7 of the Best Student Refinance Companies for Bad Credit

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Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to here as “Credible.”

Refinancing your student loans could help you save money on interest or even pay off your loans faster. While you typically need good to excellent credit to get approved for refinancing, there are several lenders that are willing to work with borrowers who have bad credit.

Here’s what you should know about the best student loan refinance loans for bad credit and where to find them:

Best bad and low credit student debt refinance loans in 2021

While there are fewer lenders that offer student loan refinancing for bad credit, it’s still important to compare as many of them as possible to find the right loan for your needs.

As you research your options, remember that the best refinance loans for bad credit provide competitive interest rates, a wide selection of loan terms, inclusive eligibility requirements, and responsive customer service.

Keep in mind: While you can refinance both federal and private student loans, refinancing federal student loans will cost you federal protections — such as access to income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs.

You’ll also no longer be eligible for CARES Act benefits, including the suspension of federal student loan payments and interest accrual through Jan. 31, 2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are Credible’s partner lenders that offer refinancing for bad or low credit:

Lender Fixed rates from (APR) Variable rates from (APR) Loan amounts Min. credit score Repayment terms (years)


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.16%+ 2.11%+ $5,000 to $500,000

680

5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Fixed rate:
    2.39%+<sup1
  • Variable rate:
    1.87%+1
  • Min. credit score:
    680
  • Loan amount:
    $5,000 to $500,000
  • Cosigner release:
    Yes
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Available in all states, except MS and NV
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Loan servicer:
    FirstMark
  • Max. undergraduate loan balance:
    $500,000
  • Max. graduate loan balance:
    $500,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS refinancing:
    Yes
  • Min. income:
    $65,000 (for 15- and 20-year products)


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.58%+3 2.39%+ Minimum of $15,000 680 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20
  • Fixed APR:
    2.58%+3
  • Variable APR:
    2.39%+
  • Min. credit score:
    680
  • Loan amount:
    No maximum
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Forbearance
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have at least $15,000 in student loan debt, and have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved school
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • Loan servicer:
    Mohela
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.47%+4 2.42%+ $5,000 – $250,000 670 5, 10, 15, 20
  • Fixed APR:
    3.47%+4
  • Variable APR:
    2.42%+
  • Min. credit score:
    670
  • Loan amount:
    $5,000 to $250,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options:
    Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance
  • Fees:
    Late fee
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    Yes
  • Max undergraduate loan balance:
    $250,000
  • Max graduate loan balance:
    $250,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.74%+7 N/A Up to $300,000 670 5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Fixed APR:
    2.80%+
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    670
  • Loan amount:
    Up to $300,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Time to fund:
    Usually one business day
  • Repayment options:
    Academic deferral, military deferral, forbearance, death/disability discharge
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Available in all 50 states
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 24 months
  • Max. undergraduate loan balance:
    $300,000
  • Max. graduate balance:
    $300,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS loans:
    Yes
  • Min. income:
    None


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.05%+ 3.05%+ $10,000 up to the total amount of qualified education debt 670 7, 10, 15
  • Fixed APR:
    3.05%+
  • Variable APR:
    3.05%+
  • Min. credit score:
    670
  • Loan amount:
    $10,000 up to the total amount
  • Loan terms (years):
    7, 10, 15
  • Repayment options:
    Military deferment, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loans
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • Loan servicer:
    AES
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Max. Gradaute Loan Balance:
    No maximum
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

2.89%+ N/A $7,500 to $300,000 670 5, 8, 12, 15
  • Fixed APR:
    2.89%+
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    670
  • Loan amount:
    $7,500 to $300,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 8, 12, 15
  • Repayment options:
    Does not disclose
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    None
  • Eligibility:
    Must be a U.S. citizen and have and at least $7,500 in student loans
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check:
    Yes
  • Cosigner release:
    After 12 months
  • Loan servicer:
    PenFed
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
    $300,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
    $300,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes


Credible Rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

3.29%+ N/A $7,500 up to $250,000
(depending on highest degree earned)
680 5, 10, 15
  • Fixed APR:
    3.29%+
  • Variable APR:
    N/A
  • Min. credit score:
    680
  • Loan amount:
    $7,500 to $250,000
  • Loan terms (years):
    5, 10, 15
  • Repayment options:
    Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees:
    None
  • Discounts:
    Autopay
  • Eligibility:
    Available in all 50 states; must also have at least $7,500 in student loans and a minimum income of $40,000
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone
  • Soft credit check:
    Does not disclose
  • Cosigner release:
    No
  • Loan servicer:
    Rhode Island Student Loan Authority
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance:
    $150,000 – $249,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance:
    $200,000 – $249,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing:
    Yes
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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | 1Citizens Disclosures | 2College Ave Disclosures | 5EDvestinU Disclosures | 3 ELFI Disclosures | 4INvestEd Disclosures | 7ISL Education Lending Disclosures | 6SoFi Disclosures

CommonBond

Best for: Borrowers who want to pay off their loan early

With CommonBond, you can refinance $5,000 to $50,000 with repayment terms from five to 20 years.

