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      July 9, 2020

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Credible vs iHelp

To help you find the Best Student Loans, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Credible and iHelp.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Student Loans, please Click Here

Apply for Your Student Loan at SunTrust Today As the costs of higher education rise, so does the need for student loans. While some individuals are eligible for federal loans, those loans don't always cover the full cost of getting an education - not just tuition and room/board, but books, laptops, transportation and other expenses. And, people who are ineligible for federal loans don't necessarily have overflowing savings accounts to match their college or university costs.

Private student loans are the way that many students close that gap. On average, students have nearly $40,000 in student loan debt at the time of graduation; without those funds, their aspirations of being a teacher, engineer, or social worker may have been put on hold indefinitely.

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2020

Student Loan Reviews

4 stars
Credible

CREDIBLE

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Features:

  • No application or origination fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • No service fees
  • Customer service available 7 days a week: 866-540-6005
  • 3-way phone support with lenders and borrowers
  • Apply with multiple lenders using a single application

Credible wants to save you time when it comes to applying for student loans. Instead of having to complete one application after another, hoping for great rates and reasonable terms (with no fine print or "gotcha!" moments), you enter your details one time and get matched with reputable lenders. Credible works as a connection service: they vet all of their lenders to ensure that they don't charge application or origination fees, and Credible is free for you to use too.

8 student loan partners

At the time of our most recent visit to their site, Credible offered student loans through eight partners (some of which you'll find evaluated in more depth in our other reviews):

  • Ascent
  • Citizens Bank
  • College Ave
  • Discover Student Loans
  • EDvestinU
  • INvestEd
  • MEFA
  • Sallie Mae

On loans available through those partners, terms ranged from 5 to 20 years. Fixed interest rates were between 3.95% APR and 12.49% APR, while variable rates ranged from 1.79% APR to 10.37% APR. All of them, with the exception of Sallie Mae, offered student loans for both undergraduate- and graduate-level studies.

Cosigner helps

Get started with Credible by selecting whether you're a student or a cosigner. Helpful hint: Credible says you're three times more likely to qualify if you have a cosigner. We found that to be true; when we started the process just as a student requesting a modest loan, we weren't given any results until we added a cosigner. Either way, the process takes about three minutes to complete. You can apply for up to one year of studies at a time, and you'll enter that information along with your expected graduation year, the name of your school and degree type, and so on. Surprisingly, we weren't asked to provide our Social Security number during the application process. That happens after you select the loan you want and finalize it with the actual lender.

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Lender options

We were only prequalified for loans through Citizens Bank, and we were given 18 options ranging from fully-deferred until after school to interest-only plans while still in school. We didn't meet the criteria for five of Credible's lending partners, and we were told we'd have to apply directly with two others in order to see their rates. So much for only having to fill out a single application!

Best rate guarantee - for personal loans

You might have noticed that Credible offers a Best Rate Guarantee, offering you $200 if you find a better rate with another lender. However, if you look at the fine print in the terms and conditions, this guarantee only applies to personal loans. We're pretty sure that Student Loans are not eligible, so don't get your hopes up too soon.

Excellent reputation

Credible stacks up nicely when considering their reputation. With both an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, plus thousands of 4- and 5-star reviews from student loan recipients, it's easy to see that the service is providing value to users. And, while it's true that it wasn't as simple as a single application for every possible loan, it was still much more convenient to know right away that we wouldn't be eligible for student loans through certain lenders - rather than applying for each one and being rejected. (Who needs that kind of negativity, right?)

Overall, this service gives you an easy way to check out the prospects of getting a student loan from up to eight different lenders with just a few clicks of the keyboard. That's a great time-saver and could help you get the money you need for your studies. The only caveat is that our highest-ranked provider of student loans isn't included as one of their partners, so we'd encourage you to compare the offers you get with Credible against our first-place lender as well.

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4 stars
iHelp

I HELP

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Features:

  • No application or origination fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • No payments required until 6 months after leaving school
  • Interest rate discount available after 24 on-time payments (highest rate only)
  • Cosigner release option after two years of on-time payments
  • ONLY offers variable interest rates, from 3.18% to 8.71% APR
  • Loan repayment term: 20 years
  • Deferment and forbearance options available
  • Customer service: 800-645-7404

If you like the thought of having your student loan financed by a community bank rather than a big-name financial institution, you'll want to check out what iHelp has to offer. Since 2010, they've managed more than $600 million in private student loans as a subsidiary of the Student Loan Finance Corp. (which maintained an A+ rating as an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our review).

