On the surface, NaviRefi is just another student loan refinance lender.
They offer competitive rates and the opportunity for many borrowers to save money on their student loans.
Yet, the existence of NaviRefi is strange.
What is NaviRefi?
NaviRefi loans are offered by invitation only to Navient customers. The loans are issued by Earnest, which is another student loan refinance company owned by Navient.
It isn’t clear why these loans are not called Earnest loans. NaviRefi doesn’t appear to offer any advantage or disadvantage compared to Earnest.
If I were to speculate, I think Navient’s theory is that an invitation-only brand plus Earnest will generate more revenue than Earnest alone.
Ultimately, the reasoning behind NaviRefi’s existence doesn’t matter. The main concern for most borrowers should be how NaviRefi stacks up against other refinance lenders.
NaviRefi Review Basics: The Navient Rates and Rules
The advertised rates and terms with NaviRefi are fairly competitive.
|Loan Terms||5 - 20 Years|
|Variable Rate Loans||1.88% - 5.64%|
|Fixed Rate Loans||2.44% - 5.79%|
|Minimum Refinance Amount||$5,000|
|New Borrower Bonus||N/A|
Borrowers can refinance federal and private loans with NaviRefi. Like most legitimate lenders, NaviRefi does not charge borrowers any application, origination, or prepayment fees.
NaviRefi loans are all serviced by Navient.
One area that separates NaviRefi from other lenders is the repayment length options.
Most lenders offer 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20-year loans. NaviRefi customers can select any number of years between 5 and 20. Thus, if you are looking for a 13-year repayment length, NaviRefi is a great choice. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Earnest is the other national lender that gives borrowers a wide range of repayment lengths.
However, the biggest advantage to NaviRefi is probably their interest rates. The lowest advertised rates with NaviRefi are competitive with the best refinance rates on the market.
A Note from the Sherpa: NaviRefi is not included in this site’s student loan refinance lender rankings. As an invitation-only lender, NaviRefi is not open to the general public. If NaviRefi starts accepting applications from all borrowers, they will get added to the list.
A Warning for Borrowers
NaviRefi, like nearly all refinance lenders, has a significant risk that all borrowers should understand.
NaviRefi allows borrowers to refinance their federal government student loans into a private loan. In some cases, this move makes sense. However, it is risky for other borrowers. Refinancing federal debt into a private loan permanently erases federal perks like income-driven repayment and federal student loan forgiveness.
NaviRefi is especially problematic in this regard because Navient is a federal student loan servicer. There is a warning about the risk of converting federal student loans into private loans on the NaviRefi site, but it is buried deep within a very large help and questions page.
I’d like to see NaviRefi, the private student loan refinance lender, do more to separate itself from Navient, the federal student loan servicer. If they called the loans Earnest loans, it would reduce the chances of borrower confusion.
NaviRefi Refinance Reviews from Reddit, the BBB, and Others
The reputation of NaviRei is limited but not great. Additionally, the connection between NaviRefi and larger companies like Navient and Sallie Mae is troubling.
NaviRefi loans are a product of Navient, and Navient was the subject of many lawsuits for failing to properly service federal student loans. Additionally, Navient was originally part of Sallie Mae, another lender with a negative reputation.
Shifting to NaviRefi specifically, the reviews are mixed at best.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – The CFPB database on NaviRefi complaints only has two borrower complaints. Unfortunately, both complaints raise a serious issue about private refinancing of federal student loans. Consumers should use caution in the refinance process if they have federal student loans.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) – The Better Business Bureau does not have a listing for NaviRefi, but they do include Earnest and Navient. Navient is not rated, but they have a 1/5 score from 95 BBB users. Earnest is A-rated by the BBB but has a 1.27/5 score from 26 users.
Reddit – Looking through the Reddit posts about NaviRefi, the feedback is mixed at best. Some readers were able to lower their interest rates with a NaviRefi invitation, but others took issue with the Navient affiliation and the application process. Those that shopped around seemed to find better rates elsewhere, but this information was limited.
Student Loan Sherpa Readers – I haven’t received much reader feedback on NaviRefi. If you do have a NaviRefi invitation, I’d be interested in hearing how the rates offered by NaviRefi compare to other lenders, especially Earnest.
NaviRefi Questions and Answers
Yes. NaviRefi is a product of Navient. Even though Navient doesn’t have the best reputation, they are a legitimate lender. Additionally, NaviRefi doesn’t engage in shady practices like charging loan application fees or early payment penalties.
No. The invitation is based on a “prescreened” offer. Borrowers still have to apply for approval at the time of their application.
Maybe? NaviRefi might offer the best refinance rates, but they might not.
Ultimately, whether or not NaviRefi is a good option will depend on interest rates. The only way to know which lender will offer the best rates is to shop around and check rates with a few of the top refinance lenders.