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Tuesday, January 25th
Credible offers comparison shopping for several financial products, ranging from student loans and refinancing to home and personal loans and beyond. Since 2012, more than 1.4 million users have taken advantage of this service.
Prequalify with up to 8 lenders
This is the only platform we evaluated that lets you check out your prequalified rates on loans from more than one institution at a time, though you'll still need to fill out a full application with the lender you choose to get a firm student loan offer. There are eight lenders in Credible's network: Ascent, Citizens Bank, College Ave, Custom Choice, EDvestinU, INvested, MEFA, and Sallie Mae. You'll find several of those discussed in detail in our other evaluations, or you can use Credible's ratings and reviews to learn more.
Easy to use
It's pretty much a no-brainer to use this service to check out your student loan options. Go to the Student Loans tab and choose "Find My Rate" , then indicate if you're a student or a cosigner. You'll be asked for your name, phone number, citizenship, school name, degree type, graduation year, monthly housing payment, and several other details about your financial situation. Finally, it'll tell you if you've prequalified for any loan within their partner network.
Set your preferences, change as needed later
From there, you'll answer questions about your desired repayment terms (e.g. making no payments, $50 monthly payments, or full payments while you're in school). Those just set the loan filters and aren't a commitment to any specific repayment structure. Same goes for choosing a shorter-term or longer-term loan, or variable vs. fixed rates. Once you've set those preferences, you'll see the student loans that match; feel free to tweak any of the settings using the dropdowns at the top of the list.
Clicking continue = filling out the actual application
The next step is where things start to depend on the lender. For example, when we clicked to continue with a College Ave loan, it asked for our Social Security number - and it didn't indicate if that would be a soft or hard credit inquiry. (We suspect the latter, especially since we didn't prequalify when applying for a loan directly from College Ave. See that review for more details.) In contrast, when we selected one of the EDvestinU student loans, the next screen asked about our housing status, employer name, and other details - culminating in asking for our SSN as well. That makes sense - because from that point onward, Credible is helping you apply for a loan with that lender, not just showing you what you prequalified for.
$200 Best Rate Guarantee
Credible is so confident that they can connect you with the best private student loan rate, they're willing to offer you $200 if you find a lower interest rate with any lender that's not in their network. You'll want to read their terms and conditions before you get too excited, but it's definitely worth the time to prequalify with Credible first before you search somewhere else.
Reputation-wise, Credible is solid. They've gotten an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, with very few complaints lodged there. We also found over 4200 independently-verified five-star ratings for this provider, though keep in mind that those cover all of Credible's financial products, not just student loans. Most people say that using this service helped them find a great loan with attractive rates and terms.
Worthwhile resource for comparing lenders
In general, Credible is a trustworthy way to see if you prequalify for a student loan from several well-known lenders - without having to enter your information multiple times on different providers' sites. (And it may even help you with tricky ones like College Ave!) As with any referral service, remember that the actual servicing of your loan will depend on the lender you choose: we encourage you to get to know the provider you're considering before signing on the dotted line.
With 45% of high school graduates finding it necessary to take on student debt to finance their higher learning, that's an important question to answer. While most student loan debt comes from federal loans, some people discover that their government loans just aren't enough to cover the full costs of tuition, room and board, expensive textbooks, and everything else necessary for their college education.
If you find yourself in that situation - for your studies or your children's - you might get overwhelmed trying to figure out where the money will come from. And even once you've selected a lender, you still need to decide what repayment terms are best. Fixed- or variable-rate? Interest-only or small fixed repayments while still in school or fully deferred for 6-9 months after graduation? Repaying over five years or twenty? There are a lot of factors to consider that are unique to you.
Fortunately, there are quite a few providers of student loans that can help you not only figure out those answers but also connect you with the money you need to pay for school. Many of them can even prequalify you for a loan with just your name, address and birthdate, with no impact on your credit report. Rest assured that millions of students (and many of their parents) have successfully navigated this process - and you can too.
Here are several aspects of student loan providers to keep in mind as you decide which ones merit further consideration:
To help you get the funds you need for your education, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best options for student loans today. We're confident that this information will make it possible to find the right way to cover the costs of your tuition, books and more!
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