When you are struggling with your student loan payments, student loan refinancing can help.
Student loan refinancing is a process in which a borrower can combine multiple student loans with different interest rates into one loan, lower the interest rates of your current student loan, or decrease your monthly payment.
Student loan refinancing may be right for you if you find that it is difficult for you to handle all the different payment dates or high interest rate.
Interested in student loan refinance? We looked at some of the top student loan refinancing services to find the best options for you. Our top companies were picked by several important criteria:
- Private and federal student loan refinancing options
- Refinancing and consolidation options
- Low fixed and variable interest rates
- Option for forbearance
Below, we list our best student loan refinance companies for 2020.
Why We Like It:
- Unique repayment plans
- Cosigner release
Although Splash Financial is one of the newer student loan refinancing services, they stand out due to their excellent refinancing services. They are one of the select few lenders that allows married couples refinance their student loans together and they allow parents to refinance both their child's student loans and Parent PLUS loans in their child's name.
Splash Financial is an excellent option if you:
- Have private loans or federal loans
- Plan to consolidate your student loans with your spouse's
- Plan to refinance your parent's federal PLUS loans in your name
- Have good credit
- Have an annual income that can afford loan payments (or you have a cosigner who does)
Splash Financial has a short application that requires basic personal information, financial information, education, approximate credit score, and the details about the loans you want to refinance. Once pre-approved, you can receive a loan with fixed or variable rates and flexible terms. You will receive:
- No application fees or origination fees
- No prepayment penalties
- Loans between $7,500 and $300,000
- Fixed rates of 3.87% - 7.03%
- Variable of 3.02% - 7.76%
- Autopay discount of 0.25%
- Loan terms of 5, 8, 12 and 15 years
Borrowers are assigned a dedicated representative and have access to an in-house customer service team.
Why We Like It:
- Free online loan marketplace
- Competitive loan rates
- Borrowers can apply with a cosigner
Credible is a free online loan marketplace that allows borrowers to connect with lenders and compare loan terms and interest rates for student loan refinancing and private student loans.
While there are no minimum qualifications to use Credible, the majority of lenders in the network look for borrowers with a credit score 650 or higher and enough income for loan payments and other financial needs.
You only have to fill out one simple form to see your student loan refinance rate estimates from multiple banks and lenders that include Citizens Bank, College Ave Student Loans, iHelp, Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, and Rhode Island Student Loan Authority. This two-minute application (which requires basic personal and financial information) will give you personalized rate estimates and doesn't affect your credit.
You can compare rates and lenders and choose the best options for you by adjusting the filters on your dashboard to fit your needs. Once you have found a lender, you can apply through their website.
Why We Like It:
- Offers both student loan refinancing, private student loans, and personal loans
- Borrowers can have thin or no credit history
- Borrowers can customize their monthly payments
- Borrowers can adjust their payments by going online and increasing the monthly payment to pay off the loan faster
Earnest is an excellent service for consumers who are looking to refinance their student loan debt in order to pay it off faster, even allowing borrowers to make multiple extra payments and same-day payments.
Earnest looks at a borrower's earning potential, checking and savings accounts, and their credit card and other debt.
If you take out a loan with Earnest, you can receive:
- No late fees, application fees, or origination fees
- No prepayment penalties
- Fixed rates ranging from 3.48% to 7.82%
- Variable rates ranging from 2.43% to 7.21%
- Autopay discount of 0.25 points
- Loan terms of 5 to 20 years
- Loan amounts of $5,000 to $500,000
- An in-house customer service team
- Academic and military deferment (if needed)
- Forbearance (if needed)
The Bottom Line
Student loan refinancing is a great option for borrowers looking to pay off their loans faster or if they just need a lower payment amount and interest rate.
Want to see more options? Take a look at our top student loan refinancing services here.
What do I need to know about student loan refinancing?
Student loan refinancing allows borrowers to get a new private student loan that replaces their current student loan (or loans). These loans usually have a lower interest rate, lower monthly payment, or combine multiple loans to help you pay off the debt faster. (This is different from student loan consolidation, which combines multiple Federal loans into one loan by taking out a consolidation loan from the government; however, this doesn't lower your interest rate.)
Student loan refinancing has a variety of benefits that include:
- Saving money -- sometimes up to thousands of dollars -- with a lower interest rate
- Lower your monthly payments to make them more affordable
- Combine multiple loans into one for easier repayment
- Release a cosigner
Is student loan refinancing right for me?
Whether or not refinancing your student loans is a good idea depends on your individual needs. While refinancing your loans has many benefits -- such as lower your interest rate, reducing your monthly payments, consolidating your loans, or finding a new lender -- there may be times when it could potentially hurt you.
For example, refinancing Federal loans with benefits (like income-driven repayment and programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness) can cause you to lose access to them if you need them in the future. In this case, you would have a better chance at finding a new loan servicer and consolidating all of your Federal loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan with one monthly payment, although this won't lower your interest rates or add any private loans to your consolidated debt.
Some private lenders may offer forbearance or other financial assistance in the case of hardship, but this varies by lender.
A good rule of thumb about refinancing is that if you can make your Federal student loan payments on the 10-year plan, you probably don't need to refinance it. However, if you are struggling with the monthly payments and interest rates, refinancing is a great option.
If you believe refinancing is your best option, there are a few other factors to consider before you refinance your loan:
- Unique benefits you would receive from your new lender, such as unemployment benefits
- Whether you will receive fixed rates (which will remain the same over the duration of your loan) or variable rates (which will change over time, depending on the economy)
- Your interest rate
- Your loan term
- Your loan amount
- Any fees, such as late fees, origination fees, prepayment penalties
- Your credit score (the better your credit, the lower your interest)
- Cosigner release
If you are still on the fence, at the very least it won't hurt to do some shopping around and receive quotes before making a decision.
How Do I Qualify For Student Loan Refinancing?
In general, lenders will look at several factors before considering you for student loan refinancing:
- Your credit score (most lenders look for a minimum credit score of 650 or higher).
- Your annual income or your potential income
- Employment history, proof of employment, or proof of a job offer
- Your savings
- Your college degree (or proof of enrollment if you have not graduated)
- Other debt such as your credit card or mortgage
- Your debt-to-income ratio -- the lower, the better
What if I am rejected by a lender?
If you have trouble qualifying for a low-interest loan, you have a few options:
- Ask a trusted friend or family member with good credit to cosign your loan. If your cosigner has good credit history, you are more likely to be approved for a loan with lower interest rates.
- Apply to multiple lenders to see your refinancing offers and increase your chance of approval. Multiple applications made within 30 days is only treated as a single inquiry and will not cause much damage to your credit.
- Consider credit repair. You can check your credit report for any errors and dispute them either on your own or through a reputable credit repair service. You can obtain a free copy of your credit reports from the three bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) through AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Lower your credit utilization by increasing the amount of available credit you have. This means paying off credit card debt to an amount that is ideally under 30%.
Student Loan Refinance Company Reviews
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