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.
Let’s face it. Local banks aren’t known for having easy online applications and quick turnarounds. Connext is here to change that. This online platform works to connect borrowers who want to refinance student loans with smaller financial institutions, allowing them to reap the advantages (competitive rates) without having to deal with its pitfalls (bureaucracy). Read on to find out if Connext can help you save on your student loans.
3.89% to 9.89%
Max. Loan Amount
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.
Compare more student loan refinancing options
What do customers say about Connext?
Almost nothing. Connext doesn’t have a Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Trustpilot page — not surprising for such a young company. But neither does its parent company ReliaMax.
The handful of mentions of either company that show up in forums don’t go into much detail about users’ experiences. An exception is one person who had a bad experience dealing with ReliaMax, which they claim put them in forbearance without their consent after they’d decided to strategically default.
This only indicates that Connext might not be as widely used as other lenders, or that customers are generally satisfied with their experience — not excited or upset enough to comment.
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.
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 and patchy customer service that small operations are known for. It doesn’t come with many repayment options, but you can find help if you fall on hard times.