You’re not stuck with your current student loan repayment plan.
Just as the number of federal student loan repayment options has grown recently, so has the number of private lenders competing to refinance your debt.
Below are five of the best-known companies that refinance federal and private education debts. The information in the chart was supplied by each company and not independently verified. As you'll see, their average interest rate reductions and average amounts saved vary, in part because some companies favor borrowers with higher interest rates and debt loads.
To help determine which of these companies (if any) would be the best fit for refinancing your loan, try Credible’s calculator, where you can enter your personal details and see the loan terms each lender is likely to offer.
Finally, one big caveat: If you refinance a federal student loan with one of these private lenders, you will be giving up some consumer protections associated with federal loans, such as loan forgiveness for public service jobs and the ability to enroll in an income-based repayment plan.
|5 Big Private Refinancers|
These are five of the best-known companies that refinance existing student loans—and how much money they say they could save you.
|Company||Who qualifies?||APR||Repayment period||Monthly payment||Avg. interest rate reduction||Avg. savings per borrower||Min. debt required|
|Citizens Bank||Must have made three on-time loan payments, or 12 payments if borrower lacks a bachelor's degree. Need strong credit history and a minimum annual income of $24,000. Can have a co-signer.||Fixed: 4.7%-8.9%|
|5, 10, 15, and 20-year terms||No answer||1.5%||$135 per month||$10,000|
|CommonBond||Graduated. Employed or have proof of a job offer. Have good income and credit history. Can have a co-signer.||Fixed: 3.7%-6.5%|
Variable: 1.9%-4.9% Hybrid: 4.2%-5.6%
|5, 10, 15, and 20-year terms, plus a 10-year hybrid that combines fixed and variable interest rates||Can adjust monthly payment through loan servicer.||No answer||$14,000||$3,500|
|Darien Rowayton Bank||Graduated. Employed. Need minimum FICO score of 680. Can have a co-signer.||Fixed: 3.5%-6.3%|
|5, 7, 10, 15, and 20-year terms||Must be paid in equal monthly amounts.||2%||$15,000||$5,000|
|Earnest||Graduated. Employed or have written offer to start work. Reside in one of 37 states Earnest services. Have good savings and payment history. Can have a co-signer.||Fixed: 3.5%-7.3%|
|Anywhere between 5 and 20 years, to the nearest month||Can increase or decrease monthly payment through website's "loan dashboard."||2.4%||$17,936||$5,000|
|SoFi||Graduated. Employed or have an offer to start within 90 days. Meet SoFi's income and payment history requirements. Not available for Nevada residents.||Fixed: 3.5%-7.2%|
Variable: 1.9%-5.2%(Capped at 8.9% for 5, 7, 10 year terms and 9.9% for 15, 20 year terms.)
|5, 7, 10, 15, or 20-year term||Can increase or decrease monthly payments when needed.||3%||$14,000||$10,000|