When you refinance your student loans using a referral link, some websites keep all the profit for themselves. Other sites like ours choose to offer a student loan refinance bonus to their readers.
Here at Student Loan Planner, we take the second approach. Our founder, Travis Hornsby, negotiates student loan refinancing deals to offer the highest possible bonuses to Student Loan Planner readers.
Owners of other websites are scared of this, because they want to keep their profit margins as high as possible.
Should a cash bonus be the primary, deciding factor in choosing a lender? No. You’ll still want to shop around for the best interest rate and terms. But why not lower your interest rate plus keep an extra $100 to $775 in your pocket?
Best Student Loan Refinance Bonuses on the Internet
So which lenders have the best student loan refinance bonus offers?
Here are 12 banks and lenders that are currently offering great deals for our readers.
Please note, the amount of the bonus depends on the amount refinanced.
Read each section to see how much of a bonus you could qualify for if you refinance your student loans.
- 1. Earnest: $500 bonus
- 2. Commonbond: $550 bonus
- 3. Laurel Road: $750 bonus
- 4. Credible: $750 bonus
- 5. LendKey: $750 bonus
- 6. Citizens Bank: $750 bonus
- 7. SoFi: $750 bonus
- 8. Brazos: $600 bonus
- 9. College Ave: $500 bonus
- 10. Splash Financial: $500 bonus
- 11. ELFI: $775 bonus
- 12. First Republic: $300 bonus
1. Earnest: $500 bonus
Currently, Student Loan Planner readers can earn an Earnest referral bonus of $300 to $500, depending on the size of your loan.
- Borrowers with $50 to $100k in student debt: Earnest $300 bonus
- Borrowers with over $100k of student debt: Earnest $500 bonus
Earnest has made a name for themselves by offering borrowers incredible payment flexibility. Using their “Precision Pricing,” you can choose from over 180 payment terms, from 5 to 20 years. And they ranked #2 overall in Student Loan Planner’s latest refinancing survey.
Read our full Earnest review to learn about their terms and benefits.
2. Commonbond: $550 bonus
Commonbond is rare since they aren’t owned by a large financial institution. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t a great lender.
In fact, CommonBond was the top-rated lender in our Student Loan Planner audience survey. And they were the only lender to get over a 9 out of 10 rating for both application experience and customer service.
On top of that, Student Loan Planner readers can get
- $300 for refinancing $40k to $75k
- $550 for refinancing over $75k
Want to learn more about Commonbond? Be sure to check out our full editorial review.
3. Laurel Road: $750 bonus
While Laurel Road will work with any borrower, they specialize in refinancing for medical professionals. For example, medical school grads could qualify for $100 monthly payments during residency or fellowship.
Depending on your profession, Laurel Road may offer an extra 0.25% discount on your loan. And they’ll automatically apply our reader bonus of up to $750 or the 0.25% discount, whichever is higher.
In our Student Loan Planner refinancing lender survey, Laurel Road was ranked the #3 refinancing lender by readers. That makes them a strong choice. Their application and website experience, however, both ranked slightly lower than CommonBond and Earnest.
Read our full Laurel Road review if you want more details.
4. Credible: $750 bonus
Credible is unique in that they aren’t technically a refinancing lender. Instead, they’re a marketplace where you can shop and compare multiple lenders at once.
Depending on your loan balance, Student Loan Planner readers could earn a Credible bonus of $100 to $750.
Here’s what you can earn based on how much you refinance with Credible:
- $0 – $39,999 = $100 Bonus
- $40,000 – $69,999 = $200 Bonus
- $70,000 – $99,999 = $300 Bonus
- $100,000 – $149,999 = $400 Bonus
- $150,000+ = $750 Bonus
And since Credible is a lender marketplace, using our Credible bonus offer could be a roundabout way to earn a refinancing bonus with a lender that normally doesn’t offer one!
In our Student Loan Planer audience survey, Credible’s application and website experience ranked below several of the other top lenders. But as a positive, the percentage of respondents who successfully refinanced with Credible, was fairly balanced across income ranges from $50k to $200k.
Learn more about Credible in our review.
5. LendKey: $750 bonus
LendKey is another lender marketplace. They specialize in connecting borrowers with community banks and credit unions.
Depending on the amount refinanced, Student Loan Planner readers can get up to a $750 LendKey bonus for refinancing $150,000 or more.
