DollarGeek Presents:

Best Student Loan Refinancing Lenders - August 2020

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Borrowers often believe that paying back their student loan debt directly to the federal government is their only option—resigned to robotically paying that monthly payment, feeling like it will never end. Not true! You can reduce your monthly student loan payment by refinancing. The key is to find the best student loan refinancing lender and the good news is that DollarGeek has researched the best refinancing lenders.

Start comparing the best student loan refinancing lenders with DollarGeek. So, now that you’re going to go shopping for the best student loan refinancing lender, what do you need? First and foremost, it is important to have a healthy credit score. A solid credit score will help you snag a better interest rate, which will save you money.

Want to get an idea of what your monthly payment can look like? Check out our student loan refinancing calculator here.

Showing 1-8 of 8 accounts Advertising disclosure
OVERALL RATING:
(4.5)
on Earnest’s website

Variable Rate

3.45%-6.99%

varies on credit

Fixed Rate

1.99%-6.89%

varies on credit

Variable Rate

3.45%-6.99%

Fixed Rate

1.99%-6.89%

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OVERALL RATING:
(5)
on CommonBond's website

Variable Rate

3.21%-6.45%

varies on credit

Fixed Rate

2.02%-6.30%

varies on credit

Variable Rate

3.21%-6.45%

Fixed Rate

2.02%-6.30%

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OVERALL RATING:
(5)
on LendKey's website

Variable Rate

3.49% - 7.75%

varies on credit

Fixed Rate

1.90% - 8.65%

varies on credit

Variable Rate

3.49% - 7.75%

Fixed Rate

1.90% - 8.65%

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OVERALL RATING:
(4.5)
on SoFi's website

Variable Rate

3.46%-7.36%

varies on credit

Fixed Rate

1.81%-7.36%

varies on credit

Variable Rate

3.46%-7.36%

Fixed Rate

1.81%-7.36%

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OVERALL RATING:
(4.5)
on PenFed's website

Variable Rate

2.58%-4.98%

varies on credit

Fixed Rate

3.23%-5.53%

varies on credit

Variable Rate

2.58%-4.98%

Fixed Rate

3.23%-5.53%

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OVERALL RATING:
(4.5)
on Citizens Bank's website

Variable Rate

3.45%-9.49%*

varies on credit

Fixed Rate

2.15%-9.29%

varies on credit

Variable Rate

3.45%-9.49%*

Fixed Rate

2.15%-9.29%

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OVERALL RATING:
(5)
on SunTrust's website

Variable Rate

4.07% - 11.30%

varies on credit

Fixed Rate

3.27% - 10.80%

varies on credit

Variable Rate

4.07% - 11.30%

Fixed Rate

3.27% - 10.80%

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OVERALL RATING:
(4)
on Sallie Mae's website

Variable Rate

4.74% - 11.85%

varies on credit

Fixed Rate

1.25% - 9.44%

varies on credit

Variable Rate

4.74% - 11.85%

Fixed Rate

1.25% - 9.44%

+ Show More Details
View Details
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DollarGeek's Picks: Best Student Loan Refinancing Lenders - August 2020

DollarGeek is here with you every step of the way when you're selecting the best online brokers. Find the best place to start growing your money.

Earnest: best for customized repayment options - down to the month.

Min. Credit Score

650

Fixed Rate

1.99%-6.89% %

VARIABLE RATE

3.45%-6.99% %

Overview

Earnest lets you refinance your student loans with the potential for a low APR and flexible repayment options. In fact, Earnest even lets you pick a payment that fits with your budget, meaning it will tinker with the length of your loan until you land on a monthly payment you can afford. Variable interest rates start at 3.50 percent and fixed rates at 4.25 percent.

Perks

Earnest student loans don’t come with an origination fee or any hidden fees. Earnest also offers customized rates based on a variety of factors outside of your credit score.

Areas to Watch Out for

You cannot apply to Earnest with a co-signer and you must haev a credit score of 650 or higher.

