You’ve seen the student loan refinancing ads. Heard about the companies. Reviewed the offers. Now you’re curious about getting started, but refinancing your loan is tough when you have to compare student loan refinancing companies.
Which option is the best? It’s important to find a lender that makes you feel confident about moving forward. After all, you’re giving up precious federal student loan protections to work with this new company, so your relationship should feel worthwhile.
But our recent student loan refinancing survey shed light on what borrowers understand about the refinancing process and how they really feel about their refinancing companies. We compared our survey responses to see which student loan refinancing company our respondents liked the most. Read on to learn more about the results of our survey.
Borrowers are in the dark about student loan refinancing
One of the most interesting survey findings was that many respondents were unaware of any student loan refinancing companies before discovering Student Loan Planner. In fact, 28 percent of respondents couldn’t name any student loan refinance companies, while about 14 percent knew of one student loan refinancing company and 26 percent knew of two refinancing companies.
On top of borrowers’ lack of awareness, we found 85 percent of borrowers had some sort of fear around refinancing. Some concerns were about the refinancing process, while others reported worry that companies were potentially running student loan refinancing scams. Another expressed a lack of understanding, stating they weren’t really sure what refinancing is or what it does.
The respondents who did refinance their student loans, however, definitely had opinions about their student loan refinancing company.
Compare student loan refinancing companies
In our survey, we asked respondents a few questions, two of which were:
- “Which refinancing company do you admire or like the most?”
- “Which refinancing company do you like the least?”
The options included CommonBond, Earnest, LendKey, Laurel Road, SoFi, Elfi, First Republic Bank, Credible, Splash, Brazos, and “other.” We’ve reviewed the data and have the top student loan refinancing companies, rated by our respondents.
SoFi ranks as both “most” and “least” liked refinancing company
When asked which student loan refinancing company borrowers admire or like the most, the overwhelming response was SoFi at 34 percent. In second place was “other” at 26 percent in which most borrowers had stated they had no thoughts or didn’t like any of them (ouch).
What’s interesting is when we asked, “What student loan refinance company do you like the least?”, SoFi also came out on top (14 percent). A good portion of borrowers (45 percent) said “other” and listed they had no opinion or it was not applicable, but out of the student loan refinancing companies listed, SoFi won out as both the most admired and least admired.
SoFi: more than just student loan refinancing
It’s easy to see why SoFi is popular. SoFi offers much more than student loan refinancing. It also hosts happy hours and exclusive events for their borrowers that can be an added perk to being a member. As a member, you can also take advantage of various financial products, such as mortgages and personal loans.
It positions its company as a one-stop shop for financial products for millennials, many of whom are naturally distrustful of traditional banks (and hey, happy hour and free food doesn’t hurt either).
So why was SoFi also ranked the least favorite among borrowers? One possibility is a scathing 2017 New York Times review detailing scandals within the company. Of course, the more popular a company is, the more scrutiny there is, too. From our respondents perspective, they have a love-hate relationship with SoFi.
Runner up: CommonBond and its social promise
CommonBond secured second place among most admired student loan refinancing companies at 8 percent. What’s striking is SoFi’s ranking is four times higher than CommonBond, when respondents were asked, “Which refinancing company do you admire or like the most?”. This illustrates borrowers have strong feelings and/or awareness of SoFi when compared to other refinancing companies.
CommonBond is another student loan refinance company with unique offerings. For example, in addition to offering variable and fixed interest rates, it has a hybrid option that gives you a bit of both. This helps you compare refinance rates with multiple options. Also, CommonBond offers feel-good vibes through its social promise. The company is committed to providing education to young students in Ghana with every refinancing loan taken out.
When it came to the least admired refinancing companies, CommonBond came in toward the bottom at approximately four percent. CommonBond also only works with graduates of certain schools.
According to CommonBond’s site, borrowers from a “selection of more than 2,000 Title IV accredited universities or graduate programs are eligible to refinance with us.” On some third-party review sites, some applicants noted this point when they were denied while others expressed frustration at the cosigner process.
Other student loan refinancing rankings
It’s clear that the winner of most desired student loan refinancing company is SoFi. Aside from that, there was a large portion of people (26%) who replied with “other” and that it wasn’t applicable. Though CommonBond was a clear second place, the rest of the rankings are pretty close.
There was nearly a tie between First Republic Bank and Earnest at seven percent. Laurel Road is not far behind at six percent, with Credible inching close to six percent as well. LendKey came in around 4 percent, Splash was at 1 percent, and Brazos and Elfi came in around half a percent.
When it comes to the least admired company, as noted above SoFi won that category too. A majority of people also said it was not applicable (45%). In second place for least admired is First Republic Bank at seven percent, with Brazos not far behind inching close to seven percent as well.
Laurel Road was at six percent; Splash at five percent; CommonBond at four percent; LendKey, Earnest, and Credible hovering around three percent; and Elfi at close to two percent.
Choose student loan refinancing company wisely
As you can see from our survey data, respondents have a lot of feelings about student loan refinancing companies. Some companies are more well-known and better reviewed while others are less well-known and not as well-liked.
When you compare student loan refinancing companies, look into repayment terms, interest rates, monthly payments, company culture, and any cool borrower perks that are important to you. Take all reviews with a grain of salt, but do your own research to ensure you make the right decision about a refinancing company that meets your needs.