Citizens Bank private student loans review
Get a new student loan or refinance your current one with rates that start at 4.07%.
finder.com’s rating: 4.43 / 5.0
- Best for students who want to fund all four years of school by filling out just one application.
- Pick something else if you're looking for a loan term longer than 15 years.
1.25% to 10.57%
Max. Loan Amount
Min. Credit Score
|Product Name||Citizens Bank Private Student Loans|
|Minimum Loan Amount||$1,000|
|Max. Loan Amount||$295,000|
|APR||1.25% to 10.57%|
|Interest Rate Type||Variable|
|Maximum Loan Term||15 years|
|Requirements||Be the age of majority in your state, be enrolled as at least half-time at an eligible school, be a US citizen or resident and have good credit or a cosigner with good credit|
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
Citizens Bank is ideal if you’re looking to fill out just one application to borrow for the entire duration of your college career. Its loans come with competitive rates that are a lot lower than many other private lenders out there. It also offers several in-school repayment options, on top of loyalty and autopay discounts of 0.25% each.
However, the lowest rates are reserved for borrowers who choose a loan term of five years or less. And not all schools are eligible for funding.
Not sold on Citizens Bank? Check out our list of other student loan providers to find one that might be a better fit.
What makes Citizens Bank student loans unique?
Citizens Bank is among the few lenders that offer multiyear approval — meaning that you apply only once for approval on funds to cover your entire degree. This perk not only saves you time, but it also minimizes the impact that taking out a student loan has on your credit score.
Citizens Bank is a regional bank with locations in 11 states across the Northeast and Midwest. If you live outside these 11 states or in Puerto Rico, you can still get a student loan through Citizens Bank’s national lending division, Citizens One. The process is the same, but because you’re not eligible for a Citizens Bank account, you won’t be able to take advantage of the bank’s loyalty perks.
States where Citizens Bank operates
Delaware, Connecticut, Michigan, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
What student loans does Citizens Bank offer?
Citizens Bank offers four types of student loans:
- Student loans for undergraduates. Borrow up to $90,000 to supplement your federal loans with a fixed- or variable-rate term loan. Students without a credit history need a cosigner.
- Student loans for parents. Pitched as an alternative to the Federal Direct PLUS loan, this loan allows parents to pay for their children’s higher education.
- Student loans for graduate students. Term loans of up to $295,000 to cover educational costs for graduate degrees that federal loans can’t — like medical residency expenses or bar exam prep courses.
Citizens Bank student loan refinancing
If you’ve improved your credit since you took out your current student loan, you could save by replacing it with a new loan that has a lower interest rate, better repayment terms — or both.
What are the benefits of a student loan from Citizens Bank?
- Approval for your entire degree. You won’t have to waste time completing a new student loan application each year.
- Flexible repayment terms. Starting payments immediately, make payments on interest only while you’re still in school or defer payments altogether until after you leave school.
- Loyalty and autopay discount. Save 0.25% on your interest rate if you have an account with Citizens Bank and another 0.25% if you set up autopay.
- Competitive rates. While your interest rate might not be as low as federal loans, Citizens Bank’s rates are lower than many other private student loan competitors.
What to watch out for
- Your school might not qualify. Citizens Bank doesn’t advertise a master list of eligible schools. But you can check without applying by starting an application and clicking Select School to search for yours.
- Deferral can be expensive. Unlike with some federal loans, interest starts adding up as soon as you take out your loan. Depending on your interest rate, deferring your loan could be a costly option.
- Lowest rates require a short term. You’ll benefit from the lowest terms if your loan is term is five years or less.
- Lifetime limits. Like federal loans, there’s a ceiling on how much you can borrow, depending on your degree type.
Compare Citizens Bank to top student loan providers
What does the Internet say about Citizens Bank?
Citizens Bank has such a bad online reputation, it’s almost impressive. The bank isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which might mean that it simply hasn’t paid the BBB to evaluate its business practices. The BBB, however, gives the bank a failing grade based on nearly 100 reviews that are overwhelmingly negative.
The bank isn’t rated on Trustpilot, but online forums reveal a similar trend. The main problem: Citizens Bank appears to make a lot of mistakes but does little to rectify them.
Mistakes range from charging twice for the same payment to slapping users with fees for no apparent reason. And customer service tends to be either unhelpful or unwilling to fix these problems.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible for a student loan from Citizens Bank, you must:
- Be the age of majority in your state. In most states, this means you must at least 18 years old. You can get around this requirement with a cosigner.
- Be enrolled as at least half-time at an eligible school. Once you drop below half-time, you must start making full repayments.
- Be a US citizen or resident. Alternately, you can get a US citizen or resident to cosign your loan.
- Have good credit or a cosigner with good credit. Citizens Bank doesn’t have a credit score cutoff, but you could have trouble qualifying if your credit history is short or your score is low.
For student loan refinancing, your student loan balance must also be at least $10,000.
What do I need to apply?
Have the following information and documents ready before you begin your application:
- Your Social Security number
- A recent pay stub or proof of other income (for you or your cosigner)
- You employer’s contact information and how long you’ve worked there (for you or your cosigner)
- Your school’s name
- How much it costs to attend your school
- How much financial aid you’ve received
- Your anticipated graduation date
- How much you need to borrow
- A personal reference (for student borrowers only)
- Your cosigner’s name and email
- Contact information of someone (not your cosigner) who will have contact with you after graduation
How do I apply?
Make sure you have all of the required documents and information on hand before you sit down to apply.
- Go to the Citizens Bank website and select Student Lending.
- Select either Education Refinance Loan or Student Loan, depending on the type of financing you need.
- Click Apply for a Student Loan.
- Complete your personal, financial and academic information. Carefully read the terms and conditions, and submit your application online.
After you submit your application, Citizens Bank pulls a credit check on you or your cosigner that will temporarily lower your score.
Review your loan offers and submit additional documentation if requested. Carefully read your promissory note before signing.
Once Citizens Bank accepts your application, it sends a self-certification form for you to complete. It disburses your funds as soon as they receive all of your signed documents.
If you live outside the 11 states in which Citizens Bank has physical branches or Puerto Rico, the application process with Citizens One is nearly identical. The main difference is that you’ll apply through the Citizens One site.
I got a student loan from Citizens Bank. Now what?
Student borrowers have the option of choosing to start full repayments right away, make interest-only repayments or defer repayment until after leaving school. Deferral makes sense for students that are unable to work, though it could make your loan a lot more expensive. Try making interest-only payments at least, if you can afford it.
Set up autopay — called “auto debit” by Citizens Bank — to get 0.25% knocked off your interest rate. Just make sure that your account has enough funds to make each payment to avoid nonsufficient funds fees.
Keeping an eye on your account is vital when dealing with a company that has Citizens Bank’s track record. Document anything suspicious and report it immediately. And don’t forget to follow up on any claims you file.
Be sure to read our student loans guide to compare lenders and find the best rates and terms.
Frequently asked questions
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