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Personal Loans

U.S. Bank Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

U.S. Bank
APR

7.49%
To
17.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

12 to 60

months

Origination Fee

No origination fees

APPLY NOW Secured

on U.S. Bank’s secure website

U.S. Bank Personal Loan Details
 

Fees and Penalties

  • Term lengths: 12 to 60 months
  • APR range: 7.49%-17.99%
  • Loan amounts: $3,000-$25,000
  • Time to funding: Not specified
  • Credit check: Hard

  • Origination fee: None
  • Prepayment fee: Not specified
  • Late payment fee: Not specified
  • Other fees: Not specified

U.S. Bank product details

The U.S. Bank Premier Loan is an unsecured personal loan that you can use for almost anything. U.S. Bank highlights debt consolidation, home remodeling and major purchases (such as a vacation, wedding or new vehicle) as potential options.

To qualify for the lowest advertised rate, you must have a credit score of 760 and take out between $5,000 and $25,000 loan with a 12- to 48-month term. You also have to sign up for automatic payments from an eligible U.S. Bank account.

But you can get approved with a lower credit score and without signing up for autopay. Additionally, you can choose to borrow as little as $3,000 and your loan’s term could be as long as 60 months.

There is a potential 1% interest rate discount if you use the money to make green home improvements or energy-efficient purchases, which could make this loan a good option if you want to finance a home improvement with an unsecured loans. (Alternatively, a home equity loan or home equity line of credit might offer a lower interest rate and tax benefits.)

If you’ve been a U.S. Bank checking account customer for six months and had direct deposits into the account for the previous consecutive three months, you may also qualify for the U.S. Bank Simple Loan. Although it’s also an unsecured personal loan, the Simple Loan has a $1,000 loan limit and expensive fees. It may be a good alternative to a payday loan if you need to cover an emergency expense, but it’s not a substitute for a large personal loan.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: Not specified, but at least 760 for the lowest advertised rate
  • Minimum credit history: Not specified
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified

Besides meeting U.S. Bank’s financial and credit requirements, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old and may need to live within a certain radius of a U.S. Bank branch to qualify for a Premier Loan.

Applying for a personal loan from U.S. Bank

You can start an application for a U.S. Bank Premier Loan by visiting a bank branch, calling a bank representative or with the online application.

Open an account. If you’re not already a U.S. Bank customer, you’ll need to open a different account, such as a checking account, before continuing.

Apply online. When applying online, you can either log in to your U.S. Bank account or continue with an application and mark that you don’t bank online. Fill in your personal and financial information, including your name, address, contact information, income and employer.

Next, you’ll need to choose your desired loan amount (from $3,000 to $25,000) and loan term (from 12 to 60 months). You’ll also need to indicate if you’ll use the money outside the U.S. (and, if yes, in which country), and whether you plan to use the money for an auto purchase, debt consolidation, home improvement or “other.”

You will need to agree to a credit check before reviewing your application results, which could put a hard inquiry on your credit reports and may result in a small ding to your credit scores.

Complete the application in person. After submitting your application online, you’ll need to visit a U.S. Bank branch to finish the application.

Pros and Cons of a U.S. Bank Personal Loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Fixed interest rate. You’ll know exactly how much you’ll pay each month and don’t need to worry about your rate or payments increasing.
  • $3,000 minimum loan. Only borrowing what you need could help you save money on interest. The $3,000 minimum loan amount is lower than some other lenders’ minimums.
  • 12-month loan term. Other lenders may require you choose a longer term. If you can afford to pay off your loan sooner, a shorter loan term might help you get a lower interest rate.
  • Lowest advertised APR isn’t available on all loans. To qualify for the lowest rate, you need to apply for a loan for $5,000 to $25,000 with a 12- to 48-month term and agree to automatic payments.
  • Limited to existing customers. You need to be a U.S. Bank customer before you can qualify.
  • You have to visit a branch. If you’re looking for a simple, time-saving process, you may want to opt for a lender that offers an entirely online application and funding process.
  • $25,000 limit. Other personal loan lenders might approve you for up to $100,000.

Who’s the best fit for a U.S. Bank personal loan?

If you’re already a U.S. Bank customer, the U.S. Bank Premier Loan could be a good option if you’re looking for an unsecured personal loan to consolidate debts or pay for a major expense. But its drawbacks outweigh the pros.

