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Tuesday, January 25th
CommonBond got its start in 2012 and has funded over $4 billion in student loans. The company partners with Pencils of Promise to help provide schools, teachers and technology to students in the developing world.
Working with another service?
To find out what you prequalify for through CommonBond, you'll fill out an online application that's almost exactly the same as anywhere else: name, school of attendance, desired amount to refinance, and your Social Security number (for a soft pull credit check). Oddly enough, when we went to check our rate with CommonBond, we were also given the option to include Credible - a different student loan refinance provider. We're not entirely sure what CommonBond's relationship is with Credible (or why anyone wouldn't just go directly to Credible to begin with).
From bad to worse
Cue the *wah wah* horns, because all we got when we submitted our prequalification application was a "500 Internal Server Error" . We reached out to CommonBond through the live chat and were told to go into the account dropdown in the upper right corner to see our dashboard and continue the application from there. And we still didn't have any rate quotes! Oh, and our rep also mentioned that self-employed people aren't eligible for loans or refinancing without a cosigner (with the exception of doctors and dentists). It just gets better and better here.
Reputation fails to impress
CommonBond doesn't have a stellar reputation. We're never impressed when a company has a "B+" rating from the Better Business Bureau: that may have been a decent grade in school, but it's not a good sign for a company. There weren't a lot of complaints registered with the BBB, fortunately, but every single one was negative. (Granted, most people don't go to the BBB to file a compliment.) We started to get excited when we saw that there were over 300 five-star reviews - independently-verified, even! - on the CommonBond site. And then we sorted them by "newest" and discovered that the most recent was over two years old. Social media posts? Over a year old. CommonBond doesn't exactly seem to be doing a brisk business - of any kind.
Fast response via live chat, at least
And yet, when we reached out via CommonBond's live chat on their website, we were connected with a representative right away. He reassured us that their posted rates are absolutely up-to-date, though he had no explanation why so much of their content was that stale.
Use any other service for your student loan refinancing
There's just no good reason to start your search for student loan refinancing with CommonBond. Their website is glitchy and outdated, their criteria for approving loans is really strict (and isn't clearly stated prior to or during the prequalification process), and their reputation leaves a lot of room for improvement. You're much better off starting with a higher-ranked service in our review.
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.
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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