Bottom line: Best for borrowers who value good customer service.
|Reviewed loan||Student loan refinancing|
|Interest rates||Fixed: 3.29% - 6.69%
Variable: 2.8% - 6.01%
|Loan terms||5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years|
|Loan amounts||$15,000 up to your total outstanding loan balance|
|Co-signer release available||You must apply again without your co-signer.|
|Can transfer a parent loan to the child||Yes|
Pros & Cons
- Above-average customer support compared with other lenders.
- You are assigned a personal loan advisor.
- You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.
- Payment postponement isn’t available for borrowers who return to school.
- The minimum amount to refinance is more than many lenders require.
A division of Tennessee-based SouthEast Bank, Education Loan Finance — also known as Elfi — is an ideal student loan refinancing option for borrowers with stable finances who value customer support.
Elfi doesn’t offer as many flexible repayment options as some other lenders, but it pairs customers with a dedicated, highly trained personal loan advisor. Borrowers can call, text or email their advisors to ask questions throughout the refinancing process.
Elfi student loan refinancing at a glance
- Offers personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
- Borrowers can refinance their parents’ PLUS loans.
- Borrowers can’t postpone payments if they return to school.
How Elfi could improve
Education Loan Finance, like other five-star lenders, isn’t perfect. It could improve by offering additional programs such as:
- Academic deferment.
- Biweekly student loan payments via autopay.
- Refinancing for applicants whose highest level of education is an associate degree.
Elfi 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.
- Loan amounts: $15,000 up to your total outstanding loan balance.
- Can transfer a parent loan to the child: Yes.
- Application or origination fee: No.
- Prepayment penalty: No.
- Late fees: Yes; 5% of the past due amount or $50, whichever is less, after a payment is 11 days late.
Compare Education Loan Finance’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 Education Loan Finance will offer you, apply on its website.
- Minimum credit score: 680.
- Minimum income: $35,000 per year.
- Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 774.
- Typical income of approved borrowers: $133,532 per year.
- Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 55%.
- Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after at least 7 years have passed.
- Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
- Must have graduated: Yes, must have at least a bachelor’s degree.
- Must have attended a school authorized to receive federal aid: Yes. It must be nonprofit school on Education Loan Finance’s approved schools list.
- Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Did not disclose.
- Academic deferment: No — borrowers cannot defer payments if they return to school.
- Military deferment: Yes, borrowers can postpone payments while they’re on active military duty.
- Forbearance: Yes, borrowers may postpone payments for up to 12 months if they’re experiencing a hardship such as a financial or medical issue. Education Loan Finance will review each case individually, and decisions are at the sole discretion of the lender.
- Co-signer release available: No. You must apply again without your co-signer.
- Death or disability discharge: Education Loan Finance will review each case individually.
- Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.
- Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.
- Loan servicer: MOHELA.
- In-house customer service team: Yes.
- Process for escalating concerns: Yes.
- Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: Yes, each customer gets a personal loan advisor for the duration of the refinancing process.
- Average time from approval to payoff: Generally, one to three business days.
- Referral bonus: Earn $400 for every person you successfully refer to Education Loan Finance, and they’ll get $100. To get the bonus, the person you refer must apply and be approved within 90 days of registering with Education Loan Finance. There’s no limit to the number of people you can refer.
How to refinance with Elfi
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.
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.
— Among the very best for consumer-friendly features
— Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features
— Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features
— Good; may not offer something important to you
— Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features
— Poor; proceed with great caution