Depending on how much student debt you have, you could end up spending more than $20,000 in interest payments during the course of your payments. This is especially true for private student loans as interest rates can often be over 4%.
But thankfully, there’s an easy way to consolidate your loans into a lower interest rate: student loan refinancing.
There are a number of banks that specialize in student loan refinancing these days. Many of these companies offer far lower interest rates than the competition, helping you pay off your loans more quickly and cheaply.
If you’ve been considering going this route, make sure to keep an eye out for these things when shopping for a student loan refinancing company:
- Variable rate or fixed rate
- Interest rate
- Loan term
- Origination fees
- Lending minimums and maximums
- Cosigner release
- Income requirement
- Credit score minimum
Sounds easy enough, but there are a ton of student loan refinancing companies out there. This makes it hard to choose exactly which is the best for your exact financial situation, so where do you start?
Because in this article, we’ll show you the top 11 student loan refinancing options for 2019. We’ll dive deep and discuss each of the companies’ APRs and other notable features.
Let’s get started!
Splash offers loans between $25,001 and $346,000, so it has one of the highest maximums on the market. Variable interest loans start at 2.91% APR and fixed starts at 3.25% APR (capped at 10%).
Medical students have a special advantage at Splash. Its Residency Repayment Program gives medical students $1 per month payments during medical school, their residency, and 90 days following residency, so you’ll start saving money right away.
You can refer your friends to refinance their student loans with Splash too. If they sign up and refinance, you’ll both get a $250 cash bonus. You can use this towards your loans or get a check—nice!
LendKey has interest rates starting at 3.47% fixed APR and 2.51% variable APR, and offers standard loan lengths of 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years. Loan amount maximums vary by degree and top out at $300,000.
What makes LendKey unique is that their loans are financed by numerous community lenders. This includes local credit unions, banks, and others. This keeps expenses low for LendKey and allows them to pass some significant savings on to you, the consumer.
Credible is a student loan marketplace. Enter your details on their site, and you’ll be immediately shown your rates for up to 12 lenders at once, making it easy to comparison shop for the best rate.
We love Credible because you can comparison shop between all major (and not-so-major) banks at once. Gone are the days of manually loading tons of bank websites at once and having to manually check rates and terms.
Using Credible is super easy. Just fill out their simple secure info form, and you’ll be greeted with multiple student loan refinancing options in two minutes or less. You can even start the application process right on Credible’s site.
You can use Credible to search for more than just student loan refinances. They also have rates for new student loans, credit cards, mortgage refinances, and personal loans, so make sure to give them a shot before you borrow money. It can save you some serious dough!
Earnest is another great student loan refinancing company. It has rates starting at 2.47% variable APR and 3.89% fixed APR, giving you significantly lower rates than many of the big banks. They currently offer loan terms between five and twenty-five years, so you can pick your monthly payments.
When you apply for an Earnest loan, the company looks at more than just your finances. It also takes your savings, education, and earning potential into account, giving you more chances to show you’re a less risky borrower (and get lower rates!).
SoFi offers low variable and fixed rate loans from 2.47% APR and 3.89% APR respectively. For those opting for a variable rate loan, you can take peace of mind knowing that SoFi caps the LIBOR rate at 9.95%, so you’ll never experience a dramatic uptick in your interest rate.
SoFi can consolidate both federal and private loans together and comes with some other neat features like unemployment protection and career support. This can come in huge help for recent graduates.
Have friends that need a student loan refinance? Refer them to SoFi, and you’ll receive a $300 bonus when your friend refinances through SoFi. Your friend will get $100 too, so it’s a win-win for both of you.
Like Credible, LendEdu is a student loan refinancing marketplace. They tout some of the best financing rates on the market—in fact, rates start at 2.48% variable APR and 3.09% fixed APR. Use their quick-and-easy loan calculator for a fast quote.
After using the calculator, you’ll be presented with quotes from major student loan refinancers like SoFi, Earnest, and Citizens Bank. Find the plan that works for you and you’ll be taken right to the bank’s website to apply.
Like Credible, Lenedu also lets you compare personal loans, credit cards, and other financial products. This even includes more obscure financial products like pet insurance and scholarships, so it’s your one-stop-shop for all things finance.
ELFI—or Education Loan Finance—has interest rates starting at 2.55% variable APR, and 3.09% fixed APR. Even cooler, the company has a low minimum of just $15,000, making the more accessible to those almost done paying off larger loans, but still wanting to save money.
The company also has personal loan advisors for every user. This person will help you assess your options, find the right monthly payment, and otherwise advise you on loan specifics, so you’re never alone when shopping for your student loan refinance.
Another awesome ELFI feature is its pre-qualification process. Just fill out your information on their secure form, and you’ll see your rates in seconds. Better yet, the pre-qualification process only soft pulls your credit, so checking rates won’t affect your credit score.
Commonbond’s student loan refinancing service offers fixed, variable, and hybrid loans starting at 3.67%, 2.47%, and 4.35% APR respectively. The bank offers loan terms of up to 20 years too, something that’s good if you need more time to pay.
Thankfully, there are no origination or prepayment fees. In addition, Commonbond will give you a stellar 24 months of forbearance, so it’s easy to stay up with payments if you fall on hard times financially.
Another nice benefit on Commonbond is that they look at more than just your credit history. They’ll also take your major, school, and other factors to determine your creditworthiness. This is especially helpful for those with limited credit history or past mistakes.
Citizens Bank offers student loan refinances from 2.79% variable APR and 3.75% fixed APR. The bank also offers a way for parents to refinance loans while their child is still studying—this may be worth a look if you have a private loan with a less-than-optimal rate.
One nice thing about Citizens Bank is that you don’t need a specific degree to refinance through them. Instead, all you need is to have made on-time payments towards your student loans for 12 consecutive months before application—perfect if you’re taking a break from college.
Finally, you’ll get rate discounts for having an account with Citizens and signing up for auto payments. In the end, this makes for a total discount of .5%. Not too shabby!
First Tech Federal Credit Union
First Tech Fed offers three types of student loans: fixed term, balloon, and interest-only loans. As you’d expect, a fixed term is a standard student loan. However, a balloon loan lets you make small payments at the beginning of the loan, and then pay down 40% to 50% of the loan at the end of the 15-year term.
On the other hand, interest-only loans let you make smaller, interest-only payments for 1 to 10 years, and then pay the remainder of the principal over a 15-year term.
A standard, fixed-term loan starts at 3.35% APR, and Balloon and Interest-Only loans start at 6.10% APR and 5.85% APR respectively.
Last but not least, Laurel Road offers fixed and variable loans from 3.50% APR and 3.02% APR respectively. The Connecticut-based bank also has an interesting in-school loan program that has slightly lower rates than many of the traditional lenders.
Like Splash, Laurel Road has its own version of the Residency Refinancing Program—but it isn’t quite as great. The company offers $100 per month payments during residency. But on the plus side, your residency period can be up to 8 years, letting you defer larger payments until you have a job in your field.
Even cooler? You can get an estimate without giving Laurel Road any of your personal info. Just enter your loan amount, term, and rate type on their homepage, and you’ll be immediately presented with an estimated monthly payment.
Now, get out there and save some money!
And that’s a wrap! In this article, you got a look at the top 11 student loan refinancing options for 2019. Each of these options have their own pros and cons, so make sure to do your own research and find what’s best for your financial situation.
Let us know if you’ve used one of these student loan refinancing companies in the comments!