CommonBond Student Loan Refinance Review

Last Updated: September 21, 2021 by Melanie Hanson

Our Rating: A+ (Compare)

Loan Limits $5,000 – $500,000
Fixed Rates 2.59% – 6.99%*
Variable Rates 2.49% – 7.09% (9.99% Cap)
Terms 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
Min. Credit Score 660
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*Lowest rates always include the 0.25% interest reduction for enrolling in auto-pay.

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

Founded in 2012, CommonBond, Inc. is a for-profit marketplace lender for undergraduate, graduate, medical, and dental school loans. The company’s refinance loans are serviced by CommonBond Lending, LLC.

Loan Refinancing Options
Private student loans
Private parent loans (in either name†)
Federal student loans
Federal Parent PLUS loans (in either name)

Parents may refinance in their own name or tranfer debt to a child.

CommonBond Refinance Rates & Fees

CommonBond’s fixed rates are between 2.59% and 6.99%. Variable rates are between 2.49% and 7.09%. CommonBond also offers a hybrid rate between 2.87% and 6.81% for a term of 10 years.

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5 Year 2.59% – 6.99% 2.49% – 7.09%
7 Year 2.69% – 6.69% 2.59% – 6.79%
10 Year 2.89% – 6.79% 2.79% – 6.89%
15 Year 2.99% – 6.89% 2.89% – 6.99%
20 Year 3.19% – 6.99% 3.07% – 7.09%

Additional information about CommonBond refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with CommonBond will not affect your credit score. They will conduct a soft, not hard, credit inquiry (learn the difference).
  • CommonBond does offer a discount for setting up auto-pay: 0.25% interest rate reduction.
  • Variable rates are based on the 1-month LIBOR rate (0.086% as of this writing). This means that as the LIBOR changes, increasing or decreasing, your variable rate will change, increasing or decreasing correspondingly.
  • Variable rates are capped 9.99%.

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 CommonBond.

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 CommonBond does or does not charge.

Fee Type Amount Charged
Application Fee None
Loan Origination Fee None
Disbursement Fee Undisclosed
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Payment Fee $10.00 or 5.00% of the overdue amount (whichever is less)
Returned Payment Fee $5.00
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. CommonBond presumably charges a late payment fee for any payments received beyond their due date.
  6. Returned payment fee – fee for failed payments due to insufficient funds, also known as a “bounced check”.
  7. Collection fee – fee for collecton activity on a defaulted debt.

Current Promotions & Offers

CommonBond offers a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrolling in automatic payments. Refinance borrowers may also be eligible to participate in CommonBond’s referral program. A PayPal account is required to receive any referral bonuses. Other restrictions apply.

CommonBond Refinance Eligibility Requirements

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

  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship or permanent residence -OR- certain visas with a qualified co-signer.
  • Income Requirement: proof of income, no minimum specified.
  • Credit Score Requirement: 660 minimum.
  • Graduation Requirement: associate’s degree or higher.
  • Location Requirement: available in 48 states (excluding Nevada and Mississippi) and Washington, D.C.

Additional restrictions apply for specific individuals and loans.

  • Valid H1-B, J-1, E-2, and E-3 visa holders may apply with a qualified co-signer.
  • Further restrictions may apply for residents of Michigan, Rhode Island, and Washington.

CommonBond 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. CommonBond offers some relief options.

Deferment & Forbearance

CommonBond offers up to 24 months of forbearance over the life of a refinance loan, primarily for financial hardship. Their coverage is loosely defined, but their terms are flexible.

See CommonBond’s conditions for deferment and forbearance below.

Condition Covereage
Returning to grad school Undisclosed
Disability rehabilitation Undisclosed
Active military duty Undisclosed
Involuntary unemployment Forbearance, up to 24 months
Natural Disaster Forbearance, single month terms

Additional Options

CommonBond may offer other opportunities for relief or contract modification.

  • Unexpected expenses and income reduction forbearances are available; CommonBond does not define terms.
  • Co-signer release is available after 36 consecutive qualifying payments.
  • Death / disability discharge is available in the unfortunate circumstance that a borrower passes away or suffers total permanent disability as defined by the Social Security Administration.

CommonBond 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.

CommonBond Online Reviews

Below are 3 samples of CommonBond 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.).


“I refinanced through Common Bond. $180,000 at 6.55% to 3.36% (with the auto debit discount). That’s roughly $16,000 less in interest payments over the life of the loan vs what Uncle Sam offered me.