CommonBond also offers a unique hybrid loan option that allows you to start with a fixed interest rate for the first half of the loan term before switching to a variable rate — this could help you save money if you plan to pay off your loan early.


4.5


Credible rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing

Does refinancing make sense for you?
Compare offers from top refinancing lenders to determine your actual savings.

Check Personalized Rates

Checking rates won’t affect your credit score

  • Fixed rate: 2.39%+<sup1
  • Variable rate: 1.87%+1
  • Min. credit score: 680
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $500,000
  • Cosigner release: Yes
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states, except MS and NV
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Loan servicer: FirstMark
  • Max. undergraduate loan balance: $500,000
  • Max. graduate loan balance: $500,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS refinancing: Yes
  • Min. income: $65,000 (for 15- and 20-year products)

Pros

  • 0.25% autopay discount
  • Up to 24 months of forbearance available over the life of the loan
  • Hybrid loan option that lets you start with a fixed rate before switching to a variable rate

Cons

  • $65,000 minimum income requirement for 15- and 20-year loan terms
  • Not available in Mississippi or Nevada
  • Charges late and returned check fees

Learn More: 3 Ways to Decide Which Student Loan to Pay off First

ELFI

Best for: Large loan balances

Unlike many other lenders, Education Loan Finance (ELFI) has no maximum loan limit — you just need a minimum of $15,000 to be eligible. ELFI loans come with terms ranging from five to 20 years.


4.4


Credible rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing

Does refinancing make sense for you?
Compare offers from top refinancing lenders to determine your actual savings.

Check Personalized Rates

Checking rates won’t affect your credit score

  • Fixed APR: 2.58%+3
  • Variable APR: 2.39%+
  • Min. credit score: 680
  • Loan amount: No maximum
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Forbearance
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have at least $15,000 in student loan debt, and have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved school
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: No
  • Loan servicer: Mohela
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: No maximum
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: No maximum
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing: Yes

Pros

  • No maximum loan limit
  • Up to 12 months of forbearance available over the life of the loan
  • Variable-rate loans capped at 9.95% APR

Cons

  • Must have at least $15,000 in student loans to refinance
  • Cosigner release not offered
  • 15- and 20-year terms not available for parent loans

Check Out: Private Student Loan Forgiveness Alternatives

INvestEd

Best for: Borrowers who didn’t finish their degree

INvestEd is an Indiana-based lender that offers student loan refinancing to borrowers nationwide. With INvestEd, you can refinance $5,000 to $250,000 with terms from five to 20 years.


3.9


Credible rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

INvestEd Student Loan Refinancing

Does refinancing make sense for you?
Compare offers from top refinancing lenders to determine your actual savings.

Check Personalized Rates

Checking rates won’t affect your credit score

  • Fixed APR: 3.47%+4
  • Variable APR: 2.42%+
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $250,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: Yes
  • Max undergraduate loan balance: $250,000
  • Max graduate loan balance: $250,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS refinancing: Yes

Pros

  • Degree not required
  • 0.25% automatic payment deduction
  • Up to 24 months of forbearance available over the life of the loan

Cons

  • Long cosigner release period (48 months)
  • Charges late and returned payment fees
  • Can only refinance up to $250,000, which might not be enough for borrowers who attended more expensive programs

Learn More: How to Pay Off $100,000+ in Student Loans

ISL Education Lending

Best for: Borrowers who are still attending school

ISL Education Lending offers refinancing for loan amounts from $5,000 to $300,000 ($5,000 to $200,000 for students still in school) with terms ranging from five to 20 years. Unlike several other lenders, ISL Education Lending allows borrowers to refinance while they’re still in school.


4.2


Credible rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

ISL Education Lending Student Loan Refinancing

Does refinancing make sense for you?
Compare offers from top refinancing lenders to determine your actual savings.

