Best Student Loan Refinance Companies

Mike Brown
Updated: May 4, 2020
Verified by: Gary Ulrich CFP

Many or all of the companies featured provide compensation to LendEDU. These commissions are how we maintain our free service for consumers. Compensation, along with hours of in-depth editorial research, determines where & how companies appear on our site.

Refinancing your student loans can save you money and simplify repayment. We researched multiple lenders to find the best student loan refinance companies for borrowers. Having a good credit score or creditworthy cosigner can help you qualify for the lowest rates. You can also consolidate federal and private student loans together during the process.

Compare Student Loan Refinance Rates

Earnest
APR Range

1.81%-6.99%

Best For

High Loan Amounts

Variable Rates 3.50% - 8.72%
Fixed Rates 4.25% - 8.77%
Repayment Terms 5 - 20 years
Loan Minimum $5,000
Loan Maximum $500,000
Eligible Degrees Undergraduate & Graduate
Eligible Loans Private & Federal
Min. Annual Income No Minimum
Min. Credit Score Good or Excellent
State Restrictions Not available in DE, KY, NV
ELFi
APR Range

3.50%-6.69%

Best For

Transfer PLUS Loan to Child

Variable Rates 3.50% - 6.01%
Fixed Rates 4.25% - 6.69%
Repayment Terms 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Loan Minimum $15,000
Loan Maximum Total outstanding balance
Eligible Degrees Undergraduate & Graduate
Eligible Loans Private & Federal
Min. Annual Income $35,000
Min. Credit Score Good or Excellent
State Restrictions Available in all 50 states
Figure
APR Range

3.49%-5.97%1

Best For

Quick Funding

Variable Rates 3.49% - 5.97%
Fixed Rates 4.25% - 5.97%
Repayment Terms 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Loan Minimum $5,000
Loan Maximum $250,000
Eligible Degrees Undergraduate & Graduate
Eligible Loans Private & Federal
Min. Annual Income Not provided
Min. Credit Score 680
State Restrictions Not available in MS
Citizens Bank
APR Range

2.72%-7.32%2

Best For

Large Bank

Variable Rates 2.72% - 9.05%
Fixed Rates 3.79% - 9.30%
Repayment Terms 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20 years
Loan Minimum $10,000
Loan Maximum $500,000
Eligible Degrees Associate, Undergraduate, & Graduate
Eligible Loans Private & Federal
Min. Annual Income $24,000
Min. Credit Score Good or Excellent
State Restrictions Available in all 50 states
Splash Financial
APR Range

1.58%-8.28%

Best For

Those in Residency or Fellowship

Variable Rates 1.58% - 8.28%
Fixed Rates 2.88% - 7.48%
Repayment Terms 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20, or 25 years
Loan Minimum $5,000
Loan Maximum No Max
Eligible Degrees Undergraduate & Graduate
Eligible Loans Private & Federal
Min. Annual Income No Minimum
Min. Credit Score Good or Excellent
State Restrictions Available in all 50 states

Best Student Loan Refinance Companies

Below you will find our choices for the best student loan refinance companies based on the features our team deem the most important to consider when refinancing.

Each student loan refinance lender has its own underwriting criteria, so your approval odds may be higher at one lender than another. Having a good credit score or creditworthy cosigner can help you qualify for the best rates.

The following companies are our partners that have been vetted extensively by our Editorial Team. Our partners also update us of any product changes, so we can be sure to keep the information on this page accurate for our readers. Note that these lenders don’t represent all of the options available to you.

Click on a lender’s name to jump down to that section:

  • Best Overall: Earnest
  • Best for High Loan Amounts: Earnest
  • Best for Quick Funding: Figure
  • Best for Flexible Repayment: Earnest
  • Best for Large Bank: Citizens Bank
  • Best for Transferring Parent PLUS Loans to Child: ELFI
  • Best for Those in a Residency or Fellowship: Splash

Earnest: Best Overall, High Loan Amounts, Flexible Repayment

Earnest offers loans with competitive rates, high maximum loan amounts, and repayment flexibility for borrowers—making it our top choice for refinancing student loans.

There are 16 choices for repayment terms, so you can find an option that fits in your budget. In addition, Earnest serves a wide range of borrowers by refinancing loans anywhere from $5,000 to $500,000. If you need to refinance more than $500,000, ELFI is a great option with no maximum limit.

