Cosigning FAQs


What is a cosigner?

A cosigner is generally a family member or friend who accepts responsibility for making loan payments in the event the primary borrower cannot. Cosigners have good credit and a lengthy credit history, which improves the primary borrower’s chance of approval.

What is the process for applying with a cosigner?

Once we let you know that we may be able to approve your loan with a cosigner, you can submit a new application with a cosigner through your existing Earnest dashboard. The cosigner will first check their eligibility on our site, and if eligible, be asked to submit a complete application similar to yours. We will then keep both of you posted.

What happens if my cosigner does not accept my invitation?

You may invite another through your Earnest dashboard if your invited cosigner is not willing or able to submit an application to cosign for you. You will first need to remove the invited cosigner before inviting someone to take their place.

What happens if my cosigner is not approved?

If we are not able to approve your application with a cosigner, we would not be able to offer you a loan at this time.

How long is an approved loan offer valid for both primary and cosigner signature?

Earnest loan offers are valid for 30 days plus 3 business days from the date the approval offer was extended.

Benefits of having a cosigner

What advantages does a cosigner provide to the primary borrower?

By becoming a cosigner on a loan, you will generally help the primary borrower secure a loan they might not have been eligible for otherwise. Cosigning a loan can also help build a stronger credit history for both parties when timely payments are made and when the loan is paid off without issue.

Will adding a cosigner change my rate if I’m approved?

No. Adding a cosigner may help you get approved, but does not impact your rate.

Cosigner Info

What makes for a good cosigner?

Cosigners must have a strong history of financial responsibility. This includes but is not limited to: making payments on time, maintaining consistent and strong savings and checking account balances, and having an income that supports both the loan and their own living expenses. Check out our Eligibility Guidelines for more details.

How will my loan affect a cosigner’s credit?

Once you and a cosigner sign your loan agreements, the loan and payment history will appear on both of your credit reports and affect your credit history in the same way.

What happens if the primary borrower passes away?

While we hope you live a long and healthy life, Earnest will discharge the loan in the event that the primary borrower passes away.

Can a cosigner be released from a loan?

A cosigner can be released if the following criteria are met:

  • Earnest loan must show at least 36 months of on-time principal and interest payments.
  • Primary applicant must not have been 60 or more days delinquent in the last 36 months on the Earnest loan.
  • Primary borrower has no student loan(s) in default.
  • Primary borrower has no student loan(s) in forbearance or in a modified repayment program.
  • Primary borrower meets Earnest eligibility criteria.

Who can be a cosigner?

Cosigners must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, at least 18 years old, and live in a state where we lend. They can be a parent or other family member, close friend, or significant other of the primary applicant. Check out our Eligibility Guideline for more details.

Is there a limit on the number of loans you can cosign?

No, you can cosign as many loans as you are able to take on.

How is a cosigner’s credit impacted by cosigning a student loan refinance?

Being a cosigner can have a positive or negative impact on your credit, depending on how consistently payments are made toward the loan. Any late payments made on the loan would negatively affect both your credit and the primary borrower’s credit profile and score. In the event of default, being a cosigner can lower your credit score and make it more difficult to access credit in the future.

What is a cosigner responsible for?

By cosigning a loan, you are signing a legal contract. If the primary borrower gets behind on payments or cannot repay the loan for any reason, the cosigner is legally responsible for covering those costs. If the primary cannot cover the payments of the loan, they will both still be held responsible for repaying the total amount borrowed.

How are a cosigner’s future borrowing abilities affected by cosigning a loan?

Cosigners share the full responsibility of the loan with the primary borrower. The value of that loan can affect a cosigner’s debt-to-income ratio (the percentage of debt payments in relation to income). Even if a cosigner is not asked to repay the debt, their liability for the loan may keep them from getting access to credit, and creditors will consider the cosigned loan as one of the cosigner’s obligations.


Can a cosigner make payments towards the loan online?

Yes. The cosigner must connect the account they would like to make payments from to their Earnest profile. Once doing this, the cosigner will be able to make manual payments toward the loan. We do not yet support autopay for cosigners, but cosigners can make payments at any time through their Earnest dashboard.

Is autopay available to cosigners?

No, but cosigners can make manual payments by connecting their checking or savings account to their Earnest profile and selecting when they would like a payment to come out of their account.

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