BEST OF

14 Top Lenders to Lower Your Student Loan Payment

Pre-qualify with multiple lenders to see which one will help you lower your student loan payment the most.

Cecilia ClarkNov 24, 2021

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Lower payments are a primary reason people refinance their student loans. But you may not know which lenders are best to help you achieve that goal.

Depending on your credit score, debt-to-income ratio (or DTI) and employment status, any refinance lender could help you lower your student loan payment. Simply looking at a lender’s lowest advertised rate isn’t a good indicator of whether they’ll be the best option. Actual interest rates vary based on lender-determined creditworthiness, and the lender with the lowest advertised rate might not be the lender that makes you the best offer.

If you are struggling to make student loan payments or are working to strengthen your finances, changing lenders through refinance may not be your best option. Contact your servicer to discuss what's available.

To find out which is the best lender to help you lower your student loan payments, pre-qualify with several companies where you meet the qualifications. Then, compare offers and see which one is best to help you reach your goals.

Here are our top-rated lenders to help in your search.

Summary of Top Lenders to Lower Your Student Loan Payment

Our picks for

Borrowers who didn’t graduate

These lenders refinance student loans even if you haven't graduated.

Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Fixed APR

3.99-7.78%

Variable APR

N/A
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Best for borrowers who didn’t graduate.

Pros

  • You can refinance without a degree.

  • Forbearance of 24 months is twice as long as most lenders.

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

Cons

  • Loans aren’t available in Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington or Washington, D.C.

  • You cannot postpone repayment if you re-enroll in school.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Does not disclose.

  • Minimum income: Does not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: Minimum $7,500. Maximum depends on creditworthiness and debt-to-income ratio.

Available Term Lengths

10, 15 or 20 years

Read Full Review
Discover Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Discover's website

Discover Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Fixed APR

2.99-6.74%

Variable APR

1.99-5.74%
Check rate

on Discover's website


Variable APR

1.99-5.74%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who may need wiggle room on payments, or those who didn't graduate.

Pros

  • No late fees.

  • More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers than other lenders.

  • Can refinance without a degree.

Cons

  • Only 10- and 20-year repayment terms available.

  • No co-signer release available.

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

Qualifications

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

  • Must have a degree: No.

  • Loan amounts: Consolidate up to the aggregate amount of your education loan debt. Maximum limit of $150,000 applies.

Available Term Lengths

10 or 20 years

Disclaimer

The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan unless you are no longer eligible for one or more discounts. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month CME Term SOFR index plus the applicable margin percentage less any applicable discounts. The 3-Month CME Term SOFR index value for variable interest rate loans is 0.125% as of November 14, 2021. 3-Month CME Term SOFR is administered by CME Group and is published by CME Group on its website (cmegroup.com/termsofr). Discover Student Loans may adjust the variable interest rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (each an “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month CME Term SOFR rate available for the day that is 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125), or 0%, whichever is greater. This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. If the 3-Month CME Term SOFR rate is less than zero percent, then the index will be deemed to be zero percent (as stated in the promissory note) for purposes of calculating your interest rate. Your variable interest rate (index + margin – applicable discounts) will not exceed 18%. Our lowest APRs are only available to applicants with the best credit. The APR will be determined after an application is submitted. It will be based on credit history, the selected repayment option and other factors, including a cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). If a student does not have an established credit history, the student may find it difficult to qualify for a private student loan on their own or receive the lowest advertised rate. Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates.

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ISL Refinance Loan
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

ISL Refinance Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
ISL Refinance Loan

Min. Credit Score

670

Fixed APR

2.55-7.63%

Variable APR

N/A
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Best for saving on interest before graduation and borrowers who didn’t finish school.

Pros

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

  • You can refinance without a degree.

  • You can refinance while in school or during a medical residency.

Cons

  • Interest rates vary by refi product.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Approximately 750.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $300,000. (Minimum for California residents is $10,000.)

  • Must have a degree: No.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20

Read Full Review

Our picks for

Borrowers who want a nonstandard loan term

These lenders offer nonstandard or customized loan terms.

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

Best for borrowers who want a nonstandard loan term — six or nine years, for instance.

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.

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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

Best for borrowers who want to customize their repayment schedule to pay off debt fast.

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

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Our picks for

Repayment flexibility

These lenders offer multiple repayment options.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on CommonBond's website

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

680

Fixed APR

2.98-5.79%

Variable APR

1.99-5.61%
Check rate

on CommonBond's website


Variable APR

1.99-5.61%

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 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.

Read Full Review
Navient Student Loan Refinance
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Navient Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Navient Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

650

Fixed APR

2.50-5.79%

Variable APR

1.88-5.64%
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

1.88-5.64%

Key facts

Best for borrowers whose loans are already serviced by Navient.

Pros

  • More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers than other lenders.

  • No late fees.

  • You can refinance without a degree.

Cons

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

  • No option to make greater-than-minimum payments via autopay.

Qualifications

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

  • Loan amounts: $5,001 minimum, maximum $150,000 for undergraduate and graduate programs, $250,000 for professional degree programs.

  • Must have a degree: No.

Available Term Lengths

5 to 20 years

Read Full Review
SoFi Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on SoFi's website

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

650

Fixed APR

2.49-6.94%

Variable APR

1.74-6.59%
Check rate

on SoFi's website


Variable APR

1.74-6.59%

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 range from 2.49% APR to 6.94% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 1.74% APR to 6.59% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR 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. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.