Type of lender

Earnest is online only

Loan Terms

5 to 20 years

Loan Amounts

$5,000 to full balance of qualified education loans

Deferment or forbearance available

Yes

Co-signer release available

No option to apply with a co-signer

Fees

None

See rate without effecting credit score

Yes

CommonBond: best for forbearance and economic hardship flexibility

Min. Credit Score

660

FIXED RATE

2.02%-6.30%%

VARIABLE RATE

3.21%-6.45% %

Overview

CommonBond is best for borrowers that want a low rate, have a credit score of at least 660, and a bachelor’s degree or higher. Aside from the competitive rates, CommonBond is known for having a longer than usual forbearance period if you’re ever facing economic hardships.

Perks

CommonBond student loans don’t come with an origination fee or any hidden fees.  CommonBond also offers borrowers up to 24 months of forbearance over the life of your loan. This is a great perk to have in your back pocket if you’re ever facing economic hardship.

Areas to Watch Out for

You typically need a credit score of at least 660 to refinance your student loans with CommonBond which can be a stretch for borrowers.

Type of lender

CommonBond is online only

Loan terms

5 to 20 years

Loan amounts

$5,000 to full balance of qualified education loans

Deferment or forbearance available

Yes

Co-signer release available

Yes

Fees

None

See rate without effecting credit score

Yes

LendKey: best for those who want to work with a credit union or community bank, not a large financial institution.

Min. Credit Score

660

FIXED RATE

1.90% - 8.65% %

VARIABLE RATE

3.49% - 7.75% %

Overview

LendKey is an online marketplace that connects lenders with student loan borrowers. It has over 300 credit unions and small banks in its network. It’s an ideal platform for individuals interested in dealing with small lenders instead of mainstream financial institutions.

Perks

Aside from LendKey’s large network to find the best student loan rate, LendKey stands out in terms of a longer forbearance period (18 months) and variable repayment periods (five years to 20 years).

Areas to Watch Out for

To be eligible to to refinance with LendKey you’ll need a minimum income of $24,000 or $12,000 with a co-signer. Also, loans are not available in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, or West Virginia.

Type of lender

LendKey is a marketplace that provides you offers from multiple lenders

Loan terms

5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years

Loan amounts

$5,000 (minimum with some exceptions), $125,000 (maximum for undergraduates), $175,000 (maximum for graduates), $300,000 (maximum for select medical degrees)

Deferment or forbearance available

Yes

Co-signer release available

Yes

Fees

None

See rate without effecting credit score

Yes

SoFi: best for those who want high end benefits and financial resources at their disposal.

Min. Credit Score

700

FIXED RATE

1.81%-7.36% %

VARIABLE RATE

3.46%-7.36% %

Overview

SoFi is an online lender that offers student loan refinancing for federal or private student loans. You can apply for refinancing in just minutes. When you enquire for a loan, the lender performs a soft-pull, keeping your credit score intact. The lender brands itself as a no-fee lender, which means you won’t have to pay application charges, origination fees, or prepayment penalties on your loans.

SoFi’s official website puts its net refinanced loans north of $18 billion, with over 300,000 members and counting.

Perks

As a SoFi customer, you’ll have access to one-to-one career advice. These counselors will help you realize and fill any gaps in your resume or skills. You will also get free investment advice and discounts on other SoFi products like mortgages, personal loans and others.

In addition to these member benefits, SoFi offers unemployment protection of up to 12 months through the life of your loan. You can seek a maximum forbearance period of 3 months at a time.

Areas to Watch Out for

To be eligible to to refinance with SoFi you’ll need a minimum credit score of 700 which. You will also have to refinance more than the minimum required of $5,000.