Think carefully about how long you’ll need to repay the loan because of the possibility of a prepayment penalty. A longer term could help lower your monthly payments, but it will also cost you more in interest. While U.S. Bank offers 60-month term loans, if you’re borrowing at least $5,000, you may want to see if you can get a lower interest rate and still afford your monthly payments with a 48-month (or shorter) term.

If you need a loan quickly and aren’t a U.S. Bank customer, you could look for a loan from a different lender. Additionally, if you’re a U.S. Bank customer but don’t live near a bank branch, you could apply for a personal loan from a different lender and have the money deposited in your U.S. Bank account to save yourself the hassle of having to visit a branch.

Alternative personal loan options

Want to do some comparison shopping on your own? Here are three personal loan lenders that are worth considering.

Earnest

Earnest
APR

6.99%
To
18.24%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 60

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Instead of offering credit-based loans, Earnest has taken a very nontraditional approach using a merit-based system.... Read More

Earnest is an online lender that distinguishes itself with an innovative underwriting process. While your credit history and scores are still important, Earnest also considers your history of making payments on time, if you’ve built enough savings to cover your monthly expenses for at least two months and how well you manage your checking account. Even if you don’t have an excellent credit score, being financially responsible could help you get a lower rate.

LightStream

APR

3.34%
To
16.99%

Credit Req.

660

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 144

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

LightStream is the online lending division of SunTrust Bank.... Read More


Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.34% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $292.31.

Although it is an online-only lender, LightStream is a division of SunTrust Bank, a brick-and-mortar bank. LightStream doesn’t have an exceptionally high minimum credit score requirement, but don’t let that fool you. The lender focuses on creditworthy applicants. If you can qualify, LightStream offers some of the lowest rates and longest terms. Plus, there are no origination fee or prepayment fees.

SoFi

SoFi
APR

6.79%
To
15.49%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

SoFi offers some of the best rates and terms on the market. ... Read More


Fixed rates from 6.79% APR to 15.49% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.54% APR to 14.60% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of January 4, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. . See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.54% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.51% plus 4.28% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. 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.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

See Consumer Licenses.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of AK and WY is 9.99% APR, for residents of IL with loans over $40,000 is 8.99% APR, for residents of TX is 9.99% APR on terms greater than 5 years, for residents of CO, CT, HI, VA, SC is 11.99% APR, and for residents of ME is 12.24% APR. Personal loans not available to residents of MI who already have a student loan with SoFi. Personal Loans minimum loan amount is $5,000. Residents of AZ, MA, and NH have a minimum loan amount of $10,001. Residents of KY have a minimum loan amount of $15,001. Residents of PA have a minimum loan amount of $25,001. Variable rates not available to residents of AK, TX, VA, WY, or for residents of IL for loans greater than $40,000.

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

SoFi is an online-only lender that offers personal loans for $5,000 to $50,000 without any origination or prepayment fees. You can pre-qualify for a loan online with a soft pull, which won’t impact your credit scores. An official application still requires a hard pull, though. Once you accept a loan, you’ll be eligible for SoFi member benefits, such as discounts on other loans, career counseling and unemployment protection.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Louis DeNicola
Louis DeNicola |

Louis DeNicola is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Louis at louis@magnifymoney.com

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Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

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Won’t impact your credit score

Advertiser Disclosure

Pay Down My Debt

Accredited Debt Relief Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

Debt isn’t just common in America — it’s the norm.

According to Northwestern Mutual’s 2018 Planning and Progress Study, more than 75% of people are in debt. Those in debt owe over $38,000 on average, and that’s before you include a mortgage. Additionally, 20% of respondents said they spend at least half of their income on loan payments.

Accredited Debt Relief is one of many debt relief companies that consumers can turn to when they’re struggling with overwhelming debt.

Here’s everything you need to know about Accredited Debt Relief and its services.

What is Accredited Debt Relief?

Unlike other debt relief companies, which may focus on one product or debt relief program, Accredited Debt Relief is a referral service. The company’s representatives will review your situation and recommend other companies that can best help you manage or settle your debt.

Accredited Debt Relief works with partners that offer four types of debt relief services. Depending on the program, you may be able to lower your monthly payment, decrease your interest rate, simplify the repayment process, settle for less than your balance or eliminate debts.

Breakdown of Accredited Debt Relief

Want to learn more about Accredited Debt Relief? Here’s a comprehensive look at its services and requirements.

