Best Companies For Refinancing Student Loans

Last Updated on August 25, 2023

Best Companies For Refinancing Student Loans

When you’re looking for a loan, it’s important to consider what type of loan you want and how much risk you’re willing to take. Student loans are one of the most common types of loans that people use to pay for higher education. However, some borrowers may not be aware that there are several options available when refinancing student loans.

There are many different companies that offer student loan refinancing services, but only a few stand out from the crowd due to their low interest rates and high approval rates. The following are some of the best companies for refinancing student loans:

Best Student Loan Refinance Companies of May 2022

  •  Best Overall: RISLA
  •  Best Refinancing Marketplace: Credible
  •  Best Rates: Splash Financial
  •  Best Benefits: SoFi
  •  Best for No Fees: Discover Student Loans
  •  Best Repayment Options: CommonBond
  •  Best for Student Who Didn’t Graduate: Citizens Bank
  •  Best for Spousal Loans: PenFed Credit Union
  •  Best for Parent Loans: Laurel Road
RISLA logo
  • Interest Rate: 4.29%+
  • Loan Terms: 5-15 years 
  • Maximum Loan Amount: $250,000

RISLA offers competitive rates and borrower benefits including no application fees. Pros and ConsPros

  • Choose repayment term
  • Income-based repayment plans
  • Graduate school deferment

Cons

  • Contact for minimum credit score requirements
  • No prequalification
  • Can only borrow $45,000 per year

Overview

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) stands out from other student loan refinancing lenders because of its competitive rates and the substantial benefits to borrowers.

Despite RISLA’s name, borrowers can refinance student loans used to attend colleges nationwide. You can refinance between $7,500 and $250,000. There are no application or origination fees. Term options include 5, 10, and 15 years. All refinancing loans have fixed interest rates, and the lender offers the following interest rates:

  • Fixed rates: 4.29% to 7.04% (with 0.25% Autopay discount)

RISLA’s student loan refinancing program has a wide range of benefits that go beyond what you typically expect from private lenders. Its protections include:

  • Income-based repayment: If you can’t afford your payments, you may qualify for RISLA’s income-based repayment (IBR) plan. With this option, RISLA will base your monthly payment on your income and family size, potentially reducing your payments.
  • Total and permanent disability: Private lenders typically don’t offer loan discharges in the case of disability; RISLA is an exception. If you cannot work because of a physical or mental impairment, you may qualify for total and permanent disability discharge. If eligible, your loan balance will be forgiven upon submission of medical documentation.
  • Graduate school deferment: If you decide to attend graduate school, you can defer your loan payments for up to 36 months.
  • Forbearance: If you are unemployed or have another emergency, you may be eligible for forbearance. If you qualify, you can postpone your payments for up to three months at a time, for up to 12 months over the life of your loan.

BEST REFINANCING MARKETPLACECredible


Credible
  • Interest Rate: Varies 
  • Loan Terms: Varies
  • Maximum Loan Amount: Varies

Credible is an online marketplace so you can compare your student loan refinancing options in one place. Pros and ConsPros

  • Best rate guarantee
  • No user fees
  • Quotes from multiple lenders

Cons

  • Lender terms vary
  • Need to contact lender for rates
  • Not for poor credit

Overview

Before refinancing your student loans, getting rate quotes from several different lenders is wise to ensure you get the best terms. While you can do that manually on your own, there’s a simpler way: you can go through a refinancing marketplace.

With Credible, you submit your information just once and get quotes from multiple lenders, without affecting your credit score. You can compare interest rates and loan terms from up to 10 top lenders and choose the best one for your needs. Once you choose a loan, you can complete your application online.

You can use Credible to get quotes to refinance federal, private, and even Parent PLUS loans.

Credible offers the best rate guarantee. If, after receiving prequalified options for student loan refinancing, you receive an offer for a better rate from a lender not on the Credible website and refinance with that lender at a lower rate, you’ll get a $200 Best Rate Reward (terms and conditions apply).

The service is completely free to use. Instead of charging user fees, Credible makes money through referral commissions if you qualify for a loan through its website. Credible states that most lending partners look for a credit score of 670 to 700 for student loan refinancing.

BEST RATESSplash Financial


Splash Financial
  • Interest Rate: 1.74%+
  • Loan Terms: 5-20 years 
  • Maximum Loan Amount: None

Splash Financial offers some of the lowest rates for student lines and has both fixed and variable rates to choose from. Pros and ConsPros

  • Connect with multiple lenders
  • No loan maximum
  • No loan origination fees

Cons

  • Variable loan terms
  • Limited choice of lenders
  • May need to join credit union

Overview

Out of all the lenders we reviewed, Splash Financial has the lowest interest rates for student loan refinancing. The lender offers the following rates (the lowest rate includes a 0.25% Autopay discount):

  • Variable: 1.74% to 8.70%
  • Fixed: 1.99% to 8.63%

You can choose a loan term of 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, or 20 years. You must have at least $5,000 in student loan debt to refinance with Splash Financial, and there is no loan maximum. The lender does not charge any application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties. And, many of Splash’s lending partners offer cosigner release after receiving 12 consecutive on-time payments on your loan.

