Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinance Review

Our Rating: C+ (Compare)

Refinancing with Citizens Bank may benefit borrowers with a high debt balance and those who already have accounts with Citizens. Among the nation’s largest banks, Citizens has recently faced litigation, including suits filed by federal entities.

Loan Limits $10,000 – $750,000
Fixed Rates 3.75%* – 9.14%
Variable Rates 1.99% – 8.89% (21.00% Cap†)
Terms 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
Min. Credit Score Undisclosed
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*Lowest rates always include a 0.25% rate reduction for enrolling in auto-pay, plus an additional 0.25% for bank members (a 0.50% total rate reduction).
The variable rate cap is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%.

Skip to: Rates & Fees | Eligibility Requirements | Repayment Options | Consumer Reviews & Complaints | FAQ

Loan Refinancing Options
Private student loans
Private parent loans (in parent’s name only)
Federal student loans
Federal Parent PLUS loans (in parent’s name only)

Citizens Bank Refinance Rates & Fees

Citizens Bank’s refinances student loans at fixed rates between 2.99% and 8.64% and at variable rates between 1.99% and 8.39%.

In 2022, Citizens Bank has raised its lowest fixed rate for new loans by 53.7% (from 2.44% APR) and its highest fixed rate by 9.2% (from 8.33% APR). Meanwhile, the lowest variable rate remains unchanged while the highest variable rate has increased by 10.0% (from 8.08% APR).

Parent PLUS refinance loans come with fixed rates between 2.99% and 7.54% and at variable rates between 1.99% and 7.29%.

Medical residency refinancing is also available; fixed rates are between 3.75% and 8.33% while variable rates start between 1.99% and 8.08%.

Note that the lowest rates include a 0.50% interest rate reduction for enrollment in automatic payments from a Citizens Bank account.

Student Loan Refinance Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5 Year 3.75% – 8.08% 1.99% – 7.83%
7 Year 4.60% – 8.31% 4.36% – 8.06%
10 Year 4.60% – 8.31% 4.36% – 8.066%
15 Year 4.85% – 8.68% 4.59% – 8.43%
20 Year 5.06% – 9.14% 4.80% – 8.89%
Parent PLUS Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5 Year 3.75% – 7.13% 1.99% – 6.87%
7 Year 5.19% – 7.31% 4.94% – 7.06%
10 Year 5.19% – 7.37% 4.94% – 7.12%
15 Year 5.49% – 7.54% 5.24% – 7.29%
20 Year 5.65% – 8.19% 5.40% – 7.94%

Additional information about Citizens Bank refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with Citizens Bank will not affect your credit score. They will conduct a soft, not hard, credit inquiry (learn the difference).
  • Citizens Bank does offer a discount for setting up auto-pay: 0.25% interest rate reduction.
  • An additional discount applies when borrowers use a Citizens Bank account to auto-pay: 0.25% interest rate reduction (for a total reduction of 0.50%).
  • Variable rates are based on the 30-Day SOFR rate (0.31%as of this writing) as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This means that as the SOFR changes, increasing or decreasing, your variable rate will change, increasing or decreasing correspondingly.
  • The variable rate cap is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate (4.00% as of this writing) plus 9.00%.

Student Loan Refinancing Calculator

Based on advertised rates, use the calculator below to determine what your new monthly payment and potential savings may be if you refinance with Citizens Bank.

Additional Fees

Beyond interest rates, there are a number of fees a refinance lender may charge up-front or during the loan servicing period. Below is a list of these fees that Citizens Bank does or does not charge.

