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CommonBond Review

Friday, August 12th

2022 Student Loan Refinance Company Reviews

CommonBond Review 1.5 Star Rating


1.5 Star Rating
  • Fixed-rate and variable-rate student loan refinancing rates competitive with other lenders
  • Autopay discount option of 0.25%
  • Hybrid refinance loan option (starts out as fixed, then changes to variable-rate)
  • Up to 24 months of forbearance over the life of your loan

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.

Best Student Loan Refinance Companies

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.

Where Can You Find the Best Options for Student Loan Refinancing?

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.

The Best Student Loan Refinance Companies Compare Student Loan Refinance Companies Compare Student Loan Refinance Company Reviews What are the best Student Loan Refinance Companies Best Student Loan Refinance Company Reviews

Student Loan Refinance Company FAQ

Refinancing your student loans essentially means that you're taking your current education debt and replacing it with a new loan. This can be done with both federal and private loans.
If interest rates have dropped significantly since you first got your loans, that's a great time to see if a new loan could save you money. And, if you're able to shorten the length of your loan at the same time - like going from having 15 years left on a 20-year term to a 10-year term - you'll save even more.
The qualifications for student loan refinancing are probably different from the ones you had to meet to get your original funding. Most lenders require a minimum refinanced amount of $5,000, though some have higher thresholds of $10-$15k. You'll also need a credit score in the upper 600s or more and a steady income - or a cosigner who meets those criteria. Finally, many financial institutions will only refinance your student loans if you completed your degree.
Be very careful when deciding to refinance federal student loans. You'll lose the perks that are only available with those loans, like income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs. And, of course, refinancing isn't a good idea if it doesn't help you in some way: lowering your interest rate, making your monthly payments more manageable, or saving you in interest over the timeframe of the loan.
Yes! It's the simplest way to get the best rates and terms too. Most providers will ask you some basic questions about your current situation, including your income and the amount of educational debt you're hoping to refinance, and they'll do a soft pull on your credit report (your score won't be affected). They'll use that information to tell you if you tentatively qualify for one of their refinancing loans. Once you decide to complete the full application, a hard pull will be done and if you're offered a loan, all that's left is for you to accept the terms and submit any required documentation. All of that can easily be done online!
It's a subtle distinction, and it can depend on who you ask. If you have multiple student loans (federal and private) and you combine all of that debt into a single new private loan, you're consolidating and refinancing your loans. But, there's also a governmental Direct Consolidation Loan program that is just for federal student loans: it makes it easier to manage your payments and preserves the benefits specific to federal loans, but it doesn't include any private loans you have and doesn't save you any money.
It shouldn't. Most lenders will happily tell you that they charge no fees for applying, originating loans, or really anything else (besides the loan itself, of course). Just remember that the process will usually include a soft pull of your credit during prequalification and then a hard pull when you decide to officially apply; the latter will temporarily impact your credit report.
That varies by lender. You can find out in just a few minutes if you prequalify, and another few minutes to get formally approved if you decide to complete the full application. From there, you'll probably be asked to submit documentation on your current loan, proof of income and other paperwork. Most lenders will tell you to expect it to take up to 45 days for your current loans to be paid off and for your new loan to be finalized.
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Continued from above...

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:

  • Referral service or loan originator. Some platforms let you compare loan possibilities with multiple lenders using a single prequalifying application. This one-stop "shopping" can save you some time and hassle, but ultimately you'll still have to complete a full application with the lender you choose. Other refinancing sites belong to the lenders themselves and that can make the process more streamlined.
  • Loan minimums and other eligibility requirements. While most lenders let you refinance student loan balances as low as $5,000, some will only approve loans of $10,000 or $15,000 and up. Not all lenders will refinance your student loans if you didn't finish your degree, either.
  • Customer service. Consider what borrowers have to say about their experience with the lender or referral service - not just during the application and approval process, but also while making payments. Choose a lender that has a good reputation for helping customers both before and after the refinancing is complete.

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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