When finding the best student loan refinance companies, make sure they are capable of reducing your rate as low as possible. After all, the very purpose why borrowers get into refinancing is to be able to lessen the amount of money they pay for loans.
In a report published by Center for American Progress, it says that “about 43 million adult Americans—roughly one-sixth of the U.S. population older than age 18—currently carry a federal student loan and owe $1.5 trillion in federal student loan debt, plus an estimated $119 billion in student loans from private sources that are not backed by the government.”
In addition, the report also stated that “college debt is even more concentrated among young people,” and that there is “an estimated one-third of all adults’ ages 25 to 34 have a student loan.”
As you can see, based on the numbers shown, a student loan is indeed growing as years pass by. In fact, according to an article published by Forbes online, it says that “there are 45 million borrowers who collectively owe nearly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S,” which makes student loan second highest consumer debt category (behind mortgage debt).
Well, we thought it’s not surprising because there are more young people now. Needless to say, a lot of the young population are very much eager to finish school even if it means they need to get into a student loan.
Good thing though as the number of lending companies that offer student loans is growing as well, giving borrowers more options to choose from. From the business perspective, it means there is a better competition when it comes to interest rates.
Anyway, while there are a lot of choices out there, it’s always a good idea to go and look for the best student loan refinance companies.
By finding the best among the choices means you get to enjoy the best deals, the best rates, as well as the best service possible.
So, having said that, we are going to share with you our very own list of the best student loan refinance companies.
But before that, here’s a quick refresher first:
WHAT IS STUDENT LOAN REFINANCING?
Student loan refinancing works similarly to any other loan refinancing there is in the market. It basically is an option for borrowers to change how and what they pay on their loans every month.
Essentially, by refinancing your current student loan, it means you replace it with a new one — with a new payment amount, completely new term length, but what makes the difference really is a new and lower interest rate.
The idea of refinancing your student loan is being able to lessen the amount of money you pay for the loan. More so, to also have a more manageable monthly payment or in some cases, help you get a co-signer off of a loan.
HOW TO REFINANCE YOUR STUDENT LOANS?
We’ve said that when you are finding a company that would refinance your loan, you have to factor in that it gives you the best interest rate possible. After all, that is the very essence of refinancing a loan. Refinancing becomes useless if you are going to pay the same amount, or worse, even higher as compared to what you are paying now.
Moving on, refinancing a student loan can be a smooth and upfront process. In fact, thanks to technology and the internet, many lenders offer online applications now. Furthermore, a lot of lenders nowadays only takes a few days to review and process your loan application, which makes it extra convenient for any borrower.
Meanwhile, if you have decided to refinance your student loan, all you have to do is follow these simple, easy steps:
STEP 1: Look for lenders you are interested in refinancing with. Before settling for one lender, make sure to take the time to shop around first. This allows you to find the best possible refinancing deals. We bet you, you will be surprised how one lender’s offer is totally different from the other.
STEP 2: Keep all information and documents handy. Make sure to gather and prepare all documents as well as the information you need when processing a loan. Included in the list is making sure your credit report is free of errors. If by any chance, you find any, make sure to dispute them. Also, make sure you know your total student loan balance and interest rates for each loan, and knowing your total monthly payment as well.
STEP 3: Get estimates from lenders you are eyeing for. To be able to get estimates, you may need to fill out applications or in other cases, you may be able to get prequalified. Once you have all the estimates, compare them from one another, and see what works best for you. Generally, a loan application asks for personal information such as your address, income, current loan information, assets, as well as the age of loans.
STEP 4: Choose the best offer. Once you are done comparing offers, choose the best offer you have. Again, ideally, it has to have better term lengths, as well as lower interest rates. If you are good, you will then have to sign a contract for the new terms of your debt. You will also have to get the 10-day payoff amount from your original lender, and then submit it to your new lender. Normally, there is what they call as rescission period, it’s a three-day period wherein you or the lender can pull out the agreement if you or the other party fined it unnecessary.
Please take note that up until your new loan is completed and approved, you have to make payments to your original lender.
STEP 5: Refinancing starts. Once your new lender approved your loan application, it will automatically pay off your debt to your original lender, which means you also need to start making payments on the new one.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR A STUDENT LOAN REFINANCING?
The requirements or qualifications for a refinancing program differ from one lending company to another.
