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Student Loan Refinancing Options For 2018

Student Loan Refinancing Options For 2018

Want to do a little student loan refinancing, but you are worried about finding the best rates and terms this year? You are going to have a hard time because finding the right student loan refinancing company is tough. Plus, what works perfectly for one person may be completely unsuitable for you. What you need to do is shop around. You need to look at and do research into a wide range of student-lending companies to find the one that suits year specific needs. Hopefully, this list of legitimate lenders and lending-comparison websites will help you get started on the right foot.

SoFi – A Peer Lending Scheme
Sofi Logo small

[O]   APR: 2.58% – 7.25%
[O]   Loan Terms: 3-7 years
[O]   Min. credit score: Good or Excellent
[O]   Refinancing up to 100% of outstanding debt amount

SoFi offers a fair deal in most cases, but you need a good credit rating. They are fairly selective, especially when it comes to larger debts such as student loan refinancing. You may pick from variable rates or fixed rates, and you get a small discount if you choose auto-pay for your payments.

You may consolidate both your private and your federal loans in one place. There are no origination fees or application fees. One of the best benefits is that SoFi is a loan company that allows you to pause your payments if you lose your job. Plus, they have advisers who will help you get a new job.

If the soft search says you have the credit rating for a SoFi loan, then you get to pick from a range of different plans. The better your annual salary and the better your credit rating, then the more options you are given (in that you may see the more favorable options when you apply).

SoFi is a selective company, and many of their borrowers repay their money. That is why they are able to offer slightly better rates because they do not have to increase rates to cover their losses. SoFi is forgiving when it comes to student hardship up to an extent, but they want their money and won’t let you duck them forever like the federal loaners will.

Common Bond – Part Of The CommonBond Lending Company
commonbond logo small

[O]   APR: 2.57% – 7.24%
[O]   Loan Terms: 5-20 years
[O]   Min. credit score: 660
[O]   Refinancing up to $500,000

Common Bond offers three types of rate, a fixed rate, variable rate or hybrid rate. Each loan comes with a $5000 minimum loan balance, which is nothing in this day and age when student loans typically cost more than $100,000. None of the student refinancing loans have origination fees. You may consolidate your students loans, but only up to half a million dollars in most cases. Yet, despite that claim, the amount you may refinance depends on your situation (credit rating, income, assets, etc.).

The variable rate deal may save you money as the interest rates shift as the market does. Rates start at 2.57% and go up to 6.84%. Terms are 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years. Fixed rates offer predictable monthly payments. Interest rates are from 3.18% to 7.24%. Terms are 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years. A hybrid rate gives you five years at a fixed rate a five at a variable rate. Interest rates vary from between 3.95% to 6.25%, and the term is over ten years.

You will not be penalized for paying back your student loan refinancing early. You may get a student refinancing loan with a good rate if you have a good credit rating. If you have an average credit rating, then you may be accepted (if you are lucky), but your rate will be closer to 7.24%. CommonBond has some of the lowest rates and allows people to borrow if they have a poor-to-average credit rating. Consider getting a quote with them to see what you can save. Their quotes are based on soft searches, so it will not hurt your credit rating.

Earnest – A Student Loan Refinancing Company
Earnest small logo

[O]   APR: 2.57% – 6.39%
[O]   Loan Terms: 5-20 years
[O]   Min. credit score: Average to excellent
[O]   Refinancing up to 100% of outstanding debt amount

The Earnest lending group are offering to refinance student loans with terms and minimums of $5000 and 5 years. The company is specifically targeting black and Hispanic people. If you are black or Hispanic, you may try rate estimator, which firstly asks you to sign up and then runs you through a soft search credit check. The first question they ask is if you are a permanent US citizen or resident, and they will refuse to give you an account if you are not.

The variable loan rates run between 2.57% and 6.19%, though your rate may be more if you refuse to pay via auto-pay. Fixed rates are between 3.25% and 6.39%, and those rates are again based on the assumption that you will be using auto-pay to make your monthly payments. Earnest do not make a great case for student loan refinancing, but there are a few sexy selling points. For example, you may tailor your minimum payment to an extent. You may also increase your payments at any time to help pay off your student loans more quickly.

