November 20, 2018 12:00 PM PT

Credible Student Loan Refinance Review

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What if it was possible to save money on your student loans? Student loan refinancing doesn't have to be overwhelming. Credible Student Loan Refinance promises to make it easier. Keep reading to learn how.

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Credible works as a one-stop shop for comparison shopping for your student refinance loan. If filling out multiple applications and talking to multiple lenders seems like too much, Credible may be your answer. You complete one loan application and receive quotes from multiple lenders.

Credible isn't a lender. They are a marketplace for student loan lenders. You start the process by "finding your rate." This requires a soft credit check. After a few minutes, you may receive quotes from one or more lenders, depending on the information provided.

Once you review the quotes (nothing is absolute), you apply for the loan that meets your needs the most. At this point, the lender will make a hard credit check, ask further questions about your situation, and likely ask for documentation proving the information you provided.

It's important to note that once you choose a lender, you no longer work with Credible. Instead, you work directly with the chosen lender.

Soft Credit Check vs Hard Credit Check:
When a lender conducts a soft credit check, it doesn't affect your credit score. The lender uses the information provided to make an initial lending decision. It's not until they make the hard inquiry, pulling your credit report to make a lending decision, that they can give you a solid answer regarding your eligibility for the loan.

A soft inquiry doesn't affect your credit score, but a hard inquiry does affect it. Typically, each hard inquiry takes five points off your credit score.

How Credible Works

Getting prequalified (not preapproved) for a student loan refinance with Credible is simple. It takes just a few minutes and the following information to see what offers Credible has for you. You start by using your email address as your ID and setting up a safe password. Next, you'll provide the following information:

Prequalified Versus Preapproved:
When a lender prequalifies you for a loan, they take the information you provide at face value. You don't provide any documentation and they generally only do a soft inquiry on your credit. This isn't a guarantee of a loan, but an estimate of what a lender may be able to offer.

A preapproval offers a little more reassurance that you qualify for the loan because the lender does a hard inquiry on your credit and asks for proof of the financial information you provide. A preapproval isn't a guarantee of final approval, though. It's only when the lender tells you that you have final approval that the loan is a "sure thing."

  • Refinancing goal. Lower your payment, maximize your savings, or get out of debt faster.

  • What type of student loans do you have? Choose from your own student loans or Parent PLUS loans.

  • What college did you attend? Once you start typing the name of your college, it will populate in the field.

  • What is the highest undergrad degree you received? Bachelors, associates, certificate, did not graduate, or still enrolled.

  • Did you attend graduate school? Yes or no.

  • What is your annual income? Only include the annual income that you receive from your employer at this point.

  • Do you have any other income? This is where you include any part-time or "other" income you may have.

  • Do you have income from any other household members? You should only report the income from household members who will help you pay your student loans, such as parents or a spouse.

  • What is the amount of your rent or mortgage? Enter the monthly payment you make for your housing payment (only include your portion if you share the obligation with someone else).

  • How much do you wish to refinance? You don't need an exact figure at this point. You can adjust it later, but base the amount on your outstanding balances as of today, if you can.

  • Enter your personal address. Credible uses your address to verify your identity.

Once you answer these questions, you enter your personal identifying information, including your first/last name, date of birth and phone number. Once you submit the form, you'll receive quotes from lenders interested in refinancing your loans based on the criteria you entered.

Reasons We Like Credible Student Loan Refinance

  • It only takes a few minutes to complete the application. Using the information above, you can get quotes within a matter of minutes. You complete the application completely online and from the comfort of your own home. You don't even have to talk to anyone on the phone, but that option is available if you need it.

  • You may receive multiple quotes from various lenders. Depending on your qualification factors, you could receive a large number of loan options. You may even receive multiple quotes (different rates and terms) from the same lender. This gives you more options, helping you to make the most of the refinancing process. Being able to compare the quotes side-by-side can help make the refinancing process less stressful.

  • You can take your time and do your research on lenders that interest you. You don't have to decide on the spot which lender's quote you want to pursue. But you may want to speed the process along a little bit as rates and terms are subject to change at any point. The lender bases the prequalification on the rates/terms available at the time of application. If you wait too long, the situation may change.

  • It doesn't cost anything to use Credible. You can receive quotes using the Credible dashboard free of charge. The lenders that connect with borrowers and provide a loan pay Credible. This doesn't affect the rates or terms lenders offer you, though.