Services offered

  • Debt consolidation

  • Debt management

  • Debt settlement

  • Bankruptcy

Minimum debt required

$7,500 in unsecured debt

Credit check

Yes, in some cases

Debt settlement timeline

12 - 48 months

Consultation fees

No fee for an initial consultation

Cancellation fees

N/A

Service fees

Generally 5%-7% of the debt that you enroll in a program

Types of debt accepted

  • Debt settlement programs and debt management plans are generally only options for unsecured debts, such as credit card debt

  • Debt consolidation and bankruptcy may be options for secured and unsecured debts

Accreditations

  • American Fair Credit Council

  • International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators


Ratings

  • An excellent rating (five stars) on Trustpilot as of Nov. 26, 2018

  • A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau

Service limitations

Availability of services may depend on your state of residency

Free tools and resources

No

Customer service

Several reviews complain of poor, pushy or unresponsive customer service representatives. But most reviewers on Trustpilot say the service is polite, professional and helpful.

Who’s eligible?

  • To qualify for a service through Accredited Debt Relief, you must be:
    • At least 18
    • A legal resident of the United States
  • Eligibility for a specific program can vary depending on the program, service provider, type of debt you have and where you live.
  • Accredited Debt Relief is licensed and bonded in Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana and Texas. It may be able to refer you to partners that offer debt consolidation loans in other states as well.

What are the benefits and risks of Accredited Debt Relief

Because Accredited Debt Relief can help you determine which program is best for your circumstances, it may be less risky than working with a debt relief company that only offers one service. Even so, consider the pros and cons of a particular program before enrolling.

Here are a few general benefits and risks to working with Accredited Debt Relief or trying one of the programs its partners offer:

Benefits

Risks

Accredited Debt Relief can connect you with a variety of service providers depending on your situation

Some options, such as debt settlement and bankruptcy, could hurt your credit

You may be able to settle your debt for less than you owe

If you stop making payments, you could wind up being sued by the creditor or debt collector

You can hire a company to negotiate with your creditors on your behalf

The fees you pay could extend your repayment time

With a debt settlement program, you won’t have to pay any fees until after your debts are settled

Accredited Debt Relief representatives are paid on commission and have a financial incentive to get you to enroll in a program

How much does Accredited Debt Relief cost?

The fees you’ll pay can vary depending on the program, service provider and where you live.

With debt settlement, you should only pay a fee once a debt is settled. The fee may be a percentage of the debt you enroll in the program or a percentage of your savings. If a company asks you to pay an upfront fee for a debt settlement program, that’s a red flag that the company isn’t trustworthy.

Accredited Debt Relief says, on average, clients pay about 50% of the balance they enroll in the program to their creditors. But the total cost is 68% to 75% of the total enrolled debt once you include the fees. It’s still a savings compared to paying the balance in full, but you may want to compare debt settlement companies’ fees to see if you can find a trustworthy company that offers a low fee.

Credit counseling organizations may charge you an enrollment fee and monthly fee for a debt management plan.

Debt consolidation might not have any ongoing fees, but some lenders could charge you an origination fee on your consolidation loan. The origination fee, which could be around 1% to 6% of the loan amount, may be taken out of your loan before the lender distributes the loan. Some lenders don’t charge an origination fee, although you may need good credit to qualify for a loan.

Even bankruptcy isn’t free. Costs can vary depending on where you live and the type of bankruptcy, but you may have to pay for court filing and credit counseling. Add on attorney’s fees, and you could wind up spending several thousand dollars.

How long does the program take?

Your timeline can also depend on which program is best for your circumstances.

For example, a debt settlement program could take 12 to 48 months to complete. During this time, you’ll generally stop making payments on your accounts. As a result, you may incur late payment fees. And those late payments could hurt your credit.

But you’ll start making monthly payments into an account that you set up with the help of the debt settlement company. Once you have enough money in the account to offer your creditor a settlement and cover the debt settlement company’s fee, the company will try to get a settlement agreement from your creditor. Accredited Debt Relief says, on average, clients will settle at least one account within the first three to five months. There’s no guarantee a creditor will settle your account, though, and you could be stuck owing the larger balance.

Other programs could take more or less time to complete. Loan consolidation can be a relatively quick process, as you’re simply applying for a loan and waiting for the lender to pay off your creditors. But a debt management plan might take three to five years to complete.

Is Accredited Debt Relief safe to use?

