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CommonBond Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

CommonBond student loan refinancing has a generous forbearance policy. It's undergraduate private student loan requires a co-signer.
Aug. 28, 2019
Loans, Student Loans
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CommonBond is an online lender founded in 2012 that offers both student loan refinancing and private student loans. Here we review CommonBond’s refinance loan; you’ll find a review of its private student loan below.

Review of CommonBond’s private student loan

CommonBond student loan refinancing

5.0 NerdWallet rating

Bottom line: Best for borrowers who have a bachelor’s degree and value repayment flexibility.

CommonBond
Reviewed loanStudent loan refinancing
Interest ratesFixed: 3.21% - 6.45%
Variable: 2.02% - 6.3%
Includes autopay discount of 0.25%
Loan terms5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 years for fixed- and variable-rate loans. 10 years for hybrid loan.
Loan amounts$5,000 to $500,000
Co-signer release availableYes
Can transfer a parent loan to the childYes

Pros & Cons

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.

Full Review

Refinancing means replacing one or more student loans with a single lower-rate loan. CommonBond stands out for its longer-than-average maximum forbearance period, which makes it a good option for borrowers who may need breathing room in the future.

COMMONBOND STUDENT LOAN REFINANCING AT A GLANCE

  • Generous forbearance options.
  • Borrowers can refinance their parents’ PLUS loans.
  • Loans aren’t available to customers in Mississippi and Nevada.

HOW COMMONBOND COULD IMPROVE

CommonBond, like other five-star lenders, isn’t perfect. It could improve by offering additional programs such as:

  • Refinancing for borrowers in all 50 states.
  • Refinancing for associate degree holders and borrowers without a degree.
  • Biweekly student loan payments via autopay.

CommonBond student loan refinancing details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.
  • Loan terms: 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years for fixed- and variable-rate loans; 10 years for hybrid-rate loans.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.
  • Can transfer a parent loan to a child: Yes.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes, the lesser of $10 or 5% of the monthly payment, charged 15 days after missed payment.

Compare CommonBond’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 CommonBond will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: 660.
  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after seven years have passed.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen; permanent resident; or H1-B, J-1, L-1, E-2 or E-3 visa holder.
  • Location: No loans available to customers in Mississippi or Nevada.
  • Must have graduated: Yes, with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Must have attended a school authorized to receive federal aid: Yes.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 20%.

  • Academic deferment: Yes, borrowers can ask to defer payments when returning to school.
  • Military deferment: Yes.
  • Internship, residency or fellowship forbearance: Borrowers can defer payments during residency with a signed job offer letter.
  • Forbearance: Borrowers are eligible for 24 months of forbearance, in three-month increments, over the life of the loan.
  • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 36 months of timely payments.
  • Death or disability discharge: Yes; the loan will be forgiven if the borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled, even if the loan has a co-signer.

Repayment Preferences

  • 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: If requested.
  • Average time from approval to payoff: One to three business days.

  • CommonBond partners with the international education nonprofit Pencils of Promise to fund a child’s education whenever the company makes a loan.
  • Referral bonus: Earn $200 for every person you successfully refer to CommonBond. More details.

How to refinance with CommonBond

Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare 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 for borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

CommonBond private student loan

5.0 NerdWallet rating

Bottom line: Best for students who are already planning to use a co-signer and value customer support.

CommonBond
Reviewed loanPrivate student loan for undergraduates
Loan terms5, 10 and 15 years
Loan amounts$2,000 to the total cost of attendance. Maximum $500,000.
Grace period6 months
Co-signer release availableYes
Related productsPrivate graduate student loans, medical school loans and MBA loans

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • You are assigned a dedicated Money Mentor.

CONS

  • Loans aren’t available to customers in Nevada and Mississippi.
  • A co-signer is required.

Full Review

CommonBond’s undergraduate private student loan is available to students pursuing bachelor’s degrees and requires a co-signer. If you’re already planning to have someone co-sign with you, this loan is best for those who value customer support. CommonBond provides each borrower with a free Money Mentor — a real person who offers financial assistance via text messaging.

CommonBond private student loans at a glance

  • Offers personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
  • Has a variety of in-school repayment options.
  • A co-signer is required.

How CommonBond could improve

CommonBond, like other five-star lenders, isn’t perfect. It could improve its private student loan product by:

  • Reaching borrowers in all states.
  • Offering more than 12 months of forbearance.

CommonBond private student loan details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.
  • Loan terms: 5, 10 or 15 years.
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $500,000, depending on the school’s cost of attendance.
  • Application or origination fee: None.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes: the lesser of $10 or 5% of the monthly payment, charged 15 days after missed payment.

Compare CommonBond’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 CommonBond will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: 660.
  • Minimum income: No set minimum.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after seven years have passed.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Location: No loans available to customers in Mississippi or Nevada.
  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes.
  • Types of schools served: Borrowers must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree at an eligible Title IV or nonprofit school.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: All undergraduate borrowers must have a co-signer.

In-school repayment options:

  • Immediate repayment: Make full payments as soon as the loan is disbursed, while you’re still in school.
  • Deferred payments: Don’t make any payments while you’re in school.
  • Fixed repayment: Pay $25 every month while enrolled in school and during the grace period.
  • Interest-only repayment: Pay interest every month you’re in school and during the grace period.

Post-school repayment options

  • Grace period: 6 months.
  • Academic deferment: Yes, borrowers can request to defer payments when returning to school.
  • Military deferment: Yes.
  • Internship, residency or fellowship deferment: Borrowers can defer payments during residency with a signed job offer letter.
  • Forbearance: Borrowers are eligible for 12 months of forbearance, in three-month increments, over the life of the loan.
  • Co-signer release: Yes; borrower must graduate, make 24 full monthly payments in a row and meet additional eligibility requirements to qualify.
  • Death or disability discharge: Yes; the loan will be forgiven if the borrower or co-signer dies or becomes permanently disabled.

Repayment preferences

  • 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: Yes, CommonBond provides each borrower with a Money Mentor.
  • Average time for approval: 1 to 3 days.

  • CommonBond partners with the international education nonprofit Pencils of Promise to fund a child’s education whenever the company makes a loan.
  • Referral bonus: Earn $200 for every person you successfully refer to CommonBond. More details.

How to apply for a CommonBond student loan

Before taking out a CommonBond 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.

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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