You deserve the best student loan refinancing deal you can find. Why then do >90% of borrowers refinance student loans without receiving a cashback bonus for doing so? It’s because they don’t know there’s something better.
Banks have big advertising budgets. Many of them now sponsor professional sports programs and send you a letter in the mail every other week. Other sites give away a bunch of free tools in the hopes that you’ll click on their $0 cashback refinancing links. Not us. We want to put money back in your pocket and slash your interest rate.
I negotiated these large cash bonuses for you. These are referral links, so if you get an awesome deal with a lower interest rate, we’ll both get a bonus.
Unlike other websites, I try to take as much out of my own referral bonus as possible and give it back to you (again, it’s your money, not mine).
I frequently receive limited time promotions the banks are running. Sometimes I get folks better offers by introducing them directly to banks by email and playing them off against each other.
You’ll have a hard time finding anything as good for you as the links above. If you do find something better elsewhere, please let me know because I might still be able to help you beat it. If contact forms aren’t your thing, feel free to send me an email directly: email@example.com.
Who should refinance student loans and what banks should you start with? The quiz button below will give you our free recommendation.
Exclusive Bonuses for Student Loan Planner Readers
If I was looking for a great student loan refinancing deal, I’d click on all of the links below and check my rate at each company. It doesn’t take very much time.
Additionally, getting a prequalified offer doesn’t affect your credit score as it’s a “soft inquiry.” If you go through with the refinancing then they’ll need to do a hard inquiry which will have a small impact on your credit score kind of like applying for a credit card.
- CommonBond $500 bonus: Has unemployment protection. Also funds a child’s education in a foreign country every time they do a refinancing.
- Laurel Road $300 bonus: Specializes in refinancing for medical professionals. Offers unique refinancing options for residents and fellows. No unemployment protection.
- Credible $300 bonus: Shops a bunch of places at once. Great option especially for folks with <$100,000 in income. No unemployment protection.
- LendKey $300 bonus: Searches a network of small banks and credit unions. Has unemployment protection. Their max is $300k for medical professionals.
- Earnest $300 bonus: Allows for flexible repayment terms instead of the typical 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 year terms offered elsewhere.
- First Republic Bank $200 bonus: Only available to residents of NYC, most of California, Portland, Boston, and a couple other places. They have unbelievably low fixed rates.
Who Should Refinance Student Loans?
I actually built an awesome free student loan calculator that you can get for free to see how much refinancing might save you. In general, refinancing student loans is a great idea for folks in the private sector that owe less than two times their salary.
Why is that the case? Most people’s salaries go up over time. If you already owe less than double your income, then that ratio will probably continue to get better. When you make a significant amount of money, the income driven repayment plans like IBR and REPAYE are less attractive.
For someone who owes three times their salary or more, the income driven repayment plans can be super helpful. Options like REPAYE can even cover part of your interest. However, once you make a lot of money, that interest subsidy goes away. In my experience, the breakeven point tends to be around a debt to income ratio of 2.
What Do You Lose from Doing a Student Loan Refinance?
The biggest and most important thing you’ll lose is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). That program allows you to pay a fraction of what you owe for 10 years. After that, the government forgives the rest tax free.
If you could potentially qualify for PSLF, I’d highly suggest hiring me to get student loan help. I’ll look at all your options before starting a student loan refinance. With a $100,000+ balance, a mistake can be very costly. For anyone working at a not for profit or government employer, you have to run the analysis first before refinancing because you can’t take it back.
You’ll also lose the ability to use deferment or forbearance. However, some of the lenders I mentioned above have unemployment protection. That allows you to put your loan payments on hold for up to 3 months if you lose your job.
Additionally, you will no longer have access to income driven repayment programs like IBR, REPAYE, and PAYE. That means you won’t be able to pay based on your income.
What Could You Gain if You Do a Student Loan Refinance?
Remember that the only real reason to refinance student loans is to pay them off and save lots of money with a lower interest rate. The government sets federal student loans at very high levels. For individuals with high incomes, those rates don’t reflect the credit risk of borrowing. That means millions of people out there are giving Uncle Sam free money.
If you want to compare refinancing to the long term cost of other options, check out my free student loan calculator.
Why would anyone not refinance? One reason would be that they aren’t aware of the possibility. Another could be that they aren’t ready to start making big payments.
I can tell you that for my wife and I, we refinanced to five year private student loan because we want to be out of student loan debt. We’re making extra loan payments, and we’re on track to be debt free in two years.
Dump Your Horrible Student Loan Servicer
We had an awful experience with FedLoan Servicing when we were debating between PSLF and refinancing student loans. One of the best experiences from refinancing so far has been getting to deal with MOHELA instead of FedLoans.
My wife and I have experienced none of the problems with our private student loan servicer that we have with the terrible servicers picked by the Department of Education. Many of my clients tell me dealing with a competent company that correctly applies their payments is a nice breath of fresh air.
Get Cash in Your Pocket that Other Sites Keep for Themselves
I get paid when clients hire me to make a student loan plan for them. I also get paid when a reader refinances their student loans through Student Loan Planner. Wherever possible, I try to get you the best cash bonuses to refinance student loans. I do that even when it means taking money out of my own pocket. Frequently, I ask my refinancing partners to get me better deals for readers rather than increasing my payment terms.
In contrast, many personal finance blogs and competing student loan companies don’t disclose very much how they get compensated. That’s because they give readers $0 for a bonus, or they give very little. They then keep the rest. Another strategy to try to make as much money as possible is to only mention one company for student loan refinancing. That’s often done because that company pays the best commissions to the website.
I want anyone visiting Student Loan Planner to get the best interest rate and cash bonus the can possibly find. That means being transparent and always working for clients and readers. If you find better bonuses or refinancing deals out there, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Testimonials from Student Loan Planner Readers Who Refinanced
These folks refinanced through Student Loan Planner. None of them were paid to appear here. They’re just awesome people who agreed to share their experiences to help out.
Experience with CommonBond
Refinancing with CommonBond was super easy and quick! They were able to beat all the other big companies and […my rep] at CommonBond was a pleasure to work with!
I want to thank Travis for referring me to CommonBond and also getting a $500 refinance bonus!!!
-Zach, Nova Southeastern University
Host of ‘The Disillusioned Dentist’ podcast
Note from Student Loan Planner: CommonBond is one of my favorite companies to work with because they frequently show up in the top 3. Besides the charitable mission of the company, their customer support is particularly good.
If you use these links and save money, I’d love to know about it. Click on the link to drop me a note.
Please share these deals with your friends who are thinking about refinancing. Maybe they’ll take you out to dinner with part of the bonus. Better yet, maybe they could put it to their principal and get out of student loan debt even sooner!
Take this Student Loan Refinancing Quiz to Start!