Another great benefit of Earnest is that you can pause payments by putting loans into forbearance in times of hardship. You also have the option to skip one payment annually, make biweekly automatic payments, and even change your repayment date.

View Rates

ELFI: 2nd Best Overall, Transferring Parent PLUS Loans to Child

ELFI makes our list as the second-best student loan refinance lender and the best lender for transferring Parent PLUS Loans to a child. Children who want to assume responsibility for loans their parents took out on their behalf can use a loan from ELFI to do so. While refinancing federal Parent PLUS Loans into a private loan means giving up important borrower protections, ELFI offers competitive rates and a variety of repayment terms that may make it worth it.

View Rates

Figure: Best for Quick Funding

Figure is one of the newest student loan refinancing companies, but they still offer a great product. Figure uses an automated application process and a blockchain to manage their underwriting and disbursement process, allowing approved applicants to complete the refinance process in a matter of days (as opposed to weeks with other lenders).

View Rates

Citizens Bank: Best for Large Bank

Citizens Bank makes our list of the best student loan refinance lenders as the best large bank. If you prefer an institution with a long track record of lending, physical branches, and a variety of other financial products, Citizens Bank is a great option. The bank offers low rates, cosigner release after 36 months of payments, and discounts of up to 0.50%.

View Rates

Splash Financial: Best for Refinancing While in a Residency of Fellowship

If you are in a medical residency or fellowship, refinancing with Splash gives you some unique benefits. You only have to pay $100 a month during your training and for six months after you finish. This can help keep your student loan payments manageable until you have secured a full-time job.

View Rates

How to Choose the Best Student Loan Refinance Company

With so many student loan refinance companies available, it can be difficult to choose one.

Typically, the best lender is whichever offers you the lowest interest rate. This is the main reason why most borrowers refinance, and the lower your rate, the more you will save.

Note that just because one lender might advertise the lowest rates, it doesn’t mean you will receive the best offer there. This is why it’s important to shop around and compare rates from multiple lenders before making your decision.

Aside from interest rates, there are also some other important things to consider, including the following:

  • Soft Credit Pull Availability: Most lenders let you check your rates through a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. When shopping around, be sure that lenders offer this (as opposed to a hard credit pull) before applying so your score won’t be impacted just for checking rates.
  • Interest Rate Discounts: Most lenders offer at least a 0.25% interest rate discount for making automatic payments. While this may not seem like a lot, it can make a big difference over the life of your loan. Some lenders offer additional discounts for things like having a bank account with them as well.
  • Available Repayment Terms: Your repayment term determines how long you have to make payments for. Shorter terms equal higher monthly payments but more savings, while longer terms equal lower monthly payments but less savings. Be sure to choose a lender that offers a repayment term that results in monthly payments that fit your budget.
  • Deferment & Forbearance Options: Some lenders allow you to temporarily stop making payments on your loans if you go back to school, are deployed in the military, enter into a medical residency, or are facing financial hardship. This can help you avoid defaulting on your loans if you can’t afford your payments. Just be aware that interest may still accrue during this time which would increase the total cost of your loan.
  • Fees: Most lenders don’t charge any fees during the entire refinancing process, but it’s always smart to double check before applying. Make sure the lenders you are considering don’t charge application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties.
  • If Cosigners Are Allowed: If you don’t have a great credit score or high income, a creditworthy cosigner may help you become eligible for a refinance loan that you wouldn’t have otherwise been eligible for. They can also help you qualify for lower rates. If you are planning to apply with a cosigner, check to see if the lender offers cosigner release. This allows you to remove the cosigner from their shared responsibility of the loan after a certain amount of on-time monthly payments.
  • Transferring Parent PLUS Loans to a Child: If your parent or guardian took out a Parent PLUS Loan to help pay for your education, you may be able to transfer the loan into your own name through refinancing. If this is something you are interested in, make sure the lender you apply with offers this feature. Be aware that refinancing federal student loans with a private lender will remove certain benefits such as having access to income-driven repayment plans and being eligible for student loan forgiveness.
  • Other Benefits Offered: Aside from those already mentioned, there are many other benefits that refinance companies offer. Check out lenders’ websites and chat with their representatives to see what else they offer that could help you out.

