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      July 9, 2020

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SunTrust vs Credible

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

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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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Student Loan Reviews

5 stars


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  • No application or origination fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • No payments required until 6 months after leaving school
  • Interest rate discounts available
  • Cosigner release option after several years of on-time payments
  • Variable interest rates from 3.864% to 9.262% APR
  • Fixed interest rates from 4.599% to 10.329% APR
  • Minimum monthly payment of $50 during repayment period
  • Customer service: 866-232-3889 Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award SunTrust's motto is "Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being", and they place a strong emphasis on helping the average American to move from financial stress to confidence. Their student loans fit well with this goal, with a wide variety of options and borrower-friendly advantages.

Student loan criteria

In order to be eligible for one of SunTrust's two main student loans, Custom Choice or Graduate Business School, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be enrolled at least half-time in a Title IV program at an eligible school (which you can find on the first page of the loan application; after entering your school's state, you'll find a dropdown box with all of the eligible schools included)
  • Be the legal age of majority (or at least 17 if applying with an older cosigner)

One small note to keep in mind: SunTrust Custom Choice and Graduate Business School loans are not currently available to students whose permanent state of residency is Iowa or Wisconsin.

Low interest rates

As with most of the private student loan providers we reviewed, SunTrust has no application or origination fees, no penalties for paying off loans early, and no payments required until six months after you leave school. But, compared with the competition, SunTrust has interest rates that are considerably lower (see above in the list of features), along with more beneficial interest rate reductions available, such as:

  • 1% reduction of your principal balance when you graduate
  • Up to 0.50% rate reduction for automatic payments
  • Seasonal offers of 0.25% interest rate reduction
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Custom choice loan options

As the name implies, the Custom Choice program has a number of options for your loan (the Graduate Business School loans do as well, but their options are slightly more limited. See the business school loan page for more details). Once your student loan application has been approved, you will be able to compare the available loan options:

  • Rate type: fixed or variable
  • Loan term: 7, 10, or 15 years (7 or 10 for Graduate Business School loans)
  • Repayment options: immediate repayment, interest-only, partial interest, or full deferment until 6 months after leaving school

Be aware that, unless you have a solid employment history and a very good credit score, you'll likely need a cosigner who does meet those criteria: the average borrower (or cosigner) who qualifies for a SunTrust student loan has a FICO score of 750, with a minimum requirement in the mid-600s.

Compassionate lender

We were genuinely impressed by SunTrust's compassionate approach, for lack of a better phrase, to the structuring of their student loans. For example, while some lenders have no mercy when it comes to the death or disability of the primary borrower and still insist on being repaid, SunTrust offers loan forgiveness in the event of the primary borrower's death or disability (with proper documentation, of course). Also, if you need a cosigner to qualify for a loan from SunTrust, that cosigner can be released after payment of the first 48 consecutive, on-time monthly payments.

Highest rating

Because of their lower interest rates and borrower-friendly repayment terms, we give SunTrust student loans our highest rating of 5 stars as our top pick for student loans.

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4 stars


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  • 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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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? 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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