Credible Review: Student Loan Refinancing
Credible is an online marketplace that allows you to instantly compare multiple offers from lenders who offer student loan refinancing for the purposes of achieving a lower interest rate or smaller monthly payments.
Originally a fintech startup, Credible is headquartered in San Francisco and became a public company in Australia in 2017 and was later acquired by the Fox Corporation in October 2019 for AU$585 million. It now operates as an independent subsidiary of Fox. Credible originally only helped student loan borrowers refinance student loans, but has since expanded to other personal finance categories, such as credit cards, mortgages and personal loans.
- Compare multiple lender offers at the same time.
- No hard credit check.
- Most Credible partners offer an autopay discount.
- If you refinance using our links, you’ll get a $750 cashback bonus from Credible, thanks to the deal we’ve been able to negotiate with them for readers of the Biglaw Investor.
- Still need to apply directly with the lenders.
- Doesn’t have every lender on its platform, so you may be able to find better rates elsewhere.
How Credible student loan refinancing works
Credible lets you compare student loan refinancing offers from multiple lenders at the same time. It doesn’t originate the loans or offer different interest rates than what you would get by applying directly with the lender. Instead, think of Credible like Kayak or Expedia when you are booking a flight, except you'll be presented with loan options rather than flight choices. Credible aggregates all of the student loan offers and shows you your options, even though you’ll ultimately go through an application process with one of the actual lenders.
Here’s the Credible student loan refinancing steps you’ll go through:
- Get Personalized Rate Estimates
- Compare Lenders and Rates
- Pick a Lender and Apply
Fill out a short form on Credible.com’s website and answer personal information questions related to your education history, financial situation and the total loan amount that you want to refinance. Credible will refinance both private student loans and federal student loans. If you're applying with a co-signer, you'll need them to complete the form as well. After that, you’ll create a Credible account. Nothing in this process results in a hard credit check, so you don’t have to worry about negatively affecting your credit score. As with most nine lenders, Earnest is looking for low credit card debt, consistent income, full-time employment and a general good standing in order to provide you competitive rates
Next, you’ll be shown a dashboard with the lenders and the loan terms (such as variable and fixed rates) you can expect to receive when you refinance with the individual lender. Credible will give you multiple quotes from the same lender because the rates will vary depending on term length and whether you select a fixed or variable interest rate. You can adjust the filters on the dashboard to see your options based on your circumstances.
After you’ve researched your options, you can select a lender and apply directly with them to obtain a new loan (think of Credible as your pre-qualification step). You’ll still need to meet the lender’s qualifications to get the student loan refinancing interest rate presented by Credible. For example, if you don't have a great credit history, you'll probably need to apply with a co-signer to get the loan rates quoted to you on the Credible platform.
Which lenders are available on the Credible platform?
As mentioned previously, Credible acts as a marketplace for student loan refinancing lenders but unfortunately not every lender is on the platform, which means that you might need to look at other lenders to make sure you get the best rate. Here's the list of lenders that are currently on the marketplace. If you check your rates with Credible, you'll be getting an interest rate quote from each of the below student loan refinancing lenders.
Here's a list of lenders on the Credible platform that are ready to refinance your student loans:
- Advantage Education Loans. The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority. Open to borrowers in all 50 states.
- Brazos. Texas residents only. Refinancing limit is $250,000 for graduate, law, medical or other professional degrees.
- Citizens Bank. One of the bigger players in the student loan refinancing market. Citizens Bank can offer low rates thanks to access to retail deposits.
- College Ave. New player in the student loan refinancing space.
- EDvestinU. New player in the student loan refinancing space.
- ELFI. Education Loan Finance is a division of SouthEast Bank and is a relatively new player in the student loan refinancing space.
- MEFA. The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority. Open to borrowers in all 50 states.
- PenFed. The Pentagon Federal Credit Union getting in on the student loan refinancing business!
- RISLA. The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority. Open to borrowers in all 50 states.
- SoFi. The biggest player in the student loan refinancing market, although unlikely to have the best rates.
Bottom line: What we look for when evaluating a student loan refinancing company
Refinancing your student loan debt is a significant investment of time and energy. You have to spend time filling out forms, waiting for an offer, evaluating repayment terms and monthly payments and then ultimately picking a lender. A solid student loan refinancing company can make your life better, not more difficult. Here's what we look at to arrive at our decision.
- Low interest rates. Nobody wants to waste their time completing an application only to find that you can refinance your loans for 0.25% savings on your interest rate. The number one priority of a student loan refinancing company should be offering you the lowest rate possible, thus saving you thousands of dollars. If a student loan refinancing company can't offer you a low rate, the rest doesn't matter.
- Ease of use. For many people, refinancing student loans is a necessary evil. You know you're paying too much interest. You know you'll save thousands once you get it done. But you'd rather be outside playing than stuck inside entering your home addresses for the 10th time. If you're going to put in the effort to refinance your student loans, a pleasant and easy-to-use interface can make the chore more enjoyable.
- Borrower protections. You're giving up the federal loan protections by refinancing your loans, so you want to be sure that the lender you're using has similar protections in place. Thankfully most lenders offer decent protections for things like unemployment or financial hardship, but it's important criteria that we review.
- Flexible repayment options. Depending on where you are in your career, you may want to double down and pay everything off with a five-year variable rate or you might prefer to apply with a co-signer and get the lowest payment possible over a 25-year term while you figure out your next career move. Regardless, flexibility in repayment options (whether it's term length or the ability to switch between variable and fixed interest rates) is an important factor to consider when evaluating a student loan refinancing company.
Who are Credible's competitors?
