CommonBond vs. SoFi Student Loan Refinance Review: Which Is Right for You?

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Refinancing with Earnest

Refinancing rates from 1.99% APR. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.

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With more than 44 million Americans owing student loans, many of us are looking for strategies to manage our debt better. Refinancing is one approach, as it could save you money on interest and let you choose new repayment terms. But first, you’ve got to find the right lender.

In this review, we’ll take a close look at two leading lenders in the student loan refinancing space — CommonBond and SoFi. Find out whether one finishes on top in the CommonBond vs. SoFi showdown.

CommonBond vs. SoFi: The basics

As online companies with high-tech approaches to lending, CommonBond and SoFi have a lot in common. For one, they provide student loan refinancing for the most debt-burdened borrowers. CommonBond will refinance up to $500,000, while SoFi has no maximum amount.

Both provide competitive interest rates and let you choose between fixed and variable rates on your refinanced student loan. CommonBond also has a hybrid loan option, which involves a fixed rate for five years and a variable rate for the rest of your term.

The CommonBond vs. SoFi chart below takes a closer look at the rates and terms on these two lenders’ student loan refinancing products.

CommonBond SoFi
Loan amount $5,000-$500,000 $5,000 or more
APR range 1.85% – 6.45% 2.31% – 7.36%
Repayment terms 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20
Rate type Fixed, variable or hybrid Fixed or variable
Origination fee 0% 0%
Allows a cosigner? Yes Yes
Offers cosigner release? Yes, after 36 consecutive on-time payments No
Instant pre-qualification Yes Yes
Eligibility requirements Minimum 660 credit score; graduated from an eligible school; U.S. citizen or permanent resident; meets other requirements for income and employment Minimum 650 credit score; graduated from an eligible school; U.S. citizen or permanent resident; meets other requirements for income and employment
Residency requirements Lends in all states except for Mississippi, Nevada and Vermont Lends in all 50 states
Extra benefits Forbearance if you encounter financial hardship Deferment if you return to school; forbearance if you encounter financial hardship; career coaching; community events; Entrepreneur Program; financial coaching; referral program

Since CommonBond and SoFi allow for instant rate quotes, you can easily compare preliminary offers from the two lenders. Although you might go with the loan with the lowest interest rate, remember that there are other factors to consider, too.

Choose CommonBond if you want hybrid loans or cosigner release

Although CommonBond and SoFi offer competitive terms and useful benefits to creditworthy borrowers, CommonBond offers a few perks that its rival doesn’t. Here are a few scenarios when it could make sense to choose CommonBond as your refinancing provider.

You’re interested in a hybrid loan

CommonBond is unique with its hybrid loan product, which combines a fixed rate and variable rate on the same loan. When you borrow a hybrid loan, you’re signing up for a 10-year repayment term.

The first five years will have a fixed rate, after which the loan will switch to a variable rate. The variable rate will be assigned based on the London Interbank Offered Rate — a key financial benchmark, often known as Libor — and could fluctuate.

That said, you could pay off your loan ahead of time without penalty. According to CommonBond, the hybrid loan is best for borrowers who intend to pay off their loan earlier than planned and avoid much exposure to the variable rate.

With the hybrid loan, you could get a lower fixed rate than you would on the traditional fixed-rate loan. If you can pay off your debt within five years, you’ll save money on interest and never have to deal with the uncertainty of a variable rate.

You want the option of cosigner release

Adding a cosigner to your refinancing application could help you qualify for lower rates, especially if you don’t have strong credit or steady income. But you and your cosigner must be comfortable sharing debt, as your cosigner’s finances will be on the line if you can’t pay.

CommonBond, however, offers the perk of cosigner release. If you make 36 consecutive on-time monthly payments, you could apply to have your cosigner removed from the loan. Going forward, you’d be the only one responsible for your debt. SoFi, on the other hand, allows you to apply with a cosigner, but it doesn’t offer cosigner release.

You support CommonBond’s social mission

When you refinance with CommonBond, the lender promises to cover the cost of a child’s education in the West African nation of Ghana. It partners with nonprofit organization Pencils of Promise to provide schools, teachers and technology to thousands of young learners.

To date, CommonBond has donated over $1 million through this program. If you want to refinance with a lender that’s committed to improving social good, CommonBond could be the right choice for you.

Choose SoFi if you’ll make the most of member benefits

While CommonBond has low rates and flexible terms, SoFi also offers a variety of benefits to customers, plus it often has relatively low interest rates, so it’s worth looking at when you do your comparison shopping. Here are some instances when refinancing with SoFi might be preferable to refinancing with CommonBond.

You can qualify for the lowest rates

With its variable rate starting at 2.31%, SoFi had a slightly lower interest rate on a refinanced student loan than CommonBond did at the time this article was written. That said, things can change, so it’s worth checking the rates, and either way, you or your cosigner will need excellent credit to qualify for those lowest rates.

If your priority is to save the most money on interest, SoFi could come out as the winner against CommonBond. But look at you offered rates with both lenders to see which will give you the best deal based on the information you provide in your application.

