra payment fees
  • Low interest rates
  • Loans can be used for any purpose except for business, real estate purchase, or college tuition
  • Borrow up to $50,000
  • Fast loan approval times

Best for ?

Earnest is expressly set up to provide better rates for financially responsible borrowers. Earnest uses advanced data evaluation to look at a borrower’s overall financial profile, so someone with a very short credit history but good financial prospects can get a loan on better terms than with some other lenders. It’s also ideal for anyone with a credit score of 660 or over and a good financial history. Because Earnest has very few restrictions on loan purpose and short loan repayment terms, its loans are best for anyone wanting to consolidate credit card debt, pay for home improvements, or cover an emergency.

Loan Features

Earnest personal loans come without any hidden fees or strings attached. You won’t be charged any origination, prepayment, early, or extra payment fees and application costs are kept low through the online application system.

Earnest leaves the loan purpose wide open, permitting you to use it for anything, from a vacation to an emergency, and from fees for unaccredited tuition programs to home improvements. The only things you can’t spend your Earnest loan on are college fees, real estate purchases, and business capital.

Flexible repayments are built into the Earnest model. You can choose between monthly or bi-weekly payments and request to extend your payment date by up to 7 days if you know you’re going to have trouble making the next payment. Earnest also permits borrowers to increase regular payments or make an extra payment without any charge. You can make payments via autopay, credit card, or through the website or app. Earnest provides forbearance terms to help out borrowers who lose their job and are having trouble making monthly payments as a result.

Earnest offers low APRs that begin at 5.25%. Terms are 1, 2, or 3 years so that you can pay off the loan quickly, but you can always pay off your loan early without any extra charge if you’re able to do so.

  • No origination, prepayment, extra payment, or early payment fees
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Very few restrictions on loan purpose
  • Low APR rates
  • Terms of 1, 2, or 3 years

Pros and Cons

Low rates for borrowers with short credit historyNeed to connect all financial accounts
Considers your overall financial profileOnly for borrowers with good credit
Flexible repaymentsCustomer phone support limited to working hours
No fees

The Application Process

Earnest’s application process is entirely online and is somewhat different to that of other lenders. In order to get a full picture of your financial position, Earnest requires applicants to connect their financial accounts for read-only access so that it can check up on your financial history. You’ll also be asked about the purpose of the loan so that Earnest has some context for your application. In a rather unusual step, Earnest also asks about your educational and employment history as well as your current income, requesting you connect your LinkedIn profile, too. It says that this is in order to better assess your career trajectory and earning potential for paying off your loan.

Once you’ve completed the short online application and connected your accounts, you’ll be asked to provide personal information, share a copy of a government-issued photo ID, and your social security number for identification purposes. Earnest’s advanced algorithm works fast to evaluate your application and give you an answer within 5-10 business days. Once you’ve closed on the loan, you’ll get the funding through just one or two days after signing.

How Much Can You Borrow?

Earnest lends amounts ranging from $2,000 to $50,000. To be eligible for a loan from Earnest, you need:

  • To be a US citizen or permanent resident, or hold an eligible visa
  • To be over 18 years old
  • A credit score of at least 660
  • To live in an eligible state (any state apart from Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada, or Rhode Island)
  • A loan purpose that is not college tuition, a real estate purchase, or business capital

Earnest adds that it helps you to get approval if you also:

  • Have a history of making payments on time
  • Have enough savings for at least 2 months of regular expenses
  • Don’t have large personal debt
  • Are not frequently charged for late payments, overdraft, or insufficient funds
  • Spend less than you earn

Repayment Terms

Earnest offers its unsecured loans for terms of 1, 2, or 3 years. You can choose the length of your term when you apply for a loan. Earnest also lets borrowers choose between fixed and variable rates and to change from one to the other after six months of making payments on time.

Earnest only provides specific APRs in a personalized quote after you’ve completed the online application, but rates begin at 5.25% APR.

How Safe is It?

Earnest is committed to protecting user’s information. All of your information is encrypted and securely stored in an off-site secure server. Your login details aren’t accessible to any Earnest employees and all personal and financial data that’s requested to process a loan is handled and stored by a trusted third party. Earnest also promises never to sell your data.

Help & Support

Earnest has an extensive and comprehensive FAQ section that does a good job of covering most things you’d need to know. For existing borrowers, Earnest provides a ‘Client Happiness Team’ that is accessible through phone, email, or chat to work with you if you need to make any changes to your payments or renegotiate your loan.

Earnest’s customer support team is available through phone or email during regular business hours only, Pacific time.


Earnest is a great choice for borrowers with good credit scores or a positive financial situation but short credit history. Its advanced algorithm enables Earnest to offer lower rates and fast loan processing times. The zero fees, flexible payment options, and willingness to work with you if you lose your job or suffer a sudden drop in income are all further good reasons to go with Earnest.

Physical Address

303 2nd Street

San Francisco, CA


Earnest Earnest Visit Earnest

Earnest customer testimonials

ExcellentReviews 3,548
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  • author
    Tracey L
    an hour ago
    Very easy process

    Once I had all my account statements etc pulled together the refinance process was quick and seamless!


  • author
    Glen Ollis
    6 hours ago
    Earnest is absolutely wonderful

    Earnest is absolutely wonderful! The application was fast and easy. They kept me informed every step of the way and very prompt with the loan decision. Would certainly take another loan from Earnest! Thank you


  • author
    Michelle Rivas
    6 hours ago
    Great experience so far

    Great experience so far! I had been working on paying down my debt so was eligible for a lower rate to refinance my student loan. I'm so happy I can save as I was paying over $400 a month - yikes! Now I'm saving almost $50 a month at a lower interest rate and for the same number of years on the term as my last loan. The process to refinance was much easier than the last provider. All the information is clear and customer service is available to answer any additional questions.


  • author
    Julie Franz
    8 hours ago
    Easy process to refinance your loan

    Easy process to refinance your loan. Lowest interest rates and flexible payment plan.


  • author
    8 hours ago
    Saved me 250 a month in interest and I…

    Saved me 250 a month in interest and I pay it off 3 years earlier with a lower payment. Great to work with