Splash Financial student loan refinancing review | finder.com

Splash Financial student loan refinancing review

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Save on your general and medical residency loans with this market-leading newcomer.

You’ve finished medical school, and now you’re waiting for that big MD money to start rolling in — just after you finish your residency. Or maybe you’ve improved your credit while paying off your student loans and are looking for a stronger loan rate to match your new score.

Focused on medical professionals, Splash Financial offers two refinancing options that can shave money or time off your current loan: competitive rates on any type of student debt, or a special program that can lower repayments to as little as $1 while you complete your residency.

But you’ll need strong credit to qualify — or a creditworthy cosigner.

Product NameSplash student loan refinancing
Min Loan Amount$7,500
Max. Loan Amount$300,000
APR3.25% (starting at)
Interest Rate TypeVariable
Minimum Loan Term5 years
Maximum Loan Term15 years
  • A credit score of at least 670 with a cosigner or 700 on your own.
  • US citizenship or permanent residency.
  • Salary of at least $25,000 a year with a cosigner or $42,000 on your own.
  • A willingness to join PenFed Credit Union.

First, am I eligible?

To qualify for student loan refinancing with Splash, you must meet eligibility requirements that include:

  • A credit score of at least 670 with a cosigner or 700 on your own.
  • US citizenship or permanent residency.
  • Salary of at least $25,000 a year with a cosigner or $42,000 on your own.
  • A willingness to join PenFed Credit Union.

Qualified cosigners must have a credit score of 720 and an annual income of at least $50,000.

If you’re cosigning a loan with your spouse, one spouse must have a credit score of at least 670 and another of at least 700. Your combined income must be at least $42,000 — and one spouse can be unemployed.

Medical resident refinancing eligibility

Because Bank of Lake Mills funds Splash’s medical resident refinancing, eligibility differs from general student loan refinancing. To qualify for medical resident refinancing, you must:

  • Be a medical professional.
  • Have completed or are currently enrolled in a residency program.
  • Have a strong credit history.
  • Live in an eligible state.

Splash does not advertise its credit requirements for medical resident refinancing, but you can learn whether you’re eligible by preapplying on its site.

Medical resident refinancing is not available in:

  • Vermont
  • Connecticut
  • Louisiana
  • West Virginia
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma

How does refinancing with Splash work?

To refinance your student loans with Splash, you apply to take out a new loan to replace your existing student loans or combine multiple loans into one, ideally with more favorable rates and terms.

Splash isn’t a direct lender. Instead, it helps borrower navigate the refinancing process. PenFed Credit Union ultimately funds its loans and repayment services.

Splash allows borrowers to refinance both federal and private student loans through a fully online application. If you’re not ready to commit, you can prequalify online for a risk-free estimate of your rates.

Medical resident refinancing

Medical resident refinancing comes in higher amounts than other Splash options — from $25,001 to $346,000 — to match the higher debt load many medical professionals tend to have. You can refinance both federal and private loans and complete your application online. Or prequalify without risk to see the rates you’re eligible for.

What happens if I refinance my federal loans with Splash?

If you refinance your federal loans, you’ll lose key benefits that Splash can’t offer, like income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs for public service.

Before you refinance your federal loans, carefully consider the benefits you’ll lose against any savings you’ll gain.

How much will I pay to refinance my loans?

Splash doesn’t charge fees for applying, so your main cost is the interest you’ll pay on the amount you borrow. Splash offers both fixed and variable interest rate options for general student loan refinancing:

  • Fixed rates. 3.25% (starting at) APR and stay the same over the life of your loan, making it easy to predict your monthly repayments.
  • Variable rates. Rates go up and down over the life of your loan, ranging from 2.70% to 7.44%.

If you choose a variable rate option, you won’t necessarily end up with a rate within the stated range the entire time you’re paying off your loan. To understand why, you need to know how Splash calculates your variable rate.

First, Splash assigns you a small fixed margin rate between 1.58% and 5.36%. It then adds your margin rate to the one-month LIBOR rate, which is set by a third party and fluctuates depending on the lending market. If you qualify for the 1.58% margin, then you’ll always get the lowest rate offered.

To protect borrowers from high LIBOR rates, Splash caps interest rates at 9% for five- and eight-year terms and 10% for 12 – and 15-year terms.