Accredited Debt Relief has many positive reviews from past customers and could be a safe place to start your search for a solution to your debt-related problems. But Accredited Debt Relief refers you to other companies (here’s a list of some partners), and you may want to vet each of those service providers before signing up.

How do I sign up for Accredited Debt Relief?

  • You can start the process by requesting a free consultation on Accredited Debt Relief’s website or calling 866-345-5007.
  • If you apply online, you’ll be asked how much debt you have and the state in which you live. You’ll also be asked for your name and contact information. By submitting your information, you agree that Accredited Debt Relief and its partners can call, text, email or mail you, even if you’re on a do-not-call list.
  • You’ll next be prompted to sign up to check your credit score. This isn’t part of the debt relief process. If you enroll in a credit score program, you’ll receive a free seven-day trial and then be charged a monthly fee. It may be best to skip this step as you can check and monitor your credit for free elsewhere. You can find an overview of the many companies that offer free credit scores on LendingTree, MagnifyMoney’s parent company.

What to expect after signing up with Accredited Debt Relief

  • The first step after signing up is to speak with a representative from Accredited Debt Relief. If you called Accredited Debt Relief, you may be connected with a representative right away. If you signed up online, a representative may call you to discuss your financial situation.

Alternative methods to pay down debt

Working with a debt relief company isn’t your only option for dealing with overwhelming debt. You may be able to put in place some of the same tactics that debt relief companies use but save money by taking a DIY approach. Or you may be better off trying a completely different tactic.

Debt consolidation

Debt consolidation is one of the services that Accredited Debt Relief offers, but it’s also something you can do on your own. Consolidation involves taking out a new loan to pay off your existing debts. Debt consolidation loans are often personal loans. But, in some cases, you may be better off opening a balance transfer credit card with a promotional 0% APR period and moving the debt to the card.

If you’re pursuing a personal loan for your debt consolidation, you may be able to compare offers using LendingTree’s debt consolidation loan tool. You’ll input some personal information before possibly getting matched with up to five different lenders.

Pros

  • Consolidating your loans can make it easier to manage your monthly payments.
  • You may be able to save money and pay off your loans sooner by lowering your interest rate.

Cons

  • It can be difficult to qualify for a large enough loan to consolidate your debts if you have a low income or poor credit.
  • You might not be able to qualify for a low-rate loan.
LendingTree
APR

5.99%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Minimum 500 FICO

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company

LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that you may be able to compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online and you may be pre-qualified by lenders without impacting your credit score. LendingTree is not a lender.

Debt management plan

Accredited Debt Relief may refer you to a credit counseling company that offers debt management plans. Credit counseling organizations are often nonprofits, and you can check to see if the organization is accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). You can also look for NFCC-accredited credit counseling organizations on your own and compare their debt management plans, pricing and reviews.

Pros

  • The credit counselor may be able to negotiate a lower interest rate and monthly payment for you.
  • You’ll be able to focus on making one monthly payment.
  • Creditors may waive some fees, such as late payment fees, if you start a debt management plan.
  • A debt management plan won’t hurt your credit. Unlike with a debt settlement program, you’ll continue to make your monthly payments.

Cons

  • There’s generally a startup fee and monthly fee for a debt management plan.
  • You may have to close your credit accounts.
  • A debt management plan likely won’t help with secured debts.
  • You won’t be able to settle your accounts for less than you owe.

DIY debt settlement

You can hire a company to negotiate a settlement on your behalf, or you could negotiate and settle debt accounts on your own. While a do-it-yourself approach could take more work and discipline, it may be a worthwhile use of your time.

Pros

  • Some creditors won’t work with debt settlement companies but may negotiate directly with borrowers.
  • You won’t have to pay the debt settlement company’s fee.
  • You might settle your debt sooner if you don’t have to save up money for fees.

Cons

  • Debt settlement companies may know from experience how low creditors will go, and could know when to accept a settlement or hold out for a lower offer.
  • Even a DIY approach could hurt your credit as you may have to stop making payments on your accounts before a creditor agrees to settle.

If you don’t stick to your plan, you might wind up hurting your credit and go deeper into debt due to fees and interest.

Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are the two common types of personal bankruptcy that may be able to help you manage your debts. Chapter 7 bankruptcy could wipe away your unsecured debts, but you’ll also have to sell nonexempt possessions. You’ll be able to keep exempt property, which varies by state but may include a vehicle and some personal property. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy could restructure your debt and set you up with a more manageable monthly payment plan while allowing you to keep the personal property.

