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Citizens Bank/Citizens One Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

Citizens One student loan refinancing is best for borrowers who didn't graduate or who aren't U.S. citizens.
Sept. 10, 2018
Loans, Student Loans
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Citizens Bank is a traditional bank whose Rhode Island roots go back to 1828. Its national lending division, Citizens One, offers student loans and student loan refinancing.

Visitors will see either “Citizens Bank” or “Citizens One” on the company’s website, depending on where they live.

Here we review the bank’s refinance loan; you’ll find a review of its private student loan below.

Review of Citizens One’s private student loan

Citizens One student loan refinancing

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Refinancing through Citizens One is a solid option for financially stable borrowers who didn’t graduate or who aren’t U.S. citizens. The company doesn’t offer a generous safety net for struggling borrowers beyond the standard 12 months of forbearance many lenders provide.

Citizens One student loan refinancing at a glance:

  • Borrowers without a degree can refinance.
  • Personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
  • Co-signer release after 36 months of on-time payments.
Citizens One
Reviewed loanStudent loan refinancing
Interest ratesFixed: 5.74% - 12.19%
Variable: 4.26% - 12.23%
Includes autopay discount of 0.25%
Loan terms5, 10, 15 or 20 years
Loan amounts$10,000 to $350,000
Co-signer release availableYes, after 36 consecutive months of on-time principal and interest payments
Can transfer a parent loan to the childYes

How Citizens One student loan refinancing scores

NerdWallet student loan experts evaluated more than 50 data points across five categories to see whether Citizens One ranks below average, average or above average compared with other student loan refinance lenders.

Enables faster repayment:
Average
Lenders score highly if they offer a variety of term lengths and make extra payments easy.

Discloses requirements, limits costs:
Average
Lenders score highly if they limit fees and interest rates, are transparent about their underwriting criteria and allow borrowers to get personalized rate estimates before applying.

Serves range of borrowers:
Above average
Lenders score highly if they cater to customers in varying locations, in different financial situations, and with varying citizenship statuses.

Offers payment flexibility:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they offer longer than 12-month forbearance periods, in-school and military deferment, and any other flexible policies that help borrowers during tough times.

Supports customers:
Average
Lenders score highly if they assign borrowers an advisor, offer multiple ways to get in touch, and have in-house customer service. Websites should display full APR ranges, fees and forbearance policies.

How Citizens One could improve

Citizens One could improve its student loan refinance product by:

  • Offering more than 12 months of forbearance.
  • Disclosing minimum credit score and income requirements.
  • Allowing biweekly payments via autopay.

Citizens One student loan refinancing details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: No.

Compare Citizens One’s range of interest rates with other student loan refinance lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate Citizens One will offer you, apply on its website.

Citizens One doesn’t disclose specific details about what it takes to qualify for student loan refinancing. Lenders typically look for borrowers who have good credit and enough income to afford their debts and expenses.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: Did not disclose.
  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 690 or higher.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Did not disclose.

Other

  • Citizenship: Eligible noncitizens can qualify with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer.
  • Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 U.S. states.
  • Must have graduated: No.
  • Must have attended a Title IV-accredited school: No.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Did not disclose.

  • Academic deferment: Postpone payments if you return to school at least half-time.
  • Military deferment: Postpone payments if you’re on active military duty.
  • Forbearance: Postpone payments for up to 12 months, in two-month increments, if you’re experiencing economic hardship.
  • Are loans discharged in the event of death/disability of borrower? Yes.
  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.
  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: Firstmark Services.
  • In-house customer service team: Yes.
  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.
  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

  • Loyalty discount: Borrowers with a Citizens Bank account — like a checking account or auto loan — at the time of application get an additional 0.25% interest rate discount. Citizens Bank operates only in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

How to refinance with Citizens One

Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple student loan refinance options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lenders’ repayment options and the flexibility they offer borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

If you’re ready to refinance, you can apply on Citizens One’s website.

Citizens One private student loan

4.0 NerdWallet rating

Citizens One private student loans are best for international students and those who don’t foresee needing to postpone or lower payments in the future. The company doesn’t offer a generous safety net for struggling borrowers beyond the 12 months of forbearance many lenders provide.

