Article Last Updated on 2/17/20 to reflect the most recent interest rate information.
CommonBond has one of the better reputations of the many student loan refinance companies. Over the years, we have seen approval rates with CommonBond fluctuate, but for the most part, CommonBond usually offers excellent interest rates with better than average approval numbers.
As a result of the customer feedback and rates offered, CommonBond has been a regular in our student loan refinance lender rankings. That being said, like other lenders, CommonBond does have some flaws that borrowers should understand before starting the refinance process.
The CommonBond Basics
CommonBond is different than many other student loan refinance companies because its business focus is centered around student loans.
In our investigation of CommonBond the company, we found evidence of efforts by CommonBond to be socially responsible. This millennial-friendly corporate approach includes charitable contributions and a yearly trip to Ghana for customers and employees to build classrooms.
CommonBond Refinance Rates, Terms, and Options
|Loan Terms||5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 Years|
|Variable Rate Loans||2.96% - 6.50%|
|Fixed Rate Loans||2.99% - 6.35%|
|Minimum Refinance Amount||$5,000|
|New Borrower Bonus||$150|
CommonBond will refinance private loans as well as a wide range of federal loans, including Parent PLUS loans.
CommonBond does not charge any loan origination fees or prepayment penalties, and their loans are serviced by FirstMark. When CommonBond checks borrower credit reports, they use TransUnion.
Because CommonBond rate offerings are reasonable for most loan types, borrowers will have some flexibility with loan duration. The 20-year loans will certainly have higher interest rates than the short-term loans, but when jumping from one loan increment to the next, the interest rate jump usually isn’t very severe. As a result, a borrower can opt for a 15-year loan instead of a 10-year loan to get lower monthly payments without facing a dramatic interest rate increase.
Advantages to Working with CommonBond
The interest rates offered by CommonBond are some of the lowest student loan consolidation interest rates available. The lack of origination fees and prepayment penalties is another huge advantage. They also offer five different length repayment plans. Having the option of 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20-year plans allow borrowers to tailor monthly payments to their specific needs.
CommonBond also offers what they call CommonBridge. CommonBridge is a program to help borrowers who lose their job find a new one. They seem to be taking the calculated risk that spending money helping borrowers find a new job will be more profitable in the long run. This is definitely a rare approach, and something we hope to see other lenders follow.
CommonBond also has a Hybrid Loan that is both a fixed rate loan and a variable rate loan. The Hybrid Loan has a 10-year repayment term, but the interest rate starts as a fixed-rate loan for the first five years and then becomes a variable interest rate loan for the final five. From a borrower perspective, it isn’t abundantly clear who this type of loan is best for, but it is definitely a unique option.
A Few Reasons for Concern
One potential concern is CommonBond’s willingness to consolidate Federal student loans with private student loans. While this approach may work in certain limited circumstances, converting federal debt into private debt is one of the major risks of Student Loan Refinancing. Borrowers interested in consolidating their Federal loans into a private loan would be wise to very carefully consider their options before irreversibly consolidating their loans. That being said, this particular concern applies to all student loan refinance companies and is not unique to CommonBond.
Additionally, the attention-grabbing interest rates are limited to the shorter-term loans and the variable-interest rate loans. People who want a 20-year fixed-rate loan will have higher rates than those on a 5-year variable-rate loan.
CommonBond Interest Rates vs. Other Refinancing Companies
At present, CommonBond seems to excel in both fixed-rate and variable-rate loans. In our breakdown of student loan refinance rates, we found that CommonBond was a top lender in the variable-rate categories of 5, 7, and 10-year loans. For borrowers who plan on quick and aggressive repayment, this can make CommonBond a very appealing option.
CommonBond is also starting to develop a reputation for having a higher approval rate than other student loan refinance companies. Borrowers with excellent credit can expect a low interest rate while borrowers with less than perfect credit may still find approval.
CommonBond Review: Final Thoughts
If you have a solid income and credit score and plan on aggressively paying off your student debt, CommonBond could be a great option. To find out what rate you qualify for, click here.