I’m always on the lookout for opportunities. Money-making opportunities, learning opportunities, money-saving opportunities, you name it.
So when I got the following email promising a cash bonus for refinancing my student loans, I had to check it out:
LendKey Email from Mint
For the sake of screen readers and copy-paste aficionados, here’s the email in non-image form:
Subject: You could get up to $750 when you refinance your student loans
Date: Thursday, January 23, 2020, 11:04 am
Outsmart student debt with fast funding from LendKey
Get a bonus of up to $750 when you refinance your student loan debt with LendKey by 3/1/2020*
If you want to pay off student loans faster, LendKey could be your answer.
With a refinance from LendKey, you could save thousands** and combine your student loans into one simple monthly payment. It takes just two minutes to check your rates.
Explore your options today to see how you could start saving.
*Bonus is based on total amount of loans refinanced by March 1, 2020. For loans less than $50,000, the bonus amount is $200; for loans between $50,000 and $100,000, the bonus amount is $400; and for loans greater than $100,000, the bonus amount is $750. Bonus is paid by LendKey via PayPal within 6 weeks of loan disbursement. PayPal account required to receive bonus. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with PayPal. Application must be initiated through the link in this email and submitted by March 1, 2020.
Now, I’ve tried to refinance my loans before. I even refinanced my car loan shortly after I got my car. But every time I’ve tried to refinance my student loans before, all I was offered was higher interest and longer terms.
In other words, the places I tried to refinance assumed I wanted a lower payment. While I do want to pay less, I don’t (necessarily) want a lower payment. I want to pay it off sooner and with less interest.
Who is Mint? Who is LendKey?
Mint (sometimes referred to as Mint.com) is a personal finance aggregator site. I use it to keep track of spending and budgets across my many different bank accounts and credit cards. They make money by trying to sell you services and products - such as the one I received an email about - based on the financial information they have on you in their system.
LendKey isn’t a bank, credit union, or anything like that. Instead, they are an online marketplace where consumers can apply for various types of loans from local credit unions and community banks. It’s not completely transparent that LendKey isn’t the Lender, however.
Back to the Email.
I clicked through the email and applied the same day.
The application was in review the very next day - in fact, it was approved that evening day by 5:04 pm.
That’s right - there were only 30 hours from the time I received the email until my application was approved - from Thursday, January 23, 2020, 11:04 am to Friday, January 24th, 2020, 5:04 pm.
Technically it wasn’t “fully approved” until Tuesday, January 28, 2020, since I had to digitally sign the loan agreement. I’m unsure why I didn’t get a request on Monday 27th to sign the loan agreement. It wasn’t a holiday - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was the previous Monday on the 20th.
The refinancing was “complete” on February 7th. Well, almost complete - my other loan services hadn’t received payment yet. But I did receive the following email:
Subject: Congratulations, your refinancing loan is complete”
Date: Friday, February 7, 2020, 9:20 am:
Congratulations, your refinancing loan is complete! We just sent payoffs to your lender(s). The first payment on your new loan will be due on 3/22/2020.
Here is what to expect next:
- Please verify the loans that were refinanced are paid in full with your original lender(s). Pay-off processing times vary by lender, and can take up to 30 days. If you have questions regarding the processing time, we suggest that you first reach out to the original lender(s)/servicer(s).
- Your loan will be serviced by LendKey, so please note any future billing statements or communications you may receive from LendKey.
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Just give us a call us at (—) ——– (Mon-Fri 9am-8pm EST) or e-mail us at ———@——-.—
Did LendKey Provide Better Rates?
Remember how I mentioned that every time I’ve tried to refinance my student loans before, all I was offered was higher interest and longer terms, and that’s not what I wanted?
I didn’t sign up to refinance my student loans with LendKey to get a bonus - although that certainly will be a nice perk.
LendKey also provided me with better interest rates. Not significantly better, but then again my rates were pretty low to begin with. It’s hard to give good rates when your rates are already low.
I had two other student loans - one serviced via Great Lakes at 4.25% and one serviced through Navient at 3.63%. Together they averaged about 3.88%.
LendKey offered me 3.39%. So, yeah, I took the offer. And the payment is a couple less than what the other two were combined - but close enough that it affects my budget about the same.
- Received email January 23, 2020
- Applied January 23, 2020
- Approved January 24, 2020
- Signed loan documents January 28, 2020
- Funds “disbursed” February 7, 2020
- Great Lakes paid off February 10, 2020
- Navient paid off February 10, 2020
I’m still awaiting my $200 bonus. The terms say that the “bonus is paid…within 6 weeks of loan disbursement” - six weeks is March 20, 2020.
Hopefully, LendKey doesn’t forget about my bonus. I’ll probably contact them sometime beforehand to see if the pieces are in place - unless that money magically hits my account soon.
My Great Lakes account was paid off on February 10th. Which was awesome:
What was annoying is that they still took their autopay for February. Granted, autopay was scheduled for February 10th - the same day that Great Lakes received the payoff.
Navient did the same thing - still processed the autopay for February. Only in their case, the autopay was processed on February 14th. Four days after the loan was paid off.
Fun fact: I own a single share of Navient.
Both Navient and Great Lakes owe me back that final payment. I suspect they’ll mail me a check - chances are the payoff was a little over anyway - but I don’t really know. They could pocket it as far as I know.
I did log in to both sites and deleted my bank information. No payment - auto or otherwise - can be processed without payment information.
I’m In? LendKey’s Refer and Earn Program
As quickly as LendKey approved me, they also signed me up for their referral program.
I received the following email on Tuesday, Jan 28, 2020, at 12:31 pm - the same day I signed the loan documents:
Subject: “You’re In! LendKey’s Refer and Earn Program”
Your endorsement means so much to your friends and family, and that’s why we’re giving you a chance to earn rewards by spreading the word about student loan refinancing!
Did you know that most people paying back their student loans aren’t aware that refinancing is an option? Help out your friends and family by sharing the opportunity to lower their student loan payments and we’ll reward both of you for it!
You and your friend will both earn $200 when they take the loan!
Boom, easy money, and all for helping out :)
Happy sharing (and earning!),
The LendKey Team
I didn’t ask to be signed up for their referral program. I don’t mind, either, and I did add my referral link to the referral section of this site.
So if you’re interested in refinancing your student loans and want to join this student loan refinancing pyramid with me, feel free to use my LendKey Referral Link.