Most Reliable Student Loan Refinance in 2022

These days, the cost of university education has become so steep that relying only on disposable income is impossible for the majority of students. For students and graduates having a hard time paying for loans, there are refinance companies for student loans that can give flexible options to help them keep up with their financial obligations.

If you’re looking for some of the best student loan refinance companies, this article lists five reputable lenders that you should look into.

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1. Discover

Discover student loan refinancing offers flexible repayment schemes for those in very tight financial situations. Applying is easy and convenient; can be done via their website. Full Review

  • Choice of interest applied
  • No penalties
  • Many options for repayment
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Discover student loan refinancing offers flexible repayment schemes for those in very tight financial situations. Applying is easy and convenient; can be done via their website. Full Review

Features

5/5

Fees

5/5

Ease of sign up

4/5

Ease of funding/deposit

5/5

2. Credible

Credible offers student loan refinancing services by connecting you with different lending institutions. You can easily prequalify through their website and choose among different lenders according to their respective offers. Full Review

  • Easy application
  • Has many reputable partner lenders
  • Able to compare multiple lenders at the same time
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Credible offers student loan refinancing services by connecting you with different lending institutions. You can easily prequalify through their website and choose among different lenders according to their respective offers. Full Review

Features

4/5

Fees

Depends on chosen lender

Ease of sign up

5/5

Ease of funding/deposit

Depends on chosen lender

3. CommonBond

CommonBond offers student loan refinancing for eligible applicants with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Their program has flexible repayment options while also having one of the longest forbearances in the market. Full Review

  • Good customer service
  • Referral bonuses
  • Long forbearance
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CommonBond offers student loan refinancing for eligible applicants with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Their program has flexible repayment options while also having one of the longest forbearances in the market. Full Review

Features

5/5

Fees

N/A

Ease of sign up

5/5

Ease of funding/deposit

5/5

4. LendKey

LendKey is a platform that matches borrowers to smaller financial institutions for student loan refinancing services. They have an easy-to-use interface that takes only a few minutes to get a quote, and their services are available for holders of different degrees. Full Review

  • No prepayment penalties
  • Available for holders of associate to doctorate degrees
  • Long forbearance
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LendKey is a platform that matches borrowers to smaller financial institutions for student loan refinancing services. They have an easy-to-use interface that takes only a few minutes to get a quote, and their services are available for holders of different degrees. Full Review

Features

4/5

Fees

5/5

Ease of sign up

5/5

Ease of funding/deposit

Depends on chosen lender

5. SoFi

Sofi’s student loan refinancing services offer great perks at very competitive interest rates. Qualifications are quite high, but once eligible, borrowers can enjoy unique benefits such as personalized career coaching and other professional investment advice. Full Review

  • Highly competitive rates
  • Has unemployment protection
  • Approved customers can apply for other loans at discounted rates
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Sofi’s student loan refinancing services offer great perks at very competitive interest rates. Qualifications are quite high, but once eligible, borrowers can enjoy unique benefits such as personalized career coaching and other professional investment advice. Full Review

Features

5/5

Fees

5/5

Ease of sign up

3/5

Ease of funding/deposit

5/5

6. College Ave Student Loans

College Ave provides student loans at a competitive rate and does not have high requirements. The loan amount begins with $1,000 and goes up to the school's certified cost of attendance. It also offers a bonus of $150 once the candidate finishes the degree. Full Review

  • Fast approval
  • No origination or repayment fee
  • Competitive interest rates
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College Ave provides student loans at a competitive rate and does not have high requirements. The loan amount begins with $1,000 and goes up to the school's certified cost of attendance. It also offers a bonus of $150 once the candidate finishes the degree. Full Review

Features

5/5

Fees

5/5

Ease of sign up

3/5

Ease of funding/deposit

5/5

How We’ve Come Up With This List – Our Methodology

In bringing you the top student loan refinance companies, here are some of the important factors we’ve considered:

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)We’re including companies with different APRs from the lowest up to the highest.
  • Fees – Aside from student loan refinance rates, we’ll also be letting you know about various fees and what each company may waive.
  • Repayment Plan – We’ve taken note of the different repayment plans and loan terms and how they can be beneficial to every borrower’s situation.
  • Additional Benefits Some companies have unique benefits compared to others; we’ll make sure to let you know what sets them apart.