BEST BENEFITSSoFi


SoFi
  • Interest Rate: 1.74%+
  • Loan Terms: 5-20 years
  • Maximum Loan Amount: None

SoFi offers comprehensive benefits to its members including career coaching and unemployment protection. Pros and ConsPros

  • Referral bonuses
  • Free financial planner
  • No maximum loan amount

Cons

  • Minimum loan amounts vary by state
  • Must borrow at least $5,000
  • Limited repayment options

Overview

If you want a refinancing lender that offers comprehensive benefits, consider SoFi. The company provides robust perks to refinancing borrowers, including: 

  • Unemployment Protection: If you’re laid off from your job, you can postpone making payments for three months at a time, for a maximum of 12 months.
  • Career Coaching: Get access to a career coach to get advice on asking for a raise, preparing for a promotion, or building your brand. 
  • Referrals: Refer a friend to SoFi’s loan program. You’ll both earn $10 when your friend checks their rate. If they apply for a loan and are approved, you’ll both get $300 more. 
  • Financial Planning: Make an appointment with a financial planner to get free personalized guidance on investing, saving for retirement, and budgeting. 

With SoFi, you can refinance as little as $5,000 (although required minimums could be higher in certain states), and there is no maximum loan amount. To be eligible for a loan, you need to have graduated with at least an associate’s degree. SoFi does not publicly list its minimum income or credit requirements. However, it will consider financial history, credit score, and income sources when evaluating your application.

There are no application or origination fees, and you can choose from repayment terms of 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years. Variable rates are capped at 8.95% APR for terms of 5, 7, or 10 years, and at 9.95% APR for terms of 15 or 20 years. SoFi offers the following fixed and variable rates (all rates include a 0.25% Autopay discount):

  • Variable: 1.74% to 7.99%
  • Fixed: 3.49% to 7.99%

BEST FOR NO FEESDiscover Student Loans


Discover
  • Interest Rate: 2.49%+
  • Loan Terms: 10-20 years 
  • Maximum Loan Amount: Cost of attendance

Discover doesn’t charge any lender fees or late fees. It also offers variable and fixed interest rates. Pros and ConsPros

  • Different loans for different degrees
  • Bar exam loan
  • No prepayment penalty

Cons

  • No prequalification
  • Limited repayment terms
  • Contact for minimum credit score

Overview

While some lenders charge origination, application, or late fees, Discover is different. It charges no fees at all, even if you miss a payment. With no added fees, the only charge you have to worry about is the interest that accrues on your loan.

Discover offers the following interest rates for student loan refinancing (lowest rates include Autopay discount): 

  • Variable: 2.49% to 6.49%
  • Fixed: 3.49% to 7.99%

You can refinance as little as $5,000 for a term of 10 or 20 years, and you can choose to refinance your loans while you’re still in school. You must be at least 18 years old, pass a credit check, and have verifiable income to qualify for a loan. With Discover, you may qualify for a loan without a cosigner. However, applying with a creditworthy cosigner will likely earn you a lower interest rate.

BEST REPAYMENT OPTIONSCommonBond


CommonBond
  • Interest Rate: 4.60%+ APR
  • Loan Terms: flexible repayment options
  • Maximum Loan Amount: $500,000

Beginning with the 2022-2023 academic year, CommonBond will no longer offer private student loans to pay for current education costs.Why We Chose It

The company offers flexible repayment terms, hybrid loans, and no application fees.Pros and ConsPros

  • Medical and dental school loans
  • No application fees

Cons

  • Co signers required for undergraduates and graduate students
  • Some loans have higher repayment amounts

Overview

If you’re looking for a lender that offers flexible repayment options, CommonBond is hard to beat. Two features make CommonBond stand out from other lenders: 

  • Hybrid loans: With a hybrid loan, the first five years of the loan have a fixed interest rate. After that, the loan will have a variable interest rate. This approach is a good idea if you want to take advantage of a low-interest rate and pay off your loans as quickly as possible but also want the security of a fixed-rate loan.
  • Forbearance: If you’re dealing with financial difficulties after losing your job or receiving a medical diagnosis, you can postpone making payments on your loans for up to 24 months over the length of your loan—the longest forbearance option offered by any lender. Being able to skip payments without entering into default can give you time to get back on your feet.

There are no application or hidden fees, and this lender’s missed payment penalties are reasonable—a late fee of 5% or $10 (whichever is less) and returned check fee of $5.