Pros

  • Once you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay could keep creditors and collectors from garnishing your wages, repossessing property or shutting off your utilities.
  • You may be able to get some debts discharged even if you can’t afford to make a partial payment.
  • Collection agencies and creditors can’t continue to pursue you for discharged debts.

Cons

  • You may have to sell your assets and could even lose equity in a home or vehicle.
  • Declaring bankruptcy can hurt your credit scores, and the bankruptcy may remain on your credit reports for seven to 10 years.
  • You may not be able to get some of your debt or obligations, such as student loans or taxes, discharged during bankruptcy.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Louis DeNicola
Louis DeNicola |

Louis DeNicola is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Louis at louis@magnifymoney.com

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Won’t impact your credit score

Advertiser Disclosure

College Students and Recent Grads

Education Loan Finance: Student Loan Refinance Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

As long as you qualify to refinance your student loans, you may be able to combine multiple student loans into one new loan, lower your interest rate and decrease your monthly payment. Doing so could save you money and make it easier to manage your loans. But remember, if you want to refinance your student loans, you can shop around to make sure you find the best deal.

Student loan refinancing companies may offer you different interest rates, loan terms and benefits, which is why it can be important to compare lenders before deciding which one to use.

What is Education Loan Finance?

In 2012, SouthEast Bank was bought by Education Services of America (also known as Edsouth Services), a nonprofit that’s been in the student loan space for 30 years. SouthEast Bank went on to create Education Loan Finance, or ELFI, a division of SouthEast that offers student loan refinancing. ELFI is based in Knoxville, Tenn., which is also where the customer service representatives are based.

ELFI prides itself on its decades of experience in the student loan industry and the positive reviews it receives from borrowers. It has a student loan refinancing product for graduates, and for parents who took out federal student loans to pay for their child’s education. The program we’re reviewing here is for students who are refinancing their loans.

Education Loan Finance student loan refi in a nutshell

Fixed APR range

3.39% to 6.69%

Variable APR range*

2.80% to 6.01%

Loan terms offered

Five, seven, 10, 15 and 20 years

Fees

The are no application, origination or prepayment fees.

The late fee is the lesser of $50 or 5% of the amount past due.

There’s a $30 returned check or insufficient funds charge.

Maximum loan amount

You must refinance at least $15,000 in student loans. The maximum loan amount varies by applicant.

Cosigners

You can apply with a cosigner.

You can reapply to refinance the loan in your name and release a cosigner.

Savings opportunities

None

Other perks

You can earn $400 for referring new ELFI customers.

*Although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95% for the 5-year, 7-year, 10-year, 15-year, or 20-year term.

What it takes to qualify with Education Loan Finance

Credit score

680

Income/employment

You or your cosigner must make at least $35,000 a year.

Loan types

  • Federal and private student loans

  • Parent PLUS loans that were taken out to pay for your education.

School/state eligibility

You must graduate with at least a bachelor’s degree from one of the approved post-secondary institutions.

Available to residences of every state, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

How Education Loan Finance compares with other lenders

You may find that there are a lot of different lenders that offer student loan refinancing. ELFI stands apart from some of the other top lenders with its relatively low interest rates and somewhat strict eligibility requirements.

In general, if you can qualify, ELFI may be one of the better options because the lender doesn’t seem to sugarcoat its offering. For example, ELFI doesn’t offer an interest rate discount if you sign up for automatic payments. Other lenders may offer you a discount, such as 0.25% off your interest rate, while you’re using autopay — and they may advertise this lower rate on their website.

While the lack of a discount may sound like a drawback, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If ELFI approves you for a lower rate than other lenders, then you’ll receive this lower rate whether or not you use autopay.

There are other potential advantages and drawbacks to consider as you’re comparing lenders.

Advantages of refinancing with Education Loan Finance

Soft credit pull preapproval. You can check your eligibility and get estimated loan rates with a soft credit check, which won’t hurt your credit score.

Open to residents of every state. While other lenders aren’t able to offer refinancing to residents of some states, ELFI’s refinancing is available to everyone in the U.S.

You can include multiple types of student loans. ELFI lets you combine your federal and private student loans. You can also include a parent PLUS loan, as long as your parent took out the loan to pay for your education.

Forbearance option. You may be able to put your loans in forbearance and temporarily stop making payments for up to 12 months. Eligibility is handled on a case-by-case basis.