Check Personalized Rates

Checking rates won’t affect your credit score

  • Fixed APR: 2.80%+
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: Up to $300,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 15, 20
  • Time to fund: Usually one business day
  • Repayment options: Academic deferral, military deferral, forbearance, death/disability discharge
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 24 months
  • Max. undergraduate loan balance: $300,000
  • Max. graduate balance: $300,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS loans: Yes
  • Min. income: None

Pros

  • Can refinance while you’re still in school
  • Graduated repayment plans offered
  • 0.25% autopay discount

Cons

  • Variable rates not offered
  • Rates can be higher compared to other lenders
  • Can only refinance up to $300,000 (up to $200,000 if you’re still in school), which might not be enough for borrowers who attended more expensive programs

Check Out: How to Pay off Student Loans in 5 Years

MEFA

Best for: Borrowers who attended a public or nonprofit university

The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) offers refinancing on loans starting at $10,000 up to your total amount of qualified education debt. Repayment terms range from seven to 15 years.

Keep in mind that to refinance with MEFA, you must have attended a public or nonprofit university — for-profit schools aren’t eligible.


4.0


Credible rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

MEFA Student Loan Refinancing

Does refinancing make sense for you?
Compare offers from top refinancing lenders to determine your actual savings.

Check Personalized Rates

Checking rates won’t affect your credit score

  • Fixed APR: 3.05%+
  • Variable APR: 3.05%+
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: $10,000 up to the total amount
  • Loan terms (years): 7, 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Military deferment, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have at least $10,000 in student loans
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: No
  • Loan servicer: AES
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: No maximum
  • Max. Gradaute Loan Balance: No maximum
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing: Yes

Pros

  • Might be able to refinance your total amount of qualified education debt
  • No application, origination, or disbursement fees
  • Degree not required

Cons

  • Not available to borrowers who attended for-profit schools
  • Cosigner release not offered
  • Limited repayment terms (7, 10, or 15 years)

Learn More: How Often Can You Refinance Student Loans?

PenFed

Best for: Spouses who want to refinance their loans together

With PenFed, you can refinance $7,500 to $300,000 with repayment terms from five to 15 years. PenFed is also the only major lender that allows spouses to refinance their loans together.


4.5


Credible rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

PenFed Student Loan Refinancing

Does refinancing make sense for you?
Compare offers from top refinancing lenders to determine your actual savings.

Check Personalized Rates

Checking rates won’t affect your credit score

  • Fixed APR: 2.89%+
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: $7,500 to $300,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 8, 12, 15
  • Repayment options: Does not disclose
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen and have and at least $7,500 in student loans
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 12 months
  • Loan servicer: PenFed
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $300,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: $300,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing: Yes

Pros

  • Spouses can refinance their loans together
  • Cosigner release offered after just 12 months of consecutive, on-time payments
  • Parents can transfer Parent PLUS Loans to their child

Cons

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher required
  • 20-year term not offered
  • Must have at least a 700 credit score to qualify without a cosigner

Check Out: Consolidating Student Loans With Your Spouse

RISLA

Best for: Borrowers who want access to income-based repayment

Private student loan refinancing lenders generally don’t offer the same protections that come with federal student loans. But if you refinance with the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) and find yourself in financial hardship, you can sign up for an income-based repayment IBR) plan similar to the federal IBR plan.

Under this plan, your payments will be capped at 15% of your discretionary income, and any remaining balance will be forgiven by RISLA after 25 years.


3.7


Credible rating


Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.

RISLA Student Loan Refinancing

Does refinancing make sense for you?
Compare offers from top refinancing lenders to determine your actual savings.

Check Personalized Rates

Checking rates won’t affect your credit score

  • Fixed APR: 3.29%+
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 680
  • Loan amount: $7,500 to $250,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states; must also have at least $7,500 in student loans and a minimum income of $40,000
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Does not disclose
  • Cosigner release: No
  • Loan servicer: Rhode Island Student Loan Authority
  • Max. Undergraduate Loan Balance: $150,000 – $249,000
  • Max. Graduate Loan Balance: $200,000 – $249,000
  • Offers Parent PLUS Refinancing: Yes

Pros

  • Income-based repayment available for borrowers facing financial hardship
  • Can defer payments for up to 36 months if you return to graduate school
  • 0.25% autopay discount

Cons

  • Charges late fees
  • Cosigner release not offered
  • Can only refinance up to $250,000 (depending on the highest degree you’ve earned), which might not be enough for borrowers who attended more expensive programs

Learn More: Student Loan Consolidation vs. Student Loan Refinancing

Methodology

To find the “best companies,” Credible looked at loan and lender data points from 12 categories to give you a well-rounded perspective on each of our partner refinancing lenders.

