Editorial Review

CommonBond Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

CommonBond student loan refinancing has a generous forbearance policy. Its undergraduate private student loan requires a co-signer.

Ryan LaneJune 18, 2020

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Student loan ratings

CommonBond
  • Student loan refinancing

  • Private student loan

The bottom line: CommonBond is an online lender founded in 2012 that offers both student loan refinancing and private student loans. Its refinancing loans are best for borrowers who have a bachelor's degree and value repayment flexibility. Its private student loans are best for students who are already planning to use a co-signer and value customer support.

Student loan refinancing review

Best Student Loan Refinancing for Customer Service

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance
Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

Fixed APR

3.19 - 6.43%

Variable APR

3.20 - 6.08%

Min. Credit Score

680

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Loans aren’t available in Mississippi and Nevada.

Best for borrowers who have a bachelor's degree and value repayment flexibility.

Full Review

CommonBond refinance loans for borrowers with a bachelor's degree or higher. Its loan stands out for its 24-month maximum forbearance period, which is longer than most lenders offer. That makes refinancing with CommonBond a solid option for borrowers who may want some breathing room in the future.

Refinancing with CommonBond is also a good choice if you want more from a lender than just a new loan. For example, you can funnel your monthly refi savings into an account with high-yield savings via CommonBond's SmartSave program. And when you refinance with CommonBond, the company makes a donation to the educational nonprofit Pencils of Promise.

COMMONBOND STUDENT LOAN REFINANCING AT A GLANCE

  • Generous forbearance options.

  • Borrowers can refinance their parents' PLUS loans.

  • Loans aren't available to customers in Mississippi and Nevada.

HOW COMMONBOND COULD IMPROVE

CommonBond, like other five-star lenders, isn't perfect. It could improve by offering additional programs such as:

  • Refinancing for borrowers in all 50 states.

  • Refinancing for associate degree holders and borrowers without a degree.

CommonBond 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 for fixed- and variable-rate loans; 10 years for hybrid-rate loans.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.

  • Can transfer a parent loan to a child: Yes.

  • Application or origination fee: No.

  • Prepayment penalty: No.

  • Late fees: Yes, the lesser of $10 or 5% of the monthly payment, charged 15 days after missed payment.

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

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: 680.

  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.

  • 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 seven years have passed.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen; permanent resident; or H1-B, J-1, L-1, E-2 or E-3 visa holder.

  • Location: No loans available to customers in Mississippi or Nevada.

  • Must have graduated: Yes, with a bachelor's degree or higher.

  • Must have attended a school authorized to receive federal aid: Yes.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: 20%.

Many lenders are offering relief related to COVID-19. Check this list of private loan relief options to see what this lender offers.

  • Academic deferment: Yes, borrowers can ask to defer payments when returning to school.

  • Military deferment: Yes.

  • Internship, residency or fellowship forbearance: Borrowers can defer payments during residency with a signed job offer letter.

  • Forbearance: Borrowers are eligible for 24 months of forbearance, in three-month increments, over the life of the loan.

  • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 36 months of timely payments.

  • Death or disability discharge: Yes; the loan will be forgiven if the borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: Yes.

Repayment Preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: Firstmark Services.

  • In-house customer service team: Yes.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: If requested.

  • Average time from approval to payoff: Five business days.

  • CommonBond partners with the international education nonprofit Pencils of Promise to fund a child’s education whenever the company makes a loan.

  • You can opt in to CommonBond's SmartSave service, which automatically deposits monthly savings from your refinancing loan into an account with high-yield savings. Visit CommonBond's website for current rates and requirements.

  • Referral bonus: Earn $200 for every person you successfully refer to CommonBond. More details.

Before refinancing with CommonBond

Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare 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 for borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

If you aren’t eligible to refinance with CommonBond

If CommonBond denies your refinance application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or need a co-signer.

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

How does this loan compare?

