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Best Student Loan Refinancing Companies of 2020

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An estimated $2,858 in student debt is accrued in the U.S. every second. Carrying the weight of these loans can be a heavy burden for many of us to bear.

Refinancing your student loan debt can help ease that weight and save you a lot of money over the long term. Especially because refinancing student loans is just not that hard to do with so many lenders offering online applications.

Here is our list of the best student loan refinancing companies if you’re interested in refinancing your student debt as part of achieving your long-term financial goals.

Best Overall
  • Accepts Credit Scores From 630
  • 100% Free Prequalification
  • Works with Federal, Private, Parent PLUS Loans
  • Find a Better Deal and Get $200 Off
2
Figure Student Loan Refinance Logo
  • Refinance your student loans while rates are historically low
  • Paperless application - Apply in minutes
  • Pre-qualification doesn't affect your credit score
3
  • 2-minute rate check with no impact on your credit score
  • Refinancing rates as low as 2.01% variable
  • Available for private and federal, undergraduate and grad school student loans
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties

How to pick the best student loan refinancing company for you

As with any kind of financial product, you want to make sure to think through the pros and cons of refinancing your student loans and which lender you want to work with. Here are some things to keep in mind as you evaluate student loan refinancing company options:

Make sure you know your financial goal

If you’re thinking about refinancing your student loans, you probably have a specific reason for doing so. It could be to lower your monthly payment, to get a lower interest rate and save money over the length of your loan, or even to pay off the loan faster.

Whatever your reason, make sure you have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish by refinancing. Then evaluate lenders and loan terms based on how well they can make this goal happen for you.

Explore your options and do your research

There are many lenders out there that offer student loan refinancing. Shop around and take advantage of any pre-qualification tools you may find. Many lenders will let you input your information to see whether you might be approved for a refinance and what interest rates you could be offered.

Although you won’t be able to look over exact terms, and most pre-qualifications are not hard-and-fast offers, you can get a good idea of what your options might be. You also won’t take a hit to your credit score as pre-qualifications usually involve only a soft credit check to your credit reports.

Understand your interest rate options

You’ll be offered interest rates that are either fixed or variable when refinancing your student loans. With a fixed-rate loan, the interest rate you agree to when you sign the paperwork will remain the same for the life of the loan. A variable-rate loan will have an interest rate that potentially goes up and down, following whatever index on which your lender bases its interest rates. For example, your interest rate might go up or down based on federal interest rate changes.

Which type of interest rate is right for you? That depends on what you want to accomplish by refinancing your student loans. Some lenders will offer you a lower rate if you choose a variable option, but that means your payments could change when it’s not convenient for you. A fixed rate will ensure you have predictable payments for the life of the loan. A variable rate is good if you already plan to pay off the loan in a short period of time. Your financial goals and circumstances will guide you to the choice that’s right for you.

Understand the pros and cons of term lengths

The term of a loan is the length of time that you will be making payments before the loan is paid in full. A shorter-term loan will have higher monthly payments than a longer term loan and vice versa.

If you’re looking for low monthly payments, a longer-term loan would be a good choice. If you’re looking to pay off your loan quickly, then you’ll want to look at loans with shorter terms. You also may be able to get a better interest rate related to the length of the term. Shorter loans may offer you a lower interest rate.

Look for your options if you encounter hardship

One good thing about federal student loans is that there are protections for when you experience hardships such as losing your job or getting divorced and losing income. When you refinance federal student loans, you’re taking out a private student loan and that means you will lose your federal protections.

If you’re considering refinancing your student loans with a specific lender, ask about what provisions are available for hardships or times when your economic situation may change. These provisions may include things such as forbearances or deferments.

Methodology

When developing our list of the best student loan refinancing companies, we looked at all the factors discussed above. These lenders have been chosen based on how well they deliver value in helping you reach your financial goals, getting the rates and terms you’re looking for, and helping you handle times of hardship.

Frequently asked questions

Is it worth it to refinance student loans?

It really depends on your situation and what you want to accomplish through refinancing your student loan. If you have several loans, you can consolidate your debt into one payment. You could also use refinancing to get a lower interest rate or make your monthly payments smaller. If any of these situations sound good to you, then refinancing may be worth the time and effort.

When should you refinance your student loans?

There are a lot of factors that go into deciding when is a good time to refinance student loans. Having a good credit score is a good place to start. If you’re currently working on improving your credit score, you may want to wait to refinance your student debt until you’re up to a good or very good rating so you can increase your chances of approval and getting a lower interest rate.

Being financially stable and able to pay on time each month is also a consideration. If you’re in a situation in which you’re not working, you might want to wait to refinance until you’re able to get on more even footing when it comes to your income.

When it comes to the best time to refinance your student loans, one big thing to look for is if interest rates will generally be lower than what you’re currently paying on your loans. Getting a smaller payment or saving over the course of the loan is one of the main reasons to refinance. If the interest rate will be the same or more, refinancing might not be the best idea. If interest rates are trending down, then you might be looking at a good opportunity.

What credit score do I need to refinance student loans?

There is no set credit score for student loans refinancing. Each lender will have its own parameters for approving loans, so it’s best to contact the company you’re interested in borrowing from to see what’s required. In general, credit scores that are considered good or better can give you an advantage.

Will refinancing student loans hurt my credit?

Your credit score may take a hit initially for having a hard inquiry performed by the refinancing company considering your application. Your score will quickly bounce back from that, though the inquiry will stay on your reports for up to two years. Because student loan refinances are basically personal loans, your credit utilization ratio won’t be impacted. The only thing that could have a lasting impact on your score is if you skip payments or are late on your payments on your newly refinanced loan.

Can you refinance your student loans more than once?

There is no limit to the number of times you can refinance your student loans. In fact, as interest rates change, refinancing multiple times can result in significant savings in what you will pay overall.

Best Overall
  • Accepts Credit Scores From 630
  • 100% Free Prequalification
  • Works with Federal, Private, Parent PLUS Loans
  • Find a Better Deal and Get $200 Off