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Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Nelnet Bank's website

Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

640

Fixed APR

2.30-5.96%

Variable APR

1.87-5.33%
Check rate

on Nelnet Bank's website


Variable APR

1.87-5.33%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who may need wiggle room on payments.

Pros

  • International students can apply with a co-signer who is a qualified U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

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

Cons

  • Below-average customer support compared with other lenders.

  • Doesn't allow biweekly payments via autopay.

Qualifications

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

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 - $225,000.

  • Must have a degree: No.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years. 25-year terms available for variable-rate loans

Disclaimer

The lowest rate for each loan type requires automatically withdrawn (“auto debit”) payments. The lowest rate is available only to the most creditworthy applicants. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rate. The interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher depending upon (1) the credit history of the borrower and, if applicable, the cosigner, (2) the repayment option and loan term selected, (3) the loan type selected, and (4) the highest level of education attained. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate qualified for within the stated range.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Customer service

These lenders ranked highest in customer service features.

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Education Loan Finance's website

Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

680

Fixed APR

2.47-5.99%

Variable APR

1.86-6.01%
Check rate

on Education Loan Finance's website


Variable APR

1.86-6.01%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who value good customer service.

Pros

  • You are assigned a student loan advisor.

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

Cons

  • Payment postponement isn’t available for borrowers who return to school.

  • The minimum amount to refinance is more than many lenders require.

  • No co-signer release available.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 774.

  • Loan amounts: $15,000 up to your total outstanding loan balance.

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

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. https://www.elfi.com/terms/

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Indiana borrowers

These loans are available only to those with an Indiana affiliation.

INvestED Student Loan Refinance
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

INvestED Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
INvestED Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

670

Fixed APR

3.47-6.82%

Variable APR

2.42-6.31%
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

2.42-6.31%

Key facts

Best for Indiana residents or borrowers who attended school there.

Pros

  • You can refinance without a degree.

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

  • Interest-only repayment may be available if you can’t afford payments.

Cons

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

  • You must be from Indiana or have attended school in the state to qualify.

Available Term Lengths

5,10,15 or 20 years

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Medical professionals

These loans have special features for medical professionals.

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Laurel Road's website

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

660

Fixed APR

2.50-6.00%

Variable APR

1.89-5.90%
Check rate

on Laurel Road's website


Variable APR

1.89-5.90%

Key facts

Best for borrowers who want to refinance during their medical or dental residency.

Pros

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

  • Refinancing available for medical and dental residents.

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

Cons

  • Payment postponement isn’t available if borrowers return to school.

Qualifications

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

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

  • Must have a degree: At least an associate degree for select professions. Borrowers in their last year of undergrad can refinance. For parent PLUS loans, the child does not need to have graduated to refinance.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

All credit products are subject to credit approval. APRs shown include a 0.25% interest rate discount for AutoPay. If the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic fund transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay/EFT Discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster. Variable APRs are subject to increase after consummation. The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) and changes in the SOFR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%. There is no limit on the amount your interest rate can increase at one time. The Index is currently published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (“New York Fed”). View payment examples here. KeyBank National Association reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice.

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Our pick for

Combining loans as a married couple

These lenders allow married couples to refinance their loans together.

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

Best for married couples who want to refinance their student loans into a single one.

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

Our pick for

Getting multiple offers at once

This marketplace gives you multiple offers at once.

Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Splash Financial's website

Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

650

Fixed APR

2.49-5.79%

Variable APR

N/A
Check rate

on Splash Financial's website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Best for receiving offers from multiple lenders.

Pros

  • You are assigned a dedicated account representative.

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

Cons

  • Loan features vary by lender.

  • Forbearance and death discharge may not be available.

  • You may need to become a member of a credit union to qualify.

Qualifications

  • Splash Financial currently does not offer variable rates or accept co-signers through NerdWallet.

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

  • Loan amounts: $25,001 to $500,000.

  • Must have a degree: Yes, a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 years

Disclaimer

Fixed rates range from 2.49% APR to 5.79% APR. Rates are current as of June 1, 2021 and reflect those offered by participating lending partners. Lending partners may vary and are displayed at the sole discretion of Splash. Not all lending partners are available for all application channels. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income, and other factors. Terms and conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice.

Read Full Review

Steps to refinance for the lowest payment

Get your finances in order. To qualify for student loan refinance, you’ll likely need a credit score in the high 600s, a DTI below 50% and stable income. The stronger your credit profile is on these fronts, the lower the interest rate you can qualify for. While the interest rate isn’t the only factor that can affect your loan payment amount — loan term is the other — it has a big influence. It also helps determine how much you’ll pay in total costs over the life of your loan.

Pre-qualify with multiple lenders. Don’t jump at the first offer you get. And don’t think that just because a lender advertises the lowest rates, you won’t get a better offer elsewhere. Pre-qualify with several lenders that will give you your rate and monthly payment information without doing a hard credit check. This way, you can compare monthly payment amounts and total repayment amounts without taking hits to your credit score.

Choose a lender. After you know what you qualify for, consider the details of the offers to see which is best for you. Often, offers with the lowest interest rates also have shorter loan repayment terms. This may not bring down your monthly bill, or may decrease it only a little. Offers that have longer repayment terms tend to have higher interest rates. If the interest rate on a longer-term refinance is less than your current rate, you could see a big drop in the monthly payment. However, longer terms also mean higher total repayment costs.

Last updated on November 24, 2021

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