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Credible Overview: Student Loan Marketplace

Loans, Student Loans
Credible: A Marketplace for Student Loan Refinancing Story

Online loan marketplaces like Credible make shopping around more convenient. The company doesn’t do any lending itself. Instead, it helps you compare lenders and rates for student loan refinancing and private student loans. You don’t have to pay to use it; Credible earns commissions from the lenders on its platform.

Credible student loan refinance marketplace

Refinancing can save you money by lowering your student loan interest rates. When you refinance, you take out a new, lower-interest loan to pay off your existing higher-interest loans. But it’s not the right move for everyone. If you refinance federal loans, for example, you lose federal borrower protections, including access to loan forgiveness and income-driven repayment plans.

By filling out a single Credible form, you can get rate estimates from multiple student loan refinancing lenders including Citizens Bank, College Ave Student Loans, iHelp, Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority and Rhode Island Student Loan Authority.

» COMPARE: Student loan refinancing options

There are no minimum qualifications to use Credible. But most lenders on the platform look for a credit score in the mid-600s or above and enough income to afford your student loan payments on top of your other financial obligations. If you have a relatively low credit score or income, applying with a creditworthy co-signer will increase your chances of qualifying and getting a competitive rate. Here’s how it works.

1. Get personalized rate estimates

This step takes about two minutes and doesn’t affect your credit score. You’ll fill out a short form about your education history and finances, including the total amount you want to refinance. You don’t have to refinance all your loans. It may make sense to refinance just your private loans, for example. Then you’ll be asked to create a Credible account.

2. Compare rates and lenders

Next, you’ll see a dashboard with refinance rates you’ll likely qualify for. You’ll probably see multiple options from each lender, because most lenders offer several term lengths and both fixed and variable interest rates. Adjust the filters on your dashboard to narrow your choices based on what you’re looking for.

3. Choose a lender and apply

Take your time researching your options before deciding. If you need more information about a certain lender, check out NerdWallet’s reviews of the student loan refinance offerings available through Credible:

If you choose a lender to move forward with, you’ll be asked to import your loan information, and the lender will run a hard credit check before making you a firm offer. After you complete this process through Credible, the lender will contact you directly to finalize your new loan.

» MORE: Student loan refinance calculator: Should I refinance?

Credible private student loan marketplace

Before looking to private student loans, make sure you’ve already filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Borrow all the federal student loan money you can before turning to private loans, because federal loans generally have lower interest rates for undergraduate students and more favorable repayment terms for all borrowers. If you need a private student loan, compare rates from multiple lenders before choosing one.

Marketplaces can make it easier to compare loan rates. You can get rate estimates from multiple private student loan lenders including Citizens Bank, College Ave Student Loans, iHelp, Rhode Island Student Loan Authority and Sallie Mae.

» COMPARE: Private student loans

Anyone can use Credible to get rate estimates for private student loans. But to actually qualify for a lender on the platform, you typically need to have a credit score at least in the 600s and earn enough to cover your student loan payments and other debts. If you don’t have a long credit history, you’ll likely need to apply with a co-signer. Credible declined to share data about the average credit scores and income levels of its private student loan borrowers.

Here’s how getting a private student loan through Credible works:

1. Get personalized rate estimates

Start by filling out a short form with information about the school you’re attending, the amount you want to borrow, and your income and expenses. This step will not affect your credit score. If you’re applying with a co-signer, he or she will need to complete this form too. You’ll then be asked to create a Credible account.

2. Compare rates and lenders

After you and your co-signer complete the pre-qualification form, you’ll see a dashboard with all the loan options you may qualify for. You’ll likely see multiple options from the same lender, each with a different term length or interest rate type. To narrow your choices, filter the results to show the repayment plan, interest rate type, term length and monthly payment amount you’re interested in.

3. Choose a lender and apply

Take your time researching your options before deciding. You’ll be dealing with the lender you choose for years after you leave college. If you need more information about a lender, check out NerdWallet’s reviews of the private student loan offerings available through Credible:

If you choose a lender to move forward with, you’ll be asked to provide more information, and the lender will run a hard credit check to confirm your final offer. After you complete these steps through Credible, the lender will reach out to finalize the loan.

Teddy Nykiel is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: teddy@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @teddynykiel.

Updated Nov. 15, 2016.