[Compare Student Loan Refinance Lenders]

Commonly Asked Student Loan Refinance Questions

We know student loan refinancing can seem complicated. That's why we decided to answer some of the most commonly asked questions to help borrowers better understand the process.

Refinancing student loans is a student loan repayment strategy for both private and/or federal student loan borrowers looking to reduce the overall cost of their loans.

It is important to know, however, that borrowers with federal student loans ensure that they don’t plan on taking advantage of income-driven repayment plans or federal forgiveness programs as they will lose access to these and other federal benefits. It’s also worth noting that federal student loans may be forgiven upon the borrower’s death, whereas private loans are not.

You can also consolidate your federal student loans with the government, but it will not save you money. If you are unsure whether you should refinance and consolidate your student loans with a private lender or consolidate with the government, our Student Loan Consolidation guide may be able to help you decide.

>> Read More: How to Pay Off Student Loans Fast

Borrowers can refinance student loans for multiple reasons, including the following:

  • To save money on their loans with lower interest rates
  • To choose new repayment terms (the scenarios below assume a lower rate)
    • Shorter repayment terms mean a higher monthly payment, but save you money on the total cost of your loan due to reduced interest accrual
    • Longer repayment terms mean a lower monthly payment, but possibly increase the total cost of your loan due to added interest accrual
  • To switch to a more helpful servicer
  • To remove a cosigner from your loan
  • To combine multiple loans into a single loan, with a single monthly payment

>> Read More: Should I Refinance My Student Loans?

There are many things that lenders consider when deciding if you are a good candidate for student loan refinancing. Here are what companies typically consider:

  • Eligible Loans: Most lenders refinance both federal and private student loans for undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. There may be additional criteria towards eligible degrees and schools.
  • Credit History: Most lenders look for a credit score of at least 660.
  • Repayment History: You will need to have a solid repayment history on your current student loans.
  • Employment History: You will need to demonstrate a stable employment history with an income sufficient enough to afford your new monthly payment.
  • Debt-to-Income Ratio: Some lenders may look at your debt-to-income ratio to gauge your ability to afford the monthly payments on your new loan. Ideally, your debt-to-income ratio should be 40% or less.
  • U.S. Citizenship: Most lenders require that you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or have a cosigner that is.
  • State Requirements: Some banks and lenders may only accept applicants from certain states.

If you can’t meet some of the criteria above, you may want to consider applying with a creditworthy cosigner. A cosigner can help you become eligible and give you access to lower student loan refinance rates.

Cosigning does come with some risks. Cosigners share equal responsibility for repayment and their credit will be affected if the borrower misses payments. If the primary borrower does not make payments, the cosigner will be responsible. However, many lenders do offer cosigner release after making a certain number of consecutive on-time payments.

If you have decided to refinance your student loans, the first thing to do is shop around and compare your options. Many student loan refinance lenders allow you to see your expected interest rate with a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score.

Once you review your offered student loan refinance rates, you can then finish the process by filling out a full application with the lender you choose. Submitting the full application may require a hard credit check and could affect your credit slightly.

It is free to refinance student loans. None of the lenders on this page that made the list of the best student loan refinance companies charge prepayment, application, or origination fees.

Yes, you can refinance student loans multiple times. Before doing so, carefully consider whether it makes financial sense to refinance the loan an additional time. You should only do this if you can receive a lower interest rate or want to consolidate another loan with your already refinanced loan.

Yes, parents may be able to transfer their Parent PLUS loan to their children through refinancing. Some of the best student loan refinance companies listed above offer this option. You can check the bulleted list within each lender review to find a company to work with.

>> Read More: Best Lenders to Refinance Parent PLUS Loans

There is no correct answer for whether to choose a variable or fixed interest rate. Variable rates typically start out lower but will fluctuate with the market (meaning they may end up increasing to more than the offered fixed rate) while fixed rates remain the same throughout the life of the loan.

A general rule of thumb is that if we’re experiencing a rising interest-rate market, a fixed-rate loan may be a better choice. If we’re in a falling interest-rate market, a variable-rate loan may make more sense. However, this may be a conversation to have with a financial planner or CPA.

Student Loan Refinancing Resources



[Compare Student Loan Refinance Lenders]