Here’s what we considered:

  • Interest rates
  • Repayment terms
  • Repayment options
  • Fees
  • Discounts
  • Customer service availability
  • Maximum loan balances
  • Willingness to refinance parent loans
  • Eligibility criteria
  • Cosigner release options
  • Whether the minimum credit score is available publicly
  • Whether consumers could request rates with a soft credit check

Our hope is that this will be a win-win situation for you and us — we only want to get paid if you find a loan that works for you, not by selling your data. This means Credible will only get paid by the lender if you finish the refinancing process and a loan is disbursed. Additionally, Credible charges you no fees of any kind to compare your refinancing options.

How to qualify for a refinance loan with bad credit

While qualifying criteria can vary by lender, here are a few common factors they’ll likely consider with your refinancing application:

Tip: If you’re struggling to get approved, consider refinancing with a creditworthy cosigner. Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify, having one could get you a better interest rate than you’d get on your own.

A cosigner can be anyone with good credit — such as a parent, other relative, or trusted friend — who is willing to share responsibility for the loan. Just keep in mind that this means your cosigner will be on the hook if you can’t make your payments.

Check Out: How to Release Your Cosigner in 4 Steps

How to refinance a student loan

If you’re ready to refinance your student loans, follow these four steps:

  1. Check your credit. When you apply for refinancing, the lender will check your credit to determine your creditworthiness — so it’s a good idea to look at your credit beforehand to see where you stand. You can use a site like AnnualCreditReport.com to review your credit reports for free. If you find any errors, dispute them with the appropriate credit bureaus to potentially boost your credit score.
  2. Compare lenders and pick a loan option. While every borrower should compare as many lenders as they can to find the right loan for their needs, this is especially important if you have poor or fair credit. By shopping around, you’ll be able to find a loan that suits your needs without being unnecessarily expensive. Be sure to consider not only interest rates but also repayment terms, any fees charged by the lender, and eligibility requirements. Afterward, you can choose the loan option that works best for you.
  3. Complete the application. Once you’ve picked a lender, you’ll need to fill out a full application and submit any required documentation, such as tax returns or pay stubs. The length of this process generally depends on the type of lender you use — for example, you could quickly complete it online with an online lender while a traditional bank or credit union might take a little longer. Be sure to gather all of the necessary information you’ll need beforehand to keep it as fast and painless as possible.
  4. Manage your payments. If you’re approved, you’ll need to continue making your regular payments on your original student loans while the refinance is processed. This could take up to one to two billing cycles, depending on the lender. Afterward, you could consider signing up for autopay so you won’t miss any student loan payments in the future — many lenders offer a rate discount to borrowers who opt for automatic payments.
Tip: If you can qualify for a lower interest rate through refinancing, you could save money on interest and even potentially pay off your student loans early.

Or you could opt to extend your repayment term to reduce your monthly payment and lessen the strain on your budget. Just keep in mind that choosing a longer term means you’ll pay more in interest over time.

You can use our calculator below to see how much you can save by refinancing your student loans.

Step 1. Enter your loan balance

Step 2. Enter current loan information

Step 3. Enter your new loan information to start calculating your savings

Lifetime Savings
Increased Lifetime Cost
$

New Monthly Payment
$

Monthly Savings
Increased Monthly Cost
$

If you refinance your student loan at
%
interest rate, you
can save
will pay an additional
$
monthly and pay off your loan by
.
The total cost of the new loan will be
$.


Does refinancing make sense for you?
Compare offers from top refinancing lenders to determine your actual savings.

Check Personalized Rates

Checking rates won’t affect your credit score.

Learn More: Can You Refinance a Student Loan to a 30-Year Term?

How to know if refinancing makes sense

Refinancing could be a good idea in several situations, but it isn’t right for everyone. Here are a few ways to know if refinancing makes sense for you:

  • You can get a lower interest rate. If you qualify for a lower student loan interest rate, you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on interest.
  • You need a lower monthly payment. If you opt to extend your repayment term through refinancing, you could lower your monthly student loan payment to fit more comfortably in your budget. Just remember that doing this means you’ll pay more in interest over the life of your loan.
  • You have multiple student loans. Refinancing lets you consolidate all of your student loans — leaving you with just one loan and payment to manage.

Depending on your situation, refinancing might help you repay your student loans ahead of schedule. You can estimate how long it’ll take to pay off your student loan debt using the calculator below. Use the slider to see how increasing your payments can change the payoff date.

