Personal loans can be a great way to get cash quickly for a variety of financial needs such as home improvement, car repairs, medical bills, and debt consolidation. A personal loan offers borrowers a lump sum of money that is repaid over a specific period of time, usually with lower interest rates than what they’d find with credit cards.
Borrowers with longer-term financial needs often prefer personal loans to credit cards because of these benefits. Sometimes, though, there may be a need to refinance personal loan debt to lower your interest rate, bring down your monthly payment, or even access additional funds.
The good news is that you can refinance a personal loan. Below, we show you what refinancing does, how it works, the lenders that offer personal loan refinancing as an option, and the benefits and risks involved in the process.
On this page:
- How to Refinance a Personal Loan
- Lenders That Will Allow You to Refinance a Personal Loan
- When You Should Refinance a Personal Loan
- When You Shouldn’t Refinance a Personal Loan
How to Refinance a Personal Loan
When you refinance a personal loan, you are paying off the balance of your existing loan with proceeds from a new loan. This results in a single loan that, hopefully, saves you money with a better rate or better loan terms — or both.
Here’s what you need to know about refinancing a personal loan and how the process works. Remember, you’ll need a solid credit history and steady income to qualify for the best rates.
Shop Around for the Best Lender
You can refinance your personal loan with your current lender in some cases, or you may need to find a new lender that offers personal loan refinancing. Before you apply, it is important to shop around with various lenders to make sure you’re getting the best deal in terms of the interest rate, loan terms, and monthly payment amount.
>> Read More: Best personal loan companies
Calculate the Costs of Refinancing
Once you have narrowed down your options to the best potential lenders, use a personal loan calculator your refinancing costs, which may include things like application fees, origination or funding fees, and loan processing fees. You should also find out if your current lender imposes prepayment penalties.
You’ll want to weigh the upfront cost of refinancing against any potential savings you may gain with a new loan. If the closing costs are too high, it may negate the lower monthly payments or other benefits you’re looking for with a refinanced personal loan.
Make Sure Your Old Loans are Paid Off
You also want to pay close attention to how your existing loan is repaid. Before you even start the process of refinancing, you need to make sure there are no prepayment fees or penalties associated with paying off your original loan early.
You may be given the option of letting your new lender automatically transfer the funds to repay your existing loan versus receiving the funds directly. In either scenario, you should contact your existing lender to verify the old loan has a zero balance.
Lenders That Will Allow You to Refinance a Personal Loan
SoFi is an online lender that offers personal loan refinancing to current customers who have made at least three payments on their current loan. With SoFi, a qualified borrower can get a new, no-fee personal loan of up to $100,000 with annual percentage rates ranging from 5.99% to 16.24%. Loan repayment terms can extend up to seven years depending on the amount of the loan.
A minimum credit score of 660 is required for a SoFi personal loan, so you may have to consider other lenders if your credit report has a few negative marks.
Prosper is an online lender that utilizes crowdfunding from investors to make personal loans available to borrowers. Loan amounts are available up to $40,000 for qualified borrowers, with APRs ranging from 6.95% to 35.99%. Repayment terms can be either three or five years depending on the amount of the loan.
Unfortunately, a minimum credit score of 640 is required.
It’s unclear whether Prosper offers personal loan refinancing to current borrowers; however, you do have the option of using a Prosper personal loan to pay off a separate loan with another lender.
Upgrade is a personal loan lender that offers personal loan refinancing to current borrowers. Upgrade offers loan amounts up to $50,000, with APRs between 7.99% and 35.89% and repayment terms of either three or five years. All Upgrade personal loans charge origination fees ranging from 1.5% to 6%. Borrowers need to have a minimum credit score of 620 to be eligible.
Given the fees associated with an Upgrade personal loan, you’ll need to consider whether refinancing with Upgrade is cost-effective in the long run.
When You Should Refinance a Personal Loan
As long as the cost of refinancing is not greater than the potential savings, it may be a smart move to refinance your personal loan, especially if interest rates have fallen or your credit score has improved significantly since you first borrowed.
You may be able to get a shorter repayment term on your new loan so you can pay off the balance earlier; although it will increase the total interest you pay over time, opting for a longer loan term to lower your monthly payments is another potential benefit.
If your personal loan has a variable rate, you may want to refinance to a personal loan with a fixed interest rate instead. This takes away some of the uncertainty that comes with market interest rate increases and the potential of higher monthly payments that could stretch your budget. Switching to a fixed-rate loan can help borrowers gain predictability with their loan payments moving forward.
When You Shouldn’t Refinance a Personal Loan
Unfortunately, refinancing is not always free. Some lenders charge origination and processing fees, application fees, and other fees that can equal as much as 8% of the loan amount. This eats away at any savings you may receive with a lower rate. Before refinancing your personal loan, carefully consider the total costs relative to your potential savings.
A personal loan is a smart alternative to a credit card if you need cash for an expense you can’t afford to pay outright. Once you have a personal loan, you can refinance the loan in order to take advantage of lower interest rates or lower payments.
Be sure to consider your potential monthly savings or other changes to your loan terms — as well as any fees associated with the new loan — before deciding whether refinancing your personal loan makes sense for you.
Author: Melissa Horton
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