CommonBond Student Loan Refinance Review


Updated on April 30, 2019
By Jen Williamson

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If you're reading this, you probably already know that refinancing can save you hundreds every month on your student loan. But it can be hard to know which company to refi with when you're inundated with offers.

CommonBond offers exceptionally low rates, along with some really unique loan options. Beyond that, CommonBond has several programs to benefit customers who may need assistance, as well as a visionary philanthropic program to help students in need.

If you're looking to refinance, here's why they may be worth a look.

Why refinance your student loans with CommonBond?

CommonBond was founded in 2011 by three Wharton MBA graduates who experienced student debt problems first-hand. They shared a common goal: to create the lender they wish they had back then.

What they came up with was a company that offers a diverse range of fixed- and variable-rate loans to fit a wide range of financial situations.

They also offer that rare mythical beast of the student loan industry-outstanding customer service. Their team has won awards and is recognized as best-in-class.

Plus, CommonBond is flexible. Although they're a private lender, CommonBond offers an option similar to federal loan forbearance if your financial circumstances change. The program lets you postpone your loan payments on a temporary basis if you qualify.

Finally, there's the feel-good factor. CommonBond has a strong social mission. For every student degree they fund, they also put a student in need through school. CommonBond is the only lender in the industry with this kind of one-to-one program. They do it in partnership with Pencils of Promise, an organization that builds schools and promotes literacy in Ghana and other places around the world.


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What are the benefits of refinancing with CommonBond?

CommonBond is committed to keeping all of its interest rates below double digits. On average, CommonBond customers save about $24,046 over their loan's lifetime.

They offer helpful tools like the student loan refinancing calculator, which can help you determine how refinancing will affect your monthly loan payments.

CommonBond offers a hybrid refinancing option in which the interest stays fixed for five years before becoming variable for the next five. This is unusual in the industry, designed to keep interest rates low while keeping month-to-month payment amounts stable.

In addition, CommonBond makes an effort to help its customers take the next step in their careers. They run regular networking events, panel discussions, and dinners to connect customers with industry thought leaders.

And they help customers between jobs transition to their next role through their CommonBridge program-another industry first.

What refinancing options does CommonBond offer?

CommonBond offers three options:

Variable-rate loans

The interest rate on these loans rises and falls with the market, so your monthly payments may change from month to month. However, these types of loan typically have the lowest starting interest rate.

Fixed-rate loans

These loans have a single interest rate through the life of the loan. The total interest may be slightly higher than you'd get with a variable-rate loan, but the monthly payments are more predictable.

Hybrid-rate loans

The interest stays fixed for five years, then switches to variable. For many, this is the best of both worlds-minimizing both interest rates and monthly payments.

Who is eligible to refinance with CommonBond?

CommonBond offers refinancing to graduates of over 2,000 Title IV-accredited universities and graduate programs throughout the United States.

You must have at least $5,000 in student loans to refinance. Your credit history will come into play when determining eligibility and interest rates.

What are the rates and fees involved in refinancing with CommonBond?

All of CommonBond's loan products offer interest rates starting below 4%. The breakdown is as follows:

Variable-rate loans range from 2.48-6.25% APR.

Fixed-rate loans range from 3.20-6.25% APR.

Hybrid loans range from 4.29-6.34% APR.

The payment terms vary from five to 20 years for variable and fixed-rate loans; hybrid loans are offered on terms of 10 years.

There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties. You can pay off your entire loan ahead of schedule with no extra costs.

Ready to conquer your student loans with Commonbond? Refinance Now!

Does CommonBond offer discounts?

Yep! There is a 0.25% interest rate discount if you sign up for AutoPay.

What is the application process for refinancing?

You can apply online, upload supporting documents, and get a preliminary decision in minutes. Final approval happens in just a few days.

You'll need three types of documents to support your application:

  • Proof of employment-two recent pay stubs, two recent years of tax documents, or a letter of acceptance from a future employer.
  • A recent loan statement for each of the loans you're looking to refinance.
  • Proof of residence-a recent bank statement or utility bill.

Once your application is approved, CommonBond will handle the refinance process with your lenders.

With truly unique loan offerings and a commitment to helping students in need, CommonBond is looking to reform the student loan landscape. That and their competitive loan rates definitely make them worth a look in your student loan refinancing search.