Borrowers with the best credit profiles will earn the lowest interest rates. CommonBond offers the following rates (all rates include a 0.25% Autopay discount):

  • Variable: 4.60% APR to 8.25% APR
  • Fixed: 4.49% APR to 7.74% APR
  • Hybrid: 4.52% APR to 7.65% APR

BEST FOR STUDENT WHO DIDN’T GRADUATECitizens Bank


Citizens Bank
  • Interest Rate: 1.99%+
  • Loan Terms: 5-20 years 
  • Maximum Loan Amount: $350,000

Citizens Bank lets borrowers refinance their student loans even if they didn’t obtain a degree. Pros and ConsPros

  • Automatic payment discount
  • May qualify to remove co signer
  • Loyalty discount

Cons

  • Minimum refinance amount
  • Can’t be in school to qualify
  • Loans must be in repayment

Overview

If you didn’t graduate from school, you’d struggle to find a lender willing to work with you on refinancing your loan. Citizens Bank is one of the few national lenders that allows borrowers to refinance without a degree.

Citizens Bank offers borrowers some other useful perks: 

  • Loyalty Discount: If you have another account with Citizens Bank, such as a checking or savings account, you can qualify for a 0.25% reduction on your interest rate.
  • Automatic Payment Discount: Sign up for automatic payments and get another 0.25% off your interest rate.
  • Cosigner Release: After making 36 consecutive, on-time payments, you may qualify to have your cosigner removed from your loan.

You must refinance a minimum of $10,000, and repayment terms include 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years. There are no application or origination fees. Citizens Bank offers the following interest rates (rates include a 0.25% Autopay discount and 0.25% loyalty discount): 

  • Variable: 1.99% to 8.39%
  • Fixed: 3.75% to 8.64%

To qualify for refinancing a student loan with Citizens Bank, you must not be currently in school, and your loans must be in repayment. If you didn’t graduate, you need to have made 12 on-time, consecutive payments on your loans before you apply for refinancing.

Read the full reviewCitizens Bank Student Loans

BEST FOR SPOUSAL LOANSPenFed Credit Union


PenFed
  • Interest Rate: 2.13%+
  • Loan Terms: 5-15 years 
  • Maximum Loan Amount: $500,000

You and your spouse can combine your student loan debt and streamline your payments with PenFed Credit Union. Pros and ConsPros

  • Refinance up to $500,000 of debt
  • Will consider combined income
  • Consolidated loans with a spouse

Cons

  • Must meet minimum income amounts
  • Co signer may be required
  • No official forbearance policy

Overview

If you and your spouse both have student loans, you may want to combine your debt. It will streamline your payments, so you have just one monthly payment and one loan servicer to remember. 

While most lenders will allow you to cosign your spouse’s refinancing application, the only lender that offers spousal loan refinancing—where the loans are consolidated together—is the PenFed Credit Union.

To determine your eligibility and set your interest rates, PenFed will look at your combined income. If one person is a stay-at-home parent, this approach can be beneficial and help you get a lower interest rate than you’d receive on your own. For loans up to $150,000, the minimum income is $25,000, and, unless your income is at least $42,000, a cosigner with an income of $42,000 is required. For loans exceeding $150,000, either you or your cosigner must have an annual income of $50,000.

With PenFed, you can refinance between $7,500 and $500,000 of student loan debt. There are no application or origination fees. Loan terms range from 5 to 15 years, and there are variable and fixed interest rates. PenFed offers the following rates

BEST FOR PARENT LOANSLaurel Road


Laurel Road
  • Interest Rate: 1.64%+
  • Loan Terms: Up to 20 years
  • Maximum Loan Amount: None

SEE RATESWhy We Chose It

Laurel Road is best for parent loans because it allows parents to refinance into a lower interest rate loan. Pros and ConsPros

  • No maximum loan amount
  • Up to 20 years to pay off
  • Referral reward

Cons

  • Minimum loan amount is $7,500
  • No guarantee of lower rate with co signer

Overview

If you took out student loans to pay for your child’s education, you might be stuck with a high-interest rate. Federal Parent PLUS Loans have the highest interest rate of any federal loan.2 If you have this type of loan, refinancing can be a smart decision.

Laurel Road is one of the few lenders that offer to refinance for Parent PLUS Loans (and private parent loans) and allows you to transfer your loans into your child’s name if you choose. Refinancing your debt into your child’s name eliminates your obligation to repay the loan, and your child is responsible for repaying it instead.

As an added perk, you will receive $400 if you refer a friend and refinance with Laurel Road. You don’t even need to be a customer yourself to be eligible for this referral reward.

You must refinance a minimum of $7,500, and there is no maximum amount. Your term length can be customized to anything under 20 years. Although Laurel Road does not recommend a minimum credit score, they state that their low rates are made possible because they select the most creditworthy borrowers, particularly “working professionals.”

Laurel Road offers variable and fixed-rate loans for parent loan refinancing. The following rates apply on parent refinancing loans, including a 0.25% Autopay discount

About the author

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