Wells Fargo student loan refinancing review
Unlike other lenders, you don’t need a diploma to qualify.
- Best for current Wells Fargo customers looking for a high interest rate discount.
- Pick something else if you want transparent credit, income and employment requirements.
2.5% to 8.49%
Max. Loan Amount
|Product Name||Wells Fargo Private Consolidation Loan|
|Minimum Loan Amount||$5,000|
|Max. Loan Amount||$300,000|
|APR||2.5% to 8.49%|
|Minimum Loan Term||5 years|
|Maximum Loan Term||20 years|
|Requirements||US citizen, national or permanent resident; meet credit, employment and debt-to-income criteria; minimum student loan balance of $5,000|
Kathryn Pomroy was a writer for Finder, specializing in loans. She has written for dozens of major publications, small businesses and many well-known personal finance companies, including LendingTree, Money Crashers, Quickbooks/Intuit, BankRate, LendEDU and more. Kathryn holds a BA in Journalism and drinks super bold coffee while eating peanut butter and honey toast.
Wells Fargo is one of only a few lenders that lets borrowers refinance loans without earning a college degree. And it comes with hefty interest rate discounts of up to 0.75% if you sign up for automatic payments and have a qualifying Wells Fargo account.
But it doesn’t list credit and income requirements on its website — and you might be able to find lower rates elsewhere if you have excellent credit. It has also recently limited its refinancing offer to current borrowers, which means anyone without a Wells Fargo student loan won’t qualify.
If you’re not sure Wells Fargo is for you, compare other student loan refinancing providers below.
Wells Fargo limits student loan refinancing to existing borrowers
As of July 1, 2020, Wells Fargo has stopped refinancing loans it did not originate. If you have a federal student loan — or a private student loan from a different lender — you should compare more refinancing options. You can start your research by considering these three alternatives to Wells Fargo:
- Earnest student loan refinancing. Earnest has one of the lowest APRs out there, ranging from 1.99% to 6.23% for its variable-rate loans — and there are no fees. But you'll need to meet a long list of requirements to qualify.
- SoFi student loan refinancing. SoFi is one of the best options if you want help building your career and professional portfolio — borrowing from it gives full access to a number of free tools to do just that. Its refinancing options have low rates, and you can qualify with as little as $5,000 in student loans.
- Discover student loan refinancing. Discover is one of the few lenders that offers refinancing to borrowers without a degree. Like Earnest and SoFi, it doesn't charge any fees, and its rates start at a low 2.8%.
First, am I eligible?
To qualify for student loan refinancing from Wells Fargo, you must meet a few criteria:
- Student loan balance of at least $5,000 to consolidate — each individual loan must have a minimum balance of $1,000
- U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident
- Meet employment, credit and debt-to-income requirements
What states is Wells Fargo student loan refinancing available in?
Wells Fargo is available in all 50 states and Washington, DC.
How much will I pay to refinance with Wells Fargo?
There are no upfront costs to refinance with Wells Fargo. In fact, they make it easy to check what rates and terms you might qualify for with no impact to your credit score by filling out a quick online form.
Actual interest rates vary and are determined by the repayment term and credit qualifications of you and your cosigner when you apply. You have the choice of fixed or variable rates selected during the application process.
Fixed rates range from 3.74% to 9.99% APR, while variable rates start and end slightly lower at 2.5% to 8.49% APR. Repayment terms span five, seven, 10, 15 or 20 years and are determined by your total loan amount and credit qualifications.
Does Wells Fargo offer discounts?
Wells Fargo offers two ways to lower the amount of interest you pay over the life of your loan:
- Automatic payment discount. Set up automatic payments and receive a 0.25% interest rate discount.
- Customer loyalty discount. If you have a Portfolio by Wells Fargo relationship, you can get a 0.5% interest rate discount. Otherwise, you can score a 0.25% interest rate discount if you have a qualified Wells Fargo checking account or a prior or existing Wells Fargo student loan.
Can I refinance both federal and private student loans?
While Wells Fargo used to allow you to refinance both federal and private student loans, it stopped refinancing federal student loans due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is because federal student loan payments have been automatically suspended through September 30, 2020 under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. So it makes sense to hold off on refinancing any federal student loans until your repayments begin again in October 2020.
What are the benefits of refinancing with Wells Fargo?
Wells Fargo offers a number of benefits for refinancing your student loans, including:
- High interest rate discounts. You can reduce your student loan costs by up to 0.75% if you have a qualifying Wells Fargo account and set up autopay.