How to apply for student loan refinancing with CommonBond

1. Head on over to CommonBond and click 'Find my rate'

You can’t miss it.

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2. Start your application

Standard stuff—provide your name, email, and a password.

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3. Pick the type of loan you're signing up for

CommonBond lets you refinance undergraduate and graduate student loans—with a special program for MBA students. Pick the option that fits you best.

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4. Fill in a few details about yourself

CommonBond will ask your name, phone number, and address.

The application also asks whether you’re a U.S. citizen. At this point, CommonBond only refinances with US citizens and permanent residents.

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5. Tell them about your school

CommonBond will ask you where you went to school, your graduation date, and the amount you’re looking to refinance. This doesn’t have to be a total amount—just an estimate.

CommonBond works with approximately 2,000 Title IV-accredited schools. Your school has to be on their list for you to qualify for a loan.

One point to remember is that even if you’re refinancing for someone else’s loans—such as your child’s—CommonBond still wants to know where you went to school, as the loan-holder.

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6. Tell them where you live

CommonBond wants to know how long you’ve lived in your current place and how much your housing costs are. You can tell them that you own your home (with or without a mortgage), live with your parents, or rent.

For most of us, housing is one of our biggest recurring expenses—unless you live in a no-rent situation. CommonBond is asking this question to get a more complete picture of your financial life.

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7. Tell them about your job

CommonBond will ask you your employment status. You can tell them you’re employed, self-employed, retired, or unemployed. You’ll then need to answer questions about your employer, when you started working at your current job, and what your income is.

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8. Give them the last four digits of your social

CommonBond will pull a soft credit check—one that doesn’t affect your credit history.

Once you’ve gone through this process, you’ll get an estimated interest rate for a refinanced loan. If you like the deal, you can make it official.

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After you get your interest rate, you’ll need to provide documentation we’ve listed—including proof of employment, loan statements, and proof of residence.

Once you’ve provided all the documentation, CommonBond will do a “hard” pull on your credit. This is a more-detailed look at your credit that does show up on your report.

When CommonBond gets back to you after this, it will be with your loan offer.

Learn more about refinancing your student loans with CommonBond. 

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  • APR: 2.49% - 7.50%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
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Visit LendKey View Loan Disclosure

LendKey operates student loan programs for over 275 not-for-profit and community lenders across the country. By partnering with these lenders, LendKey is able to give consumers direct access to the best rates available from the most borrower friendly institutions. As the servicer of all loans obtained through its platform, you can rest easy knowing your personal information will be safe and that the best customer service team will be ready to answer your questions from application until your final payment.

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  • Lightning fast rate check - 2-minute rate check with no impact on your credit score
  • More lenders, more options - see the best offers from over 275 not-for-profit and community lenders for higher approval chances
  • Life of loan relationship - With LendKey, your personal information will never be sent or passed on to third parties. Their customer service team is with you from the moment you land on their website until you've completely repaid your loan.
  • Unmatched benefits- Community lenders put people over profits and offer unique benefits like cosigner release after 12 on-time payments, interest only repayment options to keep monthly payments low, the largest unemployment protection period in the market, and more.

Get a personalized quote from LendKey now.

#2 View More Details

Offers unemployment protection and career/coaching/networking

  • APR: 2.490% - 8.074%
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Visit SoFi View Loan Disclosure

SoFi, which stands for “Social Finance,” was created by a group of Stanford business students who found themselves with a mountain of debt after graduation. They set out to change the student loan industry and help borrowers like themselves to get lower interest rates. SoFi has some of the lowest interest rates and, unlike the other lenders we reviewed, it has no maximum amount you can finance. However, Nevada residents can’t currently refinance with SoFi. Minimum loan balances are higher in Arizona, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania due to state laws. Additional state restrictions may apply.

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Review

  • Low interest rates - For well-qualified borrowers, SoFi offers some of the lowest rates we have found.
  • Strong customer service - It has more than 350 customer service reps available to help applicants through process.
  • Career coaching and networking - Perks include career services representatives who can help you find a job or negotiate a higher salary. SoFi also hosts networking events, happy hours and educational lectures on topics like buying a home in major cities around the country.
  • Unemployment protection - Borrowers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own may apply for Unemployment Protection. If approved, SoFi will suspend their monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during the forbearance period. These benefits are offered in three month increments, and are capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. Note that interest will still accrue while loans are in forbearance.

