This Splash Financial Refinance Review has been updated to include up-to-date interest rate information, lender bonus programs, and loan terms.
One of the fastest-growing names in the student loan refinance marketplace is Splash Financial.
Splash Financial first entered the student loan refinance business as a lender focusing exclusively on young doctors in their residency or a fellowship. As Splash grew, refinancing expanded to all college graduates. They now feature some of the best interest rates on the market. However, Splash might not be the best choice for all student loan borrowers.
Splash Financial Basics
Splash offers both fixed-rate and variable-rate student loan refinancing. Borrowers wishing to refinance with Splash can borrow a minimum of $5,000, and there is no maximum. Like other legitimate lenders, there are no prepayment or loan origination fees with Splash Financial.
As shown in the table below, borrowers have a wide range of repayment lengths available. This represents a slight deviation from the more typical industry standard of 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 year repayment periods.
|Splash Financial Overview|
|Interest Rates||1.88% - 6.25%|
|Loan Terms||5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, and 25 Years|
|Minimum Credit Score||650|
|New Borrower Bonus||Up to $500|
Splash Interest Rates
The refinance rates with Splash are among the best in the industry.
Because Splash works with several different credit unions, they can offer a wide range of loan lengths and terms. This flexibility can occasionally create some strange outcomes. For example, Splash may offer lower rates on their 8-year loan than what they offer on a 7-year loan. For this reason, borrowers should take a very close look at the rates offered across loan types with Splash. Don’t assume that a longer loan will have a higher interest rate.
Over the past year, Splash interest rates have consistently been among the best in the market. Here again, Splash having relationships with multiple credit unions works out well for borrowers. Lenders with more limited financial resources may increase rates if the single bank they work with has a shortage of available funds. Splash can stay consistently low because they can tap into various credit unions.
Digging Deeper – Some Critical Details
To review Splash Financial and the other student loan refinance companies, we reached out to each lender with a survey. Splash was one of eight companies that chose to respond.
We learned the following:
- The average loan refinance with Splash was around $100,000. Most lenders tend to average $75,000.
- Splash also had a longer average loan length of 12 years. Most lenders reported approximately ten years for the average repayment length. Splash having a longer than average repayment length makes sense given that borrowers are refinancing more money with Splash. Splash also has the somewhat rare option of a 25-year loan, which would drive up the average loan length.
- The average interest rate across all loans with Splash was 4.38%. This number may seem much higher than the lowest advertised 5-year loan rate, but Splash’s reported average interest rate was the best among the companies we surveyed.
- Splash approves 63% of applicants. Many lenders would not offer specifics on approval numbers, but among those that provided information, Splash was about average in this category.
- Splash runs credit checks through TransUnion and/or Experian.
- Less than 10% of Splash borrowers use a cosigner. Requiring a cosigner is a huge negative, and Splash was the second-best in this category.
- Splash loans are serviced by either Nelnet, PenFed, or Mohela.
- Splash will refinance most loan types. Borrowers with an associate’s degree or Parent PLUS loan can refinance with Splash. Though not necessarily recommended, it is even possible to refinance a Parent PLUS loan in the name of the student. However, Splash will not refinance loans for borrowers who do not have a degree, unless the loan is a Parent PLUS loan borrowed for their child.
Splash Advantages – Where Splash Financial Excels
Borrowers looking for the lowest possible monthly payment should investigate Splash’s 25-year loan. Most other lenders cap the repayment length at 20 years. By stretching things out for an extra five years, borrowers can get a lower monthly payment. This can be especially advantageous for borrowers who might be buying a house soon and looking to improve their Debt-to-Income ratio. (Note: Stretching payments out over such a long period will result in considerable spending on interest, so it is often a good idea to pay more than the minimum.)
One aspect of Splash Financial that we especially liked in our review of the company was how they responded to criticism in their initial refinance product. Splash charged loan origination fees and received justifiable criticism. Splash responded to the consumer complaints and eliminated all loan origination fees. No lender gets everything right, and it is a very good sign when a lender accepts responsibility for an error in judgment and makes things better.
Though Splash now serves a broader audience, the specialty of Splash is still refinancing for doctors. They even offer special rates for the doctors that are still in training.
A final advantage to Splash is that they offer new customers a bonus of up to $500 for signing up. This is one of the largest bonuses currently on the market, but it is only available to those refinancing at least $50,000 in student debt. We think the bonus is nice, but in the long run, the rate will be the number that makes a difference in a consumer’s bottom line.
Splash Disadvantages – Some Red Flags to Review
The two major disadvantages with Splash apply to nearly all student loan refinancing companies.
First, Splash Financial offers consolidation and refinancing of federal student loans. For some borrowers, this move makes sense, but for others, it can be a mistake. When borrowers refinance federal loans, they give up perks such as income-driven repayment plans and forgiveness programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness. For some, the lower interest rates justify giving up federal protections. For others, it is a huge mistake. Federal borrowers should carefully consider their options before refinancing loans with a private lender.
The second issue to highlight is the Splash cosigner release program. Splash advertised that a cosigner could be released from the loan after one year of on-time payments. All cosigners should understand that they are committed to the loan for the life of the loan and that a cosigner release is far from a certainty. Securing a release requires a re-evaluation of the borrower’s credit, and there is minimal incentive for any lender to grant this release.
Finally, we also note that Splash is a very young company. In some cases, this can mean an excellent opportunity for consumers, and in others, it can be the cause of headaches. That being said, Splash works with several well-established credit unions, and the feedback we have received thus far has mainly been positive.
Review Final Thoughts
Splash may be somewhat new to student loan refinancing. However, their refinance product is the real deal. At present, Splash has probably the best range of interest rate offerings out of any lender on the market.
As a result of the excellent rates and positive reviews from Student Loan Sherpa readers, Splash Financial has been elevated to first place in our student loan refinance lender rankings. Borrowers looking to lock in lower student loan interest rates would be wise to check their rates with Splash to see how they stack up against other lenders.