One of the biggest lessons to learn in life is that debt is a double-edged sword. Whether it’s your home or car, you know what it feels like when the payments are coming due, and you suddenly realize you aren’t able to make ends meet. Here is the best student loan refinance rates 2021.
But there’s another kind of debt – education debt.
With student loans, it can be even trickier because unlike most other debts (like a house or car), this type of resource cannot be physically repossessed.
Ironically, though, this form of collateral remains the only thing that makes college educational experiences possible for many people around America and beyond!
Fortunately, refinancing student loans has become easier than ever before, and we’ve put together a list of 10 lenders who specialize in student loan refinancing for you to check out.
We’ve done all the heavy lifting so that your only task is to reap the benefits of lower monthly payments, fewer interest fees, and more time before retirement!
So without further ado, here are 10 lenders refinancing student loans now:
#1. Advantage Education Loans – Best Private Student Loan Refinance
Advantage has three benefit-packed repayment plans: the Advantage Student Loan (for borrowers with established credit), Advantage PLUS (for those with a credit score of 680+), and Advantage Private Consolidation Loan.
When you sign up for one of their loans, you’ll be pre-qualified, so your application process is significantly smoother than if you applied elsewhere.
The company also offers free consolidation, which means there’s no fee to consolidate existing Loans under Advantage Education Loans as long as it’s within 180 days from the original loan disbursement date; interest rates range from 2.93% to 8.09%.
You may qualify for a 0.25% rate reduction after making 24 consecutive on-time principal and interest payments and earn $100 for each $1000 you pay off over the life of your loan.
SoFi recently rolled out its latest refinancing plan, SoFi 20s, which is only available to borrowers who graduated in or after 2014 with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
As long as you qualify, your interest rates will drop to 2.57% APR during the first two years (you must consolidate within 203 days) and 3.89% – 5.74% after that (your choice).
If you’re early on in your career and could use the extra cash flow, that means savings of over $10k during repayment!
There are other benefits too: if you haven’t taken out any student loans in the last 5 years, you can receive $100-$500 towards your loan payments.
CommonBond is one of the original student refinancing lenders and has received a ton of accolades for its products – it’s currently ranked #1 on Forbes’ list of Best Private Student Loans.
It’s also been recognized by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance among other leading publications and organizations for their competitive interest rates (starting at 3.49%) and strong career support services for members.
As an added bonus, there are no origination fees or pre-payment penalties if you decide to pay off your loan before the agreed-upon repayment term.
And yep, that means savings for borrowers who plan on paying off early!
#4. Citizens Bank
If you’re unsure about what repayment plan is best for your budget, or if you need a co-signer to apply for a loan, Citizens Bank has a ton of flexible options.
Just enter how much you want to borrow, and an online tool will help match you with the best one that fits your needs.
They also provide automatic payment discounts up to 5% based on enrollment in direct debit from your bank account as well as autopay from another account.
Interest rates are fixed from 2.74 – 7.74% APR depending on credit score and residency status, so there’s no confusion or surprises down the line!
Other benefits include free financial education, free identity theft protection, and restoration services, and a member concierge for every new loan made.
Earnest is an under-the-radar student refinancing lender that’s received consistent praise from Forbes, New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
All you have to do is fill out an application, and you’ll get personalized rates in less than 5 minutes after submitting your supporting documents!
Once approved, you can select your repayment term (3 years or 5 years) and see your customized monthly payments before agreeing to anything.
Earnest offers benefits beyond their low-interest rates: there are no origination fees if you decide not to use their financing when pre-qualified at a lower rate, and if you pay off your loan early, you can receive a one-time partial refund of any interest paid during that period.
#6. CommonWealth One
This lender is slightly different from the rest in that it caters to graduates pursuing an MBA or another graduate degree at a business school in the U.S.
If accepted, repayment terms for all loans are 36 months with an interest rate of 8.99% APR (fixed).
There’s also a co-signer release option after 36 months of on-time payments which means no credit check – make sure to inquire about this feature when applying!
#7. Brazons Laureate Education
With a flexible repayment program and no application fee (or prepayment penalty), Brazons Laureate is another great lender for borrowers with average to below-average credit scores.
Brazos has partnerships with over 180 international schools worldwide, so flying the coop for an education doesn’t mean you have to give up on repaying your loans!
The only downside is that there’s no option for 0% interest loans like most top lenders.
#8. College Ave
If you’re a non-U.S. citizen, College Ave is one of the most competitive lenders with fixed rates starting at 6.49% APR and low origination fees!
Unlike some other refinancing companies that require borrowers to have at least 5 years of work experience in order to qualify, College Ave considers all types of credit – it’s best if your score is around 700 or higher but not necessary for approval.
For ED employees and alumni, this lender has flexible payment plans, low origination fees (0%), no-prepayment penalties, and pretty decent interest rates (starting at 4.13%).
Unfortunately, there’s not much more information readily available about the process to refinance student loans with them – however, they do claim you can get pre-qualified within minutes!
This refinancing company is one of the few that offers loans to borrowers with non-traditional credit histories or a lower credit score.
And for those pursuing a degree at a NACBA-accredited institution, you may be eligible for a 0% interest rate!
A 5-minute application process and quick response time make INvestEd worth the look if you need help financing your dream school.
What happens when you refinance a student loan?
With student loan refinancing, you can get a single, consolidated monthly payment, more favorable rates based on your credit score and income, and the removal of early repayment penalties.
Of course, there are some cases in which it makes sense not to refinance (or consolidate), like if you’re looking for government loans like PAYE or REPAYE.
Why would you refinance student loans?
We all know that interest rates on student loans keep growing and growing (the bigger the principal, the more you will pay), so it makes sense to find a bank offering better terms.
Refinancing your student loan might be worthwhile if:
- You have decent credit;
- You can make larger monthly payments;
- Your credit card balances are high enough to justify switching (and closing) them out; and/or
- It’s time to lower your rates and fees by refinancing to today’s best lenders.
With that in mind, we’ve found 10 lenders who specialize in refinancing student loans–some of which offer interesting perks for borrower loyalty, etc.
There are many reasons to refinance your student loan–improving your credit score, lowering monthly payments, closing out high-interest balances–making it worthwhile for many people to look around at their
“What can I do with my savings?”
It may seem weird to think about refinancing student loans in terms of the cost-benefit analysis, but that’s exactly what you should be thinking about when you refinance and consolidate your student debt.
As soon as you’ve successfully completed a loan transaction and updated your credit report at all three major bureaus (Experian TransUnion, and Equifax), you’ll immediately see the benefits:
- lower interest rates, more manageable payments (with flexible repayment options),
- shorter repayment periods (if necessary) and
- an immediate boost to your credit score!
If you want to get out of paying private consolidation loans, then refinancing is probably not for you. Just take it from someone who knows better!