Find out what interest rate SoFi can offer you here.

#3 View More Details

For every loan they fund, they contribute to the education of a child in need

  • APR: 2.48% - 6.25%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
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Visit CommonBond View Loan Disclosure

CommonBond was founded in 2011 by three MBA graduates from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who wanted to help their peers escape from high-interest student loan debt. Its original focus was on grad students, but it has since expanded to cover undergrads as well.

Of all the companies we reviewed, CommonBond has some of the best customer service. The company prides itself on being easy to reach by email, phone, or live chat. It offers networking events, expert panels, insider newsletters, and even has a program help borrowers who lose their jobs to find new ones. CommonBond also makes you feel good about choosing to refinance with them by donating money to an education nonprofit for each loan they write.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance review

  • Unemployment protections - If you lose your job or decide to go back to school, you can delay your payments for up to 24 months.
  • Social promise - For every loan they fund, they also contribute to the education of a child in need.
  • Hybrid loan option - Offerings include a 10-year hybrid loan with fixed interest for the first five years, and variable interest for the final five.
  • Referral bonus - For every friend you refer who refinances their loans with CommonBond, you’ll earn a $200 cash bonus.
  • Qualification - Borrowers must have graduated at least 2 years prior if they want to apply without a co-signer. And borrowers in 6 states – Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota, and Vermont – cannot currently refinance through CommonBond.

Get a personalized review of your refinancing options with CommonBond today.

#4 View More Details

Earnest empowers people with the financial captial they need to live better lives.

  • APR: 2.49% - 7.89%
  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • Refinance up to $500K
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Visit Earnest View Loan Disclosure

Using technology, data, and design to build affordable products, Earnest's lending products are built for a new generation seeking to reach life's milestones. The company understands every applicant's unique financial story to offer the lowest possible rates and radically flexible loan options for living life.

  • Commitment-free 2 minute rate check
  • Client Happiness can be reached via in app messaging, email, and phone 
  • No fees for origination, prepayment, or loan disbursement
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  • Skip a payment and make it up later
  • Online dashboard is designed to make it easy to apply for and manage your loan

Click here to apply with Earnest and to see how much you can save.

#5 View More Details

Operates in all 50 states; 2nd largest student loan refinancing lender

  • APR: 2.50% - 7.02%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
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Visit Laurel Road View Loan Disclosure

Laurel Road is a national online lender with customers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Many of our non-bank competitors are not able to lend in all 50 states.Laurel Road has grown to be the second largest player in the student loan refinancing space in large part because of our reputation as the go-to low rate provider.

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance Review

  • National reach - Online lender that is available in all 50 US states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
  • No fees & the lowest rates in the space - Laurel Road is the most transparent about the rates they provide customers, and offer the lowest rates where it counts. Our customers will save more than $20,000 over the life of their loans on average. 
  • Customer service reputation - Laurel Road's customer service representatives are no rookies. With 19 years of experience on average, Laurel Road’s Customer Service team delivers an experience that is best in the industry. They work to build meaningful, life-long relationships with our valued customers to improve their overall financial wellness.
  • The stability & security of a bank - They are a division of Darien Rowayton Bank, a stable and secure FDIC-insured bank, regulated by the FDIC and the Connecticut Department of Banking.

Get your personalized, pre-approved rates in less than 5 minutes.

#6 View More Details

Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products

  • APR: 3.10% - 7.84%
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Visit Splash View Loan Disclosure

Splash Financial is a leader in student loan refinancing with new rates as low as 3.25% fixed APR which can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loans. No application or origination fees and no prepayment penalties. Splash Financial is in all 50 states and is intensely focused on customer service. Splash Financial is also one of the few companies that offers a great medical resident and fellow refinance product. You can check your rate with Splash in just minutes.

  • Low interest rates – especially for graduate students
  • No application or origination fees. No prepayment penalties.
  • Co-signer release program - you can apply for a cosigner release form your loan after 12 months of on-time payments
  • Specialty product for doctors in training with low monthly payment

Click here to see more of Splash's offerings and to see how you can save money.

I reduced my student loan payment by $152 per month, by refinancing thru Nitro

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