Starting out in 2013 and initially focusing on medical school loan refinancing, Splash Financial was created to find a better way to refinance student loans. Their goal was to bring together lenders in a single place where people with student loan debt could explore their services and compare rates to find the most equitable deal. A year later, they expanded their business strategy to include all types of student loans for anyone with a bachelor's degree or higher. Today, Splash Financial has also expanded into personal loans and in-school student loans. Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing: Company Overview Think of Splash as an online marketplace or a virtual middleman. Their business model is to provide a technology platform where people interested in refinancing their student loans can shop and compare among multiple private lenders. They aren’t a lender themselves. Initially partnering with Pentagon Federal Credit Union, more commonly known as PenFed, Splash has since expanded their network to also include Laurel Road, and Nelnet, and is looking to grow their lending network even further. Today, Splash Financial is committed to providing an auxiliary way for interested people to research student loan refinancing, request a quote, and be paired with a lender that should suit their overall goals. Unique to Splash Financial, once a borrower has been matched with a lender, they can use Splash’s automated underwriting platform to apply for the loan directly through the Splash website. Is Splash Financial a legitimate company? Yes, with over 100K accounts and refinancing requests of over $6 billion (according to their website), Splash is a well-established company. In mid-2021, Splash was successful in securing a $40 million Series B funding round that will accelerate further growth as well as their overall financial health. According to Splash Financial’s digital transformation strategy, this round of funding will allow them to meet the expanding demands of consumers for a one-stop shopping experience when refinancing student loans. How does Splash Financial’s student loan refinance marketplace work? Splash Financial’s ‘shop and compare’ marketplace is straightforward although it lacks transparency. When you visit the site, you are given simple instructions about checking what interest you might be eligible for, but no detail about their partner lenders or where your personal information is being submitted. They simply state that they “partner with banks, credit unions, and other lending partners.” If you are comfortable with not knowing, then they instruct you to complete a preapplication to be matched to a lender interested in refinancing your student loans based on your financial information and credit profile. Unlike other online marketplaces, such as Purefy, Credible, or NerdWallet that offer a selection of customized rate and term preapprovals to choose from, Splash pairs you with the best fit from their network of lenders and gives you their current rates, term options, and any special offers. Once you make a decision, you submit a formal application through Splash Financial. Reasons to refinance student loans through Splash Financial As part of our Splash student loan refinance review, we want to look at the positives and negatives associated with Splash Financial. Here is a listing of the pros associated with using the Splash marketplace: Maximum loan amount available — There are virtually no limits to how much you can refinance according to Splash Financial, although several of the individual lenders they partner with note $500,000 as the maximum. This high limit is indicative of their initial medical school focus where school loans averaged around $250,000 for a primary care physician and even doubling for a sub-specialty like radiology or neurology. Note: they do have a $5,000 minimum loan amount. Low interest rates for fixed and variable loans — as of April 2022, fixed rate loans are currently at 1.99% - 7.84% APR and variable rate loans are between 1.74% - 7.49% APR which are some of the lowest in the industry. These rates are subject to change and will potentially go up as the prime rate rises based on recent interest rate changes by the Central Bank. Eligibility requirements — You must be a graduate of a Title IV accredited college or university program with a bachelor’s degree or higher. You can also be eligible if you are a graduate with an associate degree in one of the following healthcare-related fields: Nursing EMT-Paramedics Occupational or Physical Therapy Assistant Pharmacy Technician Respiratory Therapy Surgical Technologist Dental Hygienist Radiology/MRI Technologist Radiation Therapy Nuclear Medicine Technician Medical Sonography No fees — According to Splash, there are no application fees or origination fees, and no prepayment penalties associated with any of their student loans. There may be late fees, but they would be specific to the lender. Flexible terms — Splash’s lender partners offer flexible rates for five, seven, ten, 15, and 20 years. No impact to credit score — You can receive a prequalification without impacting your credit report. For the initial prequalification process, Splash Financial pulls a ‘soft credit report’ which doesn’t factor into how your credit score is calculated. If you proceed with a full application, they will pull a ‘hard credit report’ which does have a short-term effect on your credit profile. Use a cosigner — You can use a cosigner with some lenders in the Splash marketplace, but not all. If you have the credit history and income to qualify for a student loan refinance on your own, that is the best option. If you want to use a cosigner, Splash recommends contacting them directly. Auto-pay discount — You can receive a discount with most student loan refinance lenders when you opt for automated payments. The discount is up to 0.25% off of your monthly interest rate. Generous referral program — Splash offers a cash bonus when you refer friends or family with student loans to refinance. In fact, Splash pays up to $200 to you and to the referred borrower for each referral. Parent PLUS loans — Parents of students can refinance their Parent PLUS loans through Splash Financial as long as the student has graduated with an eligible degree Potential cons of refinancing through Splash Financial There seems to always be a drawback when researching or assessing financial companies. Here are some at Splash Financial to consider: Lack of transparency — When you visit the website, you are given several opportunities to ‘check my rate.’ However, they offer no insight into who their partners are or what type of rates, terms, or special programs might be available. Rather than being presented with a list of Splash Financial student loan refinance offers up front, you are required to register an account and complete the rate tool before you can see any of their lenders. While their site is secure and information is encrypted, some potential customers may find the lack of transparency problematic. There are other marketplace sites that have full and total disclosure right up front which might impart a sense of trustworthiness. No consistent loan terms — Since they are partnering with several already established lending institutions, policies and procedures will be different from company to company. Each bank or credit union may have differences in how they handle financial hardship, cosigner releases, or late payment fees. Loss of federal loan benefits — When you refinance your federal loans, you lose access to any federal benefits associated with those loans. These include forbearance and deferment programs, including the Cares Act which is in effect until August 31, 2022, death or disability discharges, and any of the federal repayment or forgiveness plans, including: Graduated or Extended Repayment Plans Revised Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE) Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE) Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR) Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR) Federal Consolidation Loans Public Service Loan Forgiveness Teacher Loan Forgiveness Limited lender choice — Splash Financial will pair you with a lender once you qualify for a loan rather than give you a choice of lenders and terms to choose from. While the lenders in the Splash network are reputable banks or credit unions, some borrowers may prefer to have the ability to compare rates and terms from several different institutions before making a decision. Join a credit union — You may be required to join a credit union if you are matched with a credit union lender instead of a bank. This could be a nice option if you are in need of other banking services since credit unions offer most traditional financial services like checking and savings accounts. Unique features of Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance marketplace As we look at this Splash Financial Student Loan Refinance Review, we want to look at the unique features that are offered within their marketplace. Splash is 100% focused on loans for personal finance. In addition to refinanced student loans, they also offer private student loans for those still in school, medical school refinancing, and personal loans. Unlike some other marketplaces, like NerdWallet or Credible, they do not offer credit cards, investing tools, mortgages, travel, business financing, or insurance quotes. They have a clear mission related to personal and student-specific loans. They offer a simple, no-nonsense website that directs you into their quote system with minimal distraction. There the applicant gives straightforward information and is presented with a qualifying quote with a pre-matched lender from their network of three partners. Does Splash Financial have a good reputation? According to Trustpilot's Splash Financial review, Splash receives an ‘excellent’ rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars for customer service (based on over 400 reviews). They also receive 5 stars (out of a total of 5) at NerdWallet. Many of these reviews on Splash Financial describe the refinancing process as being "straightforward" and "painless". Who should refinance student loans through Splash Financial? If you have graduated college, you may be faced with many individual federal and private loans, all with different due dates, amounts, and interest rates. One thing is almost certain, added together these loans have an interest rate higher than what is being offered today. Benefits of refinancing student loans When you are considering refinancing student loans, you want to weigh the options and find the solutions that improve your overall financial picture. Refinancing your student loans allows you to impact the following things: Interest rate — Entering 2022, refinance rates have been low for an extended period of time and are set to rise over the next two years. By refinancing your federal and private student loans now, you can secure an interest rate that may be below what you are currently paying. This saves you money on a monthly basis as well as over the life of the loan. Consolidate your bills — With multiple student loan bills, you are managing a ton of due dates, payment amounts, etc. By consolidating all of your student loans into one package, you streamline those multiple bills into a single payment with one due date. And by signing up for autopay, you can simplify that payment even more and save money (up to 0.25%) in the process. Pay your loans off sooner — Choose a shorter loan term when you are refinancing, and you can pay off your loan faster. For example, if you have loans with payments scheduled over ten years, refinancing gives you the opportunity to choose a five-year or seven-year term. That means you will be free and clear of your student debt