Fee Type Amount Charged
Application Fee None
Loan Origination Fee None
Disbursement Fee None
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Payment Fee 5% of the overdue amount
Returned Payment Fee $15.00
Collection Fee Undisclosed
  1. Application fee – fee to apply for rates & approval.
  2. Loan origination fee – fee to create the new loan.
  3. Disbursement fee – fee for distributing funds to lenders to pay off loans that have been refinanced.
  4. Prepayment penalty – fee for making extra payments to reduce a refinance loan balance or pay it off early.
  5. Late payment fee – fee for making a late payment. Citizens Bank considers a payment late once it is 15 days overdue.
  6. Returned payment fee – fee for failed payments due to insufficient funds, also known as a “bounced check”.
  7. Collection fee – fee for collection activity on a defaulted debt.

Current Promotions & Offers

Citizens Bank offers a 0.25% rate reduction for enrolling in automatic payments. An additional 0.25% reduction is available for linking a Citizens Bank account to autopay. Combined, this is a 0.50% total rate reduction.

Citizens occasionally partners with other companies for promotional offers available to certain customers. For example, one current promotion offers employees a $500 gift card when they refinance over $40,000 in student loans. Certain restrictions apply.

Citizens Bank Refinance Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for refinancing with Citizens Bank, all borrowers must meet the criteria below.

  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship or permanent residence – OR – apply with a qualifying co-signer.
  • Income Requirement: $24,000 minimum annual income.
  • Credit Score Requirement: unspecified.
  • Graduation Requirement: none.
  • Location Requirement: borrowers must currently live in the United States.

Additional restrictions apply for specific individuals and loans.

  • Borrowers may not currently be enrolled in school.
  • Associate’s degree earners and borrowers who have not/did not graduate must have made at least 12 consecutive qualifying payments on their student loans before applying.
  • All borrowers may apply to borrow up to $300,000.
  • Graduate degree holders and parents may be approved to refinance up to $500,000.
  • Borrowers with professional degrees may be approved for up to $750,000.

Citizens Bank Student Loan Repayment Options

Lenders vary greatly on the benefits and options provided to borrowers during the loan servicing period. Additionally, benefits may only be available on a case-by-case basis. Citizens Bank offers some relief options.

Deferment & Forbearance

In cases where borrowers may have difficulty making payments, Citizens Bank discloses some cases where a deferment or forbearance may be available to a borrower.

To apply for loan deferment or forbearance, applicants will most likely have to appeal to Firstmark Services, a division of Nelnet that services Citizens refinance loans.

See Citizens Bank’s conditions for deferment and forbearance below.

Condition Coverage
Returning to grad school Deferment, unspecified terms
Disability rehabilitation Undisclosed
Active military duty Deferment, unspecified terms
Involuntary unemployment Forbearance, up to 12 months in a rolling 10 year period
Natural Disaster Undisclosed

Additional Options

Citizens Bank offers other opportunities for relief or contract modification.

  • General economic hardship deferment may be available to borrowers who apply; applicants will likely be directed to Firstmark Services.
  • Post-active duty deferments of up to 19 months total may be available to borrowers following the end of active military duty.
  • Co-signer release is available with Citizens after 36 consecutive, on-time payments of the principal plus interest.
  • Death / disability discharge is available in the unfortunate circumstance that a borrower passes away or suffers total permanent disability.

Citizens Bank Reviews, Complaints & Lawsuits

Beyond our own findings, our team also collected the most genuinely insightful customer experiences we could find, including any instances of legal action against the company in which the details became public.

Citizens Bank Online Reviews

Below are 3 samples of Citizens Bank customer reviews we found on public forums, included here for their value as unedited, uncensored, and unsolicited user experiences. Note that these reviews are unverified, may include inaccuracies, and may provide outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.).


“If you are still paying down your student loans, consider refinancing them now. I was able to knock 3% off my interest rate through Citizens Bank, who already financed my loan.

[Another lender] was offering a competitive rate, so I called Citizens Bank and they were able to beat [the other lender]’s rate. I’ll be paying off my private loan soon, but this refinance saved me several hundred dollars over the life of the loan; it could save you thousands!

