PenFed Student Loans Review 2023

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PenFed refinances federal and private student loans.

You can start refinancing your student loans with PenFed by filling out an online form and checking your rate. The lender says you can pre-qualify for a loan within a couple minutes, and apply for a loan online in under 15 minutes. The next step involves submitting documentation. You’ll also need to get a PenFed membership as part of the overall loan application, but anyone is allowed to join. You’ll view your loan rate and term, and then be able to e-sign your loan agreement. PenFed will pay your previous lender, and then you will start making payments to PenFed.

PenFed does not charge application fees or prepayment penalties for its refinance loans. Rates depend on factors including your degree level and whether there is a co-signer. It’s possible to apply to release your co-signer after 12 consecutive on-time monthly payments. PenFed lists fixed annual percentage rates that range from 7.74% to 9.93%.

PenFed does not mention any student loan refinancing discounts on its website, like an APR discount for setting up autopay or for making a certain number of consecutive payments.

To refinance with PenFed, your loans must be from an associate, bachelor’s or graduate degree that you completed. You cannot refinance loans for a program in which you are currently enrolled. You must be an American citizen to refinance with PenFed.

PenFed will conduct a hard credit inquiry when you submit your application, though you can check rates without a credit check. You can select loan amounts between $7,500 and $300,000 when filling out the form to check your rate. You or your co-signer will need to have an annual income of $50,000 or more.

PenFed does not mention a minimum credit score for refinancing student loans on its website, but notes that a credit score of at least 700 is usually considered good.

PenFed is headquartered in McLean, Virginia. The credit union operates throughout the country, and U.S. citizens are able to apply for membership and student loan refinancing with PenFed.

PenFed has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. PenFed has a 4.6 out of 5 rating on TrustPilot based on more than 1,100 reviews. In 2022, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received five complaints about PenFed regarding student loans. All were closed in a timely fashion with an explanation.

PenFed offers phone customer service at 724-473-6333 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time, Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Members may also reach out via email at StudentLoans@penfed.org or send a message through PenFed’s secure online messaging.

The entire refinancing application process can be completed digitally, from getting a rate quote to signing. Once the loan is disbursed, you can automate your payments through your online account. You can also make payments and manage your account using PenFed’s mobile app.

What Are the Deferment and Repayment Options?

PenFed will pay your previous lender, and then you will start making payments to PenFed. If you make at least 12 consecutive on-time monthly payments, you can apply to release your co-signer.

What Are the Discharge Options?

PenFed’s financial hardship center features applications that borrowers experiencing temporary or permanent financial hardship can fill out to get help from PenFed, though this isn’t the same as discharging a loan.

  • Graduates with multiple student loans who wish to consolidate.
  • Those who prefer an online loan process.
  • Borrowers who make at least $50,000 per year.

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