Eligibitlity requirements

It's important to note that iHelp has a single student loan product: a variable-rate Private Student Loan with a 20-year repayment term, so if you feel more comfortable with fixed-rate products and/or shorter terms, you will want to choose another lender. On the other hand, if current market interest rates leave you feeling like a variable-rate loan is a good thing (as it often is), here's what iHelp requires for eligibility:

  • You're a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or applying with a cosigner who meets one of those two requirements
  • You're enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school (see site for list of eligible institutions)
  • You and your cosigner are of legal age in your state(s) of permanent residence
  • You and your cosigner have at least 3 years of positive credit history
  • You or your cosigner has an annual income of at least $18,000 for the past 2 years

Your loan must be a minimum of $1,000 ($3,000 in Georgia) and can be a maximum of $100,000 for undergraduate studies and $150,000 for graduate programs.

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Student loan interest rates

Your interest rate will be based in the LIBOR, the interest rate London banks charge each other for loans, which is a common benchmark used for bank rates around the world. At the time we looked at iHelp, their interest rates were as follows:

  • LIBOR + 2.50% (3.18% APR)
  • LIBOR + 4.50% (5.08% APR)
  • LIBOR + 5.75% (6.23% APR)
  • LIBOR + 8.50% (8.71% APR)

Interest rate reduction

Unlike the majority of the lenders we considered, iHelp does not offer a rate discount for making automatic payments to the account. On the other hand, for borrowers who qualify only for the highest interest rate, you may be eligible for a reduction of 0.30% after you have made your first 24 payments on time. We also like that cosigners can be released after those same 24 on-time payments, regardless of the interest rate on the loan.

Loan repayment options

iHelp also has a great range of possibilities for loan repayments. If you're attending school at least half-time, you can opt to make interest-only payments, no payments at all until you graduate or attend less than half-time; or making principal and interest payments as normal. Or, after your loan enters the repayment period; you can also choose principal and interest; interest-only for 24 months, or graduated repayment, which starts with interest-only repayments and moves up gradually until you're making the full principal plus interest payment amount.

Generous deferment options

iHelp also has one of the most generous deferment and forbearance options we've found. Like most lenders, you can defer repayments as long as you're enrolled half-time or more at an eligible school. But, what happens if you have a temporary financial difficulty, military service, or a natural disaster? iHelp will work with you to forbear your payments for up to 24 months, or to make partial payments, if you can demonstrate the need.

Overall, if you're comfortable with the relative uncertainty of a variable-rate loan and like the idea of borrowing from a community bank, iHelp is an excellent option for your student loan.

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Continued from above

Fortunately, there are many lenders who want to make it as affordable and simple as possible to complete undergraduate and graduate-level studies. Some represent well-known, established financial institutions, while others work directly with networks of community banks to get much-needed cash into the hands of eager learners.

Comparing offers from lenders can be as easy as going online; in a matter of minutes and mouse clicks, you can see a variety of interest rates, repayment terms, and other details of each program for which you are eligible. This saves you significant time compared with going hat in hand to your local bank or other lending institution, hoping that they will say yes to your loan application.

When deciding on which lender to use for your student loan, you should consider the following factors:

  • Interest rates. The higher your interest rates, the more you pay over the life of the loan. Does the lender have rates that are competitive? Does the lender offer you the choice between fixed and variable rates?
  • Loan terms. What is the repayment term? Does it give you enough time to get a good job and pay it back? Can you pay it off in advance with no penalty?
  • Discounts. Can you get your interest rates lowered by setting up automatic payments from your checking account? Will you get any perks for having a relationship with the lender in other ways, such as a checking account or credit card?
  • Reputation. Some lenders have a solid history of working with borrowers, while others have a not-so-great track record when it comes to customer service after the loan has been disbursed. How does this lender measure up?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Student Loan providers available today. We hope this information helps you to get the money you need for your studies right away!

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