PNC Bank student loan refinancing review
Professionals with a smaller debt load could benefit from its competitive rates.
finder.com’s rating: 3.8 / 5.0
- Best for borrowers with good credit looking for a high autopay discount.
- Pick something else if you were hoping to use a cosigner to help you qualify.
4.16% to 7.07% (varies by loan term)
Max. Loan Amount
Min. Credit Score
|Product Name||PNC Bank Education Refinance Loan|
|Minimum Loan Amount||$10,000|
|Max. Loan Amount||$75,000|
|APR||4.16% to 7.07% (varies by loan term)|
|Interest Rate Type||Variable|
|Minimum Loan Term||10 years|
|Maximum Loan Term||15 years|
|Requirements||Satisfactory credit score, repaid student loans for at least 24 months, US citizen or permanent resident, lived in the US for the past two years, two years of continuous income or employment.|
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 950 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.
PNC Bank’s Education Refinance Loan could help professionals who’ve made some headway in their career save on private and high-interest federal loans. You don’t need to have a degree to qualify, and it offers a higher-than-normal autopay discount of 0.5%
But it’s not a great choice for someone who was counting on a cosigner to pick up some of the slack, as you’ll have to meet all of the eligibility requirements on your own to qualify.
It also won’t be much help for doctors or lawyers with high debt loads — PNC caps refinancing amounts at $75,000.
Want to explore your other options? Compare even more refinancing providers below.
First, am I eligible?
To be eligible for PNC Bank student loan refinancing, you need to meet a few basic requirements.
- Have satisfactory credit
- Have repaid your student loans for at least 24 months
- Have lived in the US for the past two years
- Be steadily employed or making continuous income for the past two years
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident
While PNC Bank offers the option of bringing on a cosigner, you still need to meet these eligibility requirements on your own to qualify. But you don't necessarily need a degree to qualify.
How does refinancing with PNC Bank work?
Refinancing with PNC Bank works by replacing your current student debt load — both private and federal loans — with a new loan, hopefully with more favorable rates and terms. You can complete the application online in a few minutes and hear back on whether you prequalify within 60 seconds of hitting submit.
The entire application process can take a bit longer — typically around four to six weeks — though most of that is processing. Like with PNC Bank's other student loans, it uses CampusDoor to process the application and the servicer American Education Services to handle repayment.
What happens if I refinance my federal loans with PNC Bank?
Refinancing your federal loans with PNC Bank means that you'll lose several benefits that PNC Bank doesn't offer, like income-based or graduated repayment plans and multiple deferment and forbearance options. You might not be able to save that much if you have a subsidized loan, since PNC Bank's rates are typically higher.
On top of this, you'll lose access to key forgiveness programs that could wipe out large parts or all of your student debt. Generally, refinancing a federal loan only makes sense if it has a higher interest rate, like a Direct PLUS Loan, and you have tight job security and are relatively certain you won't need to take advantage of any of the federal loan perks.
How much will I pay to refinance?
Since PNC Bank doesn't charge any fees associated with the application, look at the interest rates. You have two options when it comes to interest: Fixed and variable.
PNC Bank offers fixed rates ranging from 4.16% to 7.07% (varies by loan term). With this option, your rate stays the same over the life of your loan, and it's easier to predict your monthly repayments.
Fixed rates break down by how long you take to pay off your loan. Choose the shorter 10-year term, and you'll get a rate within the range of 4.16% to 7.07% (varies by loan term). Choose the longer 15-year term, and you'll get something in the ballpark of 5.49% to 7.59%.
PNC Bank also offers variable rates, which currently range from 4.16% to 7.07% (varies by loan term). Like with fixed rates, PNC Bank breaks these down based on the amount of time you take to repay your loan. The 10-year term comes with rates ranging from 4.17% to 6.27%. Loans with 15-year terms come with rates ranging from 4.27% to 6.37%.
Unlike fixed rates, variable rates change over time and can make payments unpredictable. However, they have the potential to go lower than fixed rates and could potentially help you save even more.
How does this work? PNC Bank calculates its variable rates by giving each borrower a fixed rate between 2.89% and 5.09%, which it then adds to the 1-month LIBOR rate . In other words, you get one fixed rate that stays the same and another rate that goes up and down, depending on the lending market. But don't worry about it getting too high. PNC bank caps its interest at 18%.
