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3 alternatives to American Express student loans

Find exclusive benefits and low rates with these top picks.

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Amex isn't in the student loan game. While it does have personal and business options, they won't work for college education expenses. But there are plenty of other private student lenders out there to choose from — and you can start comparing with three of our top picks.

Why doesn’t American Express offer student loans?

Student loans have never been an option with Amex. While it has a personal loan product and a selection of business loans, it's never been in the student loan space. 

Its personal loan offers a competitive minimum APR, but you're not allowed to use funds from it on post-secondary education expenses. Not to mention, you can't even apply for one unless you're already an Amex cardholder.

3 alternatives to American Express student loans

We chose three lenders by comparing a number of factors. Low APRs similar to Amex's low personal loan APRs were weighed more heavily. But we also compared overall quality, terms, amounts and repayment programs.

College Ave undergraduate student loans logo

Check eligibility

on College Ave undergraduate student loans's secure site

Best for students who want to make payments in school: College Ave undergraduate student loans

Not stated
Min. Credit Score
1.24%
Starting APR
Cost of attendance
Loan Amount

Four repayment options, including three different in-school plans, make College Ave an easy pick for students who want to start paying down their loans as soon as possible. But its extremely low rates are what earned it a spot on this list. Outside of undergraduate loans, College Ave also offers graduate, parent and career loans. And you can prequalify before you apply, so you can see the rates and terms you might be eligible for without taking a hit to your credit score.

  • Prequalify with no hard credit check
  • Four repayment options
  • Low rates starting at 1.24%
  • Forbearance is on a case-by-case basis
  • Deferment is only in school
Min. Loan Amount $1,000
APR 1.24% to 11.98%
Minimum Loan Term 60 months
Maximum Loan Term 180 months
Turnaround Time Typically 10 days

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SoFi Student Loans logo

Check eligibility

on SoFi Student Loans's secure site

Best online student loans: SoFi Student Loans

680
Min. Credit Score
1.9%
Starting APR
Full cost of attendance
Loan Amount

SoFi has both low starting rates and decently capped maximum rates for a private student loan. But there’s more than simply low rates — SoFi also offers similar exclusivity that Amex offers: When you borrow from SoFi, you become a member of its online community. It gives you access to events, a personal career coach, financial advice and more

  • Online community available to borrowers
  • Max rates top out at 11.76%
  • Career coaching and financial advice available
  • Newer to the student lending scene
  • Credit score of 680 required
  • Up to 30 days to get funding
Min. Loan Amount $5,000
APR 1.90% to 11.76% with autopay
Interest Rate Type Variable
Min. Credit Score 680
Minimum Loan Term 60 months
Maximum Loan Term 180 months

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Discover undergraduate student loans logo

Check eligibility

on Discover undergraduate student loans's secure site

Best for no fees: Discover undergraduate student loans

Not stated
Min. Credit Score
4.49%
Starting APR
Cost of attendance
Loan Amount

Low rates, cashback rewards for good grades, funding up to 100% of the cost of attendance and a quick, 15-minute application make Discover's undergraduate student loans a strong contender in the space. But it also comes with absolutely zero fees: no origination, application or late fees — ever.And with its multiyear option, Discover makes it easy to keep qualifying for loans after you take out your first one. Plus, Discover doesn't stop at only undergrad loans. It also offers graduate, MBA, law, parent, consolidation and various other professional student loans.

  • No fees
  • Payment assistance options
  • International students can qualify
  • No cosigner release available
  • Checking rates requires a hard credit pull
Min. Loan Amount $1,000
APR Variable APRs: 1.24% – 10.99%

Fixed APRs: 4.49% – 12.39%
Maximum Loan Term 180 months
Turnaround Time Typically 3 to 5 weeks

Disclaimer

1. Aggregate loan limits apply.
 2. Students who get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualify for a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
3. Lowest APRs shown Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and Auto Debit Reward. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including undergraduate and graduate Loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.375% as of July 1, 2020. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Our lowest APR is only available to customers with the best credit and other factors. Your APR will be determined after you apply. It will be based on your credit history, which repayment option you choose and other factors, including your cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates.

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Federal student loans

Before you dive into private loans, check out options from the government. Federal loans offer a number of benefits that you often can't get from private loans. These include income-driven repayment plans, deferment and forbearance for unexpected emergencies. You can apply for federal loans by filling out the FAFSA.

See more student loan providers

For more options in the private sector, use our table to compare lenders and get an idea of what you might qualify for.

Data indicated here is updated regularly

Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
Ascent private student loans
540
$200,000
2.71% to 12.99%
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
675
$200,000
4.07% to 9%
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
LendKey Private Student Loans
Varies by lender
4.99% to 11.06%
This connection service partners with Sallie Mae and WSFS Bank to offer competitive rates.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Just because American Express doesn’t offer student loans — and its personal loans can’t be used to pay for school — doesn’t mean you're out of luck. Federal options can get you low-cost funding with great benefits, or you can check out other private options.

Before making a decision, read our student loans guide. You’ll learn out how student loans work and find even more lenders to compare.

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