The bottom line:
Pentagon Federal Credit Union, or PenFed, offers student loan refinancing for its members, with loans issues by online lender Purefy. It's best for married couples who want to refinance their student loans into a single one.
Pros & Cons
Married couples can refinance student loans into a single loan.
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.
Estate is still responsible for the loan if the borrower dies.
Compare to Other Lenders
Pentagon Federal Credit Union, known as PenFed, offers student loan refinancing for its members. PenFed stands out because it allows married couples to refinance student loans together.
PenFed also lets you release a co-signer after 12 on-time payments. That's much faster than many lenders offer, making PenFed a good option if you can't qualify to refinance on your own. However, spouse co-signers are ineligible for this option.
Online lender Purefy is the exclusive provider of PenFed student loans. Purefy was previously part of the Bank of Virginia, issuing student loans under the name CordiaGrad. It became a separate company in 2016.
PenFed student loan refinancing at a glance
Offers personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
Married couples can refinance together.
Borrowers can refinance their parents’ PLUS loans.
How PenFed could improve
Like other five-star lenders, PenFed isn't perfect. It could improve by offering additional programs such as:
Discharging loans if the borrower dies or becomes disabled.
Offering military deferment, as well as academic deferment for borrowers returning to school.
Refinancing loans for lawful permanent residents of the United States.
PenFed student loan refinancing details
Before refinancing with PenFed through Purefy
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 aren’t eligible to refinance with PenFed
If PenFed denies your refinance application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders, including those that allow 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.
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.
on Purefy's website
Frequently asked questions
Purefy is an online lender. It was originally named CordiGrad and was part of the Bank of Virginia. Purefy has been an independent company since 2016 and refinances loans for PenFed.
PenFed began as a credit union for the military, but that affiliation is no longer required. You can refinance student loans with PenFed if you meet the lender's financial qualifications.
PenFed does not offer private student loans, referring borrowers to Sallie Mae instead. PenFed does refinance existing student loans via a partnership with the online lender Purefy.
NerdWallet rates PenFed as a five-star student loan refinancing lender based on more than 50 data points. PenFed is especially good for married couples who want to combine their loans.