BEST OF

3 Best Refinance Lenders for Paying Off Student Loans Fast

Look for lenders that allow biweekly and greater-than-minimum payments via autopay, and offer repayment schedules that fit your debt payoff goal.

Cecilia ClarkSep 27, 2021

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. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Some refinance lenders make it easier than others to pay off student loans fast. These top-rated refinancing lenders scored highest for features that help you pay off student loans more quickly.

Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips about how to get rid of your college debt quickly.

Summary of Best Refinance Lenders for Paying Off Student Loans Fast

Earnest Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Earnest's website

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

650

Fixed APR

2.44-5.79%

Variable APR

1.88-5.64%
Check rate

on Earnest's website


Variable APR

1.88-5.64%

Key facts

Earnest lets borrowers increase their minimum monthly payment at any time, schedule multiple extra payments at once and make greater-than-minimum payments via autopay.

Pros

  • Customizable payments and loan terms.

  • Option to skip one payment every 12 months.

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

Cons

  • You can’t apply with a co-signer.

  • Loans aren't available in Kentucky and Nevada.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 760.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.

  • Must have a degree: No, but must be within six months of graduation and have income or a job.

Available Term Lengths

5 to 20 years

Disclaimer

Specific Annual Percentage Rate (APRs) offered within these ranges will depend on a variety of factors including your creditworthiness and other application details. Annual percentage rates (APRs) reflect 0.25% discount for optional enrollment in autopay. Your approval for an Earnest Loan is subject to the full underwriting of your loan application. Read more about qualifying for a loan with Earnest here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility

Read Full Review
PenFed Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Purefy's website

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
PenFed Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

670

Fixed APR

2.89-5.08%

Variable APR

N/A
Check rate

on Purefy's website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

PenFed allows shorter loan term availability and the ability to make biweekly payments or greater-than-minimum payments via autopay.

Pros

  • Married couples can refinance student loans into a single loan.

  • 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

  • Estate is still responsible for the loan if the borrower dies.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 773.

  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $300,000.

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

Available Term Lengths

5, 8, 12 or 15 years

Disclaimer

Rates and offers current as of June 1, 2021. Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rates range from 2.89% APR - 5.08% APR. Fixed Rates will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.

Read Full Review
College Ave Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
College Ave Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

Upper 600s

Fixed APR

2.99-4.94%

Variable APR

2.94-4.84%
Check rate

on College Ave's website


Variable APR

2.94-4.84%

Key facts

College Ave lets borrowers choose a repayment term between 5 and 20 years. That can help pay off loans faster by not extending your current repayment term.

Pros

  • You can choose any loan term between 5 and 15 years.

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

Cons

  • No co-signer release available.

  • Students cannot refinance a parent PLUS loan in their name.

Qualifications

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

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $300,000, depending on the highest degree earned.

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

Available Term Lengths

5 to 15 years

Disclaimer

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply. 1. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as the borrower or cosigner, if applicable, enrolls in auto-pay and authorizes our loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a valid bank account via Automated Clearing House (“ACH”). The rate reduction applies for as long as the monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments. Variable rates may increase after consummation. 2. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.Information advertised valid as of 11/24/2021. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.

Read Full Review

The fastest way to pay off student loans

Refinancing is one of the fastest ways to pay off student loans. With a lower interest rate, the same monthly payment goes further toward the loan principal.

Here's how to prioritize fast student loan payoff during every step of the refinancing process.

  • Find the right refinance lender. You can pay off your refinanced student loan early regardless of which lender you choose, because student loan refinance lenders don’t charge prepayment penalties. But not all lenders go the extra mile to make quick payoff convenient. Look for lenders that let you make biweekly (every two weeks) and greater-than-minimum payments via autopay, so you can set it and forget it. (Most lenders offer a quarter-point interest rate discount for using autopay.)

  • Choose the shortest repayment timeline you can afford. Also look for lenders that offer repayment schedules that fit with your debt payoff goal; some offer shorter terms that others. If you want to be debt-free in seven years, for instance, it’s helpful to have a seven-year loan term. That way, you’ll meet your goal just by making the minimum payments — any extra payments will be gravy.

  • Refinance with the lender that offers you the lowest rate. Above are top-rated lenders that offer all or most of these fast payoff features. Get rate estimates from each and go with the lender that offers you the lowest interest rate.

  • Make extra and biweekly payments. Once you’ve refinanced, you can accelerate repayment by paying extra when you can and making biweekly student loan payments instead of monthly ones.

Last updated on September 27, 2021

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Refinance Lenders for Paying Off Student Loans Fast