Detailed Reviews

Discover
Discover
Discover

Best for Repayment Flexibility

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  • Many options for repayment
  • Choice of interest applied
  • No penalties
  • Can’t refinance postgraduate loans
  • High interest rates

Discover offers student loan refinance options for those who may wish to restructure an existing federal or private student loan; they may want to reduce the stress of financial obligations. Those interested have plenty of repayment options which gives lots of flexibility, especially for struggling borrowers. 

You can refinance loans of $5,000 or above. You can also choose whether you’d like a fixed or variable interest rate. One of the immediate benefits of receiving a student loan refinance from Discover is that they don’t change any usual fees typically associated with student debt. Three are no fees for application, prepayment, origination, or penalties for late payments or insufficient funding. 

If you change your mind about the student loan refinance rates you agreed to or the loan terms within three days after final disclosure, you can request a cancelation without any penalties or charges. Borrowers have a wide array of choices for repayment which include deferment, payment reduction, forbearance, payment extension, and more. Applying is also very easy and can be done online via their website.

A limitation of Discover that other student loans refinance companies have is that you can’t refinance postgraduate loans. Compared to the competition, they also impose higher interest rates.

Discover gets mixed reviews from customers but generally leans towards the positive side. While many complained about the high-interest rates, their flexible repayment schemes are still a great advantage to many.

Fees None
Minimum credit score 670
Variable APR 1.87 – 5.87%
Fixed APR 3.49 – 6.99%
College Ave Student Loans
College Ave Student Loans
College Ave Student Loans

Best for 600+ Credit Scores

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  • Competitive interest rates
  • Fast approval
  • No origination or repayment fee
  • Financial hardships handled on case-to-case basis

College Ave’s loans are available for all levels of education like graduate, undergraduate, or other career programs. The loans are sanctioned quickly and you will immediately be informed whether you’re approved after filing your information.

It does not charge any application or orientation fee. But the late fee is $25 or 5% of the unpaid monthly payment.
College Ave has not disclosed the exact FICO credit score required to qualify for the loan. However, you must have a score of mid-600 with an 80% debt-to-income ratio. Applicants must also have several years of credit history to get approved. Luckily, prequalification is possible.

The loan amount begins from $5,000, with most degrees getting $150,000, and select professional degrees being approved for $300,000. You can also get a co-signer to increase your chances of getting approved.

College Ave Student Loans offers a 0.25% rate reduction if you opt for automatic payments.

Fees None
Minimum credit score Mid-600s
Fixed APR 2.99% – 4.89%
Variable APR 2.94% – 4.79%
Credible
Credible
Credible

Best for Those Who Like to Compare Various Lenders

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  • Able to compare multiple lenders at the same time
  • Easy application
  • Has many reputable partner lenders
  • You’ll need to do your research on the different lenders
  • Not the actual lender

Credible lets eligible borrowers choose the best student loan refinancing options through their web platform. The service is offered to those who meet the minimum requirements and can be applied to private and federal student loan accounts.

Note, however, that Credible itself is not the lender, rather, serves as a platform that lets you compare and choose from the many financial institutions collated on their website.

Knowing where to refinance your student loans is quick and easy. You can start your application form by clicking on the Find My Rate button. Inquiries at this stage are soft inquiries so this will not impact your credit score.

After filling out all the necessary information, you’ll be taken to the next page where you’ll see the various offers from different online lenders you’re qualified for. Once you’ve chosen a lender that suits your preferences, you can start applying! At this point, your information will be verified. If everything is consistent, you’re likely to get the same rates previously offered.

Some of the best banks to refinance student loans that have partnered with Credible include Advantage, Brazoz, Citizens Bank, College Ave, and more. Since Credible is not the direct lender, experiences may vary depending on which particular lender is being used.

