7 Top Banks for Refinancing Student Loans in 2019


When it comes to reviewing the best banks for refinancing student loans, we’ve got you covered.

Below, our team found the best best banks and lenders for students by comparing important factors like eligibility & terms. The 7 listed below may be able to help you consolidate & refinance either federal or private student loans. By doing that, you could lower monthly payments, pay debt faster, lower your interest rate or even all three!

There are a few requirements that need to be met for eligibility. These include whether you have a college degree, annual income, what your credit score is and your savings.

Now let’s take a look at those 7 top banks for refinancing student loans:

LenderLoan TypesInterest RatesTermsVisit/More Info
CommonbondVariable & Fixed

Fixed: 3.67% – 7.25%
Variable: 2.61% – 7.35%

Hybrid: 4.40% – 6.35%

 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years Visit Commonbond
Education Loan Finance
Variable & Fixed

Fixed: 3.39% – 6.69%
Variable: 2.8% – 6.01%

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
 Visit ELFi
Variable & Fixed
Fixed: 3.899% – 7.899%
Variable: 2.470% – 7.170%

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years  
 Visit SoFi
Laurel Road
Variable & Fixed
Fixed: 3.50% – 7.02%
Variable: 3.23% – 6.65%
5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years  
 Visit Laurel Road
Variable & Fixed
Fixed: 3.89% – 7.89%
Variable: 2.47% – 6.97%
 5 to 20 yearsVisit Earnest
Citizens Bank
Variable & Fixed
Fixed: 3.90% – 9.99%
Variable: 3.00% – 9.74%
5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
 Visit Citizens Bank
Variable & Fixed
Fixed: 5.10%-8.93%
Variable: 2.68%-8.96%
 5 to 20 years Visit Lendkey

Top 7 Banks Compared 

Please note: All variable rates are current as of 2/10/2019.  See how This College Life makes money here.

1. Commonbond

The team at Commonbond has been offering students opportunities for refinancing their loans since 2012.

Overview of Commonbond refinancing offerings:

  • Offers a unique hybrid loan option – although you should make sure if that’s right for you.
  • 3.67% – 7.25% APR Fixed Interest Rates
  • 2.61% – 7.35% APR Variable Rates
  • 4.38% – 6.33% APR Hybrid Interest Rates
  • Up to 24 months of forbearance
  • No penalties for prepayment
  • 1:1 social promise – for each loan funded, they also fund the education of a child in need
  • Terms of 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
  • No origination fees
  • .25% auto pay discount
  • Over 2000 Title IV schools are eligible to refinance with Commonbond

Check your rate with Commonbond here.

2. Education Loan Finance

Education Loan Finance (or ElFI) is offered through a special program from SouthEast bank.

Overview of ELFI refinancing offerings:

  • Refinancing for loan amounts of $15,000 or more
  • No maximum for loan amounts
  • 3.39% – 6.69% APR Fixed Interest Rates
  • 2.8% – 6.01% APR Variable Interest Rates
  • No application fees
  • No origination fees
  • No penalties for paying early
  • Terms of 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
  • Slightly less payment flexibility than competitors
  • Must be a U.S. citizen to qualify
  • A great option for those with financial stability
  • Must attend a school on their approved list to qualify

Check your rate with ElFI here.

3. SoFi

Started by Stanford grad students, SoFi was designed to help other undergrad and graduate students get out of debt.

Overview of SoFi refinancing offerings:

  • Borrowers must have a credit score of 650 or higher to qualify
  • .25% ACH auto-pay discount
  • 3.899% – 7.899% APR Fixed Interest Rates (with AutoPay)
  • 2.470% – 7.170% APR Variable Interest Rates (with AutoPay)
  • Variable Interest Rates are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95%
  • Conducts a soft credit check to show qualifying rates
  • Unemployment Protection offered
  • Borrowers typically have a six figure income
  • Up to 12 months of forbearance
  • Refinancing for loans from $5000+
  • Terms of 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Check your rate at Sofi here.

