If you’re considering refinancing your student loans, you might be comparing your options and looking for more information on the various lenders out there. Read on for Citizens Bank student loans reviews, eligibility criteria, and more.
Citizens Bank is a full-service retail bank that operates primarily in the northeastern United States, but offers student loan refinancing to residents across the U.S. through Citizens One, the bank’s lending division that operates nationally.
Unlike other lenders specifically focused on student loan refinancing, Citizens Bank also offers a variety of other financial products, but we’ll focus on refinancing for this review.
Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinancing Review vs Others
How Citizens Bank compares to other student loan refinancing options:
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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | Citizens Bank Disclosures1
Pros of Citizens Bank refinancing
For borrowers without a bachelors degree, Citizens may be a great option
Citizens Bank offers great refinancing rates to many borrowers, with the lowest variable rate offered on Credible’s platform and among the lowest fixed rates. As with any lender, the lowest rates are available to borrowers with stellar credit; others will receive a rate based on their credit profile.
Refinanced loan terms with Citizens are five, 10, 15, and 20 years, so you’ll have the flexibility to choose should you be approved to refinance.
Unlike some lenders, Citizens offers refinancing to some borrowers who have not completed their bachelor’s degree.
While you may not refinance while attending school, those who have stopped attending school and do not plan to complete their degrees are eligible to apply for refinancing through Citizens after making twelve full, on-time payments.
Having trouble making payments? Opt for forbearance
Citizens borrowers struggling to make their payments due to economic or medical hardship are eligible for up to twelve months of forbearance (which essentially puts your payments on hold for a set number of months).
If you find yourself on the other side of the spectrum and with extra money to pay down your loans, Citizens does not charge any fees for extra payments (or even for paying it off entirely).
Citizens’ perks include interest rate discounts and consolidation options
Citizens also offers interest rate discounts of up to 0.5% to borrowers fulfilling specific criteria. Their ‘Loyalty Discount’ of 0.25% is available to borrowers who have a pre-existing Citizens Bank account when they apply (co-signers’ accounts also qualify).
The Automatic Payment Discount is just what it sounds like; a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrolling in automatic payments. Anyone who refinances with Citizens can take advantage of the Automatic payment Discount, whereas the Loyalty Discount is limited to borrowers who live in a state where Citizens offers banking products.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws of refinancing with Citizens (apart from low rates) is for borrowers hoping to consolidate their finances.
Since Citizens offers everything from credit cards to mortgages, it could (theoretically) be your bank for life. That said, some products are only offered to residents of certain states in the northeast, so this benefit won’t apply to you if you live elsewhere.
Cons of Citizens Bank refinancing
Borrowers need to have graduated before refinancing with Citizens
Some lenders will allow you to refinance before you graduate from school, meaning you’ll start saving on monthly payments and interest as soon as possible. Citizens, on the other hand, requires you to have graduated (or, as mentioned above, to have stopped going to school) before you can refinance.
This is a minor drawback, as refinancing early will only save a few months worth of interest, but may be a letdown for borrowers hoping to get started as soon as possible.
Citizens may offer fewer loan options than some newer lenders
Being an older, more established bank, Citizens doesn’t offer some features that some startup lenders have incorporated into their offerings.
Some newer lenders allow you to, for example, choose your exact loan term and monthly payment amount or donate money to a nonprofit. Citizens Bank has instead chosen to offer the standard term options available from most refinancing lenders.
As with all lenders, applying to refinance your student loans requires a hard credit pull, which will show up on your credit history — an unfortunate mark to have if you’re not ultimately approved for the loan. With Credible’s prequalification tool, however, you can see what rates you’re likely to get, without affecting your credit.
Citizens Bank certainly has its pros and cons — and regardless, it’s always worth comparing the rates you’re offered from one bank to the other players out there. With Credible, a multi-lender marketplace, you can compare rates from multiple lenders with one application, to get the lowest rate possible.
Citizens Bank eligibility
Citizens Bank eligibility requirements are similar to those of many lenders. These include:
- You loans must be in repayment and you may not be enrolled in school; borrowers with verified graduate degrees may apply while in their grace period, while graduates with bachelor’s degrees must have made at least three on-time payments, and those who have not earned a degree must show proof of twelve on-time payments.
- You must have at least $10,000 in loans to refinance, and no more than $90,000 for bachelor’s degrees, $225,000 for graduate and doctoral degrees, and $300,000 for professional degrees, including law, dentistry, and medicine.
- You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien — resident aliens must have a co-signer who is a citizen or permanent resident.
- You may not refinance federal loans that are currently on an income-driven repayment plan.
Get the best student loan refinancing rates
Citizens can be a great match for certain borrowers. But each refinancing lender determines the rate they’ll offer a borrower on a case-by-case basis — so it’s impossible to know your lowest possible rate without applying to multiple banks.
The average user saves $18,668 with Credible
With Credible, it’s easy to compare the best available rates from Citizens and other top student loan refinancing lenders with just one application. You can even check your prequalified rates without a hard credit pull, so it won’t affect your credit.
Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure:
Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of September 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.57%-8.17% (2.57%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower's loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.75%-8.69% (3.75%-8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.