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4 International Student Loan Refinancing Options for 2020

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To refinance international student loans you must build U.S. credit, get a co-signer or qualify for a niche loan.

Refinancing international student loans is more difficult for visa holders working in the U.S. who don’t have a credit history. There are private lenders that will refinance student loans, but you’ll have to do one of the following:

  • Build your U.S. credit history.

  • Have an eligible co-signer.

  • Qualify for a niche loan for international working graduates.

Refinancing means a lender will pay off your existing student loans with a new single loan at a lower interest rate. It can help you save money immediately and over time.

Below you'll find lenders that refinance international borrowers, plus more information about the refinancing strategies available to noncitizens who have built U.S. credit history, have a U.S. co-signer or have graduated and are working in the U.S. These lenders will only refinance student loans that were originally borrowed with a co-signer from U.S.-based lenders or from niche lenders for international students studying in the U.S.

Summary of International Student Loan Refinancing Options for 2020

LenderNerdWallet Rating Fixed APRVariable APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
SoFi Student Loan Refinance

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

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2.99 - 6.24%

1.99 - 6.24%

Does not disclose

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CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

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2.99 - 5.99%

3.18 - 6.06%

680

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Citizens One Student Loan Refinance

Citizens One Student Loan Refinance

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3.20 - 8.63%

2.49 - 8.38%

Does not disclose

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Brazos Student Loan Refinance

Brazos Student Loan Refinance

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on Brazos's website

3.50 - 4.80%

3.57 - 4.87%

720

Check Rate

on Brazos's website

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
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SoFi Student Loan Refinance

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

2.99 - 6.24%

Variable APR

1.99 - 6.24%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

1.99 - 6.24%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who want plenty of benefits with their refinanced student loan.

Pros

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Additional perks like career planning, job search assistance and entrepreneurship support available.

Cons

  • No co-signer release available.

  • Loan size minimum is higher than most lenders.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 700+.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000, up to your total outstanding loan balance.

  • Must have a degree: Yes, an associate degree or higher.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 6.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 1.99% APR to 6.24% 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 1.99% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.18% plus 3.06% 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. *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. 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.
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CommonBond Student Loan Refinance
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CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

2.99 - 5.99%

Variable APR

3.18 - 6.06%

Min. Credit Score

680

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Variable APR

3.18 - 6.06%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who have a bachelor's degree and value repayment flexibility.

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer.

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Loans aren’t available in Mississippi and Nevada.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.

  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least a bachelor's degree.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). 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 0.18% effective July 10, 2020.
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Citizens One Student Loan Refinance
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Citizens One Student Loan Refinance

Citizens One Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

3.20 - 8.63%

Variable APR

2.49 - 8.38%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

2.49 - 8.38%

Key facts

Best for existing Citizens Bank customers or borrowers who didn't graduate or aren't U.S. citizens.

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

  • Loyalty discount: Borrowers with a Citizens Bank account when they apply get an additional 0.25% interest rate discount.

Cons

  • No formal forbearance options.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Does not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $10,000 to $500,000.

  • Must have a degree: No.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.49%-8.38% (2.49%-8.38% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 3.20%-8.63% (3.20%-8.63% APR).
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Brazos Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on Brazos's website

Brazos Student Loan Refinance

Brazos Student Loan Refinance

Fixed APR

3.50 - 4.80%

Variable APR

3.57 - 4.87%

Min. Credit Score

720

Check Rate

on Brazos's website


Variable APR

3.57 - 4.87%

Key facts

Brazos is best for student loan borrowers who need a refinancing loan and live in Texas.

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Offers greater-than-minimum payments via autopay.

Cons

  • Only available to borrowers in Texas.

  • Does not offer co-signer release.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 781 for primary borrower or 794 for co-signer (and 690 for primary borrower).

  • Minimum income: $60,000 for co-signer or primary borrower, or $30,000 for primary borrower if applying with a co-signer.

  • Loan amounts: $10,000 up to $150,000 for bachelors degree holders; $250,000 for graduate or professional degree holders.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years

Disclaimer

Interest rates WITH 0.25% ACH benefit.
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Ways to refinance international student loans

Building a U.S. credit history

U.S. credit bureaus don't take into consideration credit history from other countries, so you’ll have to start from scratch. But as you live and work in the U.S. you can grow your credit profile.

Start building U.S. credit history. If you attended college in the U.S. and have student loans in repayment with a U.S. lender, you may already have some credit built. You can find out an existing credit history for free from one of the three major credit reporting bureaus — TransUnion, Experian or Equifax.

If you don't have a history or you want to continue building credit, apply for a credit card. Typically, credit lenders will want you to have a permanent address, a taxpayer ID number, income and a bank account. You might have to start with a secured credit card, which requires a cash security deposit.

Once you have a line of credit established, make payments each month, on-time and in full. Over time, you can build enough credit history to get your loans approved for refinancing by private lenders. Refinancing lenders look for borrowers with credit in at least the high 600s, a history of on-time loan payments and an income that is high enough to pay off the debt.

Refinancing if you have a visa

Some lenders may allow you to refinance, even if you have a working visa, as long as you have a co-signer who can meet credit history, income and payment history qualifications. Your co-signer will have to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, as well.

Last updated on June 26, 2020

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's International Student Loan Refinancing Options for 2020