that much sooner (and save money on interest). Lower your monthly payment — Another alternative would be to choose a longer loan term to stretch your payments out further to 15 or 20 years. This option will lower your monthly payment (but may cost you more in interest over the life of the loan). Your minimum requirements for refinancing student loans All lenders have minimum requirements for refinancing student loans. As part of our Splash student loan refinance review, let’s take a look at their requirements to do business: Minimum credit score of 650 — Splash Financial has a minimum score of 650, but the higher your score, the better the interest rate you will receive. If you don’t know what your current score is, you are eligible for a free annual credit report from each of the three credit bureaus to see where you fall. If your score is below the minimum, you can apply with a cosigner. If that case, your cosigner will need to meet the credit and income requirements and will be responsible for the debt. Splash’s network partners don’t offer cosigner releases. Minimum income of $42,000 — Income will include your paycheck income from a job, self-employment income, and any income from side gigs, alimony, or other sources. DTI of 35% minimum — DTI, or debt-to-income ratio, is the percentage of all your monthly fixed costs (e.g., rent or mortgage payments, car loan payments, student loans, credit card payments) divided by your gross monthly income. If that amount is less than 35%, you are in good shape. If it is above, you might want to consider paying off some things to drop your monthly output. Bankruptcy after 7 or 10 years — Splash will consider you for a student loan refinance when you have filed for bankruptcy once seven or 10 years (depending on type) have elapsed. Citizenship — You must be a citizen or permanent resident of the US. Availability — Splash Financial loans are available in all 50 states. Deferment and Forbearance — No academic or military deferments are available through Splash lenders. However, there are some hardship deferments and forbearance assistance options available, but solutions are lender specific and should be carefully researched. No co-signer release — The lenders participating in Splash Financial’s network do not offer a co-signer release option. Similarly, there are no loan discharges in the event of a cosigner dying or becoming disabled. When is the right time to refinance through Splash Financial? Choosing the right time to refinance is a personal choice — one that should weigh the potential benefits of lower interest rates, saving money, and consolidating multiple federal and private loans. It’s also important to consider your income potential along with your credit profile. If everything is in order or you have a cosigner, then Splash Financial may be a good option for locating a private lender. The good news about refinancing is there are no fees or charges, and you can refinance as often as there is money to be saved. If now is not a good time because of credit problems (and you don’t have a cosigner you can ask), there are ways to improve your credit for the future. How to compare Splash Financial with other refinance companies A good way to compare financial marketplaces or companies is to explore as many options as possible. When submitting your information to check Splash Financial refinance rates, you will receive quote(s) from their network participants, but it's still a good idea to research other lenders to ensure you are getting the best deal. After checking Splash Financial student loan refinance rates, consider using Purefy’s rate comparison tool. You can get additional lender quotes for both fixed and variable rates, terms ranging from 5 to 20 years, and view any other available perks, such as autopay discounts. In about two minutes, you can fill out the basic information that will include: Personal demographic information, Income, Current loan information and balances, and What school you graduated from and the degree you obtained. From there, you receive real-time results with pre-qualified rates and terms from industry-leading lenders in a customized report that you can use to compare and find the best option. What if I need help to understand or compare the results? Splash Financial offers a customer support number (800-349-3938) that is available Monday through Friday from 9 am to 9 pm (EST), as well as an email. Another option, Purefy offers a Student Loan Refinance Consultation with one of their student loan advisors to answer questions, evaluate benefits, compare rates, and guide you through the entire application process if needed. The Purefy student loan advisors are experts at explaining how the refinance process works and can help you breakdown your quote comparison. They are available to schedule a personalized discussion, or you can call them at 202-524-1115. To summarize the Splash Financial Student Loan Review Splash Financial is a student loan marketplace that offers access to their strong lending partners. Through their partners, they offer some of the lowest interest rates available and a 0.25% discount for autopay. They also offer an easy-to-use site and an automated underwriting platform where you can apply for a loan once you’ve been pre-qualified. They do have a downside — their site lacks some of the transparency that’s important in making crucial financial decisions due to inconsistencies in policies from lender to lender. Since you don’t see any detailed information until you have applied for a loan, you lack important decision-making criteria, such as potential interest rates, term options, or overall ratings. If you want to refinance your student loans, Splash Financial could be a great option – but it’s still important to compare with other lenders in order to save the most money. Before making decisions, use our college loan refinance calculator to see how much you'd save.