How to Refinance Your Wells Fargo Student Loan


Jen Williamson Updated: February 14, 2020

Refinancing is the closest thing to a do-over button you’ll ever get with student loans. It can get you a lower interest rate, a new repayment term, and possibly even some perks (like discounts or networking opportunities). 

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If you're wondering how to refinance your Wells Fargo student loans, it's pretty simple. All you need to do is find a lender that can give you a lower interest rate (we'll tell you how to do this in a minute) and apply. The whole process can be completed in less than a half hour.

If you’re not satisfied with your experience with Wells Fargo, or if you just want a lower interest rate, there are plenty of great options out there. 

Refinancing: what it is

Before we go deeper into your options, let's take a quick look at what you're actually doing when you refinance.

When you refinance your student loans, a private lender pays off your existing loans and issues you a single new loan with different terms and a new interest rate.

This is something people do all the time with other types of loans, such as mortgages, to get better interest rates and terms—and you can do it with your student loans as well, both private and federal.

There are pros and cons to this approach. 

See also: Everything You Need to Know About Student Loan Refinancing

Cons of refinancing

There's only one real drawback to refinancing, and it only applies if you have federal loans.

If you refinance federal student loans, you'll lose access to federal benefits like student loan forgiveness and income-based repayment. You'll likely also forfeit options like deferment or forbearance, though some lenders to provide their own versions of these.

Private loans don’t qualify for those benefits, so you’re not losing out on anything at all by refinancing your private loans. 

Pros of refinancing

On the pro side, if your credit is good, you could reduce your interest—by a lot.

Our data shows that the average borrower who refinances their student loans (federal or private) can lower their payment by $253 per month on average, or save over $16,000 over the life of their loans.

See also: 6 Questions to Ask Before Refinancing Student Loans 

Refinancing: what it isn't

What refinancing isn’t, though, is consolidation. While the words “consolidation” and “refinancing” are often used interchangeably—they’re actually quite different.

Consolidation versus refinancing

With true consolidation, you replace a number of federal loans (and only federal loans) with a new Direct Consolidation loan through the federal government. Like refinancing, you’re replacing a number of different loans with a single loan—but that’s where the similarities end.

Unlike with refinancing, consolidation doesn’t lower your interest. Your new rate is calculated based on the weighted average of interest on all your loans, rounded up to the nearest eighth of a percent. Your interest rate doesn’t go down, and it might even go up slightly.

Wells Fargo offers a product called a “Wells Fargo Consolidation Loan.” This is actually a refinanced loan. (But we can cut them some slack for using this term; lots of lenders do.)

See also: Student Loan Refinancing and Consolidation Terms You Need to Know  

So, now that you know what refinancing is and what it isn’t, let’s get into some great alternatives if you’re looking to refinance your Wells Fargo student loan with a bank other than Wells Fargo.

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LendKey: for those who aren't into big banks

If you want to get away from big corporate banks, you can’t go wrong with LendKey. It matches you with small local credit unions and community banks throughout the country that you may never have found on your own.

These lenders often offer extremely competitive terms — as low as 1.9% variable APR (as of February 2020) with an autopay discount of 0.25%. Compare that to Wells Fargo, whose lowest interest rate offer is 3.0% on a variable interest rate, even with discounts.

LendKey’s goal is to make online lending both affordable and transparent. That’s a breath of fresh air if you’re concerned about all the things you’ve been seeing in the news about Wells Fargo lately.

CommonBond: for those who want to give back

If you’d prefer your student loan with a side of social activism, CommonBond may be the lender for you. 

For every loan they fund, CommonBond pays for a child's education in Ghana—through a partnership with Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit that builds schools, funds technology and supplies, and sends teachers to communities in the developing world.

Even better, every year they send a group of employees and borrowers to Ghana to help build classrooms in the communities they serve. You can feel good about doing business with CommonBond. 

The lender is also known for its great customer service—they've won awards—and their lowest interest rate is also lower than Wells Fargo's, at 2.02%. 

Citizens One: for those who like a long track record of success

If you want a lender with brick and mortar locations, one that combines innovation with long-standing tradition, consider Citizens One. 

Citizens One is the national lending division for Citizens Banks, N.A., a bank with a nearly 200-year history of serving customers and communities. It's also on the leading edge of technology trends in digital banking.

For borrowers that appreciate the credibility that comes with two centuries of experience in the banking industry, Citizens One sweetens the pot by interest rates that compete with new lenders'. Their variable rates start at 2.15%.

 

How to transfer your loan

Want to get a ballpark idea of how much you could saves by refinancing—without filling out an application? Check out our Refi Ready calculator. Every lender's offer will be different, but this will give you a good estimate of how much you could save based on your finances.

If you want to make the switch, it’s easy. Just fill out the application — all three of these lenders have a quick online application process, which you can find by following the links below. The process usually takes about 15 minutes or less.

The lender will ask you some basic questions about your income and other financial information. They'll do a "soft pull" on your credit—this won't affect your score—and give you a preliminary offer.

Once you accept an offer, your new lender handles all the paperwork to get your loan transferred from Wells Fargo.

You don’t have to stay stuck with a lender you aren’t crazy about—not when there are so many great options. Check out a list of our favorite lenders—those who’ve met a high standard for affordability, transparency, perks, customer service, and more. 

Refinance & Save Today With These Leading Lenders

#1 - Nitro Recommended View More Details

Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products

  • APR: 1.89% - 6.77%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • No Maximum when refinancing
View More Details
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.

#2 View More Details

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

  • APR: 1.99% - 5.79%
  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • Refinance up to $500K
View More Details
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
  • Flexible terms let you pick your exact monthly payment or switch between fixed and variable rates
  • 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.

#3 View More Details

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

  • APR: 1.99% - 6.20%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • No refinancing amount maximum
View More Details
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.

#4 View More Details

Credible is an online marketplace that provides borrowers with competitive, personalized loan offers from multiple, vetted lenders in real time.

  • Free to use, no hidden fees
  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • No refinancing maximum amount
View More Details
Visit Credible View Loan Disclosure

Credible is a multi-lender marketplace that empowers consumers to discover student loan refinancing options that are the best fit for their unique circumstances. Our integrations with leading lenders and credit bureaus allow consumers to quickly compare accurate, personalized loan options ― without putting their personal information at risk or affecting their credit score. The Credible marketplace provides an unrivaled customer experience, as reflected by over 2,000 positive Trustpilot reviews and a TrustScore of 9.5/10. Credible is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

For more information, click here to apply now with Credible.

  • Compare prequalified rates from multiple, vetted lenders in 2 minutes.
  • Refinance federal, private and ParentPLUS loans.
  • San Francisco-based customer support 7 days a week.
  • Checking your rates won't affect your credit score.
  • Get your final offer in as little as 1 business day.
  • Credible’s partner lenders do not charge prepayment penalties, loan application fees, or origination fees.
  • Free to use, no hidden fees: Requesting rates can take just minutes and costs you nothing.
#5 View More Details

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

  • APR: 1.99% - 5.79%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Refinance up to $500K
View More Details
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.

#6 View More Details

Works with 300+ community lenders for higher approval chances

  • APR: 1.99% - 8.77%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Refinance up to $300K
View More Details
Visit LendKey View Loan Disclosure

Connecting student borrowers to a network of over 300 community lenders with low interest rates. 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.

LendKey Student Loan Refinance review

  • 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 300+ 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.

#7 View More Details

Many ELFI customers save hundreds per month month and thousands over the length of the loan term.

  • APR: 2.39% - 5.99%
  • Minimum credit score: 680
  • No refinancing maximum amount
View More Details
Visit ElFi View Loan Disclosure

Education Loan Finance is designed to assist borrowers through consolidating outstanding education loans into one single loan that effectively lowers your costs of education and/or makes repayment very simple. Education Loan Finance - backed by the strength of SouthEast Bank - combines the benefits of traditional education loan refinancing with the superior products, service, and support found in the private market.

Education Loan Finance (ElFi) review

Check out their low rates today to see how much you can save.

  • Get Your Rate. With Education Loan Finance's Find My Rate tool, you can complete a short application to receive a preliminary quote on your eligible rates and terms, all without affecting your credit score.
  • Apply in Minutes. Education Loan Finance's online application is fast and simple.
  • Outstanding Personalized Service. Our Personalized Loan Advisors specialize in student loan refinancing and help busy professionals find the option that's right for them.
  • Student Lending Experience: Education Loan Finance isn't a start-up company - we have a longstanding history and expertise in serving student loan borrowers.

Attractive Bonus and Referral Programs:

  • Education Loan Finance Referral Program**: Earn $400 for each new Education Loan Finance Client referred by you!

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

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