Refinance rates with Laurel Road start at 1.89%.
Checking your rates won’t affect your score.
Note that the situation for student loans has changed due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and relief efforts from the government, student loan lenders and others. Check out our Student Loan Hero Coronavirus Information Center for additional news and details.
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With the PenFed student loan refinance program, you may be able to get a lower interest rate or monthly payment on your education debt.
PenFed is a good fit for bachelor’s degree-holders with multiple student loan types who have solid-to-stellar credit and income (or access to a cosigner who does). It’s especially useful when attempting to consolidate spousal or parental student loan debt.
Established in 1935, Pentagon Federal Credit Union serves about 2 million members nationwide. PenFed primarily serves government employees and military personnel, but you don’t have to belong to either group to join.
Here’s what you need to know about the PenFed student loan refinancing program, which has been powered by Purefy since 2016:
- Refinance $7,500 to $300,000 in student loans
- Private and federal loans are eligible, including parent PLUS loans
- Consolidate your significant other’s loans into a PenFed couple loan
- Refinance parent PLUS loans into your child’s name
- Fixed and variable APRs available
- Estimate your rate using the lender’s Find My Rate Tool (without submitting to a credit check)
- No application, origination fees or prepayment fees
- Choose from four repayment terms: five, eight, 12 or 15 years
- Option to apply with a cosigner
Keep in mind, however, that to reap the rewards of PenFed student loan refinancing, you must be a bachelor’s degree-holding U.S. citizen. Also, your creditworthiness will be put under the microscope.
- Credit score: PenFed requires solo applicants to have a 700, or a 670 when applying with a spouse or cosigner
- Income: PenFed requires lone applicants to prove earnings of $42,000, or $25,000 when applying alongside a cosigner
With all that said, if you’re interested in the PenFed student loan refinancing program, there are some key benefits and drawbacks to consider.
See Student Loan Refinance Rates - No hard credit check
- Competitive interest rates
- Consolidate spousal debt
- Refinance parent PLUS loans
- Add (and release) a cosigner
- In-house loan servicing
PenFed advertises both fixed and variable interest rates, and they’re competitive with APRs promoted by more well-known banks and online lenders.
Remember that if you choose a fixed rate, you won’t have to worry about your interest rate changing over time like variable interest rates do. Inherently riskier, variable rates start out lower but could rise over time.
Your APR will also depend on your creditworthiness (or that of your cosigner) as well as which of the following repayment periods you choose for your PenFed student loans:
|Term (years)||Lowest fixed APR*||Lowest variable APR*|
|* APRs current as of Aug. 24, 2020|
The credit union’s spouse loan makes it possible for couples to save money on their student loans without having to refinance separately.
If both you and your significant other have student loans, you can combine them into a couple loan. When you apply for a couple loan, PenFed combines your incomes and bases your interest on the higher of your two credit scores. Either you or your partner must have a 670 credit score and $42,000 in annual income.
Consolidating student loans with a spouse isn’t the right move for everyone, however, so proceed cautiously.
It’s also possible to refinance federal parent PLUS loans, either as the mom or dad, or as the ex-student.
However, if you’re the parent, your son or daughter must be the primary borrower on at least one other loan to be eligible for PenFed student loan refinance.
Shopping around will help you secure your best loan terms, however, so check out the offerings of competing lenders that refinance parent PLUS loans.
Adding a student loan cosigner with good or excellent credit can increase your chance of getting a lower interest rate. It can also help you qualify for PenFed student loan refinance.
|Loan amount||You’ll need a cosigner if your …||And your cosigner needs …|
|Up to $150,000||● Credit score is 670 to 699|
● Income is between $25,000 and $41,999
|● A 720 credit score and $42,000+ income|
|Above $150,000||● Credit score is 670 to 724|
● Income is between $25,000 and $49,999
|● A 725 credit score and $50,000+ income|
If you’re adding a cosigner to your application, they must also be a U.S. citizen the age of majority in their state.
On the plus side, after 12 months of consecutive on-time payments, you can apply to have PenFed remove your cosigner from the loan. At this time, PenFed will reevaluate your financial and credit profile to make sure you qualify for a cosigner release.
Cosigners are jointly responsible for the student loan debt. So, cosigning a student loan can be risky for both the cosigner and the primary borrower. PenFed student loans’ cosigner release policy can help resolve any long-term concerns.
This national credit union also stands out for servicing its own loans. If you elect to apply for PenFed student loan refinance, you won’t have to worry about your new debt being passed off to a loan servicer that manages your repayment.