Credible has a lot of student loan lenders on its student loan refinancing platform, but it doesn't have everyone. The list below includes the other student loan refinancing companies that you may want to consider when searching for the lowest interest rate. These student loan refinancing companies are not on the Credible platform, so you'll have to apply directly with them to get an interest rate quote when refinancing your loans.
- Earnest. Flexible repayment plans allows you to pick your own term. Financially backed by Navient, giving them some of the lowest interest rates available in the current market.
- First Republic Bank. This is a traditional bank looking to build a long-term customer relationship with you and is willing to refinance your student loans at below-market rates to build the relationship. You'll be required to open up a checking account, initiate direct deposit of your paycheck, and jump through other hoops, but if you're willing to do so they offer the lowest rates available.
- CommonBond. With their Pencils for Promise program, CommonBond offers a social mission to student loan refinancing. They have a dedicated law firm group located in NYC, which means a team is available to specifically help you through the refinancing process.
- SoFi. SoFi is by far the largest lender in the student loan refinancing market. They may not be able to offer you the best rate as they can rely on their brand name to bring in borrowers but there are lots of other perks when you refinance with SoFi and they are actively expanding their products if you're interested in keeping your financial life with one company.
- LendKey. If you're looking to borrow from a local credit union, LendKey is the lender for you. They partner with local banks and credit unions to offer you student loan refinancing in your neighborhood.
- ELFI. A relatively new player, ELFI is backed by SouthEast Bank, a retail bank that recognized the value of getting into the student loan refinancing market. More competition is always better and if you end up with multiple offers, you can use them to play off the various student loan refinancing companies to get the best deal for you.
- Splash Financial. Splash Financial is based in Cleveland and one of the newest players in the refinancing space. Originally they only offered loans to medical residents and fellows but have recently been expanding thanks to a partnership with Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed).
- Laurel Road. Primarily a good option for medical professionals (which seem to be their target audience), Laurel Road is an option for parents that want to refinance Parent PLUS loans in their child's name.
What are the benefits of refinancing with Credible?
Credible isn’t your typical student loan refinancing company. Instead, they’re a loan marketplace helping you find the best loan for your needs. Usually, you’d have to shop around for terms and conditions, and then spend hours poring over the information. With Credible, they put you through a pre-qualification check that doesn't involve a hard credit pull, so the information comes to you quickly rather than having to wait several business days for the individual lenders to get back to you.
Here's review of some of Credible's best features: (1) student loan refinancing product comparison; (2) personalized, prequalified rates; (3) student loan refi products for those who didn’t graduate or are still in school, and (4) refinancing options for private, federal and Parent PLUS loans.
Student loan refinancing product comparison. If you're looking for a platform that can talk to the multiple student loan refinancing companies, Credible managed to come up with a solution. You no longer have to click around the web filling out multiple applications trying to find the best refinancing option for your student loans. During the application process, Credible pulls information from a variety of lenders to give you the information you need to get a lower rate.
Personalized, prequalified rates. Once you enter your information into the Credible platform, you’ll be able to receive personalized and prequalified rates from a variety of lenders. You can sort by interest rates or payment amounts. A great thing about Credible is that it performs a soft credit check and then sends it over to lenders’ systems. This way, your credit rating won’t be affected in any way, and you’ll still get enough information to find the best refi plan. The downside is that you won't be guaranteed those rates until you complete a formal application with your ultimate student loan refinancing company.
Still in school? Dropped out? Don't have excellent credit? Not to worry. Credible works with lenders who allow student loan refinancing across a variety of economic situations (however, you will need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to qualify).
Credible only partners with lenders that don't charge prepayment penalties, origination fees or other service fees.
Refinancing options for federal loans, private loans and Parent PLUS loans. Regardless of the type of loan you originally took out, you can refinance it with lenders that have partnered with Credible. If you want to pay off your parents’ loans, you can – and you’ll get the best access to competitive rates. Any kind of loan is a good loan to refinance for Credible.
Is Credible legit?
You can't refinance your student loans directly with Credible, but Credible is a legitimate way for student loan borrowers to compare multiple refinance offers without a hard credit check. Credible has established itself as a solid lending marketplace with a strong roster of student loan partner lenders, which might make it easier for you to find great rates without having to undergo a credit inquiry.
Credible is a legitimate way to compare many different lenders at the same time when searching for the lowest interest rate. By filling out a single form but using Credible's tools to get pre-qualified with multiple lenders, you can save significant time and compare offers from multiple student loan refinancing companies.
No. Credible will perform a soft credit check using just your name, address and date of birth. Soft credit checks do not negatively affect your credit score, no matter how often they take place. If you proceed with a full application after getting pre-qualified, all lenders will perform a hard credit check which will have a minimum impact on your credit score.
Credible Labs is a subsidiary of the Fox Corporation (yes, the Murdock controlled public company). Credible become a public company in Australia in 2017 and was acquired by Fox in October 2019 for AU$585 million.
It depends on whether your existing private student loans have pre-payment penalties. I'm not aware of any that do but you should check to be certain. Assuming you can prepay your existing private loan, you can easily refinance it using a company like Credible, which won't actually refinance your loans, but will connect you with a lender who can.
Credible's partners generally require a minimum credit score of 660 to refinance your student loans, although some partners will require a better credit score. If you have good credit, you should see what credible offers.
Credible is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
Credible has affiliate relationships with the student loan refinancing lenders on its site. When you refinance a student loan using Credible, they will make money by taking a small percentage fee from the loan provider. The fee is not passed on to you and you won't get a better interest rate if you apply with the lender directly, it's simply a fee the lender pays to Credible to be on the Credible platform.
Each lender will only pay you a cash back bonus one time, no matter how many times you refinance with them. However, if you refinance your student loans with another lender, you can collect a second, third, fourth, etc. cash back bonus so long as each lender is new to you.