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PNC Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

PNC student loans offer a half-point interest rate discount for making automatic payments.
Sept. 13, 2019
Loans, Student Loans
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PNC is a traditional bank with branches in 22 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

4.5 NerdWallet rating

Bottom line: Best for borrowers who don’t have a degree.

PNC
Reviewed loanStudent loan refinancing
Interest ratesFixed: 4.39% - 6.59%
Variable: 4.39% - 6.59%
Loan terms10 or 15 years
Loan amounts$10,000 to $75,000
Co-signer release availableYes
Can transfer a parent loan to the childNo

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Interest rate discount for autopay is larger than most lenders offer.
  • Borrowers can refinance without a degree.

CONS

  • Fewer repayment term lengths than other lenders offer.
  • No flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers.
  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Full Review

PNC refinances loans for borrowers who did not graduate and have fewer refinance lenders to choose from as a result. Its 0.50 percentage point interest rate reduction for signing up for automatic payments is also double what most lenders offer.

But PNC offers just two loan terms — 10 years and 15 years — and requires borrowers to have made payments on their loans for two years before refinancing. Borrowers can refinance a maximum of only $75,000, which is less than most lenders allow.

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.
  • You must have repaid loans for at least 24 months before you can refinance them with PNC.

How PNC could improve

PNC could improve its student loan refinance product by:

  • Offering personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
  • Increasing the maximum amount borrowers can refinance.
  • Offering more than two months of forbearance at a time.

How much can refinancing save?

» MORE: Banks that refinance student loans

PNC student loan refinancing details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: No.
  • Loan terms: 10 or 15 years.
  • Loan amounts: $10,000 to $75,000.
  • Can transfer a parent loan to the child: No.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes; 5% of the past-due amount or $5, whichever is less, after the payment is 15 days past-due.

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: None.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 761.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: $62,002.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 37%.
  • 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 school authorized to receive federal aid: Yes.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 12%.

You must have repaid loans for at least 24 months before you can refinance them with PNC.

  • 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, in two-month increments, if you’re experiencing economic hardship. You must wait 12 months before taking another round of forbearance.
  • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 48 consecutive on-time monthly payments.
  • Death or disability discharge available: 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.

  • Autopay discount: If you set up automated payments for your loan, PNC will reduce your interest rate by half a percentage point, which is a greater autopay discount than most lenders offer.

How to refinance with PNC

You can apply for a PNC refinanced student loan on its website. 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.

PNC private student loan

4.0 NerdWallet rating

Bottom line: Best for students who plan to start repayment immediately.

PNC
Type of loanPrivate student loan
Loan terms5, 10 or 15 years
Loan amounts$1,000 to $50,000
Grace period6 months for undergraduates
Co-signer release availableYes
Related productsGraduate student loans

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Interest rate discount for autopay is larger than most lenders offer.

CONS

  • Forbearance policy is more restrictive than most lenders.
  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Full Review

PNC’s private student loan is best for borrowers who plan to start repayment while in school. The lender offers immediate and interest-only payment plans, as well as a 0.50 percentage point interest rate reduction for automatic payments, which is double what most lenders offer.

But other PNC private student loan features are less favorable. The forbearance policy is particularly restrictive. Borrowers can postpone payments for up to 12 months in two-month increments; after using one two-month chunk, borrowers must wait a year before using another.

PNC private student loan at a glance

  • No option to get personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
  • Co-signer release available after 48 months of on-time payments.
  • Interest-only repayment option available while in school.

How PNC could improve

PNC could improve its private student loans by offering:

  • More than two months of forbearance at a time.
  • Personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

PNC private student loan details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: No.
  • Loan terms: 5, 10 or 15 years.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes; 5% of the past-due amount or $5, whichever is less, after the payment is 15 days past-due.

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: 670.
  • Minimum income: None.
  • 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 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.
  • Types of schools served: Any school authorized to receive federal aid.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Did not disclose.

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

  • Grace period: 6 months.
  • 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.
  • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 48 consecutive on-time monthly payments.
  • Death or disability discharge available: 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.
  • Average time for approval: 25 minutes.

  • Autopay discount: If you set up automated payments for your loan, PNC will reduce your interest rate by half a percentage point, which is a greater autopay discount than most lenders offer.
  • PNC Education Loan Center Achiever Scholarship Sweepstakes: Win a $2,000 scholarship and gain access to financial literacy tools by registering with Decision Partners, an online financial literacy education provider, through PNC. More details.

How to apply for a PNC student loan

You can apply for a PNC student loan on its website. 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.

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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