  • You can add a co-signer to increase your chances of approval. You can add a co-signer before choosing lenders on their platform. Credible will let you know if you are approved on your own without a co-signer, or if it's necessary for you to add one. This may also increase your chances of approval and/or better terms.

  • The Credible application wizard walks you through the process. As you go through each step, you'll see a picture of your "assistant." Next to that picture is an explanation of what Credible/lenders need in that field to process your application.

  • You can view your available offers on your Credible dashboard, typically within a few minutes of applying. If you need to come back to the offers later, you can log out and come back at another time. Credible will also reach out via email, phone, or text if they receive new offers after you apply.

  • You are not under any obligation to choose an option shown on your dashboard. If you don't like any of the offers provided to you, there is no obligation to move forward. You can ignore the offers and take your refinancing options elsewhere or keep the loans you have. There are no application or penalty fees for doing nothing.

  • You can use Credible's co-signer tool to see if adding a co-signer would help you. You can add one or more co-signers to the tool and see how they change your approval. This can help you decide if you should move forward on your own, or take the help of a co-signer, such as a parent.

  • Credible offers three ways to contact them should you have questions or concerns. You don't have to accept an offer in order to get free advice from credible experts. You can talk via phone, online chat, or email.

Reasons You May Want to Look Elsewhere

  • You have federal student loans. Rather than refinancing your federal student loans into private loans, exhaust all of your options provided by the Department of Education. If you refinance your federal loans into private loans, you lose any assistance or special programs you may have access to with the federal government.

  • Your student loan balances are less than $5,000. Many of Credible's lending partners have minimum loan requirements. The lowest minimum loan requirement you'll find is $5,000. Many lenders require as much as a $10,000 balance requirement, though.

  • You don't have a co-signer. Credible states multiple times throughout their website that having a co-signer may help you secure the lowest rates available. If you recently graduated, have a lot of debts, and have low income, you may not receive a favorable offer without a co-signer.

How Credible Student Loan Refinance Compares

  • SoFi: SoFi isn't a marketplace like Credible. Instead, they offer student loan refinancing options. They also offer personal loans, mortgages, and wealth management. They do offer a variety of loan options, but each loan is through SoFi. SoFi puts more emphasis on disposable income than credit scores, which may make it easier for you to qualify for a student loan refinance.

  • LendKey: LendKey is a marketplace like Credible. However, they connect you with community lenders and credit unions, rather than "big name banks." Like Credible, you can receive prequalified rates without damaging your credit score when you complete the online application. You can then compare offers and deal directly with the chosen lender. LendKey also offers private student loans and home improvement loans.

Credible Private Student Loans

While most people know Credible for their student loan refinancing options, they also offer private student loan options. If you already maxed out the federal loans you can receive, you may need additional loans from private lenders.

Just like the student loan refinancing process, you may receive quotes from multiple lenders. Using Credible can help you get the support you need as you navigate the complicated private student loan industry.

A few benefits of using Credible for private student loans include:

  • You only have one application to complete. You enter your information one time and Credible sends it to multiple lenders to get you the best rate and term possible.

  • You may have access to multiple repayment plans. As lenders compete for your business, they may have multiple repayment options. This may help you get a rate/term that you can comfortably afford rather than putting yourself in over your head in debt.

  • You can get customer support 7 days a week. Not only can you talk to one of Credible's customer support experts, but you can also have a conference call with your customer service agent and the lender. This way you can maximum support as you decide if a private student loan is right for you.

Credible Personal Loans and Credit Cards

Credible also offers two other options to help you improve your financial situation: personal loans and credit cards.

If you want a personal loan for debt consolidation, wedding expenses, home improvement, or any personal reason, you can receive quotes from up to 10 lenders using the same method as the student loan refinancing process.

You answer personal questions regarding your income, education level, desired loan amount, and estimated credit score. Once you provide your personal information, including your Social Security number, you'll receive applicable offers from participating lenders.

Credible's credit card platform is a little different. While they provide comparison tools and allow you to narrow down your options based on the desired card attributes, you don't apply for the card on Credible's website. Instead, they provide you with a link to apply for the card on the credit card company's website.

Bottom Line

Credible offers a variety of resources to make it easier for you to find the perfect student loan refinance option. With all of the offers in one place, you can simplify the shopping-around process. Of course, you should still do your own research, but having the quotes and lender information side-by-side can cut down on some of your legwork.

If you are in the market for a private student loan, personal loan, or credit card, Credible may be valuable for you as well. As with student loan refinancing, make sure you do your own research and read the fine print before agreeing to any loan or credit card.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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