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Student Loan Refinance

The 7 Best Student Loan Refi Companies – as of May 2022



43.2 million people carry some form of student loan debt, with most averaging around $39,000—although many of us have a lot more.

If you’re reading this, chances are that’s you.

Even with the recent White House announcement that the pause on student loan repayment, interest, and collections will extend until May 1, 2022, millions of people struggle with the amount of debt they owe from attending college.

Refinancing your student loans could help lower your monthly payments and reduce your overall repayment amount. But finding a good lender can feel intimidating when you don’t know what to look for.

To make things easier, we assessed multiple companies and compared interest rates, minimum credit score required, repayment flexibility, and Better Business Bureau scores to find the top options.

Keep reading for a deep dive into our picks for the seven best student loan refinancing companies. Additionally, look at our best student loan companies to apply completely online.

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Best for Comparing Multiple Lenders
Best for Flexible Payment OptionBest for Low Interest RatesBest for Married CouplesBest for Medical StudentsBest for Additional Benefits
CredibleLaurel RoadSplash FinancialPenFed Student Loan Refinancing (powered by Purefy)SoFiEarnest
Our PartnerOur PartnerOur PartnerOur PartnerOur PartnerOur Partner
Interest Rates

1.8%–9.99%

1.89%–6%

1.74%–6.25%

2.89%–5.08%

2.49%–6.94%

1.74%–5.79%

Minimum Credit Score

650

660

660

700

650

650

Forbearance or Deferment Options

Depends on lender

Yes

Depends on lender

Not standard

Yes, for grad school or military

Yes

BBB Rating

A+

A+

A-

A+

A+

A

Best for Comparing Multiple Lenders
Credible
Our Partner
Get Started
Interest Rates

1.8%–9.99%

Minimum Credit Score

650

Forbearance or Deferment Options

Depends on lender

BBB Rating

A+

Best for Flexible Payment Option
Laurel Road
Our Partner
Get Started
Interest Rates

1.89%–6%

Minimum Credit Score

660

Forbearance or Deferment Options

Yes

BBB Rating

A+

Best for Low Interest Rates
Splash Financial
Our Partner
Get Started
Interest Rates

1.74%–6.25%

Minimum Credit Score

660

Forbearance or Deferment Options

Depends on lender

BBB Rating

A-

Best for Married Couples
PenFed Student Loan Refinancing (powered by Purefy)
Our Partner
Get Started
Interest Rates

2.89%–5.08%

Minimum Credit Score

700

Forbearance or Deferment Options

Not standard

BBB Rating

A+

Best for Medical Students
SoFi
Our Partner
Get Started
Interest Rates

2.49%–6.94%

Minimum Credit Score

650

Forbearance or Deferment Options

Yes, for grad school or military

BBB Rating

A+

Best for Additional Benefits
Earnest
Our Partner
Get Started
Interest Rates

1.74%–5.79%

Minimum Credit Score

650

Forbearance or Deferment Options

Yes

BBB Rating

A

How to Find the Best Student Loan Refinance

When looking for the best student loan refinancing options, keep these tips in mind.

Shop around for the lowest interest rates


Different lenders have different eligibility requirements and offer different interest rates. Getting the best student loan refinance rate can save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.

Avoid too many hard credit checks


Pulling multiple credit scores in a short span of time can negatively impact your credit rating. When you’re shopping around for refinancing options, make sure lenders are doing a soft pull of your credit score.

Be aware that refinancing federal student loans can lose you some benefits


Many federal student loan programs offer hardship assistance or loan deferral options. An example is the pause on payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you refinance your federal student loan through a private lender, you won’t be eligible for these programs.

Some lenders require you to have graduated


It can be harder to refinance a student loan if you didn’t finish college. Many lenders require that you graduated from an accredited school and are employed, sometimes in the field in which you got your degree. Some lenders will allow you to refinance while still in school or a residency program. Make sure you’re eligible for refinancing with a particular lender before moving forward.

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The Best Student Loan Refinance Companies of 2022

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Best for Comparing Multiple Lenders: Credible

Credible is an online marketplace for lenders offering personal and student loans, refinancing, and other lines of credit. We like this company for its simple application process and ability to compare several lenders at once. By consolidating several loan firms under one application, Credible makes it easier for customers to avoid filling out the same paperwork multiple times. It also provides side-by-side comparisons of lenders’ rates without multiple pulls that could hurt your credit score.

Credible’s application process also has a quick turnaround time. With a history of excellent customer service (the firm’s TrustPilot score is 4.7/5) and 24/7 availability, this online marketplace is considered one of the best student loan refinancing companies.

Pros
  • Lets you compare rates for multiple lenders without affecting your credit score
  • Doesn't charge customers for its services
Cons
  • Refinancing isn't available in all states
  • Can't answer questions about a specific lender's requirements

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Best for Flexible Payment Option: Laurel Road

As part of KeyBank, Laurel Road is able to offer lower rates and more incentives than many other lenders. This affiliation also means you can get in-person support at bank locations, making the provider one of the best private student loan refinance options. It has a straightforward application process and offers a variety of flexible payment options.

Laurel Road also stands out for having a flat fee or interest-only payment option while you’re still in school and during a six-month grace period after you graduate. In the event of a natural disaster, the company lets you apply for forbearance, meaning it will temporarily postpone your loan payments instead of forcing you into foreclosure or default.

Pros
  • Options for people pursuing Associates Degrees
  • No application fees or prepayment penalties
  • Forbearance for those affected by natural disasters
Cons
  • Website is difficult to navigate
  • No co-signer release, so if you default on the loan, no one else will have to pay it back 

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Best for Low Interest Rates: Splash

Splash Financial is a dedicated student loan refinancing marketplace that offers competitive rates through its lending partners. Similar to Credible, it lets you check multiple lenders with one application, making shopping around easier.