4. Laurel Road

Laurel Road is one of the best refinancing companies out there for doctors and dentists.

Overview of Laurel Road refinancing offerings:

  • Borrowers must have a credit score of 660 or higher to qualify
  • Refinancing available in all 50 states
  • Very flexible terms and limits compared to others in the industry
  • 3.50% – 7.02% APR Fixed (with .25% AutoPay discount)
  • 3.23% – 6.65% APR Variable (with .25% AutoPay discount)
  • Terms of 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
  • Refinancing for select healthcare-focused associate degree programs
  • Low payments during residency or fellowship
  • Minimum loan amount for refinancing is $5000
  • Two loans are required for refinancing in excess of $300,000
  • Up to 12 months of total forbearance time, allowed in 3 month periods
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid I-551 card

Check your rate at Laurel Road here.

5. Earnest

Leave your co-signer at home if you plan to refinance through Earnest – you may not need them.

Overview of Earnest refinancing offerings:

  • Extremely transparent on rates, terms & eligibility requirements
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or have a 10-year Permanent Resident Card
  • No variable rate loans offered in Alaska, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee or Texas
  • Minimum amount that can be refinanced is a $5000 loan
  • 3.89% – 7.89% APR Fixed (with auto pay)
  • 2.47% – 6.97% APR Variable (with auto pay)
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Maximum loan amount $500,000
  • Minimum credit score 650
  • Stable job required to qualify or verified consistent income
  • Need to have attended a Title IV school
  • Loan serviced by Earnest
  • .25% auto pay discount
  • Must be within 6 months of graduation to qualify

Check your rate with Earnest here.

6. Citizens Bank

Not a U.S. citizen or current graduate? Citizens Bank might have your back.

Overview of Citizens Bank refinancing offerings:

  • Minimum loan of $10,000 to refinance
  • Valid Social Security Number, whether a US Citizen, resident alien or permanent resident
  • Up to a .5 percentage point discount on APR
  • .25 percent auto pay discount is part of the potential .5% APR discount
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 700
  • 3.90% – 9.99% Fixed APR (includes auto pay and loyalty discount)
  • 3.00% – 9.74% Variable APR (includes auto pay and loyalty discount)
  • Terms of 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
  • Soft credit pull to see your rate without affecting credit score
  • Forbearance available in 2 month increments, up to 12 months total
  • Co-signer release available after making 36 consecutive payments of principle and interest on-time
  • Loan serviced by Firstmark Services
  • No bi-weekly payments on auto pay
  • No degree required to qualify

Check your rate with Citizens Bank here.

7. Lendkey

Lendkey is the best option for those who want refinancing through a local bank or credit union

Overview of Lendkey

  • A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau
  • Over 87,000 people have benefited from LendKey’s financing partners
  • Lendkey does not actually offer refinancing, they connect people with lenders
  • No impact on credit score getting your rates through their platform with soft credit check
  • 5.10% – 8.9% Fixed APR (includes autopay)
  • 2.68% – 8.96% Variable APR (includes autopay)
  • .25% autopay discount
  • Some lenders who partner with Lendkey offer a cosigner release
  • Loan servicer: Lendkey
  • Terms between 5 and 20 years
  • Refinancing available for undergraduate, graduate, medical, dental and veterinary degrees
  • Minimum refinancing amount: $7500
  • Maximum refinancing amount: $300,000

Check your rate with Lendkey here.

Before you do anything:

In any major financial decision making process, be sure to evaluate multiple sources, reviews and any available news on the companies you plan to deal with. 

Commonbond disclaimer.

Education Loan Finance disclaimer .

SoFi disclaimer.

Laurel Road disclaimer .

Earnest disclaimer .

Citizens Bank disclaimer .

Lendkey disclaimer.

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About the Author

This College Life Staff
College knowledge and lots of it.

