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Is SoFi the Best Student Loan Refinance Company?

Kathryn Morstad
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Federal student loan
Payments Return December 31

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Federal student loan
Payments Return December 31

We've got you covered.

Get Purefy’s free 20-page Ultimate Guide with just one click.

It’s crucial to compare student loan refinance rates and actively research reviews, benefits, and the pros and cons of the most well-known and popular companies.

SoFi, a mobile-only financial services company, has proven to be one of the most popular lenders for refinancing student loans and has gained massive acceptance as an online financial services group.

Launched in 2011, SoFi was the first company to refinance federal and private student loans together. Starting with this core business, SoFi has since expanded to a full-service, publicly traded financial group that received OCC authorization in 2022 to become a national bank (which, among other things, allows it to bring its third-party banking business in house).

To say that SoFi have taken the financial services industry by storm may be an understatement. Not only does SoFi have some of the best student loan refinance rates, but they have expanded their services to include:

  • Lending services that include private student loans, mortgages, auto, home equity, and personal loans
  • Investing and estate planning, including active trading, IPO investing, fractional shares, and cryptocurrency (although that may change now that SoFi is a national bank)
  • Credit cards
  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Insurance products
  • Business financing and solutions

So, the question becomes: Can SoFi do all this and still maintain its position as a top student loan refinance lender?

Let’s take a look!

What started with four guys at the Stanford Graduate School of Business hoping to facilitate more affordable ways to borrow money for education, has grown into one of the largest online-only financial services companies doing business today.

Even as SoFi has continued to grow exponentially, it has maintained a focus on affordable financing and outstanding customer service. In fact, SoFi has 4.6- to 5-star ratings at most review sites, e.g., NerdWallet, BankRate, and Purefy.com.

What differentiates SoFi student loan refinancing?

There are any number of banks and fintech firms that want to be your one-stop financial partner — so what makes SoFi unique?

SoFi’s initial push was to debt-heavy millennials who wanted to get out from under their massive student loan debt. It didn’t hurt that SoFi represented a new type of lending institution that appealed to tech-savvy millennials who mistrusted their parents’ traditional banks. From there, SoFi expanded its native mobile online services never forgetting its core customers.

Full-blown bank and financial services, including mortgages, car loans, credit cards, insurance, checking and savings accounts, and small business financing are all a phone tap away.

SoFi even offers discounts on multiple services, like mortgage loan processing fees for student loan refinance customers.

Being true to its roots, anyone with good credit (650+) should be able to refinance their student loans. SoFi has no specific minimum income requirements, as long as you meet the lending criteria – adequate free cash flow and a solid debt-to-income ratio or DTI (more about that later).

The 4 Best Companies to Refinance Student Loans

Our Top-Rated Picks for 2022 Offer Low Rates and No Fees

efli-lender
No Maximum Loan Amount

Fixed Rate

4.29% – 7.29% APR 4

Variable Rate

2.48% – 7.24% APR 4
98% of surveyed customers would recommend SoFi to a friend

Fixed Rate

3.99% – 8.24% APR 3

Variable Rate

2.49% – 8.24% APR 3
earnest-logo
Precision Pricing — Pick Your Monthly Payment

Fixed Rate

3.74% – 8.49% APR 2

Variable Rate

2.49% – 7.99% APR 2
Loans Available in All States but Maine and Oregon

Fixed Rate

3.94% – 8.48% APR 5

Variable Rate

Not Offered

SoFi student loan refinance review: Pros and cons

So, let’s talk specifically about the student loan refinance program that SoFi offers. Here are some of the pros and cons to think about when comparing lenders.

Pros

  • SoFi has some of the lowest rates in the student loan refinance business (rates below are current at time of publishing):

  • Fixed rates as low as 2.49% with autopay.

  • Variable rates as low as 1.74% with autopay (variable rates change monthly based on the prevailing 30-day average SOFR index rate and have a maximum cap not to exceed between 8.95% and 9.95% based on terms). Note: The secure overnight financing rate, or SOFR index, is a backward-looking benchmark based on repurchases of US Treasury notes between banks and more stable than LIBOR, which can be subject to manipulation.

  • Unemployment protection and forbearance – up to 12 months, in 3-month increments for things like financial hardship, natural disasters, and military service. SoFi’s Unemployment Protection Program is specifically designed for people who have lost their job through no fault of their own and supports them as they reemploy through forbearance, as well as job counseling, career support, and networking.

  • SoFi student loan refinancing is available on loans of a minimum $5,000 and up including Parent PLUS loans.

  • No application or loan origination fees and no prepayment penalties associated with any SoFi refinance student loans.

