Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinance Review

Last Updated: October 4, 2021 by Melanie Hanson

Our Rating: B- (Compare)

Loan Limits $10,000 – $750,000
Fixed Rates 2.44% – 8.33%*
Variable Rates 2.24% – 8.08% (21.00% Cap†)
Terms 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
Min. Credit Score 650
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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

Citizens Bank offers a number of consumer financial products, including student refinance loans serviced by Firstmark Services. One of the nation’s largest banks, Citizens Bank is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group.

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 2.44% and 8.33% and at variable rates between 2.24% and 8.08%. Parent PLUS refinance loans come with fixed rates between 2.39% and 7.42% and at variable rates between 2.24% and 7.02%.

Student Loan Refinance Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5 Year 2.44% – 7.39% 2.24% – 5.87%
7 Year 2.54% – 7.46% 3.03% – 6.02%
10 Year 2.64% – 7.62% 3.03% – 6.02%
15 Year 2.88% – 8.32% 3.25% – 6.54%
20 Year 3.29% – 8.33% 4.12% – 7.02%
Parent PLUS Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5 Year 2.39% – 6.22% 2.24% – 5.87%
7 Year 3.13% – 6.47% 3.03% – 6.02%
10 Year 3.13% – 6.52% 3.03% – 6.02%
15 Year 3.35% – 6.94% 3.25% – 6.54%
20 Year 3.72% – 7.42% 4.12% – 7.02%

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 1-month LIBOR rate (0.08%as of this writing) as published by The Wall Street Journal on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. This means that as the LIBOR changes, increasing or decreasing, your variable rate will change, increasing or decreasing correspondingly.
  • Variable rates are capped 21.00% (or Prime Rate plus 9.00%, whichever is greater).

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 (2.2 out of 5) and ConsumerAffairs.com (4 out of 5).

Citizens Bank CFPB 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 of 2011, consumers have submitted 8,256 complaints complaints about Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (Citizens Bank) for an average of 16 complaints per week. Among the total number of complaints, 216 address the lender’s student loan product; at least 26 of these complaints refer to student refinance products.

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 in 2015

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


Complaint 3616667
4/21/2020
Pennsylvania

“In XXXX i contacted Citizens bank to refinance my student loans i had with them. They instructed me to wait to hear back from them. I was simply refinancing through the same exact bank. After many phone calls back and forth asking what is going on and never hearing back. They finally refinanced my student loans. I just applied for a mortgage and found out that they reported a 30 day late on all 3 of my loans that have been consolidated. This is not my fault and this is GREATLY damaging my credit by 100+ points.”


Complaint 3581348
3/26/2020
Florida

“I applied to refinance my student loans with Citizen Bank through their Citizen ‘s Bank Education Refinance Loan. A little after XX/XX/XXXX I received a letter denying my request/application. They gave three reasons, 1 ) number of auto finance accounts, 2 ) age of bankcard accounts and 3 ) total balance on bankcard accounts. I have one auto loan and only one that shows up on my credit. I would assume that 90 % of the people in this country also have an auto loan, so I am not sure how this is relevant. I do not have many new bankcards and my oldest is over 12 years old. I have never missed a payment in my life on anything. As for credit card balances, I pay some of my credit cards off every month as I use them for the points. The other ones that carry balances are interest free. So the credit report probably shows higher balances than typical. I have had the student loans since XXXX and never missed a payment. I am paying 6.75 %, which is ridiculous considering the current rates. Citizen ‘s did not even reach out to me to verify my income, which is in the six figures. Nor did they ask how much cash, marketable securities or retirement accounts I have, which should all play factors into the decision, as someone with a strong liquid position or good liquid assets could payoff the credit cards when the zero interest is up. They did absolutely nothing but look at a credit report, which showed no late payments ever. I have been in commercial lending for over 14 years. Citizen ‘s took my complaint but really couldn’t explain their decision. Their letter said my score was XXXX out of a high of XXXX … .However, i pulled my free credit report on all three credit agencies and all showed that I had no missed payments, no public records, no judgement or any other negative items. It sounds like their scoring is not very accurate as I easily clear over {$2500.00} a month after all bills and expenses I currently pay.”


Complaint 3521069
2/5/2020
South Carolina

“Last year I attempted to refinance my wife ‘s student loan through Citizen ‘s Bank after receiving a letter from them. The events that followed were quite disgusting and resulted in a CFPB complaint in which Citizens Bank admitted full guilt of placing my wife and myself into a program they were AWARE WE WERE NOT qualified for. They did this just to get us the advertised rate and to attempt to AVOID a CFPB complaint. My wife and I were over-qualified for the advertised rate – but unable to get that rate when applying over the phone. After Citizens Bank put us into a program we didn’t qualify for ( without us being aware of this ) to get us the advertised rate – we were approved. When I received the approval letter there were some ” blanket statements ” that nobody ( including people in the Office of the Chairman ) were able to explain – specifically charges that I might incur after accepting the loan. That when I decided to submit a CFPB complaint against Citizens Bank last year – which ultimately led to a TOTAL REVEAL AND ADMISSION OF GUILT in their response that they wanted to avoid a complaint to begin with and knew during the underwriting process that they were signing us up for a loan we did not qualify for. At that point I contacted XXXX XXXX and got the rate that Citizens Bank advertised to me – without a problem. To this day, I’ve been struggling with Citizens Bank to remove the hard inquiry from my XXXX. They’ve said they have submitted paperwork to remove it, but I’ve contacted XXXX and they’ve informed me that they have not received anything. I’ve been in constant contact with XXXX ( Office of the Chairman ) XXXX since shortly after the original credit hard inquiry on XX/XX/2019. At this point, the inquiry is still on my credit and is one of the only things tarnishing it. It should be REMOVED DUE TO FRAUDULENT BANKING ACTIVITIES which has already been PROVEN IN THE PREVIOUS CFPB COMPLAINT. Yet, Citizens Bank at this time has stopped cooperating and communicating with me. This is my last official attempt prior to civil action.”


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]

It will likely be several months before the case progresses to any significant stage.

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.[2]

A Rhode Island district court judge recently denied a motion to dismiss, and the case is ongoing.[3]

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.[4]

The case is currently assigned to a Rhode Island district court and is ongoing.[5]


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.
  • 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 offer a 6-month grace period extension under certain terms.
  • 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.

Compare Student Loan Refinance Reviews

Lender Rating
Advantage B+
BECU C-
Brazos A
Citizens Bank B-
College Ave A-
CommonBond A+
Discover D+
Earnest B+
EDvestinU B
ELFI A-
First Republic Bank B
First Tech Federal C-
iHelp D
Laurel Road A-
MEFA B-
NaviRefi D-
Navy Federal C+
Nelnet Bank D-
PenFed B+
PNC Bank C
RISLA A
SELF Refi C+
SoFi B-
UW Credit Union A

Sources

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