Medical residency refinancing

Because Splash offers medical residency refinancing through Bank of Lake Mills, its rate options differ slightly from other refinancing options. The loan comes with fixed rates only that range from 3.25% (starting at) to 6.69%.

Does Splash offer any discounts?

Yes. Splash offers bonuses for people at both end of a referral. If you refer a friend, you can qualify for a bonus of $250. Or apply through another borrower’s referral link for a $250 welcome bonus.

Medical residents are eligible for a 0.25% rate discount by signing up for automatic withdrawals. The autopay discount isn’t available on general student loans, however.

Does Splash charge late or returned check fees?

Yes. If you’re late on repayments for general refinancing, you’ll pay a fee equal to 20% of your interest payment — starting at $5 and capped at $25 — if you’re more than five days late. If your payment bounces, you’ll pay a $30 returned check fee.

Splash is more lenient with its medical residency refinancing, where you’ll pay a late fee equal to 5% of your full repayment, but no more than $10, if you’re more than 15 days late. And you’ll pay a $15 fee for each returned check.

What are my repayment options?

For general student loan refinancing, Splash offers one standard repayment plan. You pay the same amount each month if you have a fixed rate and varying amounts each month if you have a variable rate.

You can adjust your monthly repayments through the loan term you choose. Splash offers loan terms from 5 year(s) to 15 year(s). When choosing a long term, consider that you’ll pay less interest over a shorter term, but with higher monthly repayments. Whereas with longer terms, you’ll likely pay less each monthly but more in interest over the long term.

Longer terms also tend to come with higher rates than shorter terms. To find the right balance, look for a term that gives you the highest monthly repayments you can comfortably afford.

Repaying your medical residency refinancing loan

The main draw of the medical residency refinancing loan is its repayment plan. Repayments can be as little as $1 a month for up to 84 months while you’re completing your residency or a fellowship. After your residency or fellowship is over, you get 10 years to fully pay off your loan.

While those $1 repayments sound attractive, you might not want to choose such a low repayment unless you your budget can’t support paying more. That’s because the interest you don’t pay is added to your loan’s principal — known as interest capitalization. In short, you’ll end up paying more in the long run.

Like with the general student loan, commit to the highest monthly repayment your budget comfortably allows.

Deferment and forbearance

Splash offers no official deferment or forbearance program on its general student loan refinancing and medical residency refinancing options. However, in extreme cases of economic hardship — like unemployment, temporary injury or illness — you may qualify for forbearance.

If you have a general refinancing loan, reach out to PenFed, which handles your repayments, to discuss your situation and ask about your options. If you have a medical residency refinancing loan, reach out to Splash directly.

Compare other student loan refinancing providers

Rates last updated September 24th, 2018
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR Product Description
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
Good to excellent credit
2.57%(As low as ) (variable)
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
full balance of your qualified education loans
2.570%–6.605% (variable)
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing
2.57%–8.69% (variable)
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (w/ autopay)
no maximum
2.47%–5.87% (variable)
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
PenFed Student Loan Refinancing
3.25%–7.03% (fixed)
Straightforward refinancing with competitive rates.
CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing
2.72%–7.25% (with autopay) (variable)
Trade in your existing school loans for competitive APRs that come with a discount for autopay.
LendKey Student Loan Refinancing (with AutoPay)
2.51% (As low as) (variable)
Find competitive rates and unmatched loan benefits from LendKey’s network of not-for-profit lenders.
LendingTree Student Loans
Good to excellent credit
Varies by lender
3% (As low as) (fixed)
Compare multiple student loans and student loan refinancing options in one place.

Compare up to 4 providers

Top reasons to consider Splash

  • $1 repayments for medical residents. If you’re struggling to make ends meet while you’re a resident, this repayment option could help you avoid late payments or default until your career is under way.
  • Competitive rates. The highest fixed rate on Splash loans is where some private student loans start.
  • Parent loan refinancing. Splash offers a refinancing option for parents looking to pay off their child’s student debt.
  • Referral bonuses. Earn $250 simply by referring a friend who qualifies for refinancing or signing up through a friend’s link.
  • Risk-free rate check. Unlike other student loan refinancers, Splash offers an estimate of loan rates and terms with a soft credit pull.
  • Cosigner release on general refinancing. Apply to remove your cosigner from your loan after 12 consecutive on-time repayments, as long as you meet credit requirements on your own. Cosigner release isn’t available if they’re your spouse.

