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PNC Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

PNC student loans offer limited repayment term options and a half-point interest rate discount for making automatic payments.
Dec. 4, 2018
Loans, Student Loans
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PNC is a traditional bank with branches in 19 states. It offers student loans to undergraduates and graduate students across the country, plus student loan refinancing for those who are no longer in school.

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

Review of PNC’s private student loan

PNC student loan refinancing

3.5 NerdWallet rating

PNC offers just two loan terms — 10 years and 15 years. It requires borrowers to have made payments on their loans for two years before refinancing, and allows borrowers to refinance a maximum of $75,000. Despite those restrictions, borrowers may be enticed by its interest rate discount of half a percentage point for signing up for automatic payments. That’s especially true for those who did not graduate, who have fewer refinance lenders to choose from.

PNC student loan refinancing at a glance:

  • Borrowers without a degree can refinance.
  • No option to get personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
  • Co-signer release available after 48 months of on-time payments.
PNC
Reviewed loanStudent loan refinancing
Interest ratesFixed: 5.39% - 7.59%
Variable: 4.98% - 7.18%
Loan terms10 or 15 years
Loan amounts$10,000 to $75,000
Co-signer release availableYes
Can transfer a parent loan to the childNo

How PNC student loan refinancing scores

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

Enables faster repayment:
Below 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.

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 PNC could improve

PNC could improve its student loan refinance product by:

  • Conducting soft credit checks to give personalized rate estimates.
  • Offering more than 12 months of forbearance.
  • Allowing borrowers with a visa to refinance.

PNC student loan refinancing details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: No.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes; the lesser of 5% of the past-due amount or $5.

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

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: 660.
  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose; typical credit score of approved co-signers is 747.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose; typical income of approved co-signers is $83,210.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 47%.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after 10 years.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 U.S. states.
  • Must have graduated: No.
  • Must have attended a Title IV-accredited school: Yes.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 11%.

  • Academic deferment: Postpone payments if you go back to school.
  • Military deferment: Postpone payments if you’re on active military duty.
  • Forbearance: Postpone payments for up to 12 months 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: American Education Services.
  • In-house customer service team: Yes.
  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.
  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

How to refinance with PNC

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 PNC’s website.

PNC private student loan

3.5 NerdWallet rating

PNC’s private student loan comes with just one repayment term — 15 years — and has a particularly restrictive forbearance policy. Borrowers can postpone payments for up to 12 months, in two-month increments; but after using one two-month chunk, borrowers must wait a year before using another. The loan’s 0.5 percentage point interest rate reduction for making automatic payments is more than most lenders offer.

PNC private student loan at a glance:

  • No option to get personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
  • Co-signer release after 48 on-time payments.
  • Interest-only repayment option available while in school.
PNC
Type of loanPrivate student loan
Loan terms15 years
Loan amounts$1,000 to $40,000
Grace period6 months for undergraduates
Co-signer release availableYes
Related productsGraduate student loans

How PNC private student loan scores

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

Enables faster repayment:
Below 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:
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:
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 PNC could improve

PNC could improve its private student loans by offering:

  • More than 12 months of forbearance.
  • Additional repayment terms.
  • Personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

PNC private student loan details

  • Get a personalized rate before applying: No.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes; the lesser of 5% of the past-due amount or $5.

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

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: 730.
  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 786 for approved co-signers.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: $100,478 for approved co-signers.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 47%.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Yes, after 10 years.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Location: Available in all 50 U.S. states.
  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes.
  • Must attend a Title IV-accredited school: Yes.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 95%.

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.
  • Deferred: You won’t be required to make any payments until your six-month grace period ends, but you can choose to make payments if you’d like. Interest will accrue while you’re in school and will capitalize, or get added to your principal balance, at the end of your grace period.
  • Interest-only: Pay only the interest while in school and begin paying down the principal balance after your six-month grace period ends.

Post-school repayment options

  • Academic deferment: Postpone payments for up to five years if you return to school or start a medical internship or residency program.
  • 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. You must wait 12 months before taking another round of forbearance.
  • 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: No.

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

How to apply for a PNC student loan

Before taking out a PNC student loan or any other private 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 PNC, 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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