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What Credit Score Do I Need to Refinance my Student Loans in 2022?

May 16, 2022

Are you looking to save on your student loans? Refinancing can lower the interest rate to reduce your monthly payments. The minimum credit score for student loan refinance depends on the lender. You can even find refinancing options with less-than-perfect credit, and I’ll tell you how.

What Credit Score Do I Need to Refinance My Student Loans?

Some lenders accept credit scores in the mid-600s for student loan refinance. With most companies, however, you’ll need at least a 670 score to qualify.  You must also show proof of a steady paycheck with a debt-to-income ratio (DTI) below 40 to 50%. DTI measures your monthly debt payments compared to your pretax income.

If you apply for a student loan refinance through Credible, you can easily see which lenders accept borrowers who have lower credit scores. The process is quick and doesn’t impact your credit score.

See Your Rates on Credible

Can I Refinance My Student Loans with Poor Credit?

You can potentially refinance student loans with bad credit, but you may need to look beyond traditional routes.

Refinance With a Cosigner

You may be able to qualify for a student loan refinance with a cosigner who has good credit. This friend or family member agrees to financial responsibility if you default on the loan. 

Many lenders automatically release your cosigner after you make a certain number of on-time payments. For example, some of the lenders on the Credible network offer cosigner release with a solid payment history of 12 to 48 months.

Consolidate Federal Loans

If you have federal student loans, you can consolidate them for a single monthly payment. The government uses a weighted average of your original loans to determine your interest rate.

While you won’t save money on interest, consolidation can lower your payments by extending your loan term. You can also select an income-based plan that adjusts the required payment amount based on your income.

Does consolidating student loans affect your credit score? Actually, your credit might improve after student loan consolidation because you will have fewer open debt accounts. Locking in affordable payments with federal consolidation also helps you build a steady payment history, another plus.

Improve Income, Reduce Expenses

Boosting your income with a side job can provide some financial breathing room. In turn, using the extra money to cut your debt can lift your credit score. It also gives you a more attractive DTI ratio in the eyes of lenders. Try paying off a high-interest credit card before you search for a student refinance loan.

See Your Rates on Credible

4 Steps to Get a Student Loan Refinance

1. Shop Around and Get Rate Estimates

It’s best to start by researching multiple lenders. Although they might seem alike, each lender has different features. For example, if you didn’t graduate, you’ll need to find a lender that doesn’t require a completed degree. You can compare offers from multiple lenders side by side on Credible.

Next, you’ll get rate estimates by prequalifying. This requires a soft credit pull and won’t impact your credit. Most lenders ask for basic information, such as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Income
  • Monthly housing cost
  • Total student loan debt
  • University and degree

2. Pick a Lender and Loan Terms

As you get offers from different lenders, you’ll see fixed and variable interest rates, as well as a range of repayment terms. A variable interest rate usually provides a lower rate to start, but after a certain period, that rate can fluctuate. A fixed interest rate stays the same throughout the life of the loan.

Most people choose the lender offering the lowest interest rate. You may want to consider any other discounts, like autopay or loyalty discounts, before deciding.

3. Collect Documentation and Apply

When you’ve made a decision on your lender, you’ll complete an application. Most lenders require some documentation, including a government-issued photo ID, social security number, federal and private loan statements, and proof of income.

4. Wait for Approval and Loan Payoff

Once your application is complete, you’ll continue making your payments as usual while you wait for approval. This usually takes about 3 weeks, though it varies by each lender. When your new lender confirms approval, it will pay off your existing lender(s) and you’ll begin making payments to your new lender.

See Your Rates on Credible

The Best Lenders for Student Loan Refinancing in 2022

Try these top options for your student loan refinance.

1. Credible

You can check your rates for free at this expansive online marketplace. Credible connects you with a wide range of lenders who refinance undergrad, grad school, and professional student loans. You can get instant offers with no impact to your credit score. Most of Credible’s partners require at least a 640 credit score, but some have lower requirements.

Unlike competing services, Credible doesn’t sell your info so you won’t be subject to spam calls and texts.

And best of all – Credible has a $200 best-rate guarantee. If you find lower rates elsewhere, the company will give you $200.

See Your Rates on Credible

2. Splash Financial

On Splash Financial, you can receive multiple student loan refinance offers with a single application. You’ll need a credit score of at least 650 to work with the service’s lending partners. If you qualify, you can access rates as low as 1.99%.

You can also get a referral bonus of $250 for every friend and family member you refer to Splash Financial.

See Your Rates on Splash Financial

3. Citizens Bank

You can refinance your student loans with Citizens Bank with a credit score of 670 or higher. This lender has generous discount programs for some of the best rates in the business. You can also obtain multiyear approval to fund your entire degree without an annual credit application.

Citizens lets you refinance up to $500,000 in loans, so it’s perfect if you have a costly professional degree like medicine or law. It’s also one of the few lenders where international students can refinance, as long as they have a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

See Your Rates on Citizens Bank

The Bottom Line

You’ll have an easier time refinancing your student loan with good credit, defined by most lenders as a score of at least 670. However, a few do consider borrowers with less-than-perfect credit. Most student loan refinance companies allow cosigners, making it easier to qualify for a money-saving rate.

We recommend you start your student loan refinance search at Credible. The no-fee marketplace sets you up for success with diverse lending partners, so you can potentially qualify with a credit score as low as 640.

See Your Rates on Credible


FAQ

What credit score do you need to refinance a student loan?

Most lenders require a score of at least 670 to refinance your student loans. Some have a lower minimum score of around 640.

Do you need good credit for student loan consolidation?

You’ll find the easiest approval and best rates with a score of 670 or higher, which puts you in the good credit category. However, some lenders do accept average credit.

Is this a good time to refinance my student loans?

It’s an outstanding time to refinance student loans if you qualify. The federal government will raise interest rates in March 2022, so you can lock in a lower payment by applying for a refinance loan now.

Andrea Miller
Written by
Andrea Miller has been a writer and editor for more than two decades. She has previously covered financial topics for Solvable, Kabbage, and Credit.com. Outside of work, she spends most of her time with her husband, daughter, and son and enjoys hiking, yoga, and reading.