  • Special refinance support for medical and dental graduates that includes $100 monthly payments during residency.

  • Minimum credit score of 650 (although the average approved is 700+).

  • Flexible terms available from five, seven, 10, 15, and 20 years.

  • Ability to refinance Associate Degree student loans.

  • Non-permanent residents and DACA recipients can refinance student loans with a cosigner.

  • Ability to transfer parent loans into your name (not a cosigner release, but a new loan that you would have to qualify for).

  • Free resources for members like career planning (even one-on-one coaching), investing and estate planning, entrepreneurship support, and job searches. Also, for SoFi community members there are happy hours, wine tastings, cooking classes, and networking dinners that are set up in various cities (Silent Disco Yoga anyone?). And – if you can believe this one – premier access to expedited entry and lounges at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

Cons

  • No cosigner release to transfer responsibility for an existing loan to a child.

  • SoFi does have late fees, but they’re only $5 and only after your payment is over 15 days past due.

  • Only 12 months of forbearance instead of some lenders who offer 24 months.

If that seems heavy on the pros and light on cons, it speaks to SoFi’s commitment to offering great student loan refinance opportunities.

Is SoFi better than other student loan refinance companies?

When it comes to the best student loan refinance rates, SoFi is certainly one of the best. And with Autopay, the rates are even better.

SoFi also offers both fixed and variable rate loans with five, seven-, 10-, 15-, and 20-year terms which gives you the ability to really customize your student loan package. These options are some of the most flexible in the industry and make planning for your lifestyle even more convenient.

In terms of customer service and market perception, SoFi enjoys an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and 98% of customers that were surveyed said they would recommend SoFi to friends or family.

Add to that SoFi’s full range of lending, investing, and banking services with the ease of online and phone app access and you have a powerhouse partner in the financial services sector.

In the final analysis, SoFi is certainly in the very top tier of student loan finance lenders and is one to consider when refinancing student loans.

Why you should compare SoFi to other companies

Any time you are making a major financial commitment like refinancing student loans it’s important to take time to research all of your options to find the best alternative. Depending on your needs and your credit profile, you could find one company that offers more of what you want. 

Additionally, comparing student loan refinance lenders allows you to judge whether refinancing is the right option. If you have one or several federal loans, you have to weigh a lower interest rate against federal loan options like repayment or forgiveness programs that you lose access to with a private loan.

See How Much You Can Save

Student Loan Refinance Calculator

View Details

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Student loan refinancing combines your current loans into a single loan with a new rate and term. See how much you can save by entering your loan information below, or by getting quotes from multiple lenders using Purefy’s rate comparison tool.

Step 1: Enter Current Loan Information

Loan Balance
Your remaining student loan debt to be repaid.
Interest Rate
The amount that the lender charges in interest, expressed as a percentage.
Current Monthly Payment
The total amount of your monthly student loan bill.
Add Multiple Loans to Calculate

Step 2: Enter New Loan Information

New Interest Rate
Your updated interest rate after refinancing student loans.
Term
The length of time you have to repay your student loan debt in full.

Add Multiple Loans

Insert additional loan

Step 3: See How Much You Can Save

$15,310

Lifetime Interest
Savings

$1,018

New Monthly
Payment

$128

Monthly
Savings

Current Loan New Loan Savings
Rate 6.7% 4.2% 2.5%
Lifetime Interest $37,520 $22,210 $15,310
Monthly Payment $1,146 $1,018 $128

Like what you see? Check your actual prequalified rates from the industry’s top lenders in just 2 minutes or less.

What you need for SoFi student loan refinancing quotes…or any financial product

There are three things that you need to be successful when navigating the financial industry. Think of them as your business card. This is true when getting the best quotes for refinancing student loans, applying for a mortgage, or getting a new credit card.

For SoFi, free cash flow and controlled debt are the first two items and carry the most weight, but don’t ignore the last item either — it will serve you well throughout your future.

These things include:

  • Strong income — Whether you’re an employee or are self-employed, you need to be able to demonstrate ongoing, stable, and sustainable income. Lenders want to know that you can pay back your loans and SoFi is no different. When you apply for most loans, you will be asked to submit a copy of your most recent paystubs, W-2, or tax return/Schedule C.

  • Debt-to-income ratio or DTI — This is a percentage of debt payments you make each month compared to your gross income. SoFi doesn’t announce their specific DTI threshold, but a good rule of thumb is under 38-40%. Use Purefy’s debt-to-income calculator to see where you fall.

  • Credit Score — SoFi posts their minimum credit score at 650 points, however, their average members have an annual income of $100K+ and a credit score of 730+.

