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If you got your student loans back when interest rates were high, you're smart to think it might be a good idea to refinance when rates have dropped. Whether you get a lower rate or take years off your loan (or both), your savings could be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
You can typically qualify to refinance your student loans if your outstanding balance is at least $5,000, though some lenders have higher minimums. You'll often need to be in good standing and up to date on your current loan payments, have steady income and a credit score of 660 or higher. Otherwise, your refinancing may require a cosigner.
Monday, February 26th
If you want student loan refinancing with maximum flexibility and great rates, take a look at what Earnest has to offer. One of the newer providers on the market, this lender services all of their loans themselves and has some very customer-friendly perks like zero fees (besides interest) and skip a payment. Earnest is our top pick for refinancing student loans of at least $5,000.
Why fill out online forms with lots of different lenders when you can get multiple student loan refinancing options at once with Credible? Most of today's best lenders are Credible partners, so starting here can save you both time and money. This referral service even guarantees you'll get the best possible rate on your loan. Note - the rest of your borrowing experience will depend on the lender you select.
SoFi does a lot of student loan refinancing: more than 375,000 students and a total of more than $30 billion funded. Their loans are available in all 50 states and even associates' degree loans can be refinanced here. While we found some disappointing feedback from SoFi clients, the BBB gives SoFi their highest rating and there are plenty of people who have successfully used this lender to save money on their student loans.
Splash Financial is one of a handful of comparison services for refinancing student loans: if you want to see what your interest rates and loan offers would be with multiple lenders without having to fill out multiple applications, this is a good place to start. Although this provider's lending network is smaller than our top-rated referral platform's, Splash Financial gets a better-than-average ranking for having excellent customer service. You can trust this service to connect you with affordable student loan refinancing options.
At first you might wonder if Educational Loan Finance (also known as ELFI) is worth your time: they've got a minimum loan amount of $15,000 and it can be more difficult to qualify for student loan refinancing here (especially without a cosigner). However, ELFI's low interest rates and fantastic reputation for customer service make them a lender to consider.
College Ave does just one thing: student loans. Whether you're borrowing for the first time or trying to get a better rate on a current loan, you've got options here. When it comes to refinancing your educational loans, College Ave requires a minimum of $5,000 and offers a maximum of $150,000 to $300,000, depending on the type of degree you have. This lender has a good reputation but a tricker-than-average application process, earning College Ave a "just okay" ranking among student loan refinancing providers.
LendKey has been partnering with smaller banks and credit unions for over 10 years, giving borrowers access to a wider variety of loan options. Their student loan refinancing is decent - but only if you can actually make it through the prequalification process with no errors. More than 200 students give LendKey a 4- or 5-star rating, but compared with other lending options in our review, it ranks as "just average" .
MEFA provides student loan refinancing even if you never finished your degree (and you're still paying for it). Interest rates here are decent, but you'll have fewer repayment terms and a minimum required refi amount of $10,000. MEFA also doesn't have a formal deferment or forbearance option if you encounter financial troubles and can't make your payments. This lender is too limited to rank well among student loan refinancing providers.
Lend-Grow looks good at first but falls short under further inspection. They're not available in all states, and you must be refinancing a minimum of $25,000 in student loans to qualify. Although their rewards program is intriguing, their lack of client feedback definitely isn't inspiring. We recommend you consider other student loan refinancing options before using Lend-Grow.
CommonBond is one of those companies that looks good on the surface but deeply disappoints the further you dig down. Their prequalification process on student loan refinancing is frustrating, and the company doesn't disclose critical details (like the fact that self-employed individuals won't qualify for loans here). Most of their site content and client feedback dates back at least two years, giving the impression that very few people are trusting CommonBond with refinancing their student loans. This company earns our lowest ranking.
But, be careful if you're considering refinancing your federal student loans into a private loan. There are some benefits offered with government student loans that don't carry over into privately-funded ones. Do your research before you sign on the dotted line and make sure that the benefits you'd gain outweigh the perks you'd lose.
So, you've determined that it's the right time to refinance your student loan. What should you look for in a lender? Here are some factors to guide your decision-making:
To help you determine the best way to refinance your student loan, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's top lenders. We're confident that with this information, you'll easily find the right rate and term on your loan refinancing!
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