Fees Depends on chosen lender
Minimum credit score Depends on chosen lender
Variable APR Depends on chosen lender
Fixed APR Depends on chosen lender
CommonBond
CommonBond
CommonBond

Best for Long Forbearance Program

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  • Long forbearance
  • Referral bonuses
  • Good customer service
  • Not available in Mississippi and Nevada
  • Borrowers must have a degree

CommonBond’s student loan refinancing is available for qualified graduates who want to reset their student debt payments. They have competitive rates and offer flexibility on repayment schemes to give borrowers the most amount of breathing room.

To qualify for any of their student loan refinance options, the borrower must have graduated with a bachelor’s degree or higher. The school that the borrower has attended must be authorized to receive federal aid, and the borrower must have a minimum credit score of 680. Other standard requirements to be eligible include being a US citizen, or at least a permanent resident. The service is available to customers across 48 states, excluding Nevada and Mississippi. 

One of the best areas of CommonBond’s program is forbearance. CommonBond stretches its forbearance for up to 24 months, which is longer than some of the highly demanded student loan refinancing companies out there. If the borrower becomes permanently disabled, the loan will automatically be forgiven. Monthly payments can also be deferred if the borrower enters an internship, fellowship, or residency – as long as a signed job offer letter can be presented. 

For additional benefits, customers who give successful referrals to CommonBond are awarded a $200 referral bonus. CommonBond is also lauded for its customer service, where each borrower can be assigned a dedicated representative upon request. As for loan payoff, once a borrower gets approved, CommonBond can process a payoff within five business days.

Fees Not published
Minimum credit score 680
Variable APR 1.99 – 5.61%
Fixed APR 2.98 – 5.79%
LendKey
LendKey
LendKey

Best for Borrowers Who Like to Transact With Smaller Institutions

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  • Available for holders of associate to doctorate degrees
  • Long forbearance
  • No prepayment penalties
  • No deferment for military service
  • Not available in some states

For those looking for some of the most diverse student loan refinance options, LendKey has a great platform that connects borrowers with credit unions and community banks. LendKey’s services are offered to eligible borrowers who prefer transactions with smaller financial institutions.

The application process begins with a prequalification assessment through their website. In the student loan refinancing section, you can click on the Check Your Rate button to start filling out the necessary information. You’ll be asked for personal details such as your name and address; note that only citizens of the US or those who have permanent resident status are eligible to apply.

You must have already completed an associate, bachelor, master, or doctorate to qualify. You’ll also be asked for your end goal with the loan: trying to pay it off fast or paying less per month, for example. This will help LendKey determine the most attractive student loan refinance rates and program options to offer based on your particular situation.

After providing all the information needed, the system will generate a quote with the initial interest rates. The process is only a soft check, so an inquiry does not affect your credit score. Loan terms can be five, seven, ten, 15, or 20 years. If you’d like to pay for full or part of your mortgage ahead of schedule, LendKey has no prepayment penalties. Forbearance offered is also generous, which stretches up to 18 months. 

LendKey, however, does not offer services in Nevada, Maine, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. They also do not offer deferment for those who joined the military. 

Fees Depends on chosen lender
Minimum credit score 680
Variable APR 1.91 – 5.25%
Fixed APR 2.95 – 7.63%
SoFi
SoFi
SoFi

Best for Borrowers With Excellent Credit Scores

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  • Approved customers can apply for other loans at discounted rates
  • Highly competitive rates
  • Has unemployment protection
  • High qualifications
  • Weak forbearance program

If you’re looking to refinance your student debt to give you financial breathing room, SoFi offers its services at zero fees, though the qualifications are rather steep. For those who are eligible, SoFi can offer the best options to refinance student loans.

To begin with applying, there are standard qualifications such as asking if you are a US citizen or permanent resident over the age of 18. The next criteria are more scrutinizing. For one, you need to have excellent credit: you should have a credit score of 700 or above. You must have a stable income and employment, and you also must have graduated with an associate degree or higher from a top-ranking school with Title IV accreditation. 