Up to a 20-year loan term. ELFI offers five loan terms with both its variable- and fixed-rate loans. While the longest, a 20-year term, may lead to paying more interest over your loan’s lifetime, it may also lower your monthly payment. Having that option is a plus because some lenders don’t offer a 20-year term.

Bonus opportunities. ELFI offers potential bonuses: a $100 bonus if you’re referred by an ELFI borrower, and $400 for each new ELFI borrower you refer.

Drawbacks of refinancing with Education Loan Finance

You must earn at least a bachelor’s degree. Other lenders may let you refinance your student loans once you earn an associate’s degree, or if you didn’t graduate.

No cosigner release option. If you add a cosigner to help you qualify for refinancing, or secure a lower interest rate, you may want to remove the cosigner later. Some lenders let you apply for a cosigner release (removing the cosigner without refinancing) after making a series of consecutive on-time payments. While you may need to agree to a credit check and meet all the requirements to take over the loan on your own, you’d keep the original loan terms if you qualify. ELFI does not offer such a cosigner release option.

The only way to remove a cosigner from an ELFI loan is to refinance again, without a cosigner. However, interest rates may have risen since you originally refinanced.

There isn’t a clear policy for death or permanent disability discharge. Some other lenders will always discharge the remaining loan balance if the borrower dies or becomes completely and permanently disabled. ELFI doesn’t have a clear policy and handles situations on a case-by-case basis.

Relatively high minimum credit score requirement. ELFI requires a 680 credit score, which is in line with some other refinancing companies, but a bit higher than a few other lenders that only require a 660 to qualify.

Relatively high minimum income requirement. ELFI requires you, or your cosigner, make at least $35,000 a year to qualify for refinancing. Some lenders only require a $24,000 a year income or don’t have an explicit minimum income requirement.

$15,000 minimum loan requirement. Other lenders may let you refinance as little as $5,000 in student loan debt, but ELFI requires you to refinance at least $15,000.

Who is Education Loan Finance best for?

Since it won’t hurt your credit, there’s no downside to applying for preapproval with ELFI to see if you qualify and check your estimated rates. Even so, the lender may be a better fit for some types of borrowers.

Creditworthy applicants with a high income relative to their debts may pass the eligibility requirements and lock in one of ELFI’s low interest rates. These types of applicants may get the best rates from many student loan refinancing lenders, but they they may not be eligible with other lenders based on where they live or which loans they want to refinance.

ELFI may not be the best option if you need a cosigner because it doesn’t offer a cosigner release, unless you reapply for refinancing again with either ELFI or a different lender. It also might not be a great fit for those who don’t have a lot of outstanding private student loan debt.

Borrowers may want to only refinance their private student loans to avoid losing the benefits on their federal student loans. But ELFI’s $15,000 minimum threshold could be difficult to reach with just your private student loans.

Education Loan Finance

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Taking a closer look at the online platform

Education Loan Finance’s website is intuitive to navigate and focused on its student loan products. There are pages devoted to each product, a few pages about the company or recent company-related news, a blog with personal finance posts and a page with testimonials.

There is also a calculator, several checklists that you can review to see if you’ll be eligible for refinancing and to prepare for the application process and an FAQ page. The FAQ page is broken down into six sections, ranging from general questions to sections about rates or the ELFI bonus programs.

Starting an application is also simple — we detail the process below — and if you want to take a break and start again later, you can log in to your account and pick up wherever you left off.

The fine print

There are a few fine-print items that were fairly easy to find on ELFI’s website. There’s a page with a list of the approved postsecondary schools, as well as a document checklist you can reference to see what you should gather before applying.

The terms page is also helpful, as it has an overview of the potential loan fees, interest rate amount, variable-rate interest rate cap, eligibility requirements and repayment options.

However, there were also a few fine-print items that were difficult to find on the website. A representative from the company confirmed the 12-month potential forbearance period and the case-by-case nature of the death or permanent disability discharge.

What to expect during the application process

ELFI’s online application process straightforward, and you may be able to complete it in just a few minutes.

Create your account

You’ll need to create an account to start your application. After entering your name, email address and password, you’ll be sent an email with a verification code. Submit the code, and you can then fill out your profile with your:

  • Name, address, date of birth and citizenship status
  • The school you attended, highest degree you attained and date of graduation
  • Your Social Security number
  • Whether you own a home, rent or live with family, as well as your monthly housing expense
  • Your gross income
  • The loan amount you’re requesting

You also must agree to a soft credit pull and read the Education Loan Finance’s communication policy before continuing.

