Fifth Third Bank Student Loan Alternatives

 July 11, 2019
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Private Student Loan rates starting at 0.99% APR

0.99% to 11.98% 1

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1.13% to 11.23% 2

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0.99% to 11.44% 3

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  • Variable APR

Originally known as the Bank of the Ohio Valley when it was founded in 1858, Fifth Third Bank now serves communities across 10 states in the South and Midwest. But while this institution offers a variety of banking services, you won’t find a Fifth Third Bank student loan.

That doesn’t mean Fifth Third Bank completely ignores college and graduate students, though. Since it doesn’t have its own student loan product, Fifth Third has partnered with CommonBond to offer student loans and student loan refinancing.

What’s more, Fifth Third offers a useful app to customers looking to pay down their student loans faster. Read on to learn more about student loans with Fifth Third Bank through the CommonBond partnership, along with some alternatives that can help you pay for college.

Managing your student loans with Fifth Third Bank’s help

Fifth Third Bank doesn’t have its own student loan product, but it partners with online lender CommonBond to connect you with student loans and student loan refinancing. Fifth Third Bank is a big investor in CommonBond, and it led a $50 million investment into this innovative financial tech company in early 2018. Although you don’t have to go with Fifth Third Bank’s recommendation, it’s worth checking with CommonBond to see if you can get competitive rates.

Additionally, even though you can’t borrow student loans directly from Fifth Third Bank, you can get assistance with managing your student debt. If you are a Fifth Third customer, you might check out the bank’s Momentum app. This app rounds up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar or by one full dollar. Once you’ve accumulated at least $5 in savings, this cash will be automatically put toward your student loans on a weekly basis.

You probably won’t notice these small savings, but they will help you pay off your debt faster, a little bit at a time. According to Fifth Third Bank, its Momentum app has helped customers pay down $1 million toward their student loans.

App users also should keep an eye out for debt payoff contests. In late 2018 through early 2019, for instance, Fifth Third Bank held a sweepstakes with a prize of up to $39,000 in student loan repayment, plus up to $12,315.79 toward federal income tax repayment.

Borrowing student loans as a Fifth Third Bank customer

Although Fifth Third Bank recommends borrowing with CommonBond, you should probably look to federal student loans before turning to a private lender. Federal loans tend to have the lowest interest rates, along with built-in protections for borrowers, such as income-driven repayment programs and forbearance if you run into financial hardship.

Plus, students with financial need might be able to get subsidized loans, which don’t accrue interest until your grace period ends. To access federal student loans, all you need to do is submit the FAFSA. Your financial aid award letter should detail how much you can borrow in federal unsubsidized and subsidized student loans.

If you’ve hit your borrowing limit and still need more money to pay for school, it could make sense to consider a private student loan then.

What to look for in a private student loan

If you’ve maxed out your eligibility for federal student loans but still have a gap in funding, that’s where a private student loan can come in handy. Private loan rates and terms vary by lender, so it’s smart to know what you’re looking for before you borrow.

To find the best private student loan, look for these features:

  • A competitive interest rate that keeps your cost of borrowing low. Use a student loan calculator to estimate your loan costs.
  • Flexible repayment terms that match your debt payoff goals. The standard plan spans 10 years.
  • A grace period that gives you a break on student loan payments while you’re in school, and for six months after you graduate (though choosing to make-in school payments can help you cut down on interest).
  • Built-in borrower protections, such as deferment or forbearance if you lose your job or go back to school.
  • Decent reviews from customers. If a lender has a reputation for terrible customer service, you might want to look elsewhere.

Since rates and terms on private student loans vary by lender, it’s smart to shop around to find the best one for your needs.

Although Fifth Third Bank recommends borrowing student loans from CommonBond, the choice of where to borrow is up to you. CommonBond offers highly competitive rates, but it’s always worth looking around.

Here’s what you need to know about student loans from Fifth Third Bank’s partner, CommonBond, along with three other alternatives for the best private student loans.


  • Offers variable rates from 3.80% and fixed rates from 3.74%
  • Lets you borrow from $2,000 up to the full cost of attendance of your school
  • Provides repayment terms of five, 10, or 15 years
  • Allows you to choose one of four repayment options: no payments while you’re in school and for six months after you graduate, in-school monthly payments of $25, in-school interest-only payments or in-school full payments
  • Doesn’t charge origination fees or prepayment penalties

Check out our comprehensive CommonBond review here.

3 alternatives to Fifth Third Bank student loans

College Ave Student Loans

  • Offers variable rates from 0.99% and fixed rates from 2.99%
  • Provides loans to cover up to 100% of the cost of attendance at your school
  • Has repayment terms of 5, 8, 10 or 15 years
  • Lets you defer payments while you’re in school and for six months after you graduate or make interest-only, flat or full payments while in school
  • Doesn’t charge an origination fee

Learn more about College Ave student loans in this review.


  • Partners with credit unions and community banks to show you multiple student loan offers at once, so you can find one with the best rates and terms
  • Through the LendKey platform, you can find variable rates from 1.13% and fixed rates from 3.50%

Check out this review for more information on LendKey.

Citizens Bank

  • Provides variable rates from 1.15% and fixed rates from 4.18%
  • Offers interest rate deductions for Citizens Bank customers
  • Lets you borrow from $1,000 up to $150,000 as an undergraduate
  • Offers repayment terms of 5, 10 or 15 years
  • Doesn’t charge an origination fee
  • Lets you make full or interest-only payments while in school or defer payments until after you graduate. You can also defer payments for up to eight years while you’re still in school.
  • Allows for multi-year approval so it’s easy to borrow in future semesters

Here’s our Citizens Bank review for more details.

Along with exploring your student loan options from national lenders, you might also look to a local bank or credit union to see what it has to offer.

Making smart borrowing choices to pay for college

While student loans can help you earn a valuable degree, you also want to be cautious about how much you borrow. So crunch the numbers on your school’s cost of attendance, and make sure not to spend loan money on unnecessary expenses.

What’s more, only turn to private student loans once you’ve maxed out your federal financial aid. If a private student loan is the right choice, remember to shop around with a variety of lenders to find the best offer.

Several lenders, including Fifth Third Bank’s student loan partner CommonBond, offer instant rate quotes, so you can check your rates with no commitment and only a soft credit check. By taking the time to comparison shop, you can find the right student loan to pay for college or graduate school.

Need a student loan?

Check out our top picks below or learn more about other ways to pay for college.
Variable APRDegrees That QualifyMore Info
0.99% – 11.98%1 Undergraduate

Visit College Ave

1.13% – 11.23%2 Undergraduate

Visit SallieMae

0.99% – 11.44%3 Undergraduate

Visit Earnest

1.50% – 11.33%4 Undergraduate

Visit Ascent

1.12% – 11.23%5 Undergraduate

Visit SoFi

1.15% – 11.01%6 Undergraduate