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance
SoFi Student Loan Refinance
Check RateCheck Rate
Fixed APR

3.19 - 6.43%

Fixed APR

3.20 - 6.44%

Variable APR

3.20 - 6.08%

Variable APR

2.99 - 6.44%

Min. Credit Score

680

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Private student loan review

CommonBond Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

CommonBond Private Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Check Rate

on CommonBond's website

Fixed APR

5.45 - 9.74%

Variable APR

3.31 - 9.29%

Min. Credit Score

660

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • You are assigned a dedicated Money Mentor.

Cons

  • Loans aren't available in Nevada and Mississippi.
  • Co-signer required.

Best for students who are already planning to use a co-signer and value customer support.

Full Review

CommonBond’s undergraduate private student loan is available to students pursuing bachelor's degrees with a co-signer. While most undergraduate students can't qualify for a private student loan on their own, CommonBond is one of the only lenders that requires a co-signer.

If you're already planning to have someone co-sign with you, this loan is best for those who value customer support. CommonBond provides each borrower with a free Money Mentor — a real person who offers assistance on topics such as student loans, budgeting and internships via text messaging.

CommonBond private student loans at a glance

  • Offers personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

  • Has a variety of in-school repayment options.

  • A co-signer is required.

How CommonBond could improve

CommonBond could improve its private student loan product by:

  • Offering more than 12 months of forbearance.

  • Lending to international students or those pursuing associate degrees.

  • Reaching borrowers in all states.

CommonBond private student loan details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: Yes.

  • Loan terms: 5, 10 or 15 years.

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $500,000, depending on the school's cost of attendance.

  • Application or origination fee: None.

  • Prepayment penalty: No.

  • Late fees: Yes: the lesser of $10 or 5% of the monthly payment, charged 15 days after missed payment.

Compare CommonBond'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 CommonBond will offer you, apply on its website.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: 660.

  • Minimum income: No set minimum.

  • 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 seven years have passed.

Other

  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Location: No loans available to customers in Mississippi or Nevada.

  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes.

  • Types of schools served: Borrowers must be pursuing a bachelor's degree at an eligible Title IV or nonprofit school.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: All undergraduate borrowers must have a co-signer.

Many lenders are offering relief related to COVID-19. Check this list of private loan relief options to see what this lender offers.

In-school repayment options:

  • Immediate repayment: Make full payments as soon as the loan is disbursed, while you’re still in school.

  • Deferred payments: Don’t make any payments while you’re in school.

  • Fixed repayment: Pay $25 every month while enrolled in school and during the grace period.

  • Interest-only repayment: Pay interest every month you’re in school and during the grace period.

Post-school repayment options

  • Grace period: 6 months.

  • Academic deferment: Yes, borrowers can request to defer payments when returning to school.

  • Military deferment: Yes.

  • Internship, residency or fellowship deferment: Borrowers can defer payments during residency with a signed job offer letter.

  • Forbearance: Borrowers are eligible for 12 months of forbearance, in three-month increments, over the life of the loan.

  • Co-signer release: Yes; borrower must graduate, make 24 full monthly payments in a row and meet additional eligibility requirements to qualify.

  • Death or disability discharge: Yes; the loan will be forgiven if the borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: Yes.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: Firstmark Services.

  • In-house customer service team: Yes.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: Yes, CommonBond provides each borrower with a Money Mentor.

  • Average time for approval: One business day.

  • CommonBond partners with the international education nonprofit Pencils of Promise to fund a child’s education whenever the company makes a loan.

  • Referral bonus: Earn $200 for every person you successfully refer to CommonBond. More details.

Before applying for a CommonBond student loan

Before taking out a CommonBond 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.

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 aren’t eligible for a CommonBond student loan

If CommonBond denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders.

If you don’t have access to a co-signer — or still aren’t eligible with one — consider lenders that don’t require co-signers or specialize in bad or no credit student loans.

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.

Frequently asked questions