Interest rates on Earnest’s student loan refinancing product can be as low as 1.92 percent, the company says.
A borrower can to go the company’s website and change the repayment rate and term of the loan, and the site instantly recalculates the borrower’s total cost over the life of the loan.
With more than $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in America, Earnest is certainly entering a large market, and making repayment cheaper and easier would have an economic and social payoff.
“Student loans are our generation’s first homes,” said Mr. Beryl, the 34-year-old co-founder and chief executive of Earnest.
For Earnest, the student loan refinancing product will rely on the system used for its consumer loans.
“Our clients are giving us access to their data,” Mr. Beryl said, “So we can dig into the details of their life.” Autumn Carter, 26, borrowed $3,000 from Earnest in September, to furnish and decorate a new apartment in Mountain View, Calif. She wanted a loan quickly and conveniently, so she looked for alternatives to traditional banks or credit unions.
Ms. Carter went online, searched and noticed a reference to Earnest and its “Merit-based loans” with low interest rates.