CommonBond vs. SoFi: Which Is Better for Refinancing Student Loans?

If CommonBond and SoFi offer you the same refinance rate, choose the loan that best fits your repayment needs.

Ryan LaneSeptember 28, 2020
On a similar note...
On a similar note...
GettyImages-522372544-commonbond-vs-sofi-refinancing

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

If you’re shopping for a student loan refinance lender, CommonBond and SoFi are strong options. NerdWallet gives both five stars and rates their refinancing loans among the best overall.

The right choice is the one that saves you the most money.

But if you’re debating CommonBond vs. SoFi because their interest rates are similar, compare features like eligibility criteria and options to avoid default to help decide which is better for you.

CommonBond vs. SoFi refinancing at a glance

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance
SoFi Student Loan Refinance
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Check RateCheck Rate
Fixed APR

2.98 - 5.79%

Fixed APR

2.99 - 6.28%

Variable APR

1.99 - 5.61%

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.

Variable APR

2.25 - 6.28%

Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.28% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.28% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 2.32% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. 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. See eligibility details. 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. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the interest savings are applied to the principal loan balance, which may help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, 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 inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

Min. Credit Score

680

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

CommonBond vs. SoFi key features

Here are some key areas in which CommonBond and SoFi differ — and which has the advantage in each. For complete details, read our individual CommonBond student loans review and SoFi student loans review.

Borrower eligibility

Advantage: SoFi

To qualify with any refinance lender, you’ll typically need a credit score in at least the high 600s and enough income to cover all your debts.

Neither SoFi nor CommonBond is fully transparent about its specific financial requirements. But SoFi at least refinances loans for borrowers in a wider range of situations.

For example, you won’t be able to refinance with CommonBond if:

  • You don’t hold at least a bachelor’s degree.

  • You have more than $500,000 to refinance.

  • You want to refinance during a medical or dental residency.

NerdWallet recommends prequalifying with multiple lenders before you apply. That way, you’ll know if you’re likely to be approved and at what rate without affecting your credit.

Options for struggling borrowers

Advantage: CommonBond

You’ll need to be in good financial shape to be eligible to refinance student loans. But if your situation changes, lender support can be crucial.

If you can’t afford payments, CommonBond will let you postpone them for up to 24 months via forbearance. That’s twice the industry standard of 12 months, which SoFi offers.

CommonBond has also offered unlimited natural disaster forbearance due to the ongoing pandemic. Most lenders, including SoFi, have offered 90 days as private student loan relief.

If you're interested in a lender that offers a long-term loan modification program if you fall behind on payments, compare Earnest vs. CommonBond.

Fast payoff

Advantage: SoFi

Refinancing at a lower rate is a great way to pay off student loans fast. You can speed things up even more by increasing your monthly payment amount.

SoFi and CommonBond both help with this by letting you automate greater-than-minimum payments. But SoFi also allows biweekly payments via autopay, while CommonBond doesn’t.

Another strategy to get rid of loans is to put found money toward them, like from a raise or other financial windfall. With SoFi, you can earn up to $10,000 by referring individuals to the lender’s financial products, which include student loans, personal loans and investment accounts. CommonBond offers $200 for each student loan referral.

SoFi and CommonBond have the same set of repayment terms: 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years. If you want a custom length — for example, 8 or 12 years — to pay off your loans quicker, compare SoFi vs. Earnest.

Options for co-signers

Advantage: CommonBond

Many student loan borrowers qualify to refinance on their own. But adding a co-signer to your application may be necessary if you recently graduated or want to get the best rate possible.

If you need a co-signer, CommonBond has the edge over SoFi. With CommonBond, you can release your co-signer after making 36 on-time payments. SoFi does not offer co-signer release, meaning you’d need to refinance again without your co-signer to let them off the hook.

CommonBond will also discharge the loan if your co-signer dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled, which is unique among refinancing lenders.

Financial services

Advantage: SoFi

If you’re looking for more than a new student loan, SoFi provides additional services.

SoFi is similar to a traditional financial institution, offering a range of money management accounts and lending products with discounted rates for its members. If you take out a loan from SoFi, you can also work with a certified financial planner or career coach and attend in-person events.

CommonBond has unique extras, but they’re largely focused on education and student loans.

Most notably, CommonBond partners with the international nonprofit Pencils of Promise to fund a child’s education whenever the company makes a loan. Its SmartSave service can also automatically deposit monthly savings from your refinancing loan into an account with high-yield savings.

CommonBond vs. SoFi: The bottom line

CommonBond is best if you want consumer-friendly features, like options if you fall behind on payments. But if you can’t qualify with CommonBond — for example, you want to refinance with an associate degree — SoFi is a great alternative that offers fast payoff and many member benefits.

CommonBond and SoFi are also good choices depending on your specific refinancing goals. Compare their products to other lenders in the following instances to get the best deal possible:

Find ways to save with NerdWallet

Really get to know your money and find cash you can put aside and grow.