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Total Payment
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Total Interest
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Monthly Payment
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If you increase your payments by
$
monthly on your
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loan at
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you will pay
$
a month and pay off your loan by
Jan 2021.


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Check Out: When to Refinance Student Loans

Frequently asked questions

Here are the answers to several commonly asked questions regarding student loan refinancing for bad credit:

How do you improve your credit score for a student loan?

In general, the better your credit, the easier it is to qualify for refinancing — and the more likely it is that you’ll get a low interest rate. A few ways to potentially improve your credit score for refinancing include:

Learn More: Average Student Loan Payment: Estimate How Much You’ll Pay

How have student loans been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic?

This depends on the type of student loans you have.

  • Federal student loans: Payments and interest accrual on federal student loans have been suspended by the CARES Act through at least Jan. 31, 2022.
  • Private student loans: Both new and refinanced private loans have remained largely unaffected. Though these loans aren’t eligible for CARES Act benefits, many private lenders are offering various types of assistance to borrowers who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Be sure to reach out to your lender to see what options might be available to you.

Remember: If you refinance your federal student loans into a private loan, you’ll no longer be eligible for the CARES Act payment and interest suspension.

Check Out: Federal Student Loans and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

Can I get a student loan without a cosigner if I have bad or no credit?

Yes, you might still be able to get a student loan without a cosigner if you have poor or no credit. Most federal student loans don’t require a credit history or a cosigner — which means you could still qualify even if you have bad or no credit.

Private student loans, on the other hand, typically require that you have a minimum credit score or that you have a creditworthy cosigner.

Learn More: What Happens When You Default on a Student Loan?

Can you refinance with a 500 credit score?

You generally need good to excellent credit to qualify for refinancing. There are also several lenders that accept poor or fair credit, but you’ll still likely need a credit score of at least 670 or higher.

If you have a lower credit score than this, consider applying with a creditworthy cosigner to improve your chances of approval. Having a cosigner might also help you get a better interest rate.

Check Out: How to Pay Off $30,000 in Student Loans

What do I do if I can’t get approved for a student loan?

If you can’t get approved for a private student loan on your own, there are a couple of options to consider:

  • Apply with a cosigner. If you apply with a creditworthy cosigner, you can rely on their good credit to help you get approved more easily. Just remember that a cosigner will share responsibility for the loan with you — which means they’ll be liable if you don’t make your payments.
  • Build your credit. You can also work on improving your credit to help you qualify for a loan in the future. Some ways to do this include making all of your payments on time and paying down credit card balances.

Learn More: 4 Credit Unions for Student Loan Refinancing

What is the downside to refinancing student loans?

While refinancing offers several potential benefits, there are also some downsides to keep in mind, including:

  • Could be hard to qualify: If you have bad credit, it can be much harder to qualify for refinancing — though keep in mind that having a creditworthy cosigner could make it easier.
  • Loss of federal benefits: If you refinance federal student loans, you’ll lose access to federal benefits and protections. For example, you won’t be eligible for federal student loan deferment or forbearance options.
  • Lack of repayment options: Private refinanced loans don’t offer federal student loan repayment options. For example, refinancing lenders typically don’t provide income-driven or extended repayment plans.

Check Out: How To Spot 6 Student Loan Forgiveness Scam Warning Signs

Does refinancing hurt your credit?

When you apply for refinancing, the lender will perform a hard credit check to determine your creditworthiness. This can cause a slight dip in your credit score — however, this is usually only temporary, and your score will likely bounce back within a few months.

Additionally, refinancing might actually help your score in the long run. For example, if you make on-time payments on your refinanced loan, you could see an improvement in your score over time.

Ultimately, the potentially positive impacts on your credit score could far outweigh any initially negative effects.

Learn More: How to Pay off Student Loans in 10 Years or Less

Can you get denied a loan with a cosigner?

Yes — if your cosigner doesn’t meet the lender’s underwriting criteria, then the lender might deny you a loan. This is why it’s important to choose your cosigner carefully as you’ll be relying on their credit score and history to help you get approved.

If you decide to refinance your student loans, remember to consider as many lenders as you can to find the right loan for you. Credible makes this easy: You can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in just two minutes — without affecting your credit.

Find out if refinancing is right for you

  • Compare actual rates, not ballpark estimates – Unlock rates from multiple lenders in about 2 minutes
  • Won’t impact credit score – Checking rates on Credible won’t impact your credit score
  • Data privacy – We don’t sell your information, so you won’t get calls or emails from multiple lenders

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About the author

Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a Credible authority on personal finance. Her work has been featured by Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Huffington Post, MSN Money, and The Washington Post online.

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