However, to give you an idea, here are some of the common requirements for student loan refinancing:
- You must be at least 18 years old, and a legal resident of the United States.
- You must have at least $5,000 worth of student loan debt.
- You must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. (Note: Some lenders consider non-graduates for as long as you have made at least 12 consecutive, on-time payments.)
- You must have a low debt-to-income ratio.
- You must have a good or excellent credit score.
- You must have a history of on-time payments.
- You must have solid employment.
If you meet these requirements, the more likely you are to get approved of a loan. We highly recommend, however, to check with the lending company that you are eyeing for regarding their requirements and/or qualifications for a student loan refinancing to be sure.
Before moving on, if you want to assess whether refinancing is right for you or not, here’s a very helpful video by Aja Dang. Check it out by clicking the play button below:
BEST STUDENT LOAN REFINANCE COMPANIES
So, now that we are done refreshing our minds with what a student loan refinancing is all about, it’s time to proceed with our list of best student loan refinance companies. On our list are as follows:
- Splash Financial
- Citizens Bank
- PenFed Credit Union
SoFi, an online- and mobile-based financial company, offers a variety of products. They do have savings accounts, investing, insurance products, and of course, loans.
Based on what it offers, SoFi is ideal for graduate students, as well as those who have just completed a professional degree. SoFi focuses on high earners when it comes to their student loan refinancing programs.
What we do like about the company though is that it opens the door to a lot of perks like career coaching, exclusive member events, as well as financial planning.
SoFi does not have an official limit as to how much it can refinance for as long as it is not less than $5,000. Thus, making it a smart option for those who want to refinance a large student loan balance.
When it comes to rates, SoFi offers variable rates from 3.21% to 6.69% APR and fixed rates that ranges from 3.49% to 6.69% APR (after you’ve signed up for autopay and received a 0.25% discount). Meanwhile, SoFi’s loan terms vary from five up to 20 years.
One more thing we like about SoFi is that it offers a refinancing option specifically for medical and dental school grads. The loan sets monthly payments at $100 while the borrower is on residency. For this product, variable rates are from 3.75% to 7.01% APR and fixed rates range from 3.74% to 7.01% APR (with autopay).
Earnest is a trusted student loan lending company with over 124,000 clients. Founded in 2013, the company strives to provide its customers with flexible and customizable plans.
For its student loan refinancing program, Earnest offers very competitive rates as well as a few good features.
Currently, Earnest’s variable rates range from 1.99% to 6.43% APR, while the company’s fixed rates range from 3.19% to 6.43% APR (after signing up for autopay and receiving a 0.25% discount).
When it comes to repayment of loans particularly for loans between $5,000 and $500,000, Earnest offers flexibility. You can make payments either biweekly or monthly — depending on what’s convenient and feasible for you.
In addition, you also are given the option to customize your loan terms from five to 20 years. Earnest also allows you to skip payments once every 12 months, or you may opt to apply for up to 12 months of forbearance if you are going through financial trouble.
With all that’s been said, Earnest is best when it comes to flexible payment terms
Splash Financial is ideal for both med school students (the company claims a 95% satisfaction rate for that), and married couples who wish to manage their student debt together.
Firstly, for residents and medical fellowship students who wish to refinance their student loans, they are given the option to just $100 a month during their residencies and fellowships, and for six months afterward. However, the maximum duration to pay $100 a month is 84 months.
With regards to interest rates, both fixed and variable rates are offered with the lowest interest rate at 2.80%. Given this rate, it definitely makes a huge payment difference especially if you are someone who is into long-term residency.
Secondly, for married couples who wanted to manage their student loans together, Splash Financial provides an option to combine both spouses’ loans into one refinanced student loan. You may also choose to transfer ownership of student loans from one spouse to the other.
Splash Financial offers very competitive student loan refinance rates. In fact, for variable rates, they range from 1.99% to 7.10% APR. Meanwhile, fixed rates range from 2.88% to 7.27% APR (after signing up for autopay and receiving a 0.25% rate discount).
Loan terms also vary between five to 20 years (just like the other lending companies in our list) for loans amounting to $5,000 and/or more.
Earlier, we mentioned that one of the common requirements among lenders when it comes to student loan refinancing is having a degree. With Citizens Bank though, they are open to student loan refinancing even for those who are non-degree holders.