Choose a loan term

If you qualify for preapproval, you can now choose between a fixed- or variable-rate loan with a term of either five, seven, 10, 15 or 20 years. You’ll see an estimated interest rate and monthly payment for each loan type.

The final loan offer may vary from these preapproval rates, and you can choose a different interest-rate type and loan term later if you want.

Complete your profile

The next step is to complete your profile by entering your mailing address and choosing three security questions and answers.

Read the loan disclosure forms

There are three loan disclosure forms you must read, and acknowledge that you read, before continuing:

  • The federal loan disclosure form goes over the differences between federal and private student loans.
  • The application disclosure fixed-rate form discusses the fixed-rate loan that Education Loan Finance offers. It will tell you your potential interest rate range, the fees associated with the loan and eligibility requirements, and it has examples of repayment times and amounts.
  • The application disclosure variable rate form is similar to the fixed-rate form, but for Education Loan Finance’s variable-rate loans.

Apply for refinancing

Once you reach this point, you can complete the official application for refinancing. Some of the information will be filled in for you based on what you’ve already entered.

  1. Borrower information. Much of this section will be filled in already, but you may need to add your driver’s license number/state and how long you’ve lived at your current address. If you’ve lived there for fewer than two years, you’ll also need to add your previous address.
  2. Reference information. You need to have two references who are at least 18 years old, don’t live with you and aren’t your cosigner. You’ll have to share the reference’s name, email address, phone number, mailing address and how you know the person.
  3. Employment information. Choose your employment status and then complete the related information about your employer, or how long you’ve been unemployed or retired. If you’re employed, you’ll also be asked to share the company’s address, how many years you’ve worked for the company and your income. You can also add additional sources of income, which may help you qualify for refinancing.
  4. Review application and approve hard credit pull. The fourth step asks you to double-check all your information and then authorize a hard credit pull. A hard pull could affect your credit score.
  5. Student loan information. You’ll need to share information about the student loans that you’re refinancing and may need to upload copies of recent billing statements or payoff letters. The documents should show the loan servicer’s name and address, your account number and the current balance or payoff amount.
  6. Rates. Choose the interest rate type and loan term that you want for your new loan.
  7. Documents. The documents step is where you’ll find copies of the disclosures you previously read. This is also where you can upload additional documents, such as pay stubs or tax returns to verify your income, or a copy of a government-issued ID to verify your identity.

Once you finish the seven steps, ELFI can use the documents you uploaded to verify your eligibility for the loan you chose. You can then sign the promissory note for the new loan to complete the process.

It can take about 30 to 45 days for your current loan servicer(s) to receive the payments for your student loans. You should continue making your loans payments as usual during this period to avoid missing a payment. And don’t worry, if you overpay your loan, the overpayment will decrease your loan balance with ELFI.

If you refinance with ELFI, a company named MOHELA will service your loan. MOHELA should reach out to you so you can set up an account, and you’ll send your monthly payments to MOHELA.

How to compare student loan refinance companies

There are many factors to consider when comparing student loan refinancing companies. The most important ones may be the eligibility requirements so you can rule out potential lenders, and the interest rates that the lenders offer you. The lower your interest rate, the greater your potential savings.

However, there may be other details to compare as well. For example, some lenders may not offer a 20-year term, which you may want if you’re looking to lower your monthly payments. And there are lenders, including SoFi and CommonBond, that give borrowers extra perks, such as invitations to exclusive events.

You can quickly compare lenders’ maximum loan terms, interest rate ranges, maximum loan amounts and transparency scores on MagnifyMoney.

But determining which lender is best for you depends on your circumstances. Once you find a few lenders you think may be a good fit, look to see if they offer a soft credit check preapproval so you can compare estimate interest rates.

Once you’re ready to refinance, submit applications to all the lenders on your short list. Although each application could result in a hard inquiry, which may hurt your credit score, multiple student loan inquiries won’t increase the impact if they occur within a 14-day period. Some, depending on the credit-scoring models, offer a longer “rate shopping” period, but to be safe, it’s a good idea to shop around in as short a period as possible.

After completing the applications, you can compare the official loan offers from each lender and decide which option is best. If you want to see how the different loan offers may affect your savings, you can plug the numbers into our student loan refi calculator.

 

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Louis DeNicola
Louis DeNicola |

Louis DeNicola is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Louis at louis@magnifymoney.com

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