Editorial Review

PNC Reviews: Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans

PNC student loans offer a half-point interest rate discount for making automatic payments.

Ryan Lane, Cecilia ClarkFebruary 5, 2020

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Student loan ratings

PNC
  • Student loan refinancing

  • Private student loan

The bottom line: 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. Its private student loan is best for students who plan to start repayment immediately, while its refinancing loan is best for students without a degree.

Student loan refinancing review

PNC Student Loan Refinance

PNC Student Loan Refinance

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fixed APR

3.44 - 6.24%

Variable APR

2.79 - 5.59%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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.

Best for borrowers who don’t have a degree.

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.

PNC offers three loan terms — 5, 10 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 and may make PNC a non-starter if you have a professional degree.

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.

  • Disclosing its forbearance policy for borrowers struggling with payments.

How much can refinancing save?

PNC student loan refinancing details

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: No.

  • Loan terms: 5, 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 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.

PNC doesn’t disclose specific details about what it takes to qualify for student loan refinancing. Lenders typically look for borrowers who have good credit and enough income to afford their debts and expenses.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: Did not disclose.

  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 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: Did not disclose.

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: Did not disclose.

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

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: Postpone payments if you go back to school.

  • Military deferment: Postpone payments if you're on active military duty.

  • Forbearance: Did not disclose.

  • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 48 consecutive on-time monthly payments.

  • Death or disability discharge available: Outstanding debt is forgiven upon death of the borrower. Loan is not forgiven if the borrower becomes permanently disabled.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: Did not disclose.

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 from approval to payoff: Did not disclose.

  • 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.

Before refinancing 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.

If you aren’t eligible to refinance with PNC

If PNC 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?

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance
Discover Student Loan Refinance
Check RateCheck Rate
Fixed APR

3.20 - 7.02%

Fixed APR

3.99 - 7.74%

Variable APR

1.99 - 6.65%

Variable APR

2.37 - 6.12%

Min. Credit Score

700

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Private student loan review

PNC Private Student Loan

PNC Private Student Loan

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
Fixed APR

4.49 - 11.49%

Variable APR

4.59 - 11.59%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Pros

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

Cons

  • No formal forbearance options.
  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Best for students who plan to start repayment immediately.

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.

PNC does not disclose information about its forbearance policy, nor does it offer any alternate repayment options for borrowers struggling with payments. Consider other lenders if you want that potential flexibility.

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.

  • No flexible repayment options for borrowers struggling with payments.

How PNC could improve

PNC could improve its private student loans by offering:

  • Personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

  • A formal forbearance policy.

  • Transparency around applicant requirements.

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.

PNC doesn’t disclose specific details about what it takes to qualify for its student loans. Lenders typically look for borrowers who have good credit and enough income to afford their debts and expenses.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: Did not disclose.

  • 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: Did not disclose.

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.

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: 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 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: Yes.

  • Military deferment: Postpone payments if you're on active military duty.

  • Forbearance: Did not disclose.

  • Co-signer release available: Yes, after 48 consecutive on-time monthly payments.

  • Death or disability discharge available: Outstanding debt will be forgiven upon the death of the borrow. Did not disclose information about disability discharge.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: Did not disclose.

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 from application to approval: Did not disclose.

  • 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.

Before applying 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.

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 PNC student loan

If PNC denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, 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 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

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