The bank accepts lenders and takes into consideration student loan refinancing applications from those who do not hold a degree. TO qualify though, you must have already made 12 payments on your current student loan.
Citizens Bank also offers forbearance for up to 12 months when the borrower is going through financial difficulty. If, for instance, the borrower decides to go back to school to complete a degree, he or she is likely to qualify for in-school deferment on refinanced student debt.
At Citizens Bank, loan amounts range from $10,000 to $500,000, with repayment term length that ranges from five to 20 years.
Meanwhile, student loan refinancing starts from 2.49% to 8.38% APR for variable rates, while it ranges from 3.20% to 8.63% APR (after signing up for autopay and receiving a 0.25% discount) for fixed rates.
Of all the student loan refinancing companies we listed, CommonBond is probably the best overall.
First, it offers some of the lowest interest rates on refinancing loans in the market today. For loans that range from $10,000 to $500,000, CommonBond charges from 3.20% to 6.08% APR that is for variable rates, while 3.21% to 6.45% APR for fixed rates.
CommonBond does have the best hybrid APRs as well. For those who are not familiar with this, this APR approach basically offers a fixed rate for part of the life of the loan and then switches to a variable rate. While this kind of feature could be appealing to a lot of borrowers, it’s usually unusual, needless to say, an outstanding feature for any lender.
CommonBond’s hybrid rate offers variable rates for the first five years. After that period of time, a fixed rate for the remaining five years will be implemented.
Hybrid rates of CommonBond usually range from 4.25% to 6.10% APR.
After signing up for an autopay and receiving the 0.25% discount, all rates will automatically reflect what you could qualify for.
CommonBond does have forbearance, too, and it lasts up to 24 months, which we think is the longest potential forbearance period available in the market today.
Moreover, the company also allows co-signers and even provides the option to release them once the borrower is done making 36 on-time payments.
If by any chance your parent has existing student loans, which was used to pay for your college expenses, CommonBond also has this feature allowing you to refinance that loan, and then transfer the ownership of the loan to yourself.
And the good things do not end there yet!
CommonBond also provides grace period deferment for recent graduates. Borrowers can also choose from five loan terms.
Another thing we like about CommonBond, well, this has something to do with a website feature they have called Refi Guide. This comes with a short quiz and explains the basics of refinancing in a digestible manner. That way, if you are not that familiar with how refinancing goes, you’ll get an idea rather be knowledgeable about it.
PENFED CREDIT UNION
PenFed for us is the perfect lending company for parents and co-signers who own student loans.
The company offers a few flexible features that are ideal for both parents and co-signers. They give you options on whether to keep the loans in your name or transfer ownership to the student for whom the parent borrowed the student loan.
Unlike other companies, PenFed accepts applicants with co-signers. More so, they also allow co-signer release once the borrower has made 12 on-time, consecutive payments.
In terms of interest rates, PenFed offers competitive rates at 2.17% to 5.53% APR for variable rates, and 3.23% to 5.53% APR for fixed rates.
Loan amounts range from $7,500 to $300,000, with repayment terms that last between five and 15 years.
Discover is ideal if you are looking for a lending company with outstanding borrower protection.
Discover provides various safeguards in case the borrower faces life changes while on a student loan refinancing.
The company’s deferment feature may be paused for years if the borrower opts to return to school, serve in the military, complete a health care residency, or work at a public service organization.
They do have forbearance, which can suspend payments for up to 12 months in case the borrower faces a medical disability, unemployment, excessive student loan burden, or other financial difficulties.
Furthermore, the company also offers a feature wherein it can reduce payment options by dropping monthly payments to $50 for up to six months.
Unlike other student loan refinance companies in our list, Discover does have two student loan refinancing terms only. You may choose between 10- and 20-year repayment periods.
Discover, just like the rest do have variable and fixed rates for refinanced loans. For variable rates, the rates range from 2.99% to 6.74% APR while it is 3.99% to 7.74% APR (after signing up for autopay and receiving a 0.25% rate discount) for fixed rates.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST STUDENT LOAN REFINANCE COMPANIES
As you can see, there are a lot of lending companies that offer amazing features for student loan refinancing. All of them are very competitive not just with the rates, but with what else they have to offer.
Have you found what fits your student loan refinancing needs yet?