I could have gone slightly lower with a variable rate but the Fed is going to slowly ratchet up that rate over the next few years if the economy keeps going well.”PT on White Coat Investor, 9/29/2018


“I refinanced $150K grad school debt with CommonBond (got slightly better rate than [Lender X]). (I think [Lender X] and CommonBond are the most common private lenders for this….and it’s worth seeing what rate each will give you. If you meet the qualifications, [Lender Y] will give you the best rate to my knowledge, though there are logistical hoops to jump through.) I refinanced again with CommonBond after a year. I was 99% certain I would never need the federal protections…losing them is the only downside I see.”cosmonaut on BogleHeads.org, 12/5/2017


“In my experience with CommonBond, refinancing was part of the transfer process. My mother had several ParentPLUS loans taken out between my siblings and me (5 kids total, around 10 loans totaling over $120k). My siblings and I had actually been paying towards the loans via subaccounts under my mom’s main account-/In general we all wanted to help pay back these loans that ultimately benefitted our education.

Eventually, one of my sisters refinanced (thru [Lender X]) first, and took about $30k in loans from a couple of the loans. It was a pretty easy experience from what I heard. I refinanced later thru CommonBond ([Lender X] rejected me for some reason), taking around $35k between 1 full loan and 1 partial loan. CommonBond was good about letting me list which loans I wanted to refinance (I was looking to take the higher % rates loans because my CommonBond % rate was a good amount lower). I don’t know if sofi required a signature from my mom to refinance to my sister, but CommonBond did require one. The process was not complicated and we were able to do it all online.”marciepryon reddit, 9/9/2017


More (unfiltered) customer reviews of CommonBond are available at ConsumerAdvocate.org (4.7 out of 5).

CommonBond 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 its mission, the CFPB allows consumers to log official complaints. These complaints are publicly available on the CFPB official website.

Since 2015, consumers have submitted 26 complaints about CommonBond, Inc. (CommonBond) to the CFPB for an average of one (1) complaint every three (3) months. Among the total complaints, 23 are about CommonBond’s student loan products, and 10 specifically address refinancing.

CommonBond averages one (1) complaint for every 10 corporate employees. Annually, that’s one (1) complaint for every $4.28 million of company revenue ($26.78 million total).

The allegations made in these complaints are unverified, are not necessarily representative of all consumers’ experiences with CommonBond, 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: CommonBond, Inc. Consumer Complants, Public Complaints Files with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Below we’ve included the 3 most recent complaints (as of this writing) that reference refinancing with CommonBond and in which the consumer consented to share their details.


Complaint 4234242
3/22/2021
Pennsylvania

“Hello, I received an email entitled ” Get up to {$5000.00} back when you refinance by XX/XX/XXXX! “. on Friday XX/XX/XXXX late afternoon from CommonBond. I confirmed via email with their support that this was a legitimate offer and the only requirement is that you are approved for a loan and submit documentation by midnight on XX/XX/2021. During the application process, their system did a hard credit inquiry and automatically pulled in information from my 2 existing private student loan lenders and balances. It required ” verification ” of 1 of the 2, which is a loan from XXXX XXXX, serviced by XXXX. Unfortunately XXXX XXXX customer service department is closed on Saturday and Sunday, not opening back up until Monday so I was unable to retrieve the requested information and submit the application in time. This makes me both ineligible for the promotion and I now have a hard inquiry and lower credit score as a result. It seems to be a common practice for financial institutions to be closed over the weekend so it seems like it is deceptive of Common Bond to run a promotion that is only offered during a very small period where it would be difficult or impossible to finish the loan application. Not to mention, I was approved and eligible for the promotion until after my credit was pulled.”


