A credit score is used by lending companies to predict the level of risk associated with lending money to any prospective borrower. While there are many credit scoring models used by the four major credit bureaus, here at Earnest, we’ll only consider your FICO Score 8 as reported on your Experian credit report. FICO scoring models have a range between 300 and 850, with excellent credit ratings falling on the higher end of the scale. For private student loans, you’ll want to make sure your score meets our minimum criteria of 650. For student loan refinancing, you’ll want to meet the minimum criteria of 680 (the exception would be if you’re applying to refinance a loan for an incomplete degree, then you'll need at least 700). Having a good credit score may help applicants secure a better rate, but it isn’t always necessary for approval. For more information on the factors for approval, please take a look at our eligibility guidelines here.
Your debt load is the total amount of revolving and installment debt as shown on your credit report. We use debt load to calculate your debt-to-income ratio, which is the amount of all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income (before taxes and deductions are taken out). Debt that is calculated into your total debt load includes student loans, personal loans, car loans/leases, mortgages, credit cards, charge cards, and any other debt payments reported on your credit report. Unfortunately, we do not have a specific debt-to-income ratio that we can provide.
Your personal debt ratio helps us determine your ability to successfully make payments on a loan, including during an unexpected financial hardship. For private student loans, this ratio plays a more significant role in the review of your financial profile. For student loan refinance, your debt-to-income ratio is an important factor, but our team will also look at your cash flow, credit history, retirement contributions, and savings habits.
It’s important to use caution before applying if you have missed payments or past-due balances showing on your credit report. For private student loans, there cannot be any past-due balances within the past 365 days. When considering the weight of a missed payment on an application, our team will review the recency, number, and size of the missed payments, which accounts they were on, and how long it took to make them up. While an isolated missed payment may not always disqualify someone from being approved for an Earnest loan, we do consider them cautiously. To improve your chances of being approved with a missed payment, make sure all accounts are brought current and reflected on your credit report (especially student loan accounts) at the time the application is submitted to meet our eligibility criteria. An exception would be using a new private student loan to cover past-due balances within the last 365 days if the balance is held by an eligible school.
Accounts in Collection
Similar to missed payments, accounts in collections are taken very seriously in the review of an application. When reviewing a credit report with collections, our team will consider which accounts they were on and how recent the collections were. For refinancing specifically, we are unable to refinance student loans that are currently in collections or held by a collection agency. While it’s still possible to be approved with collections showing on your credit report, we advise that all accounts are brought current and reflected on your credit report before an application is submitted to ensure you are meeting at least our minimum eligibility criteria.
Bankruptcy is a very serious financial event. While we recognize that bankruptcy may not always be within the control of an applicant, we must consider all bankruptcy cases with the same level of concern. In order to meet our eligibility criteria, there must not be any bankruptcy shown on your Experian credit report at the time that you apply. If you are unsure if a bankruptcy shows on your report, we recommend viewing your free yearly report from Experian to confirm.