Splash also lists special deals on its website for medical student loan refinancing, as well as different payment options for those still in school.

Pros
  • Checking your rate is fast, simple, and won't affect your credit score
  • Multiple ways to contact customer service—including social media
  • Only handles student loan refinancing
Cons
  • Strict graduation and degree requirements
  • Lack of information in website FAQs
  • Multiple lenders mean different eligibility requirements for each

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Best for Married Couples: PenFed

PenFed offers a unique student loan refinancing option that we haven’t seen anywhere else so far. Through this company, married couples can consolidate their student loans with interest rates based on which partner has the better credit score or income. While you have to become a member of PenFed Credit Union, the process is simple and no longer requires you to have links with the military or federal government.

After you apply, an assigned loan advisor guides you through the process. It’s a useful benefit that can help if you’re new to the loan process. However, PenFed does have somewhat stricter credit score requirements than other lenders, which could mean that you’ll need a co-signer to qualify.

Pros
  • Lets you combine loans for married couples
  • Informative and easy-to-navigate website
  • 80-year company history
Cons
  • Must join credit union to qualify
  • Strict credit score requirements
  • No standard deferment or forbearance policies

Get Started

Best for Medical Students: SoFi

According to ConsumerAdvocates.org, SoFi may be the best student loan refinancing option if you’re a medical resident. Offering flat payments of $100 for up to four years during your training is just one way the company eases the refinancing process. It also honors original loan grace periods and defers payments during graduate school or active military service.

We’re also impressed with the other benefits SoFi offers its clients: career coaching and financial counseling at no extra cost, plus customer support available seven days a week.

Pros
  • If a competitor offers you a lower rate, SoFi will match it and send you $100 
  • Can refinance Parent PLUS loans in your own name
  • 0.25% rate reduction with autopay
Cons
  • Not available in all 50 states
  • Can't remove co-signer without refinancing again
  • FAQs are not prominent on the website

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Best for Additional Benefits: Earnest

Earnest stands out because of its impressive list of benefits. With this company, you can select bi-weekly rather than monthly payments to help shorten the life of your loan. You can also choose your payment amount based on your budget and even easily adjust the date of when the money leaves your bank account. In our opinion, though, the most impressive feature is the ability to skip a payment per year and make it up later. If your water heater suddenly fails or your car needs repairs, this could be crucial.

Earnest also allows you to defer payments for up to three years if you go back to school or into military service. You also get up to 12 months forbearance in the event of a job loss, a significant household cost like medical bills or emergency home repairs, or unpaid parental leave.

Pros
  • Plenty of repayment options
  • You can refinance before graduation
  • Mobile app allows for easy payments and balance checks
Cons
  • Not available in all 50 states
  • You can't refinance Parent Plus loans in the student's name

Get Started

Best for Hardship Assistance: CommonBond

CommonBond operates on the principle that businesses have a responsibility to society and the world as a whole. This mission is what puts the firm on our list of the best student loan refinancing companies. For every degree funded through CommonBond, it pays for a year of education for a student through the non-profit Pencils of Promise.

The fact the company lets borrowers pause payments for up to three months at a time and 24 months total—with a separate forbearance policy for natural disasters—also caught our attention. That mission is passed along to its workforce by offering a monthly contribution to employees’ student loans.

Pros
  • Up to two years of forbearance available
  • Charitable donation with each loan or refinance
  • No prepayment penalty
Cons
  • Lack of specific refinancing information on website
  • Not available in all 50 states

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How We Found the Best Student Loan Refinance Rates and Companies

When compiling our list of the best student loan refinancing companies in 2021, we considered several criteria. The most important were:

  • Interest Rates

Getting a lower interest rate on your student loan is one of the biggest factors in deciding to refinance. This can decrease your monthly payment, shorten the life of your loan, and potentially save you thousands of dollars. If you can’t find a lower interest rate than the one you currently have, you typically won’t go through refinancing.

  • Minimum Credit Score Required

Most lenders require a credit score of around 650 to 680. A higher credit score will get you better interest rates and repayment terms. If your credit is not up to that standard, you may need a co-signer to help you secure a refinanced loan.

  • Forbearance or Deferment Policies

If you have a student loan through the federal government, you have many more options for payment deference or forbearance. Refinancing through a private lender means you lose access to these programs. If you think you may need help paying your loan in the future, choose a private lender with a deferment or forbearance policy.

We also looked into each company’s Better Business Bureau ratings as an additional factor.

Student Loan Refinance FAQs

Should I refinance my student loan?

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Refinancing your student loans can save you money in the long run, lower your monthly payments, and help pay off your loan faster. Just remember that you'll have to meet all your lender's requirements. It's also important to note that all refinances are through private companies, meaning you'll lose any benefits you have through a federal loan.

What do I need to qualify for refinancing?

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Generally, you need to have a good credit score, be employed, or have a certain income level. You may also need to have graduated with a degree, although different lenders have different requirements.

Does shopping around hurt my credit score? 

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When looking at refinancing options, verify that the company is doing a soft as opposed to a hard credit check. Having several hard credit checks in a short time can cause a temporary hit to your credit score. Soft checks, on the other hand, won't affect your credit. Most lenders use the latter to initially quote you a range of interest rates, but it's worth double-checking that they do.

Do I need a co-signer?

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If you don't meet the criteria for a lender, you may still be able to refinance your student loans with a co-signer. Check with your lender about the requirements and ask about options for removing a co-signer if your credit or income improves.

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