Updated on April 30, 2019
By Julissa Treviño
There are many good reasons to refinance your student loans. However, choosing a lender isn’t always so easy—but it’s a really important decision.
In addition to offering a lower payment or a better interest rate, a good lender can also provide flexibility, helpful customer service, and other benefits. Plus, you want a lender that is going to make refinancing as easy as possible, so you can get through the application and start saving money ASAP.
One increasingly popular student loan refinancing choice is Education Loan
In our view, ELFI combines the benefits of traditional loan lenders with the support and service found in many of the newer, private-sector startups.
This nimble business model is backed by a management team that has a combined 30 years of experience in the student lending business—allowing the company to make significant strides in reducing some of the pain points borrowers may typically experience during the refinancing process.
For example, ELFI has a streamlined online application process, as well as some of the best-reviewed customer service in the industry.
All of ELFI’s loans are backed by Tennessee-based SouthEast Bank.
On top of that, this lender also offers significant incentives and interest rate protection that can add up to real savings. We’ll talk more about those in a minute.
Many ELFI customers save hundreds of dollars a month and thousands over the length of the loan term. The company offers extremely competitive interest rates to qualified lenders.
Every time you get a friend to refinance with ELFI, you’ll get $400 and your friend will get $100. View more details here.
You can also be sure the company is doing good in the community. To date, ELFI has offered more than $18 million in scholarships for students, and they also provide free scholarship searches and financial literacy programs for borrowers.
Also, ELFI never charges application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties.
The company offers a unique guarantee for borrowers who want to take advantage of lower variable interest rate loans. ELFI offers the assurance that your rate will not increase more than once per quarter and will never exceed 9.95%.
Variable rates start at just 2.80% APR and fixed rates start at 3.39% APR. Of course, your interest rate will depend on your credit score and other factors.
Flexible repayment terms range from five to 20 years. Typically, a longer term means that your monthly payment is lower.
Either way, ELFI’s flexible plans means there’s a right plan for everyone. On ELFI’s homepage, you can see some loan plans that will give you an idea of how you can the company offers you a tailored approach for different budgets.
To refinance through ELFI, you must:
The application process is easy. You'll need your current billing statement for each of your loans, your most recent pay stub(s), your W-2, a copy of your valid ID, and your billing account information.
To get started, head over to ELFI.com.
First, click “Apply Now” on the main page and create a profile. On the next page (see below), click on “Student Loan Refinancing.”
After entering the verification code, you’ll be asked to submit some personal information, as shown below, which ELFI will use to create a conditional loan offer. Once you’ve filled this out, click “Get My Rate.”
Take a look at the rate the lender has offered. This is not your specific loan offer, but it can be a good indicator of what to expect if and when the lender accepts your application for refinancing.
Next, you’ll be asked to provide more specific information about yourself and the loan debt you’re trying to refinance.
While a cosigner is not required, having one can give you a better chance of the lender accepting your application if your credit score is on the lower end. A cosigner can also help get you a better interest rate, even if you already have good credit.
You’ll also be asked to upload supporting documents. Once your information is verified, the company will send you a personalized loan offer.
The lender will then explain the last remaining steps to getting your loan refinanced. Remember to keep paying your loans as usual until your loan is completely transferred to your new lender; don’t skip any payments
Are you still debating whether Education Loan Finance is the right choice for you? Visit ELFI.com to learn more about what the lender offers or apply for refinancing.
Works with 275+ not-for-profit community lenders for higher approval chances
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.
Offers unemployment protection and career/coaching/networking
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.
For every loan they fund, they contribute to the education of a child in need
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.
Get a personalized review of your refinancing options with CommonBond today.
Earnest empowers people with the financial captial they need to live better lives.
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.
Click here to apply with Earnest and to see how much you can save.
Operates in all 50 states; 2nd largest student loan refinancing lender
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.
Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products
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.
Click here to see more of Splash's offerings and to see how you can save money.