Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinancing Review

Citizens bank student loan refinancing review

Please note: All variable rates are current as of 6/01/2019.  See how This College Life makes money here.

Citizens Bank can be a great refinancing option for non-U.S. citizens and those with an incomplete degree.

Snapshot:

  • Minimum loan of $10,000 to refinance
  • Need a 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
  • 3.89% – 9.99% Fixed APR (includes auto pay and loyalty discount)
  • 2.93% – 9.67% 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.

To Qualify

The required minimum loan that can be refinanced through Citizens is $10,000 and the maximum loan amount is $350,000. Those eligible to apply are U.S. Citizens, permanent residents, and resident aliens with a valid U.S. social security number (where to find your social security number). You will need to have made at least 12 qualifying payments after leaving school if applying with an associates degree or no degree at all. Bachelor’s degree holders only need to make a minimum of 3 full on-time payments.

  • Minimum income must be $24,000 per year to qualify with Citizens Bank.
  • If you are a resident alien, it will be necessary to apply with a permanent resident or U.S. citizen.

Documents Needed to Apply

Applicants need to be able to present a recent pay stub or other information to verify income. As mentioned, you will need a valid social security number and date of birth, along with a driver’s license or state ID number. Current contact information for you will also be necessary. This includes a phone number, email and address.

One really useful thing we noticed about the Citizens Bank site is that they provide a wide range of potential rates a person could see depending on their degree, repayment length, loan and rate type. Here are a few examples:

Highest Degree Attained: Did not graduateInterest Rate Type: Fixed
Loan Type: RefinancingRepayment length: 5 years
Amount to Borrow: $50,000LowestHighest
Interest Rate5.98%9.99%

APR5.98%10%

Monthly Payment$966.27$1,062.28
Total to Pay Back$57,975.94$63,736.23

Note: Above rates and payment estimates are the same for an associates degree holder with those terms.


Highest Degree Attained: Did not graduate

Interest Rate Type: Fixed

Loan Type: Refinancing

Repayment length: 7 years

Amount to Borrow: $50,000

Lowest

Highest
Interest Rate6.03%9.99%

APR6.03%10%
Monthly Payment$731.22$829.94
Total to Pay Back$61,422.23$69,714.09

Highest Degree Attained: Bachelor’s Degree
Interest Rate Type: Variable
Loan Type: RefinancingRepayment length: 5 years
Amount to Borrow: $50,000LowestHighest
Interest Rate5.07%9.03%
APR5.07%9.04%
Monthly Payment$945.25$1,038.80
Total to Pay Back$56,714.43$62,327.49

*Important disclosures on the above estimates here.

What makes refinancing through Citizens unique?

The Discount

If you or your co-signer have a qualifying Citizens Bank account, you’re in luck. This will allow you to take .25 percentage points off your new loan’s interest rate. On top of that, an additional .25 percentage points can come off your rate by authorizing their loan servicer, Firstmark (a division of Nelnet) to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account with KwikPay.

The .5 percentage points off could be a big perk if your initial rate is already low.

Repayment Flexibility

Their co-signer release application becomes available after 36 consecutive on-time payments of principle and interest with either rate types.

Citizens Bank also offers an interest-only repayment option if you want to make payments in school and keep the accruing interest under control.

Wide Range of Accepted Borrowers

Not all banks will give non-U.S. citizens a chance at refinancing, but Citizens makes it possible.

Any Drawbacks?

Although those without a degree can get refinancing, it looks like the rates for those loans are estimated to be pretty high across the various repayment lengths and rate types. That being said, it may still be one of the only options for someone in that situation.

As with refinancing any federal student loans, certain federal borrower benefits are given up in the process. This could mean that you miss out on things like income-based repayment, loan forgiveness for certain borrowers in public service jobs, and military benefits. See the full list here.

Additional Points

Deferment:

You can defer payments up to eight years depending on the degree being earned if you go back to school. Undergrads and graduates can enjoy a 6 – month grace period after school is done (or from the time they drop below half-time status). While interest does still accrue while in school, the eight years can be especially attractive to graduate students. Don’t forget about that interest-only repayment option, too. 

Forbearance:

Up to 12 months total available and can be used in two month increments.

The amount that can be refinanced depends a lot on your education level:

LevelAmount to Refinance
Bachelor’s Degree/No Degree$90,000
Doctoral, Graduate Degree or MBAUp to $225,000
Law DegreeUp to $300,000
Doctors, Dentists, other professional degreesUp to $350,000

In order for Citizens to give you a rate estimate, they will need to perform a soft credit pull. This will not affect your credit score. Their Better Business Bureau rating is an A+, however, their average review is 1/5 stars.

According to Glassdoor, here’s what some of their employees have to say about working there:

“Love my team and love what we do”

“Love the people but too many meetings and not enough staff (yet)” (probably from someone at a branch)

“It’s not bad”

Overall, 3.2/5 stars with 80% approval of CEO Bruce Van Saun.

Sound like Citizen’s Bank is a good fit for you?

Check your rate with them here.

Information from This College Life on financial services products should be used for educational purposes only. Consult a licensed financial professional before making any major decisions.