For other amounts, here’s what your cash bonus could be:
- $25,000 – $50,000 = $100 Bonus
- $50,000 – $75,000 = $200 Bonus
- $75,000 – $100,000 = $300 Bonus
- $100,000 – $150,000 = $400 Bonus
- $150,000+ = $750 Bonus
Like Credible, LendKey received a slightly lower rating than other lenders for application and website experience in our refinancing survey. But again, they’re not a direct lender, so your actual experience will be somewhat dependent on the lender that you choose.
Thankfully, you won’t have to pay an origination fee with LendKey regardless of the actual lender that you decide to work with.
Read our full LendKey review.
6. Citizens Bank: $750 bonus
Citizens Bank could be a great choice for borrowers with low to moderate incomes.
In Student Loan Planner’s latest refinancing survey, 33% of borrowers who refinanced with Citizens Bank said that their income was below $80,000. A whopping 28% said that their annual income was below $50,000.
And while several lenders focus on medical or legal professionals, Citizens Bank seems most popular with borrowers who work in the business world.
If you fit either of those demographics, you may want to get a quote from Citizens Bank.
7. SoFi: $750 bonus
SoFi was one of the first lenders to focus on student loan refinancing. And while they have more competition today, you should still check their rates, especially if you’re a doctor, dentist or lawyer.
SoFi may also be a good fit for borrowers in the $50k to $100k income range. In our refinancing survey, SoFi won the highest percentage of borrowers who earn $50k to $80k and $80k to $100k.
And by using our SoFi student loan referral link, you could earn up to a $750 SoFi bonus when you apply through Credible!
Read our full SoFi review.
8. Brazos: $600 bonus
Brazos is only available to Texas residents. But for those who live there, they’re definitely a lender worth considering.
First, Brazos’ status as a non-profit means that they could offer you attractive rates with less lender markup. They also offer an impressive hardship forbearance period of up to 12 months.
Brazos is currently offering Student Loan Planner readers a $600 bonus for refinancing over $20k. That’s a big bonus, especially since you don’t need to refinance over 50k or $100k to qualify!
Learn more about Brazos in our full review.
9. College Ave: $500 bonus
Unlike most other lenders on this list that handle the bonus directly, Student Loan Planner sends a $500 Amazon gift card the College Ave bonus gift cards directly. To get yours, just send us an email at email@example.com.
Like Earnest, College Ave is known for having flexible payment terms. While many lenders offer four or five loan terms, College Ave has 16 different options ranging from 5 to 20 years.
And as a thank you for being a Student Loan Planner reader, you can get a $500 Amazon gift card when you refinance using our link. To qualify for the bonus, you’ll need to refinance over $100,000.
10. Splash Financial: $500 bonus
Splash Financial is another lender geared towards medical professionals. Borrowers with medical school loans can pay only $100 per month during residency or fellowship.
Splash offers unique refinancing options for married couples as well. Spouses can refinance their student loans together. Or one spouse can “take over” the loans of the other.
Student Loan Planner readers who refinance over $50,000 with Splash Financial can earn a $300 to $500 cash bonus.
And be sure to read our full Splash Financial review.
11. ELFI: $775 bonus
One of the great things about ELFI is that you don’t need to refinance a huge amount to qualify for a student loan refinance bonus. To earn a bonus up to $775 with ELFI, your refinanced amount needs to be 150k or above.
You can still get $575 for refinancing 100k to 149k and $300 for refinancing 50k to 99k.
ELFI prides themselves in their customer service. Each borrower gets assigned a dedicated Personal Loan Advisor who stays with them throughout the entire application process.
You can contact your Personal Loan Advisor via phone, email or even text. The focus on customer service seems to be working as Elfi has 4.8-star rating on Trustpilot and 689 reviews. You can learn more about Elfi with our review or apply below to see what kind of rates you could get.
12. First Republic: $300 bonus
Compared to other lenders on this list, First Republic’s $300 student loan refinance bonus may seem small. But you’ll only need to refinance over $40k to qualify.
The main attraction as a borrower to apply with First Republic is that they have the lowest fixed interest rates in the country.
In our refinancing survey, First Republic ranked #3 for customer service and #6 overall. To qualify for refinancing with First Republic, you’ll need to live near one of their branches, which are mainly in the West Coast and Northeast, and open a bank account with significant assets in it.
To get your $300 First Republic bonus, email our banker Miguel Andrada at firstname.lastname@example.org and use the subject line “Student Loan Planner referral.”
Learn more about First Republic by checking out our First Republic refinancing review.
Is student loan refinancing right for you?
Even with hefty cash bonuses available, you still want to make sure that you’re a good candidate for student loan refinancing.
Also, don’t forget that Student Loan Planner consultants give unbiased advice on how to best repay your student loans.
What questions do you have about the bonuses above? Let us know in the comments.
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