You may save on interest with their bi-weekly payments, and there are no penalties for making payments early. One of the best selling points, and one of the reasons they are on this list, is because they allow you to consolidate federal and private loans up to 100% of your debt.

Credible – A Student Loan Comparison Website
Credible Logo

[O]   APR: 2.60% – 9.00%
[O]   Loan Terms: 5-20 years
[O]   Min. credit score: 660
[O]   Refinancing up to 100% of outstanding debt amount

The terms with Credible vary because they offer rates from different lenders. If you are looking for student loans, they offer rates from six lenders for college, graduate and professional degrees. Applying is also very easy, and the don’t mind if you have a less-than-perfect credit rating.

If you are looking for student loan refinancing, then they give you rate from up to nine lenders, they allow you to refinance private, federal and Parent Plus loans, and they claim they can save you an average of $18,000 per year.

Credible gives rates to people with a poor-to-average credit rating. The terms and interest rates will reflect your credit rating. You are better off working on your credit rating before you try to refinance your loan with Credible. Plus, you will usually get a better deal if you earn $50,000 or more per year.

LendKey – A Lending Matchmaking Service With Dedicated Affiliates
Lendkey logo small

[O]   APR: 2.74% – 7.26%
[O]   Loan Terms: 5-20 years
[O]   Min. credit score: 660
[O]   Refinancing up to $300,000

LendKey will give you student loan refinance if you have a poor-to-average credit rating, and they claim that their average savings amount is over $10,000. You may check your rate on their website without having to run a hard credit search. Plus, you are able to refinance your private student loans and your federal student loans.

There are no origination fees with LendKey. Plus, they have flexible options when you apply to them for student loan refinancing. For example, you may pay interest-only payments for four years when you first start your student loan refinance.

You may pick a fixed rate or a variable rate, and you may lower your payments by paying with auto-pay. Despite how the website appears, it is not actually LendKey you are borrowing from. They set you up with a lender that is suitable for your needs. However, LendKey sets the terms of the student refinance loan, so it is not as if they are simply passing you off to another company.

If you have a co-signer, then you may be able to get a lower rate. Some of the lenders that work through LendKey will allow you to release your co-signer in as few as 12 months. Just make sure you make your payments on time. If you have a poor credit rating, then LendKey may still be able to match you with lenders who will also accept your application, but who will also charge you higher interest rates.

Laurel Road – Student Loan Refinancing From Darien Rowayton Bank
Laurel Road small logo

[O]   APR: 2.99% – 10.00%
[O]   Loan Terms: 5-20 years
[O]   Min. credit score: Good to excellent
[O]   Refinancing up to 100% of outstanding debt amount

Laurel Road offers fixed rate refinancing at between 3.50% – 6.99%. They offer variable rate student loan refinancing at 2.99% – 6.42%. Loan terms run between 5 years, 7 years, 10 years, 15 years, and 20 years. There is a payment calculator on the Laurel Road home page that gives you an idea of what you can get and how much you will be paying. Obviously, this only applies if you have a good credit rating.

There are no origination fees, and you will not be penalized for repaying your student loans early. You get a 0.25% discount if you choose auto-pay for your monthly payments. There is also economic hardship support. You may get up to one year forbearance at Laurel Road’s discretion.

You may get a student refinancing with the help of a cosigner. A cosigner may be released from the debt if you make 36 consecutive payments on time and as per the terms of your refinance loan. Any delinquency or need for forbearance, and the 36 consecutive payments has to happen again. Laurel Road will refinance private and federal loans. The 10% interest rate is the highest rate your variable rate can go up to.

Citizen Bank – A Lending Bank That Will Refinance Your Student Loans
Citizen Bank logo small

[O]   APR: 3.11% – 8.46%
[O]   Loan Terms: 5-15 years
[O]   Min. credit score: Average to Good
[O]   Refinancing up to 100% of outstanding debt amount

The variable interest rates are between 3.11% – 8.46% APR, and the fixed interest are between 3.35% – 8.24% APR. The Citizen Bank website is full of small print, which is annoying in one sense, but at least they don’t pull the old trick of having you sign up and complete your application before you hoist all their terms and conditions onto you. Plus, the small print is in easy-to-understand English, and some of it makes for interesting reading (that may be the nerd in me talking).