Type of lender

SoFi is online only

Loan terms

5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years

Loan amounts

$5,000 - Total outstanding loan balance

Deferment or forbearance available

Yes

Co-signer release available

No

Fees

None

See rate without effecting credit score

Yes

Lender

Type of Lender

By The Numbers

Best For

Details

Visit

4.5/5

Lender Type
Online only

Minimum Borrowed
$5,000

Maximum Borrowed $500,000

Best For
Borrowers who want to customize their repayment schedule to pay off debt fast

Deferment or forbearance
Yes

Co-signer release available
No option to apply with a co-signer

4.5/5

Lender Type
Online only

Minimum Borrowed
$5,000

Maximum Borrowed $500,000

Best For
Borrowers who want flexibility with their payments

Deferment or forbearance
Yes

Co-signer release available
Yes

4.5/5

Lender Type
Online only

Minimum Borrowed
$7,500

Maximum Borrowed Varies

Best For
Borrowers who don't want to work with a smaller sized bank

Deferment or forbearance
Yes

Co-signer release available
Yes

4.5/5

Lender Type
Online only

Minimum Borrowed
$5,000

Maximum Borrowed No Max

Best For
Borrowers who want benefits and other banking perks with SoFi

Deferment or forbearance
Yes

Co-signer release available
No

4.5/5

Lender Type
Online only

Minimum Borrowed
$7,500

Maximum Borrowed $300,000

Best For
Married couples that want to combine their student loan debt to refinance

Deferment or forbearance
No

Co-signer release available
Yes

4.5/5

Lender Type
Large marketplace of offers from multiple lenders

Minimum Borrowed
$10,000

Maximum Borrowed $500,000

Best For
Borrowers who aren't U.S. citizens or didn't graduate

Deferment or forbearance
Yes

Co-signer release available
Yes

Learn About Student Loan Refinancing

Gain some clarity with our geeky insight.

What is student loan refinancing?

Student loan refinancing is when you are combining some, or all, of your student loans into one single student loan with a private lender. This new loan will replace all of your old student loans. Borrowers refinance their student loan because they find a lower interest rate which saves them money on their loan and monthly payments.

What happens when I decide I want to refinance my student loans?

When you decide to refinance your student loan, your existing student loans will be paid off and you will have one monthly payment from the new lender you choose.

What do I need to refinance my student loans?

You can refinance both federal and private student loans. When you refinance your student loans you will refinance through a private lender, not The Department of Education. Refinancing your student loans can be a good idea if you have the following:

1. Healthy Credit Score

Maintaining a healthy credit score has many benefits and refinancing your student loan at the best rate isn’t any different.Borrowers will typically need a credit score in the high 600s. The better your credit score, the better rate you’ll get. If you don’t have a stellar credit score, youstill may be eligible to refinance your student loan by applying with a co-signer.

2. Enough Income To Pay Your Debts

When applying to refinance your student loans, lenders will look at your debt-to-income ratio. They will also look at the amount of debt you owe, relative to your income. 

3. Good track record of on-time loan payments

When applying to refinance your student loans, lenders will look at your credit history to make sure you’ve paid your debts on a regular basis in the past. This helps the lender get an idea of how likely you are to pay off your new loan.

Why do most people refinance their student loans?

To save money. It’s really that simple. Shopping for a lower interest rate on your student loan is no different than shopping for a lower rate on your mortgage. It’s all about finding the best possible rate. A lower rate means more money in your pocket.

What do I need to refinance my student loans?

There are a ton of good reasons to refinance your student loan — but there are some situations where you shouldn’t refinance your student loan:

1. If you're planning a career change or leaving the workforce

If you’re going to change your career, leave the workforce or are going to make a change that might drop your income — refinancing your student loan with a private lender might not be the wisest move. Instead you might need to take advantage of an income-based repayment plan through the federal government. 

2. You've declared bankruptcy or defaulted on student debt

If you’ve declared bankruptcy or defaulted on your student loans it will be a big red flag for lenders. If you’ve declared bankruptcy, you will have to of let some time pass since your bankruptcy to be eligible to refinance your student loan.

3. You're pursuing student loan forgiveness

If you refinance your student loans, you will be ineligible for federal student loan repayment programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness. 

Check out these additional resources:

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