Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

Best student loan refinancing offers for bad credit

Keep in mind you'll likely need a cosigner to qualify.

Updated

Fact checked
Refinancing your student loans can help you lower your monthly repayments, cut down on how much you pay in interest — or both. But you’ll have to apply with a cosigner if you don’t have good credit. And if you have federal loans, make sure you’re OK with losing access to perks like income-driven repayments and forgiveness programs.

Can I refinance my student loans if I have bad credit?

You can. But most lenders have a credit score cutoff of 660, so you likely won’t be able to qualify without a cosigner who has good credit. Even with a cosigner, you still won’t qualify with every lender. That’s because some only allow you to use the cosigner to get a lower rate. In that case, you have to meet the credit requirements on your own.

5 best student loan refinancing offers for bad credit

Our methodology: How we picked these lenders

When choosing the best lenders for refinancing student loans with bad credit, we first looked for lenders that allow you to apply with a cosigner to meet credit and income requirements. We then confirmed each lender’s legitimacy and analyzed them based on the rates, fees, loan amounts and special perks they offer.

Best for more flexible repayments: iHelp

  • Product name: iHelp Private Student Loan
  • Minimum loan amount: $1,000
  • Maximum loan amount: $150,000
  • APRs: 6.5% to 10.5%
  • Interest rate type: Variable
  • Origination fee: Not stated
  • Late fee: Not stated
  • Loan term: Up to 20 years
  • Turnaround time: Not stated

iHelp isn’t a lender, but a service that connects borrowers with local banks. It’s one of the few refinancing providers that offers standard, graduated and income-sensitive repayment plans, as well as multiple deferment and forbearance options.

While federal loans are still more flexible, iHelp might help you find a lower rate — especially if you have a PLUS Loan. Its high maximum amount might make it a particularly good deal for professional students.

Pros

  • Graduated and income-driven repayments available
  • Cosigner release after two years
  • No degree required

Cons

  • 45- to 60-day turnaround
  • Minimum term of 10 years
  • Variable rates only available with 20-year term

Best for professional loans: Citizens Bank

  • Product name: Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinancing (Variable Rate)
  • Minimum loan amount: $10,000
  • Maximum loan amount: $350,000
  • APRs: 2.72% to 8.38%
  • Interest rate type: Variable
  • Origination fee: Not stated
  • Late fee: Not stated
  • Loan term: 5 to 20 years
  • Turnaround time: Not stated

Graduate and professional degrees get you the lowest rates from Citizens Bank, especially if you refinance for a shorter term. Its maximum amount is also higher if you’ve taken on debt from an expensive program, like medical school. But you might want to look elsewhere if you never completed a degree — you might not be able to get a better rate than you already have.

Pros

  • Lower rates for graduate and professional degrees
  • Parent loan refinancing available
  • Loyalty discount
  • Cosigner release after three years

Cons

  • Can’t refinance federal loans on an income-driven repayment plan
  • Higher rates if you didn’t graduate
  • No cosigner release for parent loans

Best for comparing offers with multiple cosigners: Credible

  • Product name: Credible Labs Inc. (Student Loan Platform)
  • Minimum loan amount: $1,000
  • Maximum loan amount: Not stated
  • APRs: Starting at 2.84% with autopay
  • Interest rate type: Variable
  • Origination fee: Not stated
  • Late fee: Not stated
  • Loan term: 5 to 20 years
  • Turnaround time: Not stated

Credible is an online connection service that can help you find the best deal available to you by prequalifying with multiple lenders at once. What sets it apart from other connection services is that it allows you to prequalify with more than one cosigner to see which can get you the best deal. This makes it a great choice if you’re struggling to decide between two parents or other cosigner options.

Pros

  • Check your rate with multiple considers
  • Compare offers from more than one lender
  • No degree necessary

Cons

  • Not guaranteed approval, even if you prequalify
  • Limited to the partners in its network
  • Might require additional research on repayment options and servicers before you apply

Best for lower balances: Advantage Education Loan

  • Product name: Advantage Education Loan private student loan
  • Minimum loan amount: $1,000
  • Maximum loan amount: Not stated
  • APRs: Not stated
  • Interest rate type: Fixed
  • Origination fee: Not stated
  • Late fee: Not stated
  • Loan term: Up to 10 years
  • Turnaround time: Not stated

Got a low balance and a cosigner that barely meets the credit requirements of most other lenders? Advantage Education Loan might offer a better deal. The less you need to borrow, the more lenient the credit requirements. It’s also one of the few private lenders that offers a graduated repayment option.

But make sure you and your cosigner live in an eligible state and meet its relatively low 38% debt-to-income (DTI) requirements before you apply.

Pros

  • Graduated repayment option
  • Parent loan refinancing available
  • Cosigner release after three years

Cons

  • Harder to qualify for larger amounts
  • Not available in 22 states
  • Strict DTI requirement compared to others

Best for international students without a cosigner: Prodigy Finance

  • Product name: Prodigy Finance Private Student Loan
  • Minimum loan amount: Not stated
  • Maximum loan amount: Not stated
  • APRs: Not stated
  • Interest rate type: Variable
  • Origination fee: Not stated
  • Late fee: Not stated
  • Loan term: 7 to 20 years
  • Turnaround time: Not stated

Prodigy Finance is the main student loan refinancing company that specializes in refinancing for former international students — or those who got a degree abroad and moved to the US. Its rates aren’t as competitive as providers that offer noncitizen refinancing, but it’s one of the only options available if you don’t have a cosigner. It’s also not available to graduates of all universities, so make sure your school qualifies first.

Pros

  • No cosigner required for international students
  • Available to graduates of schools around the world
  • Easy to make repayments from abroad

Cons

  • Relatively high rates for a refinancing company
  • Not all schools can qualify
  • No autopay discount

Can I qualify with other lenders if I’m an international student with bad credit?

As an international student, you might be able to refinance with other lenders like Citizens Bank that accept international students who apply with a creditworthy cosigner who is a US citizen or permanent resident. Aside from that, your options are limited to refinancing with a provider that specializes in loans for nonresidents.

How much will I pay after refinancing?

Take a deeper dive into how refinancing your student loans with bad credit works

Compare more student loan refinancing providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing
660
None
Starting at 2.27%
Save on your student loans with this market-leading newcomer.
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
Good to excellent credit
None
Starting at 2.21%
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing
680
None
2.39% to 6.01%
Lower your student debt costs with manageable payments, affordable rates and flexible terms.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (w/ autopay)
650
None
3.21% to 8.72%
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
650
Full balance of your qualified education loans
3.21% to 6.67%
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing (Variable Rate)
620
$300,000
2.27% to 7.49%
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

If you have a cosigner, refinancing can help you save on the short- and long-term costs of your student debt. Otherwise, you likely won’t be able to meet the criteria to qualify, since most refinancing companies require good to excellent credit. You can learn more about how trading in your loan works with our guide to student loan refinancing.

Frequently asked questions

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site