Call up Hope at Citizens Bank and have her check interest rates for you. It’s a soft hit on your credit score, so it won’t affect it. Hope was wonderful to work with and the process to refinance was super simple and all online.”Lauren on Facebook, 2/19/2021


“I refinanced with [Citizens Bank] in December of 2016. Interest rate great. I will say, however, I had issues with them paying off my Perkins/ECSI and Mohela loans. There was a 30 day delay. They had to stop payment on the original checks and resubmit. I originally had 4 loan companies. The ones where they sent the money electronically (Great Lakes and AES) went through swimmingly. The ones where they cut the checks (MOHELA and ECSI) didn’t. I blame Citizen’s since it wasn’t one lender who didn’t get paid but, two.

In the end, I got a $500 bonus, lower rates (I took variable since I’ll be done by December), and their servicer (Firstmark) is fine. But there were some kinks.”awval999 on reddit, 1/15/2018


“Citizen’s is a good company – I just refinanced my 2nd private student loan with them, because I could finally get an interest rate lower than the rate on that loan. I found too when I talked to them they use the same credit report for 90 days and since my existing loan with them is at a 1.2% higher rate than what they’re giving me now, I can also refinance that loan to the new rate with no additional credit hit – and lower that payment by $55/mo. They just saved me $75/mo in payments, so I’m happy with them

They’re also a little more lenient with their lending – my federal loans on [an income based repayment plan (IBR)] keep me from qualifying with [other lenders] which do give better rates than Citizens. [Other lenders] fully amortize loans on IBR to determine what the full payment would be for calculating [my debt-to-income ratio (DTI)] – Citizens Bank uses your current and actual Fed Loan payment when calculating DTI. They also counted my rental income on my duplex the same way a bank would for a mortgage, where [other lenders] wouldn’t consider it.”Newbie01 on myFico, 1/3/2017


More (unfiltered) customer reviews of Citizens Bank are available at TrustPilot.com (1.3 out of 5) and ConsumerAffairs.com (3.4 out of 5).

Citizens Bank Consumer Complaints

As consumer finance companies, student loan refinancing lenders fall under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal agency. As part of their mission, the CFPB allows consumers to log official complaints. These complaints are publicly available on the CFPB official website.

Since December 1, 2011, consumers have submitted 9,381 complaints complaints about Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (Citizens Bank) for an average of one (1) complaint every 10 hours, which is more than 125 times faster than the average daily complaint rate among reviewed lenders.

Citizens has received 85.1% more complaints in 2022 (as of this writing) than it does an average year. In 2021, Citizens received 48.3% more complaints than in an average year.

In 2020, Citizens received 905 complaints, which is equivalent to one (1) complaint for every $8.486 million in corporate revenue or two (2) complaints for every 39 employees.

The allegations made in these complaints are unverified, are not necessarily representative of all consumers’ experiences with Citizens Bank, and may contain outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.). Note that a lender with a large customer base is likely to also have a higher number of complaints when compared with smaller lenders.

Line Graph: Citizens Financial Group Inc. Consumer Complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Profection Bureau since December 2011 (16), 2012 (799), 2013 (644), 2014 (687), 2015 (754), 2016 (864), 2017 (861), 2018 (956), 2019 (1,018), 2020 (905), and 2021 (1,336)

Below we’ve included 3 of the most recent complaints (as of this writing) in which the consumer referenced student loans or student loan refinancing and consented to share their details.


Complaint 5276393
3/1/2022
Pennsylvania

“I have two transactions come through my account and not enough money at the time to covered the transactions. I had until XX/XX/28 by XXXX to bring my account current to avoid the overdraft fee for high I did and I still was charged the fees and the rep XXXX was very rude and didnt help”


