Connext student loan refinancing review
This student loan platform allows you to get competitive rates through a smaller bank — without actually having to deal with it.
- Best for borrowers looking for low rates from a local bank without the bureaucracy attached.
- Pick something else if you have federal loans or never finished your degree.
3.89% to 9.89%
Max. Loan Amount
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.
Connext allows you to take advantage of the low rates you can usually find at local financial institutions without having to wade through the bureaucracy that banks are known for. Without any hidden origination or prepayment fees, you can pay off your balance early to save on interest.
Think you might not qualify on your own? Connext allows you to bring on a cosigner — with the option to take them off your loan after making three years of on-time repayments.
However, you can only refinance private student loans — federal loans don’t qualify. And only borrowers who finished their degree are eligible. Plus, Connext only offers a fixed repayment plan, which can be tough if you’re on a tight budget and can’t meet high monthly repayments. However, it does offer loan forbearance if you fall on hard times.
Still not sold? Check out our list of other student loan refinancing providers that might be a better fit.
First, am I eligible?
To qualify for student loan refinancing with Connext, you or your cosigner must:
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident
- Be a graduate of an eligible school
- Have good credit
- Have verifiable employment or income
- Be older than 18 years old
How does refinancing with Connext work?
On the surface refinancing with Connext works like most other student loan refinancing companies. Apply for a new loan with lower rates to replace your current student loan. The goal is to get more affordable monthly repayments. But that’s where the resemblance stops.
Connext is a student loan platform, not a direct lender. It’s powered by ReliaMax, a private student loan company that originates and services student loans, as well as provides student loan insurance. Connext student loan refinancing is funded by one of its partner financial institutions— usually First Dakota National Bank — and underwritten by CampusDoor.
Where you apply: Connext
Who processes your loan: CampusDoor
Who funds your loan: One of Connext’s partners, usually First Dakota National Bank
Where you make repayments: ReliaMax
This process doesn’t necessarily affect your experience. You apply for a loan through Connext and repay it through ReliaMax. It could be difficult to navigate if you have any questions during the application process and disbursement, however.
Can I refinance my federal loans with Connext?
No. Student loan refinancing isn’t available for federal loans by themselves through Connext.
How much will I pay to refinance?
The cost of refinancing depends on the APR of your original loan and the APR you qualify for with your Connext refinancing loan. Since Connext doesn’t charge any fees to refinance loans, you should ideally be able to save money.
No fees doesn’t mean that your student loans are free. Connext refinancing loans come with either variable rate APRs starting at 3.89% with a 0.25% autopay discount and stopping at 9.89% without the discount. Fixed rate APRs start at 4.25% including the autopay discount and up to 9.85% without it.
Connext’s variable rates are based on the three month LIBOR rate, which changes on a quarterly basis — or every three months.
Loan terms range from five to 20 years for variable rate loans and five to 15 years for fixed rate loans. Connext doesn’t charge any prepayment penalties so you can save even more on interest by repaying your loan early.
Does Connext offer discounts?
Connext offers a 0.25% discount on your interest rate if you sign up for autopay. You can do this at any point after you’ve started making repayments, so you don’t need to commit at any one point.
What are my repayment options?
Connext refinancing only comes with one repayment option: Fixed monthly repayments based on your loan amount, APR and loan term. What you’d expect from any other personal loan.
If your financial situation changes, however, you can apply for forbearance to temporarily stop or reduce your repayments. You can also reach out to ReliaMax to discuss adjusting your loan’s terms by calling 877-354-2629.
Top reasons to consider refinancing with Connext
- No origination or prepayment fees. Connext won’t charge you a fee before you receive your funds or if you decide to repay your loan early to save on interest.
- Allows cosigners. You don’t personally need to meet all of Connext’s requirements to refinance your loans — you just need to know someone who does that’s willing to sign on to your loan.
- Cosigner release. You can apply to have your cosigner’s name taken off of your loan after you’ve made at least 36 monthly on-time repayments and can prove you meet eligibility requirements.
- Autopay discount. Connext reduces your interest rate by 0.25% if you sign up for autopay.
- Forbearance option. You might qualify for forbearance on your student loans if you’re unable to make repayments. Forbearance through Connext can either put your repayments on hold or temporarily reduce your monthly repayments.
Why you might want to look elsewhere
- Can’t qualify without a degree. You can’t refinance student debt from a degree you never finished with Connext.
- No federal loans. You can only refinance private student loans through Connext, even though its site mentions that some other lenders allow you to consolidate federal and private student loans by refinancing. But this isn’t always a bad thing — federal rates and terms are usually the best deal around.
- Fixed repayments. While you might be able to qualify for forbearance or other repayment assistance if you’re struggling with repayments, you can’t sign up for a graduated or income-based repayment plan to avoid going into forbearance.
- Involves multiple companies. You apply for your loan through Connext, which sends your application to CampusDoor for processing and then is funded by a local bank. Oh, and repayments go through its parent company, ReliaMax. It can be hard to keep track of who and when to contact, let alone who has your information.
- Unclear website. The information on Connext’s website has been inconsistent with what we learned when we spoke with customer service representatives. If you’re unsure if you’re qualified for a Connext, you may want to consider calling 888-558-5572 to start the application process instead.
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What to expect when signing up
Refinancing your student loan is a bit complicated. Here’s how to do it:
More about Connext
In 2016, ReliaMax started Connext as a service solution to help small financial institutions offering student loan products expand their reach. It typically works with local banks and alternative lenders to improve borrower’s online experience and streamline the process.
Through Connext, you can also apply for private student loans to pay for undergraduate and graduate school. Both come with APRs slightly higher than student loan refinancing and have 10 or 15-year fixed- and variable-rate options.
Interested in comparing Connext to other providers? Check out our guide to student loan refinancing.