Splash Financial Review: Student Loan Refinancing
Splash Financial is a student loan refinancing company that only focuses on student loan refinancing (unlike many of its competitors). Some of the features you’ll love are: (1) one-stop shop; (2) Splash's marketplace with exclusive credit union and bank partners in addition to other leading lenders like SoFi, PenFed, Earnest, and more; (3) dedicated loan consultants; (4) refinancing for married couples, and (5) co-signer policy.
One-stop shop. Splash Financial works with a variety of lenders to give you the best options for refinancing your law school debt. The main advantage of this is that you’ll be getting more information and offers without having to inquire about specific student loan refi plans at different institutions. The process won’t affect your credit rating, either, as Splash Financial conducts soft credit checks.
Splash Financial’s partnership with PenEd. While Splash Financial was originally a startup, they’ve received backing from Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenEd). With their backing, Splash Financial can offer loans in amounts of $5,000 and up, with no maximum. The marketplace also improves the competitiveness of their rates and as well as expanded coverage for eligibility.
Loan consultants. Loan consultants are provided for anyone applying to one of Splash's exclusive credit unions or bank lending partners. The customer success team is available to assist borrower as well.
Refinancing for married couples. Ever wished you could just merge your loan with your spouse’s loan, and handle it within one monthly payment? Splash Financial gives you this option, which makes it significantly more competitive than other lending institutions. In addition to providing benefits for married couples, Splash Financial also refinances Parent PLUS loans and allows children to pay off their parents’ loans.
Co-signer policy. Typically, you have to have a credit score of over 700 to refinance your student loans through Splash Financial. However, if you bring on a co-signer, you can access their offers with a lower credit score. The co-signers will typically be held accountable for the duration of the loan, but you can ask for co-signer release. This is a great option for young lawyers who have great career potential (heck, maybe you even landed a really great job) but don’t have the credit history to prove it just yet. With a co-signer, you can refinance your debt through Splash Financial and experience all the benefits of a debt-free future.
- Soft credit check to get rates.
- No prepayment penalty if you want to pay off your loans at any time during the life of the loan.
- No origination fee or application fee.
- Includes a 0.25% autopay discount.
- If you refinance using our links, you’ll get a $500 cashback bonus from Splash Financial, thanks to the referral bonus we’ve been able to negotiate with them for readers of the Biglaw Investor.
- Exists in a competitive marketplace, so may not always be able to offer the lowest rate.
- To qualify for the best rates, you will need excellent credit.
How Splash Financial student loan refinancing works
Splash Financial is a student loan refinancing lender that connects you with banks and credit unions. If you refinance your loans with Splash Financial, the individual banks and credit unions will be responsible for dictating the loan terms, monthly payments, etc. and you'll work with those banks and credit unions as your servicer to repay your student loan balance.
Here’s the steps you'll go through to refinance with Splash Financial:
- Get Your Personalized Rate Estimate
- Review Rate and Decide on Next Steps
- Complete Full Application
Fill out a short form on Splash Financial's website and answer personal information questions related to your education history, financial situation and the total loan amount that you want to refinance to start the loan application process. Splash Financial will refinance both private student loans and federal student loans. You need to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident client without conditions and with proper evidence of eligibility. Nothing in this process results in a hard credit check, so you don’t have to worry about negatively affecting your credit score. Initially Splash Financial will verify your identity and credit history to determine the loan products they can offer you, as well as if they're able to offer you a lower interest rate. As with most nine lenders, Splash Financial is looking for low credit card debt (or a low debt-to-income ratio generally), 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 variable interest rates and fixed interest rates available to you based on the soft credit check, along with the loan terms. You'll see that the variable rate loans are generally a better deal than the fixed rate loans and that the longer loan terms (i.e. the repayment period), the higher the interest rate. You'll almost always get the best interest rate if you're willing to accept a five-year repayment term with a variable rate.
Now that Splash Financial has provided loan options, loan payments and any eligibility requirements, you can compare the proposal from Splash Financial to your existing student loans. Since Splash Financial does not charge an origination fee or a prepayment penalty, so long as the student loan refinance rate is lower than your current rate, it's likely going to save you money to refinance. After you’ve compared the loan rates to your existing student loans, if you decide to proceed with Splash, you'll need to fill out a complete application which will result in a hard credit check and a credit report to confirm your rate. As long as you've entered the information correctly when doing the rate check, you should expect to receive the same rate once the hard credit check is complete.
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 0.05% 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. In particular, we look at how they handle graduate students (primarily law students, mba students and medical students) and whether they can offer you a better deal for your graduate student loans, since most of the readers of this site have a bachelor's degree and some type of graduate education and are primarily looking to find a lower interest rate on their graduate student loans after paying large sums to their graduate school (both in terms of tuition and cost of attendance numbers).
- 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 (e.g. economic hardship, deferment, cosigner release, grace periods, etc.). 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 Splash Financial's competitors?
Splash Financial is a solid student loan refinancing company with a legitimate chance of giving you a great deal but to get a full sense of the interest rates available to you it's a good idea to check out the competition. The list below includes the other student loan refinancing private lenders that you may want to consider when searching for the lowest interest rate.
- 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.
- Credible. Known as the "Kayak of student loan refinancing", Credible offers you access to a marketplace of lenders. Fill out a form once and Credible will pre-qualify you with a bunch of lenders to get rates (soft credit check). To confirm the actual rates, you'll have to continue the application with the individual lender.
- 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.
- 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.
Is Splash Financial legit?
Splash Financial is a relatively new player in the student loan refinancing market but is a legitimate way for student loan borrowers to save thousands of dollars in interest payments. Splash Financial has established itself as a solid choice for student loan borrowers looking to refinance into lower rates.
Does checking interest rates with Splash Financial hurt your credit score?
No. Splash Financial will perform a soft credit check using your name, SSN, 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.
Who owns Splash Financial?
Splash Financial is venture backed and loans are funded by banks and credit unions.
Can I refinance my existing Splash Financial loan?
Yes. Splash Financial student loans have no prepayment penalty, so you can refinance your existing Splash Financial student loans with Splash Financial or with another student loan lender.
Is Splash Financial a private loan?
Splash Financial provides a private student loan refinancing product that is still considered a student loan for tax purposes.
- Fixed APR From: 4.96%
- Bonus Cashback: $500
- Loan Types:
- Loan Terms:
- Minimum Loan Amount: $5,000
- Rating: 6/10
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