Student Loan Refinancing good or bad?!
I have been dealing with a terrible situation where my full 6 figure loan balance is being held at 2 refinancing companies at the same time erroneously… with both asking for monthly payments at the same dang time, after refinancing my student loans from one loan servicer to another.
This is the second time I have refinanced my student loans, with the first time being a very smooth and positive experience. So you are here wondering is student loan refinancing good or bad? Well like I said I have had a great experience in the past, but this experience I am currently in would definitely fall on the bad side and it has been quite the nightmare. Let’s get into it! First if you want to save money by getting paid 100-200$ cash to refinance with these companies check below, but first read to find out if it makes sense for you… awesome, lets go.
- Earnest= you get 200$ cash back with my link
- SOFI= you get 100$ cash back with my link
- Laurel Road= you get 120$ cash with my link
Began with Federal Student Loans:
I started out with all my loans at Great Lakes Loans with federal loans and graduate plus loans after completing physical therapy school. Some of my federal loans from undergraduate school had amiable interest rates in the 3.5% Range but the balance on those were smaller. I then had a good collection of other loans near 8% with higher balance. Then I had a collection of graduate plus federal loans which were around 7%. So, I had a large collection of different loans with different payments and interest rates.
Calculate your Average loan interest rate
First, what I did was to calculate my student loans as they were with Great Lakes Loans to see what my average interest rate was. This came out to be around 6.8% interest on my whole balance of loans which was over 150k. I saw the gravity of this and wanted to reduce this rate as much as possible and consolidate all of the payments into one single loan. So I started shopping around with different companies online to find where I would be offered the best rate.
Finding a Student Loan Refinancing Company
I was just fresh out of graduate school so I didn’t have much savings of any sort and my credit score was quite low. Luckily I had a good income at the time that helped offset slightly my debt to income ratio which they look at heavily upon applying for refinancing. I decided to try (credible link) which searches many different sites for you and helps you see what rates you may qualify for at each with one quick application. I found some great results this way but then as I researched more, I heard about SoFi.
I went to SoFi student loan refinancing and quickly applied after hearing how well regarded they are as a company and offered amazing customer service. I got a rate back that I wasn’t blown away by and from what I knew about other people refinancing I thought I could do a lot better. I kept researching and stumbled upon Earnest student loan refinancing student loan refinancing company after hearing about it in passing from a friend who was also looking to Refi.
I went to check my rates with Earnest and found that they were able to offer me a much more agreeable rate than any other company or bank that I had looked at to that date, which was dozens. I also had heard multiple outstanding review about Earnest customer service, which helped sway me. I was looking for the best rate possible with a trusted company, after finding Earnest and getting my rate it was an easy decision.
Transferring to Earnest Student Loan Refinancing
I decided to choose Earnest as my student loan refinancing company going forward. I qualified for a fixed rate of 4.95%. The rate of 4.95% is after the 0.25% discount was applied to the rate for signing up for auto-pay to come out of my bank account monthly. So going from a 6.8% average interest rate with Great Lakes Loans and Refinancing to 4.95% with Earnest is a pretty good swing, and would save me tens of thousands of dollars over my payment horizon.
I was very happy with that rate and decided to move ahead. I completed a hard credit check, was approved for that rate, then filled out all the necessary forms to get this in motion. Earnest’s website is very clean and straightforward, and Earnest customer service worked with me very well as I admittedly had several questions about the process as it went.
Earnest then sent the 30 day payoff check to the company which was received and accepted by great lakes loans. The loan balance was transferred from Great Lakes Loans to Earnest, and I was instantly paying 1.85% less on my large student loan balance. This was like a mini victory knowing that in the long run that move had saved me thousands of dollars.
Now I will say that my minimum payment jumped up quite a lot to qualify for such a nice interest rate at 4.95%. I was paying $800 more a month with Earnest to qualify for the lower rate, however I wanted to pay these off as quickly as I could so that didn’t bother me personally. Each person will differ on this part, however Earnest offers a slider button where you manually adjust your minimum monthly payment and as you move it your rate is adjusted concurrently. I think this was an amazing feature to highly customize your rate and payment, which I didn’t find elsewhere.
So I was now paying more monthly as well as paying at a lower interest rate, so I effectively advanced my payoff timeline by years with just this move alone. This first student loan refinance went quite smoothly as I stated earlier, it was the next refinance experience that was a nightmare which I am still living at the time of writing.
Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance Experience
So naturally I was not satisfied with my 4.95% interest rate and wanted to go lower and save myself even more money over the long haul as I pay off these student loans. I had looked every once in awhile at rates as I continued to pay my Earnest account monthly just to see where things were. Then the federal interest rates were cut and this lowered the interest rates offered on student loan refinancing, mortgages, and other loans. As a result I decided this was the best time to look for a lower rate.