Citizens One offers multiyear approval for student loans. After freshman year, you can request loans for subsequent school years without you or your co-signer undergoing a hard credit check, which affects your credit. International students cannot receive multiyear approval.

Citizens One private student loan at a glance:

  • No personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
  • International students can qualify with a co-signer.
  • Co-signer release after 36 on-time payments.
Citizens One
Type of loanPrivate student loan
Loan terms5, 10 and 15 years
Loan amounts$1,000 to $150,000
Grace period6 months
Co-signer release availableYes, after 36 on-time payments
Related productsGraduate student loans and parent loans

How Citizens One private student loan scores

NerdWallet student loan experts evaluated more than 50 data points across five categories to see whether Citizens One ranks below average, average or above average compared with other private student loan lenders.

Enables faster repayment:
Above average
Lenders score highly if they offer a variety of term lengths and make extra payments easy.

Discloses requirements, limits costs:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they limit fees and interest rates, are transparent about their underwriting criteria and allow borrowers to get personalized rate estimates before applying for the loan.

Serves range of borrowers:
Above average
Lenders score highly if they cater to customers in varying locations, in different financial situations, and with varying citizenship statuses.

Offers payment flexibility:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they offer longer than 12-month forbearance periods, in-school and military deferment, and any other flexible repayment policies that help borrowers during tough times.

Supports customers:
Above average
Lenders score highly if they assign borrowers an advisor, offer multiple ways to get in touch, and have in-house customer service. Websites should display full APR ranges, fees and forbearance policies.

How Citizens One could improve

Citizens One could improve its private student loans by offering:

  • More than 12 months of forbearance.
  • Minimum credit score and income requirements.
  • Personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

Citizens One private student loan details

  • Get a personalized rate before applying: No.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes; 5% of the late payment amount.

Compare Citizens One’s range of interest rates with other private student loan lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate Citizens One will offer you, apply on its website.

Citizens One doesn’t disclose specific details about what it takes to qualify for its student loans. Lenders typically look for borrowers who have good credit and enough income to afford their debts and expenses.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: Did not disclose.
  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 690 or higher.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Did not disclose.

Other

  • Citizenship: International students are eligible if they apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 U.S. states.
  • Must attend a Title IV-accredited school: Yes, pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Did not disclose.

In-school repayment options

  • Immediate: Begin making full monthly payments as soon as the loan is disbursed. This option will save you the most in interest.
  • Interest-only: Make monthly interest payments while you’re in school and during your grace period.
  • Deferred: You won’t be required to make any payments until your grace period ends, but you can choose to make payments if you’d like. Interest will accrue while you’re in school and capitalize, or get added to your principal balance, at the end of your grace period.
  • Post-school repayment options

    • Academic deferment: Postpone payments if you return to school at least half-time.
    • Military deferment: Postpone payments if you’re on active military duty.
    • Forbearance: Postpone payments for up to 12 months, in two-month increments, if you’re experiencing economic hardship.
    • Are loans discharged in the event of death/disability of borrower? Yes.

    Repayment preferences

    • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.
    • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Loan servicer: Firstmark Services.
  • In-house customer service team: Yes.
  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.
  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

  • Loyalty discount: Borrowers with a Citizens Bank account — like a checking account or auto loan — at the time of application get an additional 0.25% interest rate discount. Citizens Bank operates only in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

How to apply for a Citizens One student loan

Before taking out a Citizens One student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s FAFSA Guide

Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

If you’re ready to borrow with Citizens One, you can apply on its website.

STUDENT LOANS RATINGS METHODOLOGY

NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That’s why NerdWallet’s student loan ratings reward lenders that offer a variety of loan terms, limit their fees and penalties, and extend borrowers multiple options to avoid default. Points are also awarded for soft credit checks, underwriting transparency and other consumer-friendly features. Use these ratings as a guide, but we encourage you to shop around for the lowest interest rate you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our editorial guidelines

5 stars out of 5 — Among the very best for consumer-friendly features

4.5 stars out of 5 — Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features

4 stars out of 5 — Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features

3.5 stars out of 5 — Good; may not offer something important to you

3 stars out of 5 — Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features

2.5 stars out of 5 — Poor; proceed with great caution

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