Next, determine your overall goals

As with any journey, it helps to understand what you’re trying to accomplish.

Like so many people, you may have graduated with a lot of student debt. Today, the average undergraduate degree carries just under $30K in student loans while graduate-level loans average about $66K per person.

That’s substantial to say the least and can impact other major financial decisions like buying a house. And in the case of parent loans or cosigners, it can negatively affect retirement plans.

Since refinancing gives you the opportunity to restructure your student loan(s), it’s important to understand your options:

  1. Save money on interest — with today’s historically low interest rates, you’re going to save money. As an example, if you currently have $30,000 in student debt and are paying 6.8% interest for 10 years, then you are paying monthly payments of $345.24 and will end up paying $11,428.92 in interest over the life of your student loan. If you refinance your loan for the same $30,000 to 2.2% for 10 years, you will drop your monthly payment to $278.74 and only pay $3,448.28 in total interest, saving $7,980.64.

  • Get a lower monthly payment — you may want to look at paying off your loan over a longer period of time with lower monthly payments. If so, you can extend your terms. SoFi offers longer term loans at 15 and 20 years. This would reduce your monthly payment considerably. However, keep in mind that you might pay more in interest by paying over a longer period of time.

  • Pay off your loan more quickly — if your goal is to pay off your loan more quickly so that you can retire the debt and concentrate on other options, refinancing to a shorter term will accomplish this but will increase your monthly payment. Again, use Purefy’s Student Loan Refinance Calculator to see the impact.

The good news is that with today’s ultra-low interest rates, options 2 and 3 will still save money in the long run.

Two more reasons to refinance student loans

In addition to the three goals above, there are two more options that might make refinancing a great option:

  • Drop a cosigner — If you are ready to take full responsibility for your student loan debt, you may want to refinance your loans without a cosigner. That way, you get the feeling of accomplishment, and your cosigner gets the financial freedom to move in a different direction.

  • Consolidate many loans — Taking out more than one loan is common when going through school. Once you graduate, you’re left with a bunch of unrelated monthly payments with different amounts and due dates. By refinancing your loans into one all-inclusive package, you streamline the payments and make paying off the debt easier.

Free eBook: How to Conquer Student Loans

Free eBook: How to Conquer Student Loans

How to compare student loan refinance rates and get the best deal

Embarking on the refinancing journey doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, with today’s financial tools, it can be straightforward and informative leaving you with the information you need to make a solid decision. Whether you are looking at SoFi or another lender, let’s talk about how to find the best deal.

Financial products are pretty straightforward — whoever offers the best interest rate typically wins. Sure, there are other things to consider, but saving money is what this is all about!

While everyone appreciates good customer service and community-based experiences and events, it’s really all about saving money overall. So, what you want is a way to gather the industry’s best together and see what each has to offer.

At Purefy, we’ve developed a free Rate Comparison tool that helps you do just that – with actual quotes from industry-leading lenders in about 2 minutes!

Use the comparison tool by filing out some simple information allows you to collect pre-approved quotes from various lenders, including SoFi, and puts them into a formatted report for easy review.

The tool is free, doesn’t impact your credit score, and you are under no obligation to go further until you are ready.

How to get the best student loan refinance rate quotes

This is how the student loan refinance rate comparison process works step-by-step:

  • First, you’ll need some basic information. Gather these things to make filling out the tool easier (and remember, the tool is safe and secure sending all personal information with encryption):
  • Demographic information and whether you own or rent your home
  • Types of loans and basic financial information, like balances and interest rates/terms
  • What school you graduated from, and your highest degree achieved
  • Your annual income and your total assets
  • Date of birth, citizenship, and your social security number
  • Fill out the information and run the tool — your quotes will be ready in less than two minutes. What you will receive back are prequalified quotes, not teaser rates meant to be switched after you apply. All of Purefy’s fully vetted lenders pull what’s called a ‘soft credit check’ which won’t negatively impact your credit score. Once you choose a lender and enter into the official application process, that lender will pull a ‘hard credit check’ and that will be on your credit report.
  • After you receive your rate quotes, it’s time to compare and select the best options for your financial situation and goals. This is where it can start to feel a bit overwhelming, but Purefy has support available – more about that in a minute.
  • Complete your new application, E-sign, and submit to the lender with the required documentation, e.g., a government-issued ID, a utility bill with your name and address on it to prove residency, income information. It shouldn’t take longer than about 15 minutes.
  • Once you receive approval, you’re ready to close your loan and get ready to enjoy new lower payments.

Would you like additional support?