Does PNC Bank offer any discounts?
It does. You can get a 0.5% discount on your interest rate for signing up for automatic payments. In compliance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief ACT (SCRA), PNC Bank also offers servicemembers discounted interest rates, as well as additional forbearance and deferment options.
What are my repayment options?
PNC Bank only offers a standard repayment plan. If you go for a fixed interest rate, your repayments are the same each month. Variable rates come with monthly payments that go up and down depending on the lending market.
If you lose your job or face another type of financial hardship, you may be eligible to qualify for forbearance and make small monthly repayments. Borrowers can get up to 12 months of forbearance in two-month increments. You must make 12 months of repayments before you can qualify.
If you decide to go back to school, PNC Bank offers up to 36 months of in-school deferment if you're enrolled full-time at an eligible Title IV undergraduate or graduate program. With this, your repayments go on hold while interest continues to accumulate.
Top reasons to consider refinancing with PNC Bank
- Competitive rates. PNC Bank's rates are only slightly higher than what federal lenders offer — making it a potentially great deal for people with private student loans.
- No degree necessary. You can refinance debt from programs you never finished with PNC Bank.
- Cosigner release. You can let your cosigner off the hook for your debt if you've made at least 48 consecutive on-time repayments and provide proof of income as well as pass a credit check.
- High autopay discount. PNC Bank's 0.50% autopay discount is twice as high as the industry standard.
- In-school deferment. You don't need to put your academic goals on hold because you're worried about paying off your previous student debt.
Why you might want to look elsewhere
- Low maximum amount. You can only borrow up to $75,000 — not nearly enough for borrowers with expensive advanced degrees.
- Limited term choice. You only have a choice between 10 years- and 15 years-year loan terms with PNC Bank — fewer than the competition.
- Onestandard repayment. You might have difficulty affording these full repayments if you're at the beginning of your career.
- You still have to qualify. Your cosigner can help you get a more competitive rate, but you'll have to meet all of PNC Bank's eligibility requirements on your own.
More student loan refinancing options to consider
What do customers say about PNC Bank student loan refinancing?
PNC Bank's Education Refinance Loan is brand new, so it's no surprise that there are no customer reviews online yet. The bank itself has a mediocre online reputation, scoring a C- from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which it is not accredited with. As of this writing, of its 120 customer reviews, 98% are negative and it has a whopping 1,453 customer complaints filed against it.
Most negative reviews involve different financial products like checking accounts or credit cards, but the focus is primarily on customer service. Many customers seemed frustrated at PNC Bank's responses to unforeseen situations like a death in the family or glitches in their payment systems.
What to expect when signing up
Signing up is relatively straightforward. After you've ensured that you're eligible, gather the following documents and information to make sure the application goes smoothly:
- Your Social Security number
- Your contact information
- Your school's address
- Your lenders' names, account numbers, outstanding balances, monthly repayments and interest rate types
- Your income before taxes
Once you have all this together, you're ready to start.
- Go to PNC Bank's website, hover over lending and click Education Loans.
- Click Education Refinancing to go to the student loan refinancing page.
- Hit Start Application.
- Follow the directions to create an account and start your application.
- If you're applying with a cosigner, have them create an account and complete their section of your application.
- Wait less than a minute to find out if your credit score is high enough for you to qualify.
- Wait up to two weeks for PNC Bank to reach out to you with an offer on interest rates and monthly repayments.
- If you like one of your offers, submit any additional required documentation before carefully reading and signing the promissory note.
At this point, PNC Bank will reach out to your lenders to pay off your debts and you'll start making repayment through its servicer American Education Services. The whole process can take around four to six weeks from start to finish.
Step-by-step application with screenshots
More about PNC Bank
PNC Bank is a regional bank with branches across 19 states in the eastern half of the US. It offers a wide range of financial products, including bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts and wealth management tools for individuals. It's also a one-stop shop when it comes to borrowers, offering private student loans, personal loans, car loans and home loans.
Curious about other options out there? Read our guide to refinancing student loans to compare more providers.
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