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7 Best Refinance Lenders for Paying Off Student Loans Fast

Teddy NykielOctober 25, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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

Summary of Best Refinance Lenders for Paying Off Student Loans Fast

LenderFixed APRVariable APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
PenFed Student Loan Refinance

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Purefy's website

3.48-6.03%

2.42-7.16%

670

Check Rate

on Purefy's website

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on SoFi's website

3.46-5.98%

2.31-7.36%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on SoFi's website

College Ave Student Loan Refinance

College Ave Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

3.24-7.99%

2.49-7.24%

Upper 600s

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

3.21-6.45%

2.02-6.30%

660

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

3.45-6.99%

1.81-6.49%

650

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

RISLA Student Loan Refinance

RISLA Student Loan Refinance

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

3.49-8.14%

N/A

680

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

First Republic Student Loan Refinance

First Republic Student Loan Refinance

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

1.95-4.20%

N/A

Did not disclose.

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

LenderFixed APRVariable APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
PenFed Student Loan Refinance

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Purefy's website

3.48-6.03%

2.42-7.16%

670

Check Rate

on Purefy's website

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on SoFi's website

3.46-5.98%

2.31-7.36%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on SoFi's website

College Ave Student Loan Refinance

College Ave Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

3.24-7.99%

2.49-7.24%

Upper 600s

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

3.21-6.45%

2.02-6.30%

660

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

3.45-6.99%

1.81-6.49%

650

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

RISLA Student Loan Refinance

RISLA Student Loan Refinance

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

3.49-8.14%

N/A

680

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

First Republic Student Loan Refinance

First Republic Student Loan Refinance

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

1.95-4.20%

N/A

Did not disclose.

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

PenFed Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on Purefy's website

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

PenFed Student Loan Refinance
Fixed APR 
3.48-6.03% 

Variable APR 
2.42-7.16% 

Min. Credit Score 
670 

Check Rate

on Purefy's website


Variable APR

2.42-7.16%

Key facts

PenFed has one of the highest overall scores among refinancing lenders that offer all of the features NerdWallet experts agree help borrowers repay loans faster, including availability of shorter loan terms 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

  • No formal deferment/forbearance options.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 777.

  • 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 November 1, 2019. 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 3.48% APR to 6.03% APR and Variable Rate range from 2.42% APR to 7.16%. Both Fixed and Variable 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. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 2.00%. 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.This credit union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

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SoFi Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on SoFi's website

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
Fixed APR 
3.46-5.98% 

Variable APR 
2.31-7.36% 

Min. Credit Score 
Does not disclose 

Check Rate

on SoFi's website


Variable APR

2.31-7.36%

Key facts

SoFi lets borrowers make biweekly payments and greater-than-minimum payments via autopay.

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 3.46% APR to 7.362% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.31% APR to 7.362% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. Lowest variable rate of 2.31% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.31% minus 0.15% 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. 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.SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

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College Ave Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Student Loan Refinance

College Ave Student Loan Refinance
Fixed APR 
3.24-7.99% 

Variable APR 
2.49-7.24% 

Min. Credit Score 
Upper 600s 

Check Rate

on College Ave's website


Variable APR

2.49-7.24%

Key facts

College Ave lets borrowers make biweekly payments and greater-than-minimum payments via autopay.

Pros

  • You can choose any loan term between five and 20 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.

  • Loans aren’t available in Maine.

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 20 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. All rates shown include the autopay discount. (1)The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation. (2)This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower who selects the Full Principal & Interest Repayment Option with 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. (3)$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $250,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.

Read Full Review
CommonBond Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance
Fixed APR 
3.21-6.45% 

Variable APR 
2.02-6.30% 

Min. Credit Score 
660 

Check Rate

on CommonBond's website


Variable APR

2.02-6.30%

Key facts

CommonBond lets borrowers make greater-than-minimum payments via autopay. There's no option to make biweekly payments via autopay.

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.

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 2.19% effective August 10, 2019.

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Earnest Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Earnest Student Loan Refinance

Earnest Student Loan Refinance
Fixed APR 
3.45-6.99% 

Variable APR 
1.81-6.49% 

Min. Credit Score 
650 

Check Rate

on Earnest's website


Variable APR

1.81-6.49%

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 Delaware, Kentucky 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: 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.

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RISLA Student Loan Refinance
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

RISLA Student Loan Refinance

RISLA Student Loan Refinance
Fixed APR 
3.49-8.14% 

Variable APR 
N/A 

Min. Credit Score 
680 

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

RISLA lets borrowers make greater-than-minimum and biweekly payments via autopay.

Pros

  • Income-based repayment plan available, with forgiveness after 25 years.

Cons

  • No co-signer release available.

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

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

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 748.

  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $250,000, depending on the highest degree earned.

  • Must have a degree: No.

Available Term Lengths

5, 10 or 15 years

Disclaimer

Read Full Review
First Republic Student Loan Refinance
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

First Republic Student Loan Refinance

First Republic Student Loan Refinance
Fixed APR 
1.95-4.20% 

Variable APR 
N/A 

Min. Credit Score 
Did not disclose. 

See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

First Republic lets borrowers make greater-than-minimum and biweekly payments via autopay. It also incentivizes fast payoff with a prepayment rebate: Borrowers who pay off their refinanced loan within four years get back the interest they paid, up to 2% of their original loan balance.

Pros

  • You are assigned a dedicated relationship manager.

  • Interest rebate if you pay off your refinanced loan within four years.

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

Cons

  • You must have a First Republic Bank ATM Rebate Checking account to receive the advertised rates.

  • No option to pause payments through deferment or forbearance, unlike other lenders.

  • Only available to borrowers who live near a First Republic Bank branch.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 770.

  • Loan amounts: $25,000 to $300,000, depending on the highest degree earned.

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

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10 or 15 years

Disclaimer

Annual Percentage Rate. Rates effective as of October 30, 2019, and are subject to change. Terms and conditions apply. The terms of this loan may differ from your current loan(s). For example, this loan does not contain special features such as forbearance periods or income-based repayment plans available for some student loans. This loan may not be dischargeable in bankruptcy. This product is not available in all markets. For a complete list of locations, visit firstrepublic.com/locations. This is not a commitment to lend or extend credit. Contact your legal, tax and financial advisors for advice on deciding whether this is the right product for you. Borrower must open a First Republic ATM Rebate Checking account (“Account”). Terms and conditions apply to the Account. If the Account is closed, the rate will increase by 5.00%. Rates shown include relationship-based pricing adjustments of: 1) 2.00% for maintaining automatic payments and direct deposit with the Account, 2) 0.50% for depositing and maintaining a deposit balance equal to the greater of 10% of the approved loan amount or $5,000 into the Account; and 3) an additional 0.25% for depositing and maintaining a deposit balance equal to the greater of 20% of the approved loan amount or $10,000 into the Account.

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.

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 October 25, 2019