If a borrower becomes suddenly unemployed, SoFi has a forbearance program as unemployment protection. This comes in helpful for such situations, but compared with the forbearance programs of other private student loan refinance companies, SoFi’s is nothing special. For those who are under their entrepreneurship program, they offer a six-month deferment. Keep in mind that interest continues to accrue during forbearance and deferment periods, though.

SoFi’s unique perks and additional benefits include eligibility to get their other loans at discounted rates, an invitation to member-exclusive events, one-on-one career coaching services, and investing advice with licensed financial advisors.

Fees None
Minimum credit score 700
Variable APR 2.25 – 6.43%
Fixed APR 2.99 – 6.88%

A Buyer’s Guide to Best Student Loan Refinance Companies

Finding a suitable company to refinance your student loan is not easy in spite of the fact that there aren’t many lenders. First of all, you need to know how to compare the options, more on which we tell in the next section.

Things to Consider Before Applying for a Refinance

Thinking about getting your student loan refinanced? Here are some things that you need to know. 

  • Credit score/credit history – The most convenient student loan refinance rates are always awarded to those with high credit scores. You should learn about bad credit personal loans if you have low credit scores.
  • Interest rates – These will depend on the overall assessment of the borrower’s profile and financial history. 
  • Loan terms – Generally, the longer the term, the higher the interest will be, but you’ll have more spending room each month as regular payments are lower. 
  • Amount of existing debt – This includes other debts like home loans, car loans, and credit card loans. Speaking of credit cards, check out our list of the most popular credit cards for students and the top credit cards for young adults
  • Minimum credit score – Lenders have different cutoffs for the minimum credit score to be eligible. Most lenders that require higher scores usually offer more perks. If you don’t cut it, try going for other options like companies that issue loans to borrowers with bad debts
  • Loan amount – Loan amounts depend on your need, but generally, the best companies for refinancing student loans require a minimum of $5,000 to be able to apply. 
  • Fixed interest rate – This means that borrowers have the same rate from the start of the term until the end.
  • Variable interest rate – This means that borrowers can have an advantage when the rate fluctuates lower; the rate can always move higher, though.

Student Loan Refinance Eligibility

If you’re starting to consider student loans refinance option to ease your financial burden, you must be:

  • A citizen or a permanent resident of the US

This is the first and foremost requirement to qualify for student loan refinance services. If you’re not a US citizen, you must be at least a permanent resident. 

  • Attending college in the US

The institution that you graduated from must be an American school located in the United States. 

  • Free of too much debt

Lenders will look at your credit records and check for outstanding debt. It’s okay to have other debts aside from your student loan as long as it’s not too substantial to make lenders question your capacity to pay. 

  • Up to date with other loan obligations

If you have other obligations such as a car or housing loans, you want to show lenders that you are diligent in paying your dues. 

  • Someone with a stable income

Banks that refinance student loans have to know that you can pay; this means giving them proof of stable income. This can be through employment, a business, or any other income-generating activity as long as it’s continuous and stable. 

  • Free of bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcies stains your financial reputation. If you’ve already filed for bankruptcy in the past, this will slim down your eligibility in securing a student loan refinance service.

How to Refinance Student Loans

Once you’ve decided to have your student loans refinanced, here are the next steps you should take to get the best out of the student loan refinance options.

  • Check your financial standing 

Look over your records for any outstanding debt. As already mentioned, lenders want to be assured that you can pay them, so it’s best to have a clean credit history. You’ll also want to consider getting out of debt even if the situation appears desperate. 

  • Research lenders

Before you sign a contract with anyone, you should research the student loan refinance options such as the ones mentioned in this article. 

  • Compare offers from lenders

Each lender makes different offers, with each also having various requirements. The right student loan refinance option should be the one that can leave you with the most savings

  • Apply

Once you’ve made your choice, start filling out an application!

Student Loan Refinance vs Student Loan Consolidation

Student loans refinance options and student loan consolidation help ease the burden of student loans by transferring several loans to one single account. That said, there are differences between the two to take note of. One of the main differences is that consolidation can only combine federal student loan accounts into one federal loan account, while refinancing can combine both federal and private loans into one private loan account. You also can’t lower interest rates using consolidation. 

