If you’re like us, even ordering takeout requires an extensive review of the available restaurants before making a decision. Food is important, but fleeting, so it makes sense that you dig into some in-depth reviews of lenders before jumping into a long-term student loan refinance. Read our review of CommonBond to find out if they are the lender you should choose.

The Basics

Your relationship with your lender should go beyond the bill. Here are a few fast facts about CommonBond so you can know exactly who’d you’d be working with during your refinance.

  • CommonBond was founded in 2012, making it one of the first companies to enter into online student loan refinancing.
  • It was created by Wharton MBA students who were struggling with their own student loan debt.
  • CommonBond partners with Pencils of Promise to provide schools, teachers, and technology to students in developing countries. They’ve donated more than a million dollars to the cause.
  • They are based in New York City and committed to treating their employees well also — CommonBond team members receive a monthly contribution to paying down their own debt.

CommonBond: Student Loan Refinance

If you’re in the market to refinance your student loans, CommonBond is worth a look. They get points from us for competitive rates, great customer service, and a social commitment we can get behind. Read more in depth on the CommonBond’s pros below, and learn where the lender could do better.

What’s Great:

  • No origination fee
  • No penalty if you pay off early
  • .25% discount for enrolling in autopay
  • Generous forbearance (up to 24 months)
  • Forbearance also applies if you return to school
  • Ability to refinance your parent’s PLUS loans
  • Co-signer release available
  • Highly regarded in-house customer service team

What Could Be Better:

  • Residents of the following states aren’t eligible to work with CommonBond: Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, and Vermont
  • No biweekly payments available via autopay, so you can’t take advantage of the autopay discount if you prefer this schedule
  • No dedicated advisor, so you may speak to someone different every time you need help

CommonBond: Who’s Eligible:

Before you choose a lender, you need to make sure you meet their requirements. Here’s who is eligible to refinance with CommonBond.

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Have a minimum of $5,000 in student loan debt
  • Have a maximum of $500,000 in student loan debt
  • Have graduated from one of their approved Title IV accredited universities or graduate programs
  • Have a credit score of 660 or higher

CommonBond: Available Products

CommonBond has several options for graduates or parents looking to refinance their loans. The following information is relatively general, so to get an exact look at their products you should get a rate quote. It’s free, and CommonBond uses a soft credit check, which means no harm is done to your score.

  • Student loan refinance for student borrowers
  • Student loan refinance for parents with Parent PLUS loansConsolidation of federal and private loans available
  • Repayment terms ranging from 5 - 20 years
  • Fixed-rate loan interest rates from 3.2% to 7.25%
  • Variable-rate loan interest rates from 2.55% to 7.05%
  • Also offers a unique hybrid loan rate, which carries a fixed rate initially then a variable rate after a set amount of time. Rates for a hybrid loans range from 4.32% to 6.27%.
  • Late payment charges are 5% of the payment or $10 (whichever is less)

CommonBond: Extra Points

Before choosing to refinance your student loans, you should always compare rates with multiple lenders (We can help you do that here). Once you get your free rates, you may find relatively comparable numbers from multiple lenders. If that’s the case, the little extras can definitely set a lender apart. Here are some extra reasons to like CommonBond.

  • Earn $200 every time you successfully refer a friend for a student loan or refinance using your CommonBond referral link.
  • Make an impact with your loan. We’ve already mentioned it, but we do love CommonBond’s social commitment through Pencils of Promise. It’s a great way to pay your education forward.
  • They are the only lender with a hybrid loan option — fixed rate for the first five years than variable rate for the next five. This option reduces the amount of interest you pay over time and eliminates uncertainty in your payments for those first years when your loan is at its highest.

CommonBond: Final Thoughts

So should you refinance with CommonBond? It definitely gets our recommendation for its customer service, competitive rates, and social promise. However, keep in mind that there could be some drawbacks depending on the situation.
Before diving into this long-term relationship, get multiple quotes from multiple lenders — we’ll help you do so here — so that you can compare not just the facts, but the numbers. It’s the best way to ensure you get an excellent deal and are set up for a successful refinance.