Complaint 5272016
3/1/2022
Pennsylvania

“Hello XXXX XXXX XXXX & XXXX XXXX XXXX, I was a loyal customer with Citizen ‘s Financial Group. On XX/XX/2022 XXXX I called in inquiring about a transaction that declined via phone. I was on hold for about XXXX till someone named XXXX answered. I explained to XXXX my concerns in regards to my card declining. I though he was nice during the beginning of he conversation, boy did the conversation take a turn quick! He began to explain to me the reason behind my card declining was due to non payment. Meaning I did not make a payment. I was very confused and shocked, due to me owning my own XXXX XXXX XXXX. I in fact pay all my bills on time. So I asked him when was the last time payment was made he stated XX/XX/XXXX. When he stated XXXX, knowing my due date is XXXX of month, I kind of hit the panic button, like have I been that busy lately I forgot to make a payment, like how can I be so foolish. As he’s speaking, I asked will the late payment reflect on my consumers report, he said Yes! I than said well are you aware that late payments are a violation? And if you report the late payment I will close the account and just get it removed for FCRA reasons. When I stated I will just get the account removed he stated ok! So I asked him how many days was I late and answered and said XXXX. So It instantly XXXX clicked! Like wait a minute, XXXX of being late can not get reported. So I said are you aware of what you just said to me? You stated I was XXXX, so I’m not late. You instantly started using an abusive tone with me. As went as far as mocking me. I was so shocked and surprised. I explained to him how I suffer from anxiety and to please not use the tone he was using with me. That didn’t stop XXXX. Moving forward not only was rude, nasty used an abusive tone he provided inaccurate information. Just to later learn that the account is only XXXX pass due. I will not ever do business with Citizen Financial Group. Expect to hear from my attorney I will also be closing the account”


Complaint 5271651
3/1/2022
Delaware

“My account number is XXXX the banks stated that my balance was XXXX. So, XX/XX/XXXX I paid {$5500.00} and made a request for the bank to send me, my payment history. I called twice request a copy of my payment history, as of XXXX, since have not received it. I paid XXXX XX/XX/XXXX and my balance was {$610.00}. I didn’t receive any decrease in the interest. So, I sent {$610.00} because I wanted my credit report to show the accounts paid off. As Of XX/XX/XXXX, the check for XXXX hasn’t been cash and payment history has not been received.”


For a full list of complaints made against Citizens Bank in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database, click here.

Citizens Bank Lawsuits

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is currently subject to at least three lawsuits: two civil actions and one class action. None of these formal complaints, however, includes any mention of Citizens’ student refinance loan programs and/or services.

Davis v. Citizens Financial Group, Inc., Case No. 2:21-cv-00044-LPL

William Davis brought a class action complaint against Citizens on January 11, 2021. The complaint demands a jury trial and alleges violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act with “unlawful conduct which has resulted in the invasion of privacy, harassment, aggravation, and disruption of the daily life of thousands of individuals.”[1]

Counsel presented arguments in October 2021.[2]

Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection v. Citizens Bank, N.A., Case No. 1:20-cv-00044-WES-LDA

The United States Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a civil action against Citizens Bank on January 30, 2020. The suit alleges violations of the Truth in Lending Act’s Regulation Z, Fair Credit Billing Act, and Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act.[3]

The case is ongoing in Rhode Island district court.[4]

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Citizens Bank, N.A., Case No. 1:19-cv-00362-WES-PAS

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a civil action against Citizens Bank. The suit, filed in September 2019, alleges the company engaged in “unlawful employment practices on the basis of disability” that violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.[5]

The case is currently assigned to a Rhode Island district court and is ongoing.[6]


Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most common questions consumers have about student loan refinancing with Citizens Bank.