An advantage of consolidation, however, is that you have the option to claim federal loan protections, repayment options, and forgiveness plans – all of which are not available from student loan refinance companies.

Pros and Cons of Student Loan Refinancing

PROS

  • Save on money

Saving through refinancing can be achieved since one of the main features of student loan refinancing is the option for lower rates

  • Pay debt faster

Aside from being able to save money through the lower interest rate, more money going to the principal means the faster you can get to complete your payments. 

  • Reduce your monthly burden

Another adjustment you can make when refinancing your student loan is to extend your paying period. This means that you have fewer monthly payments as the difference can be spread over a longer period. This may also mean that you’ll end up paying more, but it would fit your strategy if your goal is to have fewer monthly burdens. 

  • One easy bill to pay

If you took on several loans for your education, it can get confusing just having to remember different schedules to keep up with monthly dues. The top student loan refinance companies pool together all these different loans so you’ll only have to pay a single lender instead of many, while also enjoying better rates and more favorable terms.

CONS

  • The interest rate might not be as low as you’d expect

You may have been offered a good fixed rate during your student loan refinance prequalification, but if your credit score doesn’t make the favorable cut after the hard credit check, chances are that the rate you’ll be offered may not be significantly lower at all.

  • It may take a longer time to pay off a loan

As mentioned previously, you may be able to lessen the amount you pay every month, but that’s at the expense of a longer paying period. Having the advantage of a smaller monthly commitment would mean extending the length of time that you’ll be paying.

  • You’ll lose qualification for federal loan forgiveness

There are certain instances when the government can simply write off your student loan debts for federal student loan accounts. Once you’ve chosen to have these loans refinanced by private student loan refinance companies, you’ll lose this eligibility for write-off as private institutions do not have any such programs.

Wrap Up

According to student loan debt statistics, taking loans to fund college education has become the norm given the high cost of getting a degree. For those who find it very difficult to keep up with payments of their student loans, some private lenders offer student loan refinancing. These private lenders pay off your loans, and as you shift all your accounts to them, give you the benefits of restructuring terms and recomputation of interest rates

If you pass the eligibility requirements and have a good credit record, having your student loans refinanced by the top-rated student loan refinance institutions has lots of benefits. Among the possible perks are lower interest rates, lighter monthly burdens, and the ease of tracking just one account. 

Top-Rated Student Loan Refinance Options at a Glance

Bank Best for Variable APR Fixed APR Fees Minimum credit score
Discover Repayment flexibility 1.87 – 5.87%  3.49 – 6.99% None 670
Credible Those who like to compare various lenders Depends on lender Depends on lender Depends on lender Depends on lender
CommonBond Long forbearance program 1.99 – 5.61% 2.98 – 5.79% Not published 680
LendKey Borrowers who like to transact with smaller institutions 1.91 – 5.25% 2.95 – 7.63% Depends on lender 680
SoFi Borrowers with excellent credit scores 2.45 – 6.43% 2.99 – 6.88% None 700
CollegeAve Lower credit scores 1.04%-11.98% 3.34%-12.99% None 600

FAQ

Should I get a loan consolidation or loan refinancing?

As mentioned earlier, choosing either one can be beneficial depending on your goals. If you’re contemplating claiming forgiveness plans in the future, then it’s better to stick with consolidation. If your goal is to save on interests, refinancing should be your choice.

What are the consequences of not paying student loans?

If you stop paying student loans, interest will eventually pile up, making your balance balloon. Once your account gets tagged for collection, you’ll also be slapped with additional fees. This will give you a bad credit score and you’ll have difficulty securing loans in the future. Choosing a lender with the lowest student loan refinance rates can help keep you from defaulting.

What is the minimum credit score to be eligible for student loan refinancing?

One of the things that lenders look at when assessing eligibility for student loan refinancing is a credit score. The higher the credit score, the better your chances are of getting approved. Lenders may have different requirements, but in general, a score of 670 is the baseline for qualification. Check out the best student loan refinance companies listed here for their respective requirements!