- Prequalify without affecting your credit. Answer a few questions online and get your potential rate and monthly payment estimates before you apply for the loan.
- Cosigners allowed. If you’re not sure you’ll qualify on your own or you want a better rate, Wells Fargo allows you to apply with a cosigner.
- Available even if you didn’t graduate. Even if you didn’t graduate, you can still refinance with Wells Fargo
- Flexible repayment options. If you hit a financial rough patch, Wells Fargo has several forbearance and deferment programs that can help lower your monthly payments to get you back on track.
- No application, late or origination fees. There are no upfront costs or monthly fees that add to your monthly payment, and there are no penalties to pay off your loan early.
What to watch out for
Consider these potential drawbacks before refinancing your student loans with Wells Fargo:
- Eligibility requirements not listed. Wells Fargo doesn’t disclose minimum income and credit score requirements, which makes it hard to know if you’ll qualify before you apply.
- Rate discount for Wells Fargo customers only. You only get the interest rate discounts if you’re an existing customer and set up autopay.
- Might find lower rates elsewhere. There are other student loan refinancing providers with rates that start around 2% and cap out under 7% — lower than what Wells Fargo offers.
- Can’t refinance federal loans. Wells Fargo stopped allowing borrowers to refinance federal student loans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Compare other student loan refinancing offers
What are my repayment options?
With refinancing, repayments start immediately with most lenders — and Wells Fargo is no different. Its standard repayment option is fixed monthly repayments over the length of your loan term. However, it does offer flexible options if you hit a financial rough patch, which we’ll discuss below.
About 45 days before your loan payments are scheduled to begin, Wells Fargo will send you a letter stating a repayment schedule and terms.
Does Wells Fargo offer deferment or forbearance?
Emergencies like an unplanned medical expense or losing your job happen. Fortunately, Wells Fargo has options that can provide temporary or permanent relief. These include:
- Deferment and forbearance. If you return to school, enroll in a professional course, join the military or face a financial hardship like losing your job, Wells Fargo may allow you to temporarily stop making your student loan payments.
- Loan modification program. If you’re already past due on your loan payments, its loan modification program might allow you to lower your payments in the short or long term so that you can catch up.
- Forgiveness available in extreme situations. If you die or become permanently and totally disabled, loan forgiveness is available. Just keep in mind this doesn’t apply to your cosigner — just you, the student borrower.
It’s worth noting that interest on your student loans continues to add up during deferment and forbearance. And all of that unpaid interest gets added to your outstanding balance, making your loan more expensive in the long run.
Although payments aren’t required during forbearance, you can still make them if you’re able to. This will help reduce the amount you pay over the life of your loan.
Wells Fargo reviews and complaints
|BBB customer reviews||1.09 out of 5 stars, based on 365 customer reviews|
|Trustpilot Score||1.3 out of 5 stars, based on 355 customer reviews|
|App Store Score||4.8 out of 5 stars, based on 48,000,000 customer reviews|
|Customer reviews verified as of||16 October 2020|
Wells Fargo doesn’t fare well on the Better Business Bureau or Trustpilot, scoring a dismal 1 out of 5 stars on each. Poor customer service and high repayments seem to be the primary complaints among reviewers.
How do I apply?
The easiest way to apply to refinance your student loans is to visit the Wells Fargo website and fill out an online application. Follow these steps to get started:
- Go to the Wells Fargo website and hover over Loans and Credit under Personal.
- Click Student loans, then click Consolidate student loans.
- Click Apply now and follow the steps to complete the application with information about yourself, your finances and your student loans.
- Submit your application and wait to hear back about a decision.
What information do I need to apply?
When you fill out the online application, you will be asked to provide the following details:
- Where you live
- Your name and contact information
- Social security number
- If you are a current Wells Fargo customer
- Details about your student debt
What happens after I apply?
You should receive a decision within a few days after submitting your application — it takes time for Wells Fargo to pull your credit report and verify your documents.
If approved, you’ll receive a link via email with your loan documents to sign. You can sign online or print them out to sign and upload, mail or fax them in to a Wells Fargo loan specialist.
More about Wells Fargo
William G. Fargo and Henry Wells, the founders of American Express, founded Wells Fargo & Company back in 1852. Today, it’s headquartered in San Francisco, California, with branches located in all 50 states and Washington, DC.
It’s currently the world’s fourth largest bank in total assets, and provides loans, credit products, CDs, checking and savings accounts and investment solutions to individuals. It also provides business solutions, such as asset management, supply chain finance and corporate trust services.
Not sure Wells Fargo is right for you? Explore other options with our guide to student loan refinancing.