In Depth: Common Bond Student Loan Consolidation Review (CommonBond.co Refinancing)

Michael Lux Blog, Consolidation, Student Loan Consolidation Reviews, Student Loans 38 Comments

Last Updated on 9/19/17 to reflect the most recent interest rate information. Five years ago CommonBond was just an idea being tossed around by a few Wharton MBA students.  Today it is a fast growing student loan refinancing company offering some unique products, and giving new customers $150 for signing up.  The fresh perspective and relative youth of Common Bond results in a student loan consolidation offer that could be ideal for some, but may not be the best opportunity for others. The Basics CommonBond consolidates both federal and private student loans.  The range of interest rates for CommonBond start as…

CommonBond Consolidation Review

Interest Rates
Co-Signer Release
Loan Terms
Repayment Length

Great

CommonBond offers ultra low interest rates and even gives you some cash up front to earn your business.

Last Updated on 9/19/17 to reflect the most recent interest rate information.

Five years ago CommonBond was just an idea being tossed around by a few Wharton MBA students.  Today it is a fast growing student loan refinancing company offering some unique products, and giving new customers $150 for signing up.  The fresh perspective and relative youth of Common Bond results in a student loan consolidation offer that could be ideal for some, but may not be the best opportunity for others.

The Basics

CommonBond consolidates both federal and private student loans.  The range of interest rates for CommonBond start as low as 2.81% for their 5-year variable rate loan and go as high as 7.12% for their 20-year fixed rate loan.  Like most reputable lenders there is no origination fee for CommonBond loans and there is no penalty for paying off your loans early.  Borrowers can apply to consolidate a minimum of $5,000 in student loans, with no maximum limit.

The Good

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 allows borrowers to tailor monthly payments to their specific needs.

CommonBond also offers what they call CommonBridge.  CommonBridge is 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 out 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.

The Bad

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, we also call it breaking the Golden Rule of Student Loan Consolidation.  Borrowers interested in consolidating their Federal loans into a private loan would be wise to very carefully consider their options prior to 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 have a best possible rate of 5.37%.  (That being said, for a 20 year loan, 5.37% is among the very best available.)

CommonBond Interest Rates vs. Other Refinancing Companies

At present, CommonBond seems to excel in the category of fixed-rate loans.  In our breakdown of student loan refinance rates, we found that CommonBond had the lowest rate in the category of 15-year fixed-rate loans.  For borrowers with larger amounts of debt, this can make CommonBond a very appealing option.

CommonBond also had the 3rd lowest advertised rates in the categories of 7-year variable-rate loans, 5-year fixed-rate loans, and 7-year fixed rate loans.  CommonBonds 10-year fixed-rate loan currently has the 2nd rate on the market.  CommonBond’s low rates in a variety of refinance rate loan types make it a lender that the vast majority of borrowers should consider.

The Bottom Line

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.

  • Unless the interest rate is zero, you should aggressively pay down your loans.

    • Guest

      Why? At 1.93% I can take that money that I could use to payoff my loan, invest it and make 5X that amount pretty comfortably. My current rate is a little higher and I could have paid my loan off in full but I chose to invest the money instead and have made 5x my rate in the last year. Taking tax into the equation I am still way up. While some loans should be paid off, there’s nothing wrong with carrying a bit of debt if you are smart with it and know your limits.

    • Brad

      care to elaborate on how you’re investing money?

  • Messy Money

    It’s good to know there are options. I hope people look at all there options if they have student loans and don’t resign themselves to just accepting everything at face value.

  • BayAreaPakthun

    So I refinanced with CommonBond, while the process was easy it was a pain in the neck to set up auto pay etc because who they sold my loan to was another company that is currently a pain to deal with…..

    • D.Woods

      Who did they sale it to?

  • Vivek

    Thank you. I saw common bond on a google ad and I wasn’t sure because it seemed pretty good. Mohela won’t lower your interest rate at all so I was looking for options and it seems these guys are legit per your review.

  • Katie King

    CommonBond was ridiculous. They told me I needed a cosigner on a $9500 refinance due to “insufficient income”. I make 75k/year! They said the minimum is 80k. Really??

    • Julia

      Same happened to me! I couldn’t believe it.

    • Annie from CommonBond

      Hi Julia – I’m on the team at CommonBond. We no longer have income requirements, so I encourage you to check out our new rates or chat with our Care Team at 800-975-7812. They’ll be happy to assist you to find the best rate.

    • Annie from CommonBond

      Hi Katie – I’m on the team at CommonBond. We no longer have income requirements, so I encourage you to check out our new rates or chat with our Care Team at 800-975-7812. They’ll be happy to assist you to find the best rate.

  • Thema Davis

    The same thing happened to me just last week. It is ridiculous that they still haven’t put that requirement up on their website.

    • Annie from CommonBond

      Hi there – I’m on the team at CommonBond. We no longer have income requirements, so I encourage you to check out our new rates or chat with our Care Team at 800-975-7812. They’ll be happy to assist you to find the best rate.

    • Justin

      This is a blatant lie, I was just told that the income requirement is 60K, I make this amount, but I’m told that my bonuses don’t count. My cosigner has a good credit rating, but was denied due to debt ratios.

    • Katie King

      It is a lie. I spoke with them today. They don’t even have an Annie on their team.