Unfortunately, that is the case with other refinancing lenders, who may issue your new loan before sending you elsewhere to make your monthly payments.
- Credit union membership required
- Stiff income, credit score requirements
- Few deferment, forbearance options
- No autopay discount available
Like most other student loan refinancing credit unions, PenFed has certain eligibility requirements to become a member. The good news is you can bypass those requirements if you apply for its student loan refinancing program.
After you’re preapproved, you’ll fill out a membership form as part of the underwriting process. Once you’re approved, you’ll be a full-fledged member and will have access to PenFed’s other products and services.
PenFed doesn’t charge a membership fee, as you only need to maintain a $5 savings account balance. Also, PenFed provides member discounts on home, auto, financial and other services.
To be eligible for the program, you must meet some basic requirements:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be at least the age of majority in your state
- Be the borrower on at least one outstanding education loan
- Have a bachelor’s degree or higher
- Have a strong credit history
- Have an annual income of at least $42,000 (or $25,000 with a cosigner)
PenFed also requires an annual income of at least $42,000 and a credit score of at least 700 to apply without a cosigner. Even with a cosigner, you must earn at least $25,000 and have a 670 credit score or higher to qualify.
If you can’t meet these thresholds, no sweat: Some other refinancing programs have no minimum income requirements or require as little as $24,000 annually.
In fact, there are a handful of cases where an alternative lender might be more accessible should you find yourself ineligible for PenFed student loan refinance:
|You’re still in school or have an associate degree||EdVestinU works with borrowers who hold an associate degree, or didn’t graduate|
|You’re a noncitizen||Prodigy Finance is among lenders assisting international borrowers|
|You have less than $7,500 in loans to refinance||LendKey sets its minimum lending amount at $2,000|
|Your income is below $42,000 (and you don’t have a cosigner)||Splash Financial has no minimum income requirement|
|Your credit score is below 700 (and you don’t have a cosigner)||Earnest only requires that your score eclipses 650|
PenFed doesn’t offer a clear-cut deferment or forbearance policy. But it does work with borrowers on a case-by-case basis during times of economic hardship.
Other extraordinary circumstances may also apply (losing a job after refinancing, an illness or a death in the family) if you’re looking for assistance with your PenFed student loan payments.
Unfortunately, if you head to graduate school, you won’t get a deferment on your payments during that time. And if you do qualify for forbearance, it may or may not be favorable. That’s because interest will continue to accrue during the forbearance period.
Some refinancing programs offer a 0.25% rate discount if you sign up for automatic payments. PenFed, however, doesn’t offer this or any other type of rate discount.
On the other hand, PenFed student loan refinance does offer low interest rates, so compare its terms to other lenders that do offer student loan discounts.
To find out what kind of rate you qualify for, you first need to share basic information about yourself, your education history and financial picture.
Next, you can share more information about your current loans, select a term and view what APR you might qualify for if you apply solo or with a cosigner.
The good news is inputting this information to figure out your rate does not affect your credit in any way because you don’t give Purefy or PenFed your Social Security number.
After you go through that prequalification process (or if you want to skip it altogether), you can apply online. You’ll need to create a student lending profile so you can log in to see your application.
To file a formal application, you’ll need to hand over screenshots or smartphone pictures of …
- Pay stub or tax return, among other options to verify income
- ID, such as a driver’s license or passport
- Payoff verification statements from your existing loan servicers
- Your diploma or transcripts
You’ll then consent to e-sign certain documents and agree to disclosures and terms and conditions. After that, you can submit your application.
When you apply, PenFed will run a credit check, which will trigger a hard inquiry on your credit report. If you apply with a cosigner, the same will happen with their credit report.
Should you apply for the PenFed student loans refinancing program?
If you meet PenFed’s income and credit score requirements, its program is worth considering. Its competitive interest rates, speedy cosigner release policy and options for couples and parents make it a strong option among top refinancing banks.
If you plan to go back to school, though, you might want to choose a program that has a deferment policy. Also, if you have federal student loans, keep in mind that you’ll lose access to student loan forgiveness and income-driven repayment plans if you refinance through PenFed.
To make sure PenFed is right for you, shop around and compare rates and other features. With time and research, you’ll find the best student loan refinancing program for you.
Student Loan Hero has independently collected the above information related to PenFed student loan refinance, which is current as of Aug. 24, 2020, unless otherwise noted. PenFed Credit Union has neither provided nor reviewed the information shared in this article.
The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.
Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.89% – 6.15%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 5.64%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.85%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.90% – 5.25%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.64%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|2.15% – 4.42%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.00% – 5.63%8||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews! |
1 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. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of May 1, 2021.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
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 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.49% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.34% 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 October 26, 2020, 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 10/26/2020. 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 [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 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.
3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. 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 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
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 04/07/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% APR – 7.63% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
6 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. 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. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
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.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
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.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
7 Important Disclosures for PenFed.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rates range from 2.89%-4.78% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.15%-4.42% APR. Both Fixed and Variable Rates will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 2.00%. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
8 Important Disclosures for Nelnet.
Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.
Interest rate reduction of .25% for automatically withdrawn payments from any designated bank account (“auto debit discount”). Auto debit discount applies when full payments (including both principal and interest) are automatically drafted from a bank account. The auto debit discount will continue to apply during periods of approved forbearance or deferment if the auto debit discount was in effect at the time of receiving the forbearance or deferment. Auto debit discount will remain on the account unless (1) the automatic deduction of payments is canceled or (2) there are three consecutive automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan.
Request for the cosigner to be released can be made by the borrower after 24 consecutive, on-time payments (not later than 15 days after the due date) of principal and interest have been made. Borrowers in deferment or forbearance must make 24 consecutive, on-time payments after re-entering repayment to qualify for the release. The borrower must be current on their payments at the time of the cosigner release request and show the ability to assume full responsibility of the loan(s) by meeting certain credit criteria on their own at the time of the request, including, but not limited to, being a U.S. citizen or having permanent residency in the United States, being the age of majority in their permanent state of residency, providing sufficient proof of income, and having no student loans in default.
Hardship forbearance allows you to temporarily suspend payments on your loan(s) while you are experiencing financial hardship. It is offered in increments of two or three months, with a maximum of 12 months available, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. If your loan(s) are in good standing at the time of your request, you will be eligible for forbearance in increments of two monthly payments. If, at the time of your initial request, your loan(s) are considered past-due, you will be eligible for forbearance in increments of three monthly payments. Future increments of forbearance, up to a life-time maximum of 12 months, may be requested upon the completion of making a certain number of principal and interest payments. During the two- or three-month forbearance period, you will not be required to make payments; however, any unpaid interest will continue to accrue and will be capitalized (added) onto your principal balance at the end of the forbearance period. You may continue making payments in any amount without penalty during the forbearance period. Your loan repayment term will be extended by the number of months in the forbearance period.
Refinance Loan Eligibility: You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number, and be the legal age to enter into binding contracts in your permanent state/territory of residency, or be at least 17 years of age and apply with a cosigner who is at least the age of majority in their state/territory. Non-residents can apply with an eligible cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number. The student loans you refinance must be in their grace or repayment period, and you can no longer be enrolled in school on a half-time or more basis. You must have at least $5,000 in student loans to refinance. You, or your eligible cosigner, must have an annual income of at least $36,000. Approval subject to credit review. Other credit criteria may apply.
Refinance Loan Limits:
Loan Refinancing Risks: Federal student loans include benefits that may not be offered with private student loans. Carefully review any potential benefits that may be lost by refinancing federal and private education loans, such as the loss of any remaining grace periods. To learn more about what to take into consideration when refinancing federal student loans with private education loans, click here
Selecting ‘Get Started’ results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.
Fixed interest rates range from 2.99% APR (with auto debit discount) to 6.25% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. The fixed interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan.
Variable interest rates range from 2.00% APR (with auto debit discount) to 5.63% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. Variable rates may increase after consummation. The variable interest rate is equal to the One-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (“One-Month LIBOR”) plus a margin. The One-Month LIBOR in effect for each monthly period (from the first day of the month through and including the last day of the same month) will be the highest One-Month LIBOR published in The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth (25th) day (or if such day is not a business day, the next business day thereafter) of the month immediately preceding such calendar month. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for a variable interest rate loan will change monthly on the first day of each month if the One-Month LIBOR index changes. This may result in higher monthly payments. The current One-Month LIBOR index is 0.15% as of 5/4/2021.
The lowest interest rate for each loan type requires automatically withdrawn (“auto debit”) payments, a five-year repayment term, and the borrower making immediate principal and interest payments. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rate. The interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher depending upon (1) the credit history of the borrower and, if applicable, the cosigner, (2) the repayment option and loan term selected, (3) the loan type selected, and (4) the highest level of education attained. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate qualified for within the stated range.
*Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score. **Your actual savings may vary based on interest rates, outstanding balances, remaining repayment terms, and other factors.