I got some mail around that time from splash financial that pre qualified me for a 3.80% interest rate after 0.25% auto pay deduction along with a $500 cash bonus after transferring, and I love me some free money. That was over a full percentage point and I decided that with that decrease in rate and a nice little cash bonus I would make the move. The company that this rate was offered by was called Laurel Road. This is another very well known company and has been around in refinancing services for decades.
Next step was to fill out all the forms and a hard credit check was performed. I then got a 30-day payoff amount from Earnest and the check from Laurel Road was filled for that amount to more than pay for the account balance plus some, which would be adjusted later by Laurel Road. All quite smooth up to this point, with Laurel Road and Earnest customer service handling the transfer well.
So this check is what apparently has caused the whole problem. The check was sent on October 7, 2019 from Laurel Road to Earnest for more than the full balance so that it could be paid off at Earnest and transferred to Laurel Road. I was told it would take a few days and it would quickly be transferred and we would be on our way. I was happy to get things started at an even lower rate.
A week later, October 14, 2019 I still hadn’t heard anything from either company regarding the check to pay off the amount. I spoke with someone at Earnest and they told me that it just takes time for these to be received and accepted. Another week goes by and then I call Laurel Road, who tells me they have sent the check and it was received and cashed by Earnest and that my balance was with Laurel Road now. After hearing this I went to Earnest to see that it was paid off in full, and still saw my full balance sitting in my account staring me in the face.
I was now holding my full balance at 2 separate accounts. Not only was this my full balance in 2 separate places but they were also both asking for payments at the beginning of the first month. Anyone fresh out of graduate school or school of any form with crushing student loan debt knows the stress of making one payment; let alone two full payments. At this point I was beyond stressed and figured there must be an error of some sort.
I was in talks with Earnest after this for weeks and still they report that they do not have the check and have no record of receiving it. Meanwhile, Laurel Road states adamantly that they sent it and that it was endorsed and cashed at Earnest. I asked Laurel Road for the check copy so that I could send it to Earnest in hopes to speed the process of hopefully finding it. They examined the check and reported back that the endorsement on the copied check is not from their company and they have never seen it before.
So again I am sitting here with a deadline coming up in early December 2019 that I would have to make my current new loan payment at Laurel Road, and then a double payment at Earnest coming up. After talking with an upper level manager in customer service she was able to push back the date and put my account into forbearance until 2020. So with the hopes that the extra month they would have time to figure this mess out.
Currently here I sit with two different six figure student loan balances, at two different student loan servicers. I am making on time monthly payments at the new company Laurel Road and with Earnest I have cancelled auto-pay so that I am not paying two places at once. Luckily customer service as Earnest has worked with me to defer payments for the time being.
This problem has been persisting for over 2 months now and it has and continues to cause significant financial and emotional stress on me that really is unjustified. This is a simple pay off that they do with every single customer they deal with to refinance. I was just unlucky and happened to have something go wrong with my check apparently. This is unsolved at the time of writing, with the latest update being that Laurel Road has informed me that they sent another check to Earnest approximately a weeks time ago.
I am still trying to stay positive and hoping that the 2 companies can figure this out with as little intervention from my end as possible, as I have had to be way too involved up to this point to keep things moving.
Student Loan Refinancing Good or Bad ?
With all this negative momentum I still don’t think that student loan refinancing is inherently bad whatsoever. This situation is highly unlikely and I have had the customer service reps on each side (whom have both been very helpful, especially Earnest) tell me that they have never seen anything like this before in their time working there.
In personal finances to make things simple, just look at the math. If and when this mess gets figured out I will have cut off 2.8% from my initial loan balance, which will save me tens of thousands of dollars over my payment timeline as well as cut years off my pay off horizon. Student Loan Refinancing is a very beneficial method to reduce interest rates, payments, consolidate, or just pay off sooner than before.
With the two companies I have dealt with thus far I would recommend Earnest. The site is very user friendly, the customer service is out of this world, and their rates are excellent as well. I will consider moving back to them in the past even if I have to take a slightly higher rate to get there. I have gotten a genuine sense of care and passion from the team when working with customer service and upper management (whom I have fortunately and unfortunately gotten to know by name) and I am very impressed with their team.
I would recommend trying to refinance your student loans and at least seeing what rates you are offered. This can save you thousands of dollars as you pay off your student loans, as well as shave time off your payment window if done correctly.
Thanks for reading my personal story with refinancing my student loans, and I will update when this is hopefully sorted out soon! The teams at Earnest and Laurel Road are continuing to work very hard on this, and I respect the hard work their customer service is putting in to correct this.
Get Paid up to 200$ to sign up today with these links below to each of these companies I have tried. Would Recommend Earnest from my personal Experience and I plan to go back to them soon if I can get the right rate.
Earnest= you get 200$ cash back if you use my link
SOFI= you get 100$ cash back if you use my link
Laurel Road= you get 120$ cash back if you use my link
I will also get a small commission for you using my link thank you in advance if you chose to do so, I hope this article helped you make your decision… and I hope that my link got you some #freemoney while also lowering you interest rate!