Why you might want to look elsewhere

  • Restrictions on schools. Not all schools are eligible for general refinancing and medical residency refinancing, and Splash doesn’t offer a list to check against. You’ll have to reach out to customer service or preapply to find out.
  • No cosigner release on medical residency refinancing. You can’t apply to take your cosigner off your loan with this refinancing option.
  • Only one loan term for medical residents. After you finish school, you have only 10 years to pay off your debt — which can mean high repayments, depending on how much you’ve borrowed.
  • Multiple companies. Splash doesn’t fund your loan or handle repayments. If you’re concerned about sensitive information trading too many hands, you might want to look at other providers.

What do borrowers say about Splash?

We weren’t able to find online customer reviews or comments about Splash. The company earns an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) based on factors like advertising practices and how it handles customer complaints. It isn’t accredited by the BBB, and it doesn’t have a page on Trustpilot.

To get an idea of what to expect, look at customer reviews for the actual lender, PenFed. The credit union’s online reputation is mixed. While customers in forums generally agree that its rates are low, its BBB reviews are nearly all negative, mostly due to mix-ups with repayments.

Unfortunately, Bank of Lake Mills appears even less popular than Splash online. You won’t find even find a BBB page for the bank. The fact that the FDIC ordered the Bank of Lake Mills to pay $3 million to customers and $151,000 in civil penalties for deceptive practices in 2017 might be all you need to know. Issues included promising six months of interest-free repayments and then charging interest anyway and pushing add-ons to loans.

What to expect when signing up

Splash requires borrowers to prequalify before completing a loan application. Get started at Splash’s site, selecting Get My Rate. Select your highest degree and hit Continue or Yes, if you’re currently a resident.

Applying for general refinancing

  1. Fill out the required fields before clicking Find My Rate. If you aren’t able to select your school, reach out to Splash — there’s a chance it isn’t eligible.
  2. Enter your current loan amounts, whether you’re applying with a cosigner and your estimated credit score, among other required info. Review the offers you might be eligible for, and click Apply next to the offer that makes the most sense for your financial situation.
  3. Create an account and follow the directions to complete the application, uploading any necessary documents. Carefully read your loan’s disclosures before submitting your application. At this point, PenFed will pull a hard check of your credit, which could drop your credit score by a few points temporarily.
  4. If you’re qualified to continue, PenFed reaches out for additional documents. These can include recent pay stubs, tax returns, a copy of your diploma or transcript and statements from your loan servicers.
  5. Review and sign your final offer.
  6. Wait up to 14 days for PenFed to pay off your existing student loans.

Applying for medical resident refinancing

  1. Fill out the required fields before clicking Next.
  2. If you’re eligible, you’re notified that you’re eligible to apply. Click Start Application.
  3. Splash redirects you to CampusDoor, a student loan application processor. Follow the directions to check your eligibility again by entering details about your medical school and location. Click Am I Eligible?
  4. Create an account and follow the directions to complete the application. Carefully read the terms and conditions of your loan before clicking Submit. At this point, CampusDoor runs a hard check of your credit that can affect your credit score.
  5. Wait for Campus Door to ask for documentation. This can include a recent pay stub, taxes, payoff statements from your lender, a copy of your diplomas, a letter of employment or contract detailing the terms of your residency and the National Provider Identifier of your employer.
  6. Review and sign the promissory note.
  7. Wait up to 30 days for Bank of Lake Mills to pay off your student loans.

More about Splash

Based in Cleveland, Splash Financial was founded to ease the burden of student debt on students just starting their careers — specifically those in the medical field. Its board of directors is made up of finance and health professionals who have been in the same position many of its clients are in now.

Reach out to Splash for assistance by calling 800-349-3938, chatting live with a rep on its site, emailing contact@splashfinancial.com or through Facebook and Twitter. If you live in Ohio, see if there’s a Splash office near you.

Bottom line

Splash’s competitive rates can help young professionals with strong credit save on student debt. Its medical residency refinancing loans are designed to support struggling young doctors just starting their careers. It doesn’t do all of this work on its own, however, which means it could be hard to keep track of who has your personal information.

To learn more about how refinancing works and compare other lenders, read our comprehensive guide to student loans.

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