  • Mike

    Interesting interactions so far with CommonBond. I am not through the application process yet but, wanted to fill some of you in on one of their backwards financial practices that may benefit some of you. They actually consider commissions as part of your income! Even more odd, they do not count a consistent annual bonus amount. This is contrary to any other lender or mortgage broke i have ever worked with. I do not make commissions and have a large annual bonus so it hurt me a bit but, may be very beneficial to sales folks. I will update as the process moves along.

    • Thanks for that great insight Mike!

      Keep us posted on how it goes for you.

    • Annie from CommonBond

      Hi Mike – Thanks for sharing your experience here. To clarify, we don’t consider commission as part of your income in the underwriting process, but we consider numerous other factors to get your rate. If you have any questions about the process, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Care Team at 800-975-7812. They’ll be happy to assist you to find the best rate.

  • LYNN coyle

    I’ve been carrying 36K at usurious 8% fixed through Direct Ed/Navient since 2005. I make 60K a year and have excellent credit; CommonBond refinanced me at 3.7% and for the first time in a decade there is a light at the end of the debt tunnel for me.

    • That is great news Lynn. Congrats!

    • D.Woods

      Was that variable or fixed?

    • LYNN coyle

      I chose variable since I will have it paid off in 2 years and even if the rate maxed out, it would still be lower than I was getting through Direct Ed. Also, the LIBOR has been nearly flat since 2009. I could have chosen fixed at 4.5%. Again, still half of what I was paying.

    • Sara

      I feel compelled to share my super positive experience w/ CommonBond so far as well. I have been weighed down by about 50k in federal loans for most of my adult life. I finally did my research and the math and realized I’ll save over $15,000 in interest by refinancing w/ a private lender. CommonBond offered me 3.35% (5-year fixed) rate + bonus. Their customer service has been far superior to SoFi (horrible responsiveness and they quoted me 4.615% (5-year fixed) even though I’m in their top target group of customers). The SoFi interface is horrible and I had to upload my documents 3 separate times before they got what they needed, then by the time customer service got back to me, my docs had expired and I was told I had to upload them again. No thanks! I also really like the social responsibility aspect of CommonBond and overall positive experience, so I’d much rather give them my business. Curious how others feel about SoFi vs. CommonBond. Thanks!

  • Not Fooled by the hype

    I have about $220K at 10.5% interest. I was preapproved through CommonBond at a 6.5% rate. I make $92K a year and credit score is 752. It told me I need a consigner. Added a consigner with a credit score of 657 and income of $200K. They DENIED the loan. Said my credit score was “below the threshold” and both of our incomes are too low. This is a joke.

  • Justin

    This is a terrible article, were you being paid by CommonBond? Completely bias towards them, they make it nearly impossible to re-finance. Obviously you haven’t had the experience of someone who has tried to refinance with them. Go back to journalism school and incur more student loan debt, then try re-financing then you will have a true experience on which this article should be based.

  • Very interesting. It does seem worth looking into. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Katie King

    I just spoke with Common Bond, as Annie here seems to be solving everyone’s problems. Untrue. She doesn’t even work there. Not sure who has so much time on their hands that they impersonate being an employee for a loan company, but whatever. Common Bond is still insane and requiring an income of 80k before I can refinance an $8500 without a cosigner. Ridiculous.

  • Marlise

    I submitted all of my documents about 4 months ago and still haven’t gotten a response on when the process will be completed. Every time I chat with someone online I get the same computer response that they have had increased applications and it’s taking them longer to review all of them. I”m sorry, but 4 months without a solid response is unacceptable

  • Jenn

    I have perfect credit and I make 60k a year and they gave me a 5.55% rate fixed. It’s ridiculous. Then they’ll tell you that you have to make “minimum salary requirements.” It’s a scam. They asked for a cosigner. I can finance a 40k car but can’t refinance 10k? Oh okay.

    • 5.5% does seem a little high. Did you check to see what other lenders were offering? Right now it seems like the best fixed rate loans start at about 3.5%.

    • Jon

      Well there’s a difference. They can take back the car (collateral).

      but anyways.

      I also applied and and I never got to the rate because they ask for a cosigner. I make 95k a year in a steady field with 6 years experience. I only wanted to refinance 30k. Credit Scores in the 700. 130k in credit limits. All the other lenders 4-5% depending on which one with no need for cosigners.

    • gophergrabber

      Lots of money have I but I am retired. With a home paid for, retired pay even more than I made while working, liquid assets in stocks and bonds totalling a large sum common bond turned me down because they only accept less than a quarter of my annual income as “assets” according to them. Seems I might have lucked out as these people seem to not follow their own terms. Stay away, I say.

  • Mark

    Just got off phone with Common Bond customer service to learn about their program and process. One key thing I learned, not specifically covered in Sherpa reviews but should be, is that in case of borrower’s death, Common Bond passes the loan repayment responsibility on to the co-signer. In case of SoFi, and maybe other lenders, the loan is forgiven if the borrower dies. Important point for co-signers.

    • The way a lender handles a co-signer’s obligation if the borrower dies should definitely be a consideration. Thanks for pointing this out Mark! I’ll look into this issue some more and update the reviews accordingly.

    • Sara

      This is a good point, but only applies if you have a co-signer. From what I remember, SoFi had the same policy when I asked.

  • kingetep

    Applied as a cosigner with 820 credit score. Took a week for them to gather enough info to deny the loan. I called to ask why and suggested that they didn’t take my assets into account and they said that they already closed that application and that I could reapply if I wanted.

    I applied to Discover and got 3 1/4 percent offer in less then 24 hours. Not really impressed and can’t say I like them.

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