What you need to know:
- Citizens Bank offers student loan refinancing, as well as private loan options for undergrads, graduates, parents and professional students.
- It has strict eligibility requirements, including a minimum income and a good credit score. Borrowers are encouraged to add a cosigner to their refinancing application.
- Citizens Bank customers can choose from a variety of flexible repayment options ranging from five to 20 years.
Citizens Bank is one of the oldest and largest financial institutions in the United States. The company offers a variety of services and loan types, including student loan refinancing. It advertises annual average savings of $2,892 with its Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan, making it a competitive option for refinancing.
Read on for our Citizens Bank Student Loan refinance review.
Citizens Bank student loan refinancing review
The Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan allows borrowers to refinance their federal and private student loans into one affordable payment. It also gives borrowers the opportunity to lower their monthly payment, fix a variable interest rate or remove a cosigner.
Here are some pros and cons to consider.
- Low interest rates: Citizens Bank offers competitive refinancing interest rates. It also has a loyalty discount and autopay discount that total up to 0.50%.
- High loan limit: It provides refinancing loans ranging from $10,000 all the way up to $300,000 for borrowers with a bachelor’s degree or below. The loan limit bumps up to $500,000 for borrowers with a graduate degree.
- Flexible repayment options: Citizen Bank’s flexible repayment terms of 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 year loans could help decrease your monthly payments.
- Cosigners are allowed and can be released: Citizens Bank allows borrowers to use a cosigner when they refinance their student loans. You can also apply for cosigner release once you’ve made 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest.
- No fees: Citizens Bank won’t charge you a prepayment penalty if you opt to pay more than your monthly payment or pay off your debt ahead of time. It also doesn’t charge application, origination or disbursement fees.
- No in-school payments: You must be out of school and making current payments on your student loans to refinance with Citizens Bank.
- Strong credit history required: Citizens Bank does not specify a minimum credit score, but the company does require borrowers to have good credit with a significant credit history to refinance (hence why it allows cosigners).
- Minimum gross annual income: Borrowers also need to earn at least $24,000 annually (or have a combined salary of $24,000 with a cosigner) to be eligible.
The refinance program with Citizens Bank student loans is only available to borrowers who are not currently in school.
Other student loan refinance eligibility requirements include:
- Borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number, living in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- You must have at least $10,000 in student loans to refinance.
- If you have an Associate’s degree or no degree, you must have made at least 12 qualifying payments after you left school.
If you use Citizen Bank to check your interest rate, you’re only subject to a soft credit pull, which does not affect your credit score. Whereas, a hard credit check and inquiry will show up on your credit report when you fill out a full application.
You’ll be asked to submit your standard contact and personal information when you seek your Citizens Bank refinance interest rate. This includes your name, address, date of birth, social security number, email address and phone number.
You’ll also have to provide the following:
- Highest degree attained
- Total amount you want to refinance
- Total current monthly payments
You should also be prepared to provide income verification. If you work a standard W2 job, you can submit your two most recent pay stubs that are within 60 days of your application submission. If you have a new job and haven’t been paid yet, Citizens Bank will request an acceptance letter or contract that confirms your new employment and includes your salary.
Refinancing options for parents
Citizens Bank also has a refinancing program for parents who are paying for their children’s education. You need to have been part of the original loan, either as primary borrower or cosigner, to be eligible to refinance with Citizens Bank student loans.
If you’re a parent, your child does not need to have graduated for you to be eligible to apply for the Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan for Parents program. Additional requirements include:
- Parent must have at least $10,000 to refinance
- Borrowers must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents or a resident alien with a valid U.S. social security number
- The primary applicant has to be the primary borrower or cosigner on the loan that is going to be refinanced
Remember, Citizens Bank requires a good credit score and history. So, if you don’t have one, you may be better served by refinancing with a lender with less stringent requirements.
When you apply, you’ll submit the same information students do. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan for Parents program application process can be done in three steps:
- Complete the online application
- Select your interest rate and repayment terms (5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years)
- Sign and accept your loan documents (electronically) upon approval
You’ll also be asked for your total monthly income and monthly rent or mortgage payment.
Who should refinance with Citizens Bank?
Your current financial situation will likely dictate if refinancing with Citizens Bank is the right choice for you. Based on what we’ve seen, it’s best for borrowers who:
- Have a cosigner
- Are seeking a low monthly payment
- Need flexibility when it comes to their loan’s length or repayment options
Citizen Bank’s refinance program also appears to be a good fit for low to mid-level earners. In Student Loan Planner®’s survey of borrowers who refinanced with Citizens Bank, 61% earned $80,000 annually or less.
Its refinance product also placed 4th out of eight lenders in our survey. If you’re looking for a more well-rounded lender with strong aesthetics, Citizens Bank might be lacking in that department.
Deciding whether or not Citizens Bank is the right lender for refinancing will depend on what factors matter most to you. If the financial aspect is your sole concern, Citizens Bank could work well for you.
If you are not eligible or want to compare offers from other lenders, check out our top-rated refinancing companies and earn a cash back bonus.