Purefy has you covered there too. You have access to expert, qualified student loan consultants who are available to answer your questions, help you compare rates and terms from your quotes, or fill out lender applications.

You can schedule an appointment, or talk now (202-524-1115), to get the latest on SoFi or any of the other lenders, learn how the whole process works, or just as a quick question.

There is no reason to guess or spend time searching for the answers — your Student Loan Advisor is a great source of guidance and can provide recommendations that really help you make a sound financial decision. Best part — there’s no charge for the service.

This student loan refinance support team is a key reason why Purefy won the NerdWallet Best-of Awards for 2021 – Best Student Loan Refinancing Overall!

Is SoFi student loan refinancing right for you?

If you’re looking to refinance student loans, SoFi could be a great option – but it’s still important to compare with other lenders in order to save the most money.

To recap, SoFi offers some of the lowest fixed and variable interest rates in the industry for loans of $5,000 and up. They also have some of the most generous and flexible terms with five, seven-, 10-, 15-, and 20-year options.

Like most lenders, SoFi has no fees to apply or to originate a loan, and they don’t have any pre-payment penalties so paying your loan off early isn’t a problem. You can apply for a loan with a minimum credit score of 650 for an Associate Degree or higher.

SoFi also offers an Unemployment Protection Plan as well as forbearance programs that are up to 12 months long and disbursed in 3-month increments. Their Unemployment Protection Plan goes the extra mile by including reemployment support and counseling.

And last (can’t help bringing this up again because it is SO unique), SoFi offers a popular members’ community that hosts virtual and live events, including career or financial advice (everything you want to know about cryptocurrency), happy hours, and everything from painting to meditation classes.

Summing up — the SoFi Student Loan Refinance Review

SoFi has 4.6 to 5-star ratings at many of the review sites, like NerdWallet, Purefy, and BankRate, and was awarded NerdWallet’s Best-of Awards in 2021 for Best Student Loan Refinancing for Doctors.

From associate degrees all the way through MD programs, student loan debt can be overwhelming. Refinancing those student loans with SoFi can make your life easier and more manageable. With great rates still being offered, now is a terrific time to refinance. And while SoFi is a top-tier option, use Purefy’s Rate Comparison Tool to compare all the best lenders, including SoFi. It’s free, fast, and supported by a team of highly qualified student loan advisors.

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ELFI Rate Disclosure

4 ELFI Rate Disclosure:

Education Loan Finance is a nationwide student loan debt consolidation and refinance program offered by Tennessee based SouthEast Bank. ELFI is designed to assist borrowers through consolidating and refinancing loans into one single loan that effectively lowers your cost of education debt and/or makes repayment very simple. Subject to credit approval. See Terms & Conditions. Interest rates current as of 09-01-2022. The interest rate and monthly payment for a variable rate loan may increase after closing, but will never exceed 9.95% APR. Interest rates may be different from the rates shown above and will be based on the term of your loan, your financial history, and other factors, including your cosigner’s (if any) financial history. For example, a 10-year loan with a fixed rate of 6% would have 120 payments of $11.00 per $1,000 borrowed. Rates are subject to change.

SoFi Rate Disclosure

3 SoFi Rate Disclosure:

Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 2.24% APR to 7.99% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.

Earnest Rate Disclosure

2 Earnest Rate Disclosure:

Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.74% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. The maximum rate for your loan is 8.95% if your loan term is 10 years or less. For loan terms of more than 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95%. Please note, we are not able to offer variable rate loans in AK, IL, MN, NH, OH, TN, and TX. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account.

ISL Rate Disclosure

5 Iowa Student Loan Rate Disclosure:

Fixed Rate Loan Terms: 5 years/60 monthly payments, 7 years/84 monthly payments, 10 years/120 monthly payments, 15 years/180 monthly payments, or 20 years/240 monthly payments. Annual Percentage Rate [APR] is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. This rate is expressed as an APR. Fixed APRs range from 3.94% to 8.48% APR [low to high range with 0.25% auto-debit rate reduction]. Rates are subject to change without notice. Fixed rates will not change during the term. Since there are no fees associated with this loan offer, the APR is the same percentage as the actual interest rate of the loan including a 0.25% auto-debit rate reduction. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. All estimates are based on information provided by you and are for informational purposes only, accuracy is not guaranteed and may not reflect actual rates or savings and do not constitute an offer of credit. Your actual rate, payment and savings may be different based on credit history, actual interest rate, loan amount, and term, including your cosigner [if applicable]. If applying with a cosigner, we use the higher credit score between the borrower and the cosigner for approval purposes. All loans are subject to credit approval.

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