- We eliminated any lender that did not have at least an A rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). According to the BBB, ratings are determined based on factors such as a business’s complaint history, time in business, transparency, and any licensing and government actions known to the BBB.
Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank in 2019 and offers access to a variety of banking products, including student loan refinancing. Laurel Road also offers a checking account that can be connected to your refinancing application. If you open a checking account and set up monthly direct deposits, you may be eligible for a rate discount on your student loan. Another unique offering is a credit card that offers up to 2% back – and lets you apply those rewards toward your student loan debt.
Laurel Road offers multiple refinancing options, including on private parent loans, parent PLUS loans, federal loans, and graduate school loans. For those who are still in school, Laurel Road allows you to refinance while you’re in your final semester. One of the main drawbacks is that refinancing for associate degrees is limited to certain healthcare-related programs.
Earnest offers a variety of lending products, including private student loans and personal loans, in addition to student loan refinancing. Earnest is also launching a credit card designed to give up to 3% cash back toward paying down student debt.
Earnest has a list of additional eligibility requirements beyond the typical credit score and income criteria, including having enough in savings to cover at least two months’ worth of expenses. While the required credit score minimum is relatively low, at 650, Earnest is looking for information on how you manage your money. One of the main drawbacks is that, while you can improve your rate by adding a cosigner, there is no cosigner release. You’ll have to refinance into your own name if you want a cosigner off the loan later.
SoFi first made a name for itself in the student loan space, but the company has since branched out and offers an entire range of banking and investment products in addition to student loan refinancing. SoFi is known for its additional member perks, including a rate match offer, periodic sign-up bonuses for opening new accounts, as well as access to free financial planning and career coaching services.
SoFi requires that you refinance at least $5,000. The lender offers a rate match – and will give you $100 if you get a lower rate offer elsewhere. One drawback with SoFi is that it only offers a cosigner release on new private student loans, not on refinancing. If you apply with a cosigner, you won’t be able to release them without refinancing again.
Pentagon Federal Credit Union, or PenFed, offers a variety of banking products in addition to student loan refinancing, which is handled through Purefy. However, because PenFed is a credit union, you top article do have to meet certain requirements to join. Unlike some other credit unions, membership is easy to get and open to everyone – you just need to open a Share account (a regular savings account) or a Premium Online Savings Account and deposit at least $5.
If you’re interested in establishing a membership, a PenFed student loan refinance can make sense if you have a higher amount of student loan debt. The minimum required loan amount is higher than many other refinancing lenders, at $7,500, but you can borrow up to $500,000 to refinance all of your loans. While this high minimum can be a drawback if you don’t have a lot of loans, PenFed does offer a cosigner release after 12 months, which is a shorter time period than some other lenders. However, you must have a degree in order to qualify and the credit qualifications are stricter.