Citizens Bank Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

Citizens Bank lets borrowers who aren't U.S. citizens take out and refinance student loans.
Ryan LaneDec 18, 2020

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Student loan ratings

Citizens
  • Student loan refinancing

  • Private student loan

The bottom line: Citizens Bank is a traditional bank whose Rhode Island roots go back to 1828. Citizens Bank offers student loans and student loan refinancing. Its refinancing loan is best for financially stable borrowers who didn't graduate or who aren't U.S. citizens. Its private loan is best for international students and existing Citizens Bank customers.

Student loan refinancing review

Citizens Student Loan Refinance

Citizens Student Loan Refinance

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Fixed APR

2.39 - 9.15%

Variable APR

2.24 - 8.90%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.
  • Loyalty discount: Borrowers with a Citizens Bank account when they apply get an additional 0.25% interest rate discount.

Cons

  • Estate is still responsible for loans refinanced by parents if the borrower dies.

Best for existing Citizens Bank customers or borrowers who didn't graduate or aren't U.S. citizens.

Citizens Bank offers two refinancing options: one for loans in the student's name, and one for loans in the parent's name. Both are good for existing Citizens customers, as the lender offers a 0.25 percentage point interest rate discount for borrowers who have a qualifying account with the bank.

Beyond that, refinancing through Citizens Bank is a solid option for students who are financially stable but didn't graduate, as well as non-U.S. citizens with a qualifying co-signer. It's less ideal if you want to take over your parents' loans. Citizens' process is more complex than with other lenders: Your parent needs to refinance first with you as a co-signer, then you can apply to refinance on your own.

Citizens Bank could improve its student loan refinance product by:

» MORE:

Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple 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 Citizens Bank denies your refinance application, the lender Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or need a co-signer.

NerdWallet recommends before you apply. This will let you know which lenders you may be eligible with, without affecting your credit.

How does this loan compare?

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinance
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Check RateCheck Rate
Fixed APR

2.49 - 6.94%

Fixed APR

2.58 - 5.99%

Variable APR

2.25 - 6.59%

Variable APR

2.39 - 6.01%

Min. Credit Score

650

Min. Credit Score

680

Private student loan review

Citizens Private Student Loan

Citizens Private Student Loan

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fixed APR

3.49 - 10.95%

Variable APR

1.03 - 10.41%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Pros

  • Six-month grace period extension is available.
  • Loyalty discount for existing Citizens Bank customers.
  • Multiyear loan approval is available.

Cons

  • You must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Best for existing Citizens Bank customers.

Citizens Bank private student loans are best for international students with a qualifying co-signer and those with an existing relationship with the bank. Citizens Bank offers a 0.25 percentage point interest rate discount for applicants with a qualifying Citizens Bank account.

Citizens Bank is not a good option if you're attending a community college or taking a certificate course at a four-year school. Students must be pursuing a bachelor's degree or higher to qualify.

Citizens Bank offers multiyear approval for student loans. After freshman year, you can request loans for subsequent school years without you or your co-signer undergoing a hard credit check, which affects your credit. International students cannot receive multiyear approval.

Citizens Bank could improve its private student loans by offering:

Before taking out a Citizens Bank 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:

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 Citizens Bank denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on , you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider or specialize in .

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 .

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