The shortest term is five years, and you may gain access to the lower rates if you use their loyalty discount, and if you agree to automatic payments. The loyalty and auto-pay discounts are stackable, which means you may earn a 0.50% discount (0.25 + 0.25). Even with the discounts, the lowest rate you can get is 3.11%. The lowest rate is for people who have a $75,000 annual income, an excellent credit rating, and for people who have achieved the two Citizen Bank discounts.

If you apply with a co-signer, then you stand a better chance of being accepted. Use of a co-signer may also help you get a better interest rate, but it is not a guarantee. You may apply to have your co-signer released if you make 36 consecutive payments on time. If you are making interest-only payments, then they do not count as eligible payments to release your cosigner. You need to make each payment on time and/or up to 15 days before the due date, though it is best to set yourself up with auto-pay to avoid confusion.

Education Loan Finance – A Loan Refinancing Company
Education Loan Finance small logo

[O]   APR: 2.69% – 6.69%
[O]   Loan Terms: 5-20 years
[O]   Min. credit score: Good to excellent
[O]   Refinancing up to 100% of outstanding debt amount

Education Loan Finance keep it simple. If you have graduated college and managed your finances well so that you have a good credit rating, then Education Loan Finance will reward you. There is no need to run a soft credit check with Education Loan Finance because they show you all their student loan refinancing plans on their website.

Education Loan Finance offers a decent student loan refinancing deal because the process is simple, there are no application fees, no origination fees, and you will not be penalized for repaying your student loans early. They will refinance all of your student debt, but they do have a minimum loan amount of $15,000. If you have outstanding debt of around $25,000, then Education Loan Finance may have a good deal for you, but be sure to shop around before picking your student loan refinancing package.

Their fixed rates are between 3.09% – 6.69%, and their variable rates are between 2.69% – 6.01%. The loan terms available are 5 years, 7 years, 10 years, 15 years, and 20 years. I mentioned shopping around in the previous paragraph because some of their longer terms are a little ugly. You can end up paying back almost double the current amount of your student loan amount.

LendEDU – A Student Loan Refinancing Matching Company
LendEdu logo small

[O]   APR: 2.39% – 9.24%
[O]   Loan Terms: 5-20 years
[O]   Min. credit score: 660
[O]   Refinancing up to $295,000

LendEDU is a loan matching website. Sadly, it is unable to guarantee terms as per what you see on their website. What you have to do is get a general idea of the student loan refinancing marketplace via the website, and then visit the lenders you are interested in. It is a nice tool for students who are shopping around for the best student loan refinancing deals.

The fact that LendEDU cannot guarantee the terms of a loan is a rather big downside. However, LendEDU is able to expose you to lenders that are otherwise difficult to find. LendEDU has affiliates that are hard to find because they are not very big and/or because they are not very good at SEO (Search Engine Optimization). These are the lenders that typically appear on page 120,000 on Google. That is why LendEDU is a good tool for people who are shopping around because it may expose them to lenders who they would otherwise have a hard time finding.

LendEdu search results

(Source Thanks to StudentDebtWarriors for creating a good screenshot. The website was down when we tried to get our own screenshot).

Conclusion – Shop Around To Find Your Best Option

Explore the student loan refinancing companies to gather a few quotes and run soft searches to see if you are eligible, and use the comparison tools/ loan matching tools to see what else is available to you. We have not chosen a specific company as the best because what works for one person may not work as well for the other.

All I will say on a personal note is that LendEdu is not my favorite. Their website, service and marketing methods are cheap, and they cannot guarantee the terms of the loans they try to sell. Yet, they managed to make it on to our list because they help students find lenders that are otherwise difficult to find.

Since we have not chosen a specific company as the best, let us finish with a bit of classic wealth-building advice. Work on your credit rating prior to applying for your student loan refinancing. Once you are locked in to your refinancing deal, it may be difficult to get out of. Work on your credit rating and then apply. It is better to spend a few months paying a higher rate while you work on your credit rating than it is to take a less-than-ideal rate in order to slightly lower the rate you are currently paying. Your student loans will probably take a long time to pay off, so you need to play the long game. You may need to suffer today in order to ensure a safer outcome in the future.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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