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CommonBond Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

CommonBond has a generous forbearance policy and allows borrowers to refinance their parents’ PLUS loans.
Aug. 23, 2018
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

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.
  • No loans available to customers in Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada or Vermont.
CommonBond
Reviewed loanStudent loan refinancing
Interest ratesFixed: 3.2% - 7.25%
Variable: 2.72% - 7.25%
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

How CommonBond student loan refinancing scores

NerdWallet student loan experts evaluated more than 50 data points across five categories to see whether CommonBond 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:
Above 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:
Above 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 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

  • Get a personalized rate before applying: 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: 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; permanent resident; or H1-B, J-1, L-1, E-2 or E-3 visa holder.
  • Location: No loans available to customers in Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada or Vermont.
  • Must have graduated: Yes.
  • Must have attended a Title IV-accredited school: Yes.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 20%.

  • In-school forbearance: Yes, borrowers can ask to defer payments when returning to school.
  • Military forbearance: Yes.
  • Internship, residency or fellowship forbearance: Borrowers can defer payments during residency.
  • Forbearance: Borrowers are eligible for 24 months of forbearance, in three-month increments, over the life of the loan.
  • Death or disability discharge: Yes, if there is no co-signer. Otherwise, the co-signer takes on responsibility.
  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.
  • Allows bi-weekly 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.
  • Average time from approval to payoff of the refinanced loans: 14 days.

  • CommonBond partners with the international education nonprofit Pencils of Promise to fund a child’s education whenever the company makes a loan.

How to refinance with CommonBond

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 for borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

If you’re ready to refinance with CommonBond, you can apply on CommonBond’s website.

CommonBond private student loan

5.0 NerdWallet rating

CommonBond’s undergraduate private student loans are best for those who are planning to use a co-signer and who want flexibility to pause payments if necessary. CommonBond offers a longer-than-average maximum forbearance period.

CommonBond private student loans at a glance:

  • Generous forbearance options.
  • Origination fee of 2% of the loan balance.
  • Co-signer required.
CommonBond
Reviewed loanPrivate student loan for undergraduates
Loan terms5, 10 and 15 years
Loan amounts$5,000 to the total cost of attendance. Maximum $500,000.
Grace period6 months
Co-signer release availableYes
Related productsPrivate graduate student loans and MBA loans

How CommonBond private student loans score

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

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

Offers payment flexibility:
Above 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:
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 CommonBond could improve

CommonBond, like other five-star lenders, isn’t perfect. CommonBond could improve by:

  • Removing its origination fee.
  • Allowing borrowers to make biweekly payments via autopay.

CommonBond private student loan details

  • Get a personalized rate before applying: Yes.
  • Application or origination fee: Origination fee of 2% of the loan balance.
  • 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 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: 670.
  • 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 Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada or Vermont.
  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes.
  • Must attend a Title IV-accredited school: Borrowers must attend 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

  • In-school 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.
  • Forbearance: Borrowers are eligible for 24 months of forbearance, in three-month increments, over the life of the loan.
  • Are loans discharged in the event of death/disability of borrower? Yes, if there is no co-signer. Otherwise, the co-signer takes on responsibility.

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: No.
  • Average time from application to 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.

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.

If you’re ready to borrow with CommonBond, you can apply on CommonBond’s 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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