You want options for both deferment and forbearance

Both CommonBond and SoFi offer forbearance — or the option to postpone payments — if you run into financial hardship. This flexibility could be a huge help since going into default on your student loans could harm your credit for years to come.

But SoFi additionally has the option of deferment if you return to school on a half- or full-time basis. You can also defer your refinanced student loan if you undergo rehabilitation for a disability or get called into active military duty.

You will make use of its member benefits or Entrepreneur Program

SoFi is unique for all the benefits it offers to its customers. Here are the resources you’ll be connected with if you choose to refinance your student loans with SoFi:

  • Career services to help you with searching for a job, changing careers and personal branding
  • Financial coaching to help you achieve your financial and investing goals
  • Community events to meet people through dinners, happy hours, educational activities, networking opportunities and other exclusive experiences
  • Member discount of 0.125% on additional loans you borrow from SoFi
  • Bonus of up to $300 for referring another customer

What’s more, entrepreneurs can apply for SoFi’s Entrepreneur Program, which provides seed capital, mentorship, and access to investors and a community of like-minded professionals.

When you refinance with SoFi, you become eligible for a host of other benefits that go beyond paying off your student loans.

You’re a medical or dental resident looking to refinance

SoFi offers a special student loan product for medical and dental residents looking to refinance their medical school debt. If you’re a medical resident or fellow with more than $10,000 in student loans, you could be eligible for a SoFi medical resident refinance loan.

You can choose repayment terms of five, seven, 10, 15 or 20 years, as well as a fixed or variable rate. You won’t have to make full monthly payments right away. Instead, you can send in $100 a month until you finish your program, for up to 54 months.

While some residents simply put their loans into deferment, refinancing and making small monthly payments could limit the accrual of interest. As a result, your balance won’t be as big when you finish residency and start full repayment.

What to know before choosing a refinancing lender

Before you refinance, make sure you understand the pros and cons of refinancing.

For instance, refinancing can save you money if you qualify for a lower interest rate. It lets you adjust your monthly payments by choosing new repayment terms — a shorter term could get you out of debt faster, whereas a longer term could reduce your monthly bills. Plus, you can refinance both federal and private student loans together into one new loan, simplifying your debt.

But when you refinance a federal student loan, you turn it into a private one. As a result, you lose access to federal programs, such as income-driven repayment plans and certain loan forgiveness programs.

If you’re relying on either, refinancing likely wouldn’t be a good move. But if you’re confident you can pay back the loan on time — or take advantage of CommonBond or SoFi’s forbearance benefit, if necessary — then refinancing could save you money on your debt.

CommonBond vs. SoFi: Which is right for you?

CommonBond and SoFi offer useful perks and benefits to customers, along with competitive rates and flexible repayment terms on their student loans.

Neither comes out as a clear winner in the CommonBond vs. SoFi contest. Rather, the right lender depends on your unique circumstances and needs.

If the option of cosigner release is important to you, for instance, CommonBond could be the better choice. But if you’re intrigued by SoFi’s member benefits, you might be better off going with SoFi.

Either way, make sure to compare offers from a variety of lenders before choosing. By shopping around, you can feel confident you’ve found the best offer for your refinanced student loan.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 8 lenders of 2019!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.45% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.99% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.89% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of November 21, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 11/21/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at hello@earnest.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.46% APR (with AutoPay) to 7.61% APR (without AutoPay). Variable rates currently from 2.31% APR (with AutoPay) to 7.61% (without AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.31% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.31% plus 0.75% margin minus 0.25% for AutoPay. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your credit history and the term of the loan and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

3 Important Disclosures for Figure.

Figure Disclosures

Figure’s Student Refinance Loan is a private loan. If you refinance federal loans, you forfeit certain flexible repayment options associated with those loans. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would impact your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation alternatives.


4 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (“APR”)
This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

FEE INFORMATION

There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.

LOAN AMOUNT

For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
For eligible Associates degrees in the healthcare field (see Eligibility & Eligible Loans section below), Lender will refinance up to $50,000 in loans for non-ParentPlus refinance loans. Note, parents who are refinancing loans taken out on behalf of a child who has obtained an associates degrees in an eligible healthcare field are not subject to the $50,000 loan maximum, refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for more information about refinancing ParentPlus loans.

ELIGIBILITY & ELIGIBLE LOANS

Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).

Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.

All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.

For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.

INTEREST RATES

The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.

DISBURSEMENT OPTIONS

The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.

POSTPONING OR REDUCING PAYMENTS

After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.

If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of November 8, 2019 and is subject to change.


5 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers.


6 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 1.76% effective November 10, 2019.


7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 12/07/2019 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% to 8.59% Variable APR with AutoPay and 3.49% to 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.


8 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

College Ave Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.

2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.

3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.

4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 12/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

1.99% – 6.89%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

2.31% – 7.36%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.21% – 6.21%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Figure

1.99% – 6.65%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.43% – 7.60%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.85% – 6.13%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

1.90% – 8.59%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.74% – 6.25%8Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit College Ave

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.