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 timespan to pay off your loan, and better terms. It’s always smart to consider all your options—including those outside of Wells Fargo.
If you're wondering how to refinance your Wells Fargo student loans, it's pretty easy. 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.
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.
The only cons of refinancing are if you have federal loans. You'll lose access to federal benefits such as student loan forgiveness and income-based repayment. You'll also forfeit options like deferment or forbearance.
Private loans don’t qualify for those benefits, so you’re not losing out on anything at all by refinancing your private loans.
On the pro side, if your credit is good, you often stand to 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.
What refinancing isn’t, though, is consolidation. While the words “consolidation” and “refinancing” are often used interchangeably—they’re actually quite different.
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.
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.)
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.
These articles will help you understand refinancing in more depth:
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.
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 2.53% variable APR with an AutoPay discount of 0.25%. Compare that to Wells Fargo, whose lowest interest rate offer is 4.99% on a variable interest rate, even with discounts.
LendKey’s goal is to make online lending not only affordable, but as transparent as possible. 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.
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, they put a child through school in Ghana. They do it 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. CommonBond is an organization you can feel good about doing business with—and you may even get the chance to help on a wider level.
CommonBond 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 2.48%.
If you want a lender who can give you a leg up in your career, SoFi may be worth a second look.
What makes them stand out is that they really support their borrowers when it comes to career advancement. Their perks include:
SoFi’s rates start at 2.500% for a variable rate loan—another great deal, made even sweeter with all the perks you get.
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. In addition to those highlighted above, we’ve put together a list of our favorite lenders—those who’ve met a high standard for affordability, transparency, perks, customer service, and more.
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.