*Education Loan Finance is a nationwide student loan debt consolidation program offered by SouthEast Bank, which is based in Tennessee. ELFI is designed to assist borrowers through consolidating outstanding loans into one single loan that effectively lowers your cost of education debt and/or makes repayment very simple. Subject to credit approval. See Terms & Conditions. Interest rates current as of 2/1/2019. The interest rate and monthly payment for a variable rate loan may increase after closing. Interest rates may be different from the rates shown above and will be based on the term of your loan, your financial history, and other factors, including your cosigner’s (if any) financial history. For example, a 10-year loan with a fixed rate of 6% would have 120 payments of $11.00 per $1,000 borrowed. Rates are subject to change.

1 Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.

2 Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.

Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.

3 Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.

4 Laurel Road will reward a total of $400 to the referrer for each new borrower that is referred as part of our Student Loan Referral Program. In order to qualify for the referral bonus, the referred borrower must have refinanced and/or consolidated their student loan(s) with Laurel Road. Referred borrower can only be referred by one person. Prior to sharing the referral link, the referrer has the option of designating any portion of the bonus to the referred borrower. No other Laurel Road products are eligible for this referral program. This offer cannot be combined with any other employer or professional association member bonuses and discounts.

* Terms and conditions apply.

† We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full‐time as an intern, resident, fellow, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post‐graduate training program ends.

Explanation of Rates “With Autopay”

Rates shown include 0.25% APR reduction when client agrees to make monthly principal and interest payments by automatic electronic payment. Use of autopay is not required to receive an Earnest loan.

Explanation of Precision Pricing™ Savings

Savings calculations are based on refinancing $121,825 in student loans at an existing loan servicer’s interest rate of 7.5% fixed APR with 10 years, 6 months remaining on the loan term. The other lender’s savings and APR (light green line) represent what would happen if those loans were refinanced at the other lender’s best fixed APRs. The Earnest savings and APR (white line) represent refinancing those loans at Earnest’s best fixed APRs.

Savings is computed as the difference between the future scheduled payments on the existing loans and payments on new Earnest and “other lender” loans. The calculation assumes on-time loan payments, no change in interest rates, and no prepayment of loans.

Client Testimonials

Individuals portrayed as Earnest clients on this site are actual clients and were compensated for their participation.

*Weighted average interest rate savings is based on 19,157 Education Refinance Loan customers who lowered their interest rate on loans between August 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018. The calculation is derived by averaging the rate savings across Education Refinance Loan customers whose interest rates decreased after refinancing, calculated by taking the weighted average interest rate prior to refinancing minus the interest rate after refinancing. We excluded rate savings from customers that exceeded 18.50% and were lower than 0.25%  to minimize risk of data error skewing the rate savings amounts.  The borrower’s interest rate savings might vary based on the interest rates they qualify for, chosen terms and previous interest rate of the loans they are seeking to refinance. The borrower’s overall interest rate may be higher than the interest rate on the loans they are refinancing even if their monthly payments are lower.

1 Estimated average savings amount is based on 14,659 Education Refinance Loan customers who saved on loans between August 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018.  The calculation is derived by averaging monthly savings across Education Refinance Loan customers whose payment amounts decreased after refinancing, calculated by taking the monthly payment prior to refinancing minus the monthly payment after refinancing. We excluded monthly savings from customers that exceeded $4,375 and were lower than $20  to minimize risk of data error skewing the savings amounts. Savings will vary based on interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of loans to be refinanced.  Borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if monthly payments are lower.

2 Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled. Applicants with an Associate’s degree or with no degree must have made at least 12 qualifying payments after leaving school. Qualifying payments are the most recent on time and consecutive payments of principal and interest on the loans being refinanced. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The cosigner (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a cosigner will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.

3 Education Refinance Loan Suitability: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at Should I Refinance My Student Loans?, including a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.

4 Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of February 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.50%. Variable interest rates range from 3.00% - 9.74% (3.00% - 9.74% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower's loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.90% - 9.99% (3.90% - 9.99% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.

5 Selecting Get My Rate only requires a "soft credit pull", which does not affect your credit score. Submitting a Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan application results in an inquiry on your credit report.

Interest rate reduction of up to 0.50 percentage points is possible with the following discounts:

6 Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.

7 Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

8 Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.