Complaint 3692684
6/10/2020
California

“I applied for a student loan refinance with Commonbond ( commonbond.co ) on XX/XX/2020 in the amount of {$25000.00}. When they did the soft pull on me, I was offered a 5 year variable rate loan for 0.8 % APR. I opted to select that loan option and submitted documents verifying my Id, Income as well as my loan statement from my current financial institution. At this point in time, I also agreed to a hard credit pull given the rate was 0.81 % ( variable ) which was better than the 1.95 % APR loan I have with XXXX XXXX XXXX. After I did not hear from the company for a while, I contacted them again at which point in time they told me that the rate has increased to 4.26 %. I have been able to provide proof for the income I had stated in my application as well as any ID documentation they needed. This is purely bait and switch. I would never have accepted a 4.26 % APR to begin with as my current APR on my loan is 1.95 %. These practices are deceptive and in my opinion against UDAAP. Now, not only do I not have the lower rate, there is also a hard credit pull on my bureau which I would never have had if CommonBond had fairly disclosed their rates after the soft credit pull. I have screenshots to prove the rate offered to me. Very disappointed in the unfair and deceptive practices that CommonBond is following, and at the same time this is classic bait and switch. I hope you take actions against this company. Thanks!”


Complaint 3678763
6/2/2020
Minnesota

“I refinanced my student loans with CommonBond in XX/XX/XXXX and there was an overpayment upon payoff. A refund was issued by the prior servicer ( XXXX, a XXXX company ) on XX/XX/XXXX but XXXX ( CommonBonds servicer ) continually tells me it has not been received that refund and that I should contact the prior servicer. This has created a continuous loop where I ask the prior servicer if the payment was sent and they confirm it was sent then XXXX tells me it hasnt received the funds and to follow up with the prior servicer. Ive done this 3 times now. No one can provide any answers or steps that need to be taken to resolve where these outstanding funds are located and when they will be applied to my account.”


For a full list of the 26 total complaints made against CommonBond in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database, click here.

CommonBond Lawsuits

Aside from a creative dispute with Laurel Road (the case was ultimately dismissed), CommonBond has not been subject to any significant legal action.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

  • Is CommonBond good for refinancing student loans?
    CommonBond may be the best refinancer for visa holders, who have few options when it comes to refinancing their student loans.
  • Does checking your rates with CommonBond hurt your credit score?
    For their prequalification process, CommonBond performs a soft credit check, which will not hurt your credit score. If you proceed with an application, however, CommonBond will perform a hard credit check which may affect your credit score.
  • Who services CommonBond loans?
    CommonBond Lending, LLC services CommonBond loans. Both are subsidiaries of CommonBond, Inc.
  • Are CommonBond loans federal?
    CommonBond loans are not federal. CommonBond is a private lender and has no affiliation with the federal government or the Department of Education.
  • Is CommonBond a bank?
    Commonbond is not a bank; it is a private lender.
  • Can I refinance a CommonBond loan?
    You can refinance any kind of student loan. There is no limit to the number of times a borrower may refinance with CommonBond. Note, however, that every application requires a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Does CommonBond charge a fee for prepayment?
    CommonBond does not charge fees or impose any pentalties for making extra loan payments or paying off your loan before the end of the term.
  • Does CommonBond offer a grace period?
    CommonBond does offer a grace period deferment if you graduated this year and your current student loans are already in a period of deferment.
  • Does CommonBond charge late fees?
    For late payments, CommonBond charges $10.00 or 5.00% of the overdue amount (whichever is less).
  • How long does it take to refinance with CommonBond?
    From the time you submit your application to the first repayment due date, it usually takes 7 weeks but may take as long as 14 weeks.
  • What is CommonBond’s hybrid rate?
    CommonBond offers a hybrid APR. For borrowers who select this option, the first 60 payments will have a fixed rate while the last 60 payments have a variable rate. Hybrid rates are only available for terms of 10 years.
  • Does CommonBond offer income-based repayment plans?
    CommonBond does not offer income-based repayment. Current borrowers may apply for up to 24 months of hardship forbearance, during which time their refinance loan continues to accrue interest.
  • Can I refinance just some of my loans with CommonBond?
    You can refinance some, all, or just one of your qualifying student loans with CommonBond. You may choose to refinance your private loans only or refinance private and federal loans together.
  • Can I refinance loans that have already been refinanced?
    You can refinance loans as many times as you want with CommonBond. Note that each time you refinance, you will have to submit a new application; every application requires a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Besides the rate reduction for autopay, can I get any special rates or discounts with CommonBond?
    CommonBond partners with certain organizations to offer their employees, members, and their families special terms or one-time exclusive offers. Check with your organization to find out if they are a CommonBond partner or google “CommonBond x [your employer’s name]”.

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. CommonBond, Disclaimers
  2. CommonBond, Frequently Asked Questions About Refinancing
  3. CFPB, Consumer Complaint Database
  4. Dun & Bradstreet, Business Directory
  5. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities