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Insider’s experts choose the best products and services to help make smart decisions with your money (here’s how). In some cases, we receive a commission from our our partners, however, our opinions are our own. Terms apply to offers listed on this page.

You may want to refinance your student loan for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you’re looking to lower your interest rate, switch from a variable-rate to a fixed-rate loan, or to change up your payment term length.

Insider’s Featured Student Loan Refinance Companies

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APR

Variable: 3.40% – 8.24%, Fixed: 3.99% – 8.24%

Editor’s Rating

4.5/5

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APR

Variable: 2.49% – 8.90%, Fixed: 3.29% – 8.49%

Editor’s Rating

3.5/5

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APR

Variable (with AutoPay discount): 2.49% – 7.99% APR, Fixed (with AutoPay discount): 3.74% – 8.49% APR

Editor’s Rating

3.5/5

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However, you may want to think twice about refinancing if you have federal student loans, as you can lose key protections and repayment options (and forgiveness) if you switch. Before you refinance your student loan, you need to decide if the process is right for you. If you choose to turn to a private lender to refinance your loans, here are several of the best places to begin your search.

Earnest

Earnest Student Loan Refinancing


APR

Variable (with AutoPay discount): 2.49% – 7.99% APR, Fixed (with AutoPay discount): 3.74% – 8.49% APR

Earnest Earnest Student Loan Refinancing

Earnest Student Loan Refinancing


APR

Variable (with AutoPay discount): 2.49% – 7.99% APR, Fixed (with AutoPay discount): 3.74% – 8.49% APR


APR

Variable (with AutoPay discount): 2.49% – 7.99% APR, Fixed (with AutoPay discount): 3.74% – 8.49% APR

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SoFi

SoFi SoFi Student Loan Refinancing

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing


APR

Variable: 3.40% – 8.24%, Fixed: 3.99% – 8.24%

SoFi SoFi Student Loan Refinancing

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing


APR

Variable: 3.40% – 8.24%, Fixed: 3.99% – 8.24%


APR

Variable: 3.40% – 8.24%, Fixed: 3.99% – 8.24%

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PenFed

Even Financial PenFed Student Loan Refinancing

PenFed Student Loan Refinancing

Even Financial PenFed Student Loan Refinancing

PenFed Student Loan Refinancing

On Even Financial’s website

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Laurel Road

Even Financial Laurel Road Student Loan Refinancing

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinancing


Fees

Late fee or $38 or 5% of payment, whichever is less


APR

Variable: 1.98% – 6.30%, Fixed: 3.47% – 6.40%

Even Financial Laurel Road Student Loan Refinancing

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinancing


Fees

Late fee or $38 or 5% of payment, whichever is less


APR

Variable: 1.98% – 6.30%, Fixed: 3.47% – 6.40%

On Even Financial’s website


APR

Variable: 1.98% – 6.30%, Fixed: 3.47% – 6.40%


Fees

Late fee or $38 or 5% of payment, whichever is less

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Splash Financial

Splash Financial Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing

Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing


APR

Variable: 2.49% – 8.90%, Fixed: 3.29% – 8.49%

Splash Financial Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing

Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing


APR

Variable: 2.49% – 8.90%, Fixed: 3.29% – 8.49%

On Splash Financial’s website


APR

Variable: 2.49% – 8.90%, Fixed: 3.29% – 8.49%

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Citizens Bank

Even Financial Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinancing

Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinancing


Fees

Late fee of 5% of the loan payment amount


APR

Variable: 3.99% – 11.07% APR, Fixed: 4.59% – 11.27% APR

Even Financial Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinancing

Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinancing


Fees

Late fee of 5% of the loan payment amount


APR

Variable: 3.99% – 11.07% APR, Fixed: 4.59% – 11.27% APR

On Even Financial’s website


APR

Variable: 3.99% – 11.07% APR, Fixed: 4.59% – 11.27% APR


Fees

Late fee of 5% of the loan payment amount

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LendKey

LendKey LendKey Student Loan Marketplace

LendKey Student Loan Marketplace


Fees

Late fee of 5% of the loan payment amount


APR

Variable (with AutoPay discount): 4.13% – 7.39%, Fixed (with AutoPay discount): 2.99% – 9.93%

LendKey LendKey Student Loan Marketplace

LendKey Student Loan Marketplace


Fees

Late fee of 5% of the loan payment amount


APR

Variable (with AutoPay discount): 4.13% – 7.39%, Fixed (with AutoPay discount): 2.99% – 9.93%


APR

Variable (with AutoPay discount): 4.13% – 7.39%, Fixed (with AutoPay discount): 2.99% – 9.93%


Fees

Late fee of 5% of the loan payment amount

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College Ave

Even Financial College Ave Student Loan Refinancing

College Ave Student Loan Refinancing


Fees

Late fee of $25 or 5% of payment, whichever is less


APR

Variable: 3.44% – 7.99%, Fixed: 3.49% – 7.99%

Even Financial College Ave Student Loan Refinancing

College Ave Student Loan Refinancing


Fees

Late fee of $25 or 5% of payment, whichever is less


APR

Variable: 3.44% – 7.99%, Fixed: 3.49% – 7.99%

On Even Financial’s website


APR

Variable: 3.44% – 7.99%, Fixed: 3.49% – 7.99%


Fees

Late fee of $25 or 5% of payment, whichever is less

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Comparing best private student loan refinance companies

Earnest Student Loan Refinancing (jump to Earnest student loan details »)

Why Earnest stands out: Earnest has some of the lowest starting rates of any of the lenders on our list, so if you have excellent credit, it could be a good choice for you. 

Like Earnest‘s undergraduate and graduate new loans, its refinanced loans have a special perk: the ability to skip one payment every year. You can ask for your first skip once you’ve made at least six months of consecutive on-time, full principal and interest payments, as long as your loan is in good standing. However, interest will accrue during this time, and the lender will extend the final payoff date of your loan by the length of the skipped payment period. 

Look out for: Opaque maximum interest rates. Earnest eagerly shares its minimum rates, but the company doesn’t disclose its maximum interest rates anywhere. If you have a shakier credit history, you may end up with a higher interest rate than you initially expected. 

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing (jump to SoFi student loan details »)

Why SoFi stands out: SoFi offers a unique feature called unemployment protection on your student loans: Eligible borrowers are able to suspend payments on your loans if you lose your job through no fault of your own, for up to 12 months. SoFi will also provide job payment assistance. However, interest will continue to accrue during this forbearance period and will be added to your principle. 

Watch out for: Third-party loan servicing. Once your loan is funded, your loan servicer will be MOHELA, SoFi’s third-party loan provider. If you prefer a direct relationship with your lender, this might not be the best choice for you.

PenFed Student Loan Refinancing (jump to PenFed student loan details »)

Why PenFed stands out: PenFed offers the lowest maximum rates of any lender on our list. If you have poorer credit and are still able to qualify for a PenFed refinanced loan, you might get a better deal with them than elsewhere. 

You need to be a member of the credit union to get your loan. If you’ve served in the military or work at qualifying associations or organizations, you’ll qualify. If that doesn’t apply, you can easily join by opening a savings account with a $5 minimum deposit.

Watch out for: Doesn’t offer variable-rate loans. Variable-rate loans often start at lower rates than fixed-rate loans — although this rate can overtake a fixed loan over time. If you want a variable loan, you won’t be able to get one with PenFed. 

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinancing (jump to Laurel Road student loan details »)

Why Laurel Road stands out: While Laurel Road offers some of the best fixed rates of all of our lenders, keep in mind that only 11% of applicants who applied between July 2019 and June 2021 qualified for Laurel Road’s top rate, according to the company’s website. Don’t bank on getting the top advertised rate unless you have excellent credit. 

If you sign up for a Laurel Road checking account, you’ll receive an interest rate discount on your refinanced loan. 

Look out for: Late fees. Laurel Road’s late fee is $38 or 5% of your payment, whichever is less. If you fall behind on payments, the total cost of your loan will add up. 

Read Insider’s full review of Laurel Road

Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing (jump to Splash Financial student loan details »)

Why Splash Financial stands out: Splash Financial, like LendKey below, is a student loan marketplace, not a direct lender. A student loan marketplace allows you to compare loan offers from multiple lenders at once. The marketplace allows you to check your rates with no impact on your credit score. 

As a result, it’s tricky to nail down the exact terms you’ll receive with Splash Financial. For instance, some of the company’s lending partners have no maximum amount you can refinance, while other have a cap. You may like Splash Financial if you want to compare a bunch of different companies all at once with one application.

Watch out for: Splash Financial doesn’t underwrite its own loans. As a result, you’ll be dealing with whatever partner lender you choose and may have a different experience with them managing your loan than the one you expected.

Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinancing (jump to Citizens Bank student loan details »)

Why Citizens Bank stands out: Aside from the couple of lenders on our list which have no maximum loan amount, Citizens Bank’s top amount of $750,000 is the most of any lender we compiled. It’s also the only brick-and-mortar bank we have listed, which may be a good option for those who are more comfortable with traditional banking. 

Watch out for: High minimum loan amount. Citizens Bank’s minimum of $10,000 is the highest of any lender on our list. If you have a small amount of student debt, you might find that another lender is a better fit for you. 

LendKey Student Loan Marketplace (jump to Lendkey student loan details »)

Why Lendkey stands out: LendKey, like Splash Financial above, is a student loan marketplace, not a direct lender. A student loan marketplace allows you to compare loan offers from multiple lenders at once. The marketplace allows you to check your rates with no impact on your credit score. 

LendKey partners with credit unions and community banks, so you may get a more personalized level of service than you would with a Splash Financial partner. 

Watch out for: Low maximum loan amount. LendKey has the lowest maximum refinance amount of any of the lenders on the list. This probably won’t be an issue unless you have a significant amount of student loan debt. 

College Ave Student Loan Refinancing (jump to College Ave student loan details »)

Why College Ave stands out: College Ave offers 11 repayment term lengths. You’re able to take out a loan for five to 15 years. Many other lenders limit your selection to four or five options — though some others do offer 20-year term lengths (which College Ave does not).

Watch out for: Lower maximum refinancing amount. If you have a truly significant amount of student loan debt (we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars), you may not be able to refinance all your debt with College Ave. This won’t be the case for the vast majority of borrowers, but it bears noting.

Other lenders we considered

  • Discover:  Discover does offer competitive rates on its consolidation loans, which function similarly to other lenders refinanced loans. However, you’re only able to consolidate a maximum of $150,000 with Discover — a lower maximum amount than every other lender on our list. 
  • ELFI: The minimum amount you can refinance with ELFI is $15,000, so if you have a smaller amount of student loan debt you want to refinance, the lender wouldn’t be a good choice. 
  • PNC Bank: The bank’s rates start slightly higher than the competition, and it jacks up its rates if you didn’t graduate from school, so PNC’s refinanced loans may be prohibitively expensive for people who didn’t finish college.  

Which lender is the most trustworthy?

The Better Business Bureau, a non-profit organization focused on consumer protection and trust, measures businesses using information like their responsiveness to consumer complaints, truthfulness in advertising, and transparency about business practices. Here is each company’s score:

All of our top picks are rated A or higher by the BBB, with the exception Splash Financial. Splash Financial received a B+ rating because of eight complaints filed against the business. 

It’s important to note that a good BBB grade doesn’t guarantee you’ll have a good relationship with your lender. Ask family and friends about their firsthand experience with the company before signing on the dotted line, or read online customer reviews. 

Methodology

Personal Finance Insider’s mission is to help you make the best, most informed decisions with your money. To do that, we combed through many student loan refinancing companies, comparing interest rates, terms, and fine print so you don’t have to. We also compared our findings to other personal finance sites. We looked for several factors in determining the best student loans, including: 

      • Interest rates: We looked for lenders offering competitively low interest rates, and we prioritized lenders with the lowest interest rates for both fixed and variable loans. 
      • Nationwide availability: We searched for student loans available in all or most US states. 
      • Variety of term lengths: We picked lenders that offered term lengths that fit many borrowers’ different situations. 
      • No or few fees: We prioritized lenders that didn’t charge fees, like origination fees or prepayment penalties. Some of our lenders still charge late fees, however. 
      • High maximum loan amount: We prioritized lenders that offer high maximum loan amounts to ensure you’re able to refinance your loans with the same company. 
      • Better Business Bureau rating: We chose lenders that were given high marks by the BBB as a part of our screening method for trustworthiness. 

Frequently asked questions

While opting for a lower interest rate is often a good reason for people to refinance, it doesn’t come without drawbacks for certain types of loans. 

If you have federal student loans, be careful before choosing to refinance them. You will lose key protections that come with federal loans if you refinance. For instance, you won’t be eligible for the COVID-19-related student loan payment pause, currently in place through August 31, 2022, and federal student loan relief programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness

You also won’t be eligible for specific repayment options like Income-Driven Repayment plans, which take your specific income and family size into account when determining monthly payments.

It depends. Most of the time, lenders won’t charge any application fees to refinance your loan. However, sometimes lenders will charge origination fees, which are deducted from your overall loan proceeds and add to the cost of your loan. None of the lenders on our list will hit you with origination fees to refinance your loan. 

Your credit history is the biggest factor in your refinancing approval chances. If you have a poor credit score, it’ll be harder for you to get the green light for a new loan, but you may be able to enlist a cosigner to boost your likelihood of approval. 

The lenders on our list allow you to refinance your loans with terms ranging from five to 20 years. All of them will let you pay off your loan early with no prepayment penalty. 

In the short term, yes. When you apply for a new loan, lenders will conduct a hard inquiry to check your credit history, which will ding your credit score a bit.

Additionally, when you refinance, your original loan is closed and a new one is opened. As part of your credit score is based on your payment history, your credit score may take a hit as your work to establish a new track record of reliable payments. 

While these documents vary depending on the lender, generally you’ll need some combination of the following:

  • A statement verifying your current loan
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of residency
  • Proof of graduation
  • A government-issued ID
  • Social security number

You’ll also need to provide information about your cosigner if you are applying with one. 



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