Refinancing your student loans can be a great way to give you more control over your student loan repayment plan. But finding the right lender isn’t always easy.
The average CommonBond member saves over $24,000 by refinancing.”
“[CommonBond has] funded over $1B in refinancing loans for tens of thousands of members,” says Radhika Duggal, vice president of marketing at CommonBond.
She adds, “The average CommonBond member saves over $24,000 by refinancing.”
Like other refinancing lenders, though, CommonBond has some eligibility requirements. In this review, you’ll learn about those requirements, as well as the program’s features and the application process.
Established in 2012 by a team of financial services experts, CommonBond is a marketplace lending platform that connects borrowers with institutional investors. The company is headquartered in New York City and offers competitive rates and features to those who qualify to refinance their graduate student loans.
Who are CommonBond’s student loans designed for?
CommonBond’s student loan refinancing program isn’t quite as restrictive as others in its eligibility requirements. That said, you’ll have a better chance of getting approved with a good interest rate if you have stellar credit and a solid income.
CommonBond requires you to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to refinance your student loans with them. Additionally, you must have attended or be attending an accredited university or an approved graduate program.
One other thing to note is that CommonBond isn’t available in all states. If you live in Louisiana, Maine, Rhode Island, or Nevada, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
CommonBond: Graduate student loan refinancing review
As an online lender with significant financial backing, CommonBond offers some of the best refinancing rates on the market.
CommonBond’s student loan refinance interest rates and terms
CommonBond is unique in that it offers three types of interest rates: fixed, variable, and hybrid.
Overall, the variable interest rates are generally the lowest because they are most likely to fluctuate over the life of the loan. Between the fixed and hybrid rates, it depends on your situation.
See our CommonBond review page for current rates.
Some other CommonBond graduate student loan refinancing terms you’ll want to know about include:
- Can refinance both private and federal student loans.
- You must be currently employed or have a signed offer letter in hand.
- No origination fees or prepayment penalty.
- Current repayment periods of five years, seven years, 10 years, 15 years, and 20 years (10 years only if using a hybrid interest rate).
- You can refinance as little as $5,000 and as much as $500,000.
CommonBond’s graduate student loan refinancing eligibility criteria
If you’re looking to refinance your graduate school loans with CommonBond, you must have a credit score of at least 660. This is on the lower end among refinancing lenders, so you might have a better chance getting approved with CommonBond than others.
The bank has no minimum income requirement. That said, you’ll still want to have a good income relative to your debt. Lenders like CommonBond consider your debt-to-income ratio, so the higher your income and the lower your debt payments, the better.
What extra features does CommonBond offer?
Interest rates aren’t the only important thing when considering a company with which to refinance your student loans. Depending on your situation and needs, one lender may offer features that others don’t.
Refinance a Parent PLUS Loan
If you’re a parent of a graduate student and you took out student loans for your child using a Parent PLUS Loan, you’ll be hard-pressed to find student loan refinancing companies that allow you to transfer the debt to them.
Fortunately, CommonBond does allow you to transfer, which can relieve you from the financial and credit burden. SoFi is another top lender that offers this feature.
Even if you don’t manage to qualify for CommonBond’s best interest rates, you can still lower your monthly payment by signing up for autopay.
That’s because CommonBond offers a 0.25% discount to do an automatic payment. This all but ensures that they’ll get their payment every month, so they’re willing to incentivize you to do it.
As an example, say you refinance $60,000 worth of graduate student loans on a 20-year term at 5.50% APR. Your monthly payment would be $490, and you’d pay $28,245 in interest over the life of the loan.
If, however, you get the autopay discount, your monthly payment would be $482, and you’d pay $26,819 in interest. That’s a total savings of $1,426.
Can refinance previously defaulted loans
If your federal or private student loans have been in default, most student loan refinancing lenders won’t touch you with a 10-foot pole. CommonBond, on the other hand, is more than happy to help you get on the right path again.
After you’ve made two years of on-time payments, you can apply to have your cosigner removed from the loan. This is a big plus for cosigners who are wary about staying on the loan long-term.
If you find yourself falling on hard times financially, CommonBond has a forbearance feature that allows you to skip payments while you’re trying to get back on your feet.
Just keep in mind that interest still accrues on loans in forbearance. So, if you can afford to, consider making interest-only payments until you can start making your payment in full again.
“We’re the first and only finance company with a one-for-one social mission,” says Duggal.
She explains, “That means, for every loan CommonBond funds, we also fund the education of a child in a developing country through a partnership with nonprofit Pencils of Promise.”
CommonBond’s graduate student loan refinancing application process
There are five steps to applying for student loan refinancing with CommonBond. This section will walk you through each one.
1. Get your rate
When you’re on CommonBond’s website, you’ll see a button that says “Get My Rate.” Click on that button, and you’ll see the different types of student loans that you can refinance or take out. Choose one, then go onto the next step.
2. Create an account
3. Share additional information
Next, CommonBond will gather a little more information about you to give you an idea of what type of rate you might qualify for. Required information includes your date of birth, address, citizenship status, and phone number.
You’ll also need to share some information about your education and university, how much you want to refinance, and your employment and income information.
You’ll also share the last four digits of your Social Security number so that CommonBond can run a soft credit check. Don’t worry, though. This won’t affect your credit in any way.
4. Choose your loan
Once you’ve gone through the initial process, you’ll get to see the different loan options that are available to you. You’ll see different terms, APRs, and estimated monthly payments.
5. Finalize your application
Now that you’ve chosen your loan, you’ll share your full Social Security Number so that CommonBond can run a hard credit check to give you a final offer. You’ll then need to upload some supporting documents to prove your employment and income information.
CommonBond contact and reviews
If you have any questions about CommonBond’s graduate student loan refinancing program, you can reach their customer service phone team at 800-975-7812 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should you refinance your student loans with CommonBond?
If you’re looking for a lender that offers some of the best rates and terms, check out CommonBond. There aren’t any major downsides to CommonBond, but that doesn’t mean it should be your first choice.
Before you refinance, make sure you’re saving on either your monthly payments or the total amount paid over the life of your loan.”
Shop around and compare the best student loan refinancing lenders to get the best possible rates and features. “Many lenders, including CommonBond, let you see an estimate of the rate that you’ll receive without any impact to your credit score in just five minutes,” says Duggal.
She adds, “Before you refinance, make sure you’re saving on either your monthly payments or the total amount paid over the life of your loan.”
As you do the work, you’ll be able to know for sure that you’re getting the best deal possible.