This CommonBond student loan refinance review was last updated on 5/15/21 to include the latest interest rate information and a $150 borrower bonus and a 0% introductory interest rate promotion.
CommonBond has one of the better reputations of the many student loan refinance companies. Over the years, we have seen approval rates with CommonBond fluctuate, but for the most part, CommonBond usually offers excellent interest rates with better than average approval numbers.
As a result of the customer feedback and rates offered, CommonBond has been a regular in our student loan refinance lender rankings. That being said, like other lenders, CommonBond does have some flaws that borrowers should understand before starting the refinance process.
The CommonBond Basics
CommonBond is different than many other student loan refinance companies because its business focus is centered around student loans.
Some lenders are traditional banks that have added student loans to their many other features. Others, such as SoFi, have started in student loan refinancing but quickly expanding into other financial services. At CommonBond, the exclusive specialty seems to be student debt.
In our investigation of CommonBond the company, we found evidence of efforts by CommonBond to be socially responsible. This millennial-friendly corporate approach includes charitable contributions and a yearly trip to Ghana for customers and employees to build classrooms.
CommonBond Refinance Rates, Terms, and Options
|Loan Terms||5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 Years|
|Variable Rate Loans||2.50% – 6.85%|
|Fixed Rate Loans||2.59% – 6.74%|
|Minimum Refinance Amount||$5,000|
|New Borrower Bonus||$150|
CommonBond will refinance private loans as well as a wide range of federal loans, including Parent PLUS loans.
Like most legitimate lenders, CommonBond does not charge any loan origination fees or prepayment penalties.
CommonBond loans are serviced by FirstMark. When CommonBond checks borrower credit reports, they use TransUnion.
Because CommonBond rate offerings are reasonable for most loan types, borrowers will have some flexibility with loan duration. The 20-year loans will certainly have higher interest rates than the short-term loans, but when jumping from one loan increment to the next, the interest rate jump usually isn’t very severe. As a result, a borrower can opt for a 15-year loan instead of a 10-year loan to get lower monthly payments without facing a dramatic interest rate increase.
CommonBond is also starting to develop a reputation for having a higher approval rate than other student loan refinance companies. Borrowers with excellent credit can expect a low interest rate while borrowers with less than perfect credit may still find approval.
May 2021 Update: CommonBond Interest Rates and 0% Promotion Update
Like other refinance lenders, Commonbond is clearly hurting due to federal interest rates being set at 0% during the pandemic. After hearing from a reader and confirming with Commonbond, I’ve learned that CommonBond is offering an introductory 0% interest rate on 10-year and 20-year fixed-rate loans. The 0% rate on the refinance loan lasts for six months. I was not able to confirm when the promotion would be ending.
To get the 0% interest borrowers must:
- be approved for a refinance loan
- include at least one federal loan in new refinanced loan
According to CommonBond, there isn’t a specific page or code required to get the 0% rate. Instead, borrowers will see it as an option when they have their application approved. CommonBond claims that the application takes about 2 minutes and only a soft credit pull is required to see if you qualify.
From a strategy standpoint, this presents the first known opportunity for borrowers to get a 0% interest rate on their private student loans (as long as they include one federal loan in the consolidation). Hopefully, other lenders will offer similar terms to compete with this promotion.
As for interest rates, CommonBond is competitive with the top lenders in the market.
This site tracks interest rates in eight different student loan refinance categories. CommonBond is currently in the top three in six out of eight categories.
Where CommonBond really excels is in the category of 20-year fixed-rate loans. Borrowers can lock in a 20-year loan at just over 3%. This rate is quite low for a long-term loan and significantly better than most other lenders.
Advantages to Working with CommonBond
The interest rates offered by CommonBond are some of the lowest student loan consolidation interest rates available. The lack of origination fees and prepayment penalties is another huge advantage. They also offer five different length repayment plans. Having the option of 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20-year plans allow borrowers to tailor monthly payments to their specific needs.
CommonBond also offers what they call CommonBridge. CommonBridge is a program to help borrowers who lose their job find a new one. They seem to be taking the calculated risk that spending money helping borrowers find a new job will be more profitable in the long run. This is definitely a rare approach, and something we hope to see other lenders follow.
CommonBond also has a Hybrid Loan that is both a fixed rate loan and a variable rate loan. The Hybrid Loan has a 10-year repayment term, but the interest rate starts as a fixed-rate loan for the first five years and then becomes a variable interest rate loan for the final five. From a borrower perspective, it isn’t abundantly clear who this type of loan is best for, but it is definitely a unique option.
A Few Reasons for Concern
In our review of the CommonBond student loan refinance option, one potential concern is CommonBond’s willingness to consolidate Federal student loans with private student loans.
While this approach may work in certain limited circumstances, converting federal debt into private debt is one of the major risks of Student Loan Refinancing. Borrowers interested in consolidating their Federal loans into a private loan would be wise to very carefully consider their options before irreversibly consolidating their loans. That being said, this particular concern applies to all student loan refinance companies and is not unique to CommonBond.
CommonBond Review: Final Thoughts
If you have a solid income and credit score and plan on aggressively paying off your student debt, CommonBond could be a great option. To find out what rate you qualify for, click here.