  • Is Citizens Bank good for refinancing student loans?
    Refinancing with Citizens Bank may be most beneficial to borrowers who already have accounts with Citizens.
  • Does Citizens Bank have a minimum credit score requirement?
    If Citizens Bank has a minimum credit score requirement, they do not disclose it.
  • Is Citizens an international bank?
    Citizens Bank is not an international corporation. It is one of the 24 largest banks in the United States and responsible for 92% of Citizens Financial Group’s $180 billion value.
  • How long does it take to refinance student loans with Citizens Bank?
    Refinancing your student loans with Citizens Bank generally takes between 6 and 14 weeks from prequalification to your first payment comes due.
  • What is Firstmark Services?
    Firstmark Services is the servicer for Citizens Bank refinance loans, meaning Firstmark assumes all administrative duties for the loan.
  • Are Citizens Bank loans federal?
    Citizens Bank loans are not federal; Citizens is a private lender.
  • Can I refinance a loan from Citizens Bank?
    You can refinance any kind of student loan. There is no limit to the number of times a borrower may refinance with Citizens Bank. Note, however, that every application requires a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Does Citizens Bank charge a fee for prepayment?
    Citizens Bank does not charge fees or impose any penalties for making extra loan payments or paying off your loan before the end of the term.
  • Does Citizens Bank offer a grace period?
    Citizens bank does not appear to offer a grace period with their refinance loans. Citizens does, however, advertise a 6-month grace period with their student loans. Borrowers seeking to refinance student loans from Citizens may inquire about honoring an existing grace period.
  • Does Citizens Bank charge late fees?
    When a payment is 15 days late, Citizens Bank charges 5% of the overdue amount. Payments received within two weeks of the due date are not charged.
  • Does Citizens Bank have income-based repayment plans?
    Citizens Bank, like most lenders, does not offer income-based repayment. Borrowers experiencing financial hardship may qualify for temporary forbearance.
  • Can I refinance loans that have already been refinanced?
    There is no limit to the number of times you can refinance loans with Citizens Bank. Each new application requires a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Can I refinance just some of my loans with Citizens Bank?
    You can refinance some, all, or just one of your qualifying student loans with Citizens Bank. You may choose to refinance your private loans only or refinance private and federal loans together.
  • Can I refinance my loans with my spouse’s loans together?
    Citizens Bank does not refinance loans from multiple borrowers.
  • Aside from the member auto-pay rate reduction, can I get any other special rates or discounts with Citizens Bank?
    Citizens Bank makes different arrangements among its partner organizations. Partner employees and members must inquire individually to find out what benefits they are eligible for.
  • Is Citizens Bank part of any major refinance lender marketplaces?
    Yes, Citizens partners with Credible as part of its multilender lender marketplace.

Compare Student Loan Refinance Reviews

Lender Rating
RISLA A+
Brazos A
CommonBond A
Credible A
Advantage A-
ELFI A-
Laurel Road A-
Mpower Financing A-
Splash Financial A-
Purefy B+
UW Credit Union B+
LendKey B+
College Ave B
PenFed B
SoFi B
Earnest B-
EDvestinU B-
INvestEd B-
MEFA B-
Sparrow B-
Yrefy B-
Citizens Bank C+
ISL C+
Lend-Grow C+
SELF Refi C+
SuperMoney C+
First Tech Federal C
BECU C-
Navy Federal C-
First Republic Bank D+
iHelp D+
Juno D+
Discover D
Nelnet Bank D
PNC Bank D-
NaviRefi F

Sources

  1. ClassAction.org, Citizens Financial Group Hit with Class Action Over Alleged Robocalls
  2. Justia, Dockets & Filings: Davis v. Citizens Bank, N.A.
  3. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Announces Action Against Citizens Bank, N.A.
  4. Court Listener, CFPB v. Citizens Bank: Docket Entries
  5. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC Sues Citizens Bank for Disability Bias
  6. Court Listener, EEOC v. Citizens Bank: Docket Entries
  7. United States Department of Education (ED) Office of Federal Student Aid (OFSA), Manage Loans
  8. CFPB, Annual Report of the CFPB Private Education Loan Ombudsman
  9. Citizens Bank, Student Lending Disclosures
  10. CFPB, Consumer Complaint Database
  11. Dun & Bradstreet, Business Directory: Citizens Bank, National Association
  12. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities
  13. Citizens Bank, Repayments