First Tech Federal Student Loan Refinance Review

Our Rating: C (Compare)

First Tech may be a good option for financially secure borrowers with good credit and who want to join the credit union (membership required to borrow, not to apply). The National Credit Union Administration recommends First Tech for financial services.

Loan Limits $5,000 – $500,000*
Fixed Rates 2.90% – Undisclosed
Variable Rates NA
Terms 5, 7, 10 or 15 years
Min. Credit Score Undisclosed
Apply Link

*The minimum loan amount for a balloon loan is $20,000. The minimum loan amount for a 1- to 5-year interest-only loan is $10,000, and a 6- to 10-year interest-only loan has a $20,000 minimum.

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

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

First Tech Refinance Rates & Fees

First Technology Federal Credit Union does not disclose its maximum APRs. Fixed rates start at 2.90%. Balloon loans and interest-only payments start at 6.35%.

First Tech has increased its lowest disclosed APR 18.4% (from 2.45% APR) since the start of 2022.

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate
5 Year 2.90% – Undisclosed
7 Year 4.30% – Undisclosed
10 Year 4.40% – Undisclosed
15 Year 4.55% – Undisclosed
Additional 15-Year Refinance Loan Rate Options
Loan Type Fixed Rate
40% Balloon Loan 6.35% – Undisclosed
50% Balloon Loan 6.50% – Undisclosed
1- to 5- Year Interest Only 6.35% – Undisclosed
6- to 10-Year Interest Only 7.15% – Undisclosed

Additional information about First Tech refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with First Tech will not affect your credit score. They will conduct a soft, not hard, credit inquiry (learn the difference).
  • With interest-only refinancing, borrowers may be eligible for periods of interest-only payments.
  • Balloon refinancing holds off either 40% or 50% of the loan to be repaid in one single final payment.
  • Repayment minimums grow over time with interest-only and balloon refinancing.

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 First Tech.

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 First Tech 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 Undisclosed
Returned Payment Fee Undisclosed
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.
  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

Borrowers receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrolling in automatic payments.

First Tech Federal offers 10,000 automatic reward points on a new First Tech Choice Rewards World Mastercard.

First Tech also partners with almost 900 other organizations to offer their employees and members special benefits, such as discounts. Check the official First Tech web site for updates on deals and discounts for student loan refinancing and other services.

First Tech Refinance Eligibility Requirements

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

  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.
  • Income Requirement: proof of income required, no minimum disclosed.
  • Credit Score Requirement: undisclosed, though credit scores below 689 are deemed “Poor” while credit ratings exceeding 730 are considered “Good”.
  • Graduation Requirement: undisclosed.
  • Location Requirement: within the United States.

Additional restrictions apply for specific individuals and loans. In order to refinance student loans, a borrower must be a member of First Tech.

First Tech 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. First Tech offers some relief options.

Deferment & Forbearance

First Tech offers limited options for deferment or forbearance. Terms and conditions are vague.

Condition Coverage
Returning to grad school None
Disability rehabilitation Unspecified
Active military duty None
Involuntary unemployment Unspecified
Economic hardship Unspecified
Natural Disaster None
Temporary Hardship Unspecified

Additional Options

First Tech may offer other opportunities for relief or contract modification.

  • Co-signer release is not an option with First Tech Federal.
  • Death / disability discharge may be available in the unfortunate circumstance that a borrower passes away or suffers total permanent disability.

First Tech 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.

First Tech Online Reviews

There are few First Tech customer reviews readily available on public forums. We’ve included what material we found here for its value as unedited, uncensored, and unsolicited user experience. Note that these reviews are unverified, may include inaccuracies, and may provide outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.).


“I refinanced with a First Tech Private Education loan and got a good fixed rate and have been impressed with their customer service.

My loan was previously with Citizens (Firstmark) and I would not recommend them based on my experience with their customer service and several lost checks.”MrFenway on reddit, 10/3/2018


More (unfiltered) customer reviews of First Tech Federal are available at TrustPilot.com (4.5 out of 5).

First Tech 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 August 8, 2018, consumers have submitted 334 complaints about First Technology Federal Credit Union to the CFPB for an average of one (1) complaint every four (4) days and 11 hours; this is nearly 12 times higher than the average daily complaint rate among reviewed lenders.

In 2022, First Tech’s consumer complaint rate is on par with the rate in an average year, up 0.56% (as of this writing). In 2021, First Tech received 115 or 40.2% more than its average annual complaint rate.

In 2020, consumers filed 73 complaints against First Tech, which is equivalent to one (1) complaint for every $8.727 million in that year’s corporate revenue or two (2) complants for every 41 employees.

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

First Tech Federal Consumer Complaints, Public Complaints Filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, from 2017 (0), 2018 (32), 2019 (59), 2020 (73), and 2021 (115)

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


Complaint 5685998
6/19/2022
California

“On XX/XX/2022, I submitted a request to transfer money out of my First Tech Credit Union checking account to an external account. On XX/XX/2022, the bank canceled the transfer, froze my account, and indicated that it is under review. I have not heard anything from XXXX, and telephone representatives have been unable to assist.”


Complaint 5673100
6/15/2022
Colorado

“I opened a checking/savings account with First Tech FCU on XX/XX/2022. I made several deposits including the following : XX/XX/XXXX : {$50.00} XX/XX/XXXX : {$100.00} XX/XX/XXXX : {$2900.00} XX/XX/XXXX : {$990.00} XX/XX/XXXX : {$1900.00} On XX/XX/XXXX, I received a secure message that my account was temporarily suspended. I have contacted First Tech a number of times by phone, approximately every 2 weeks, to find out when I will be able to regain access to my account and have been provided no information. I have received no other correspondence via phone, email or mail since the secure message received on XX/XX/XXXX. As of the posting of this complaint, it has been XXXX days since access to my account has been suspended.”


Complaint 5665892
6/14/2022
California

“I continue to receive mail from First Tech Federal Credit Union regarding an account. I have never openned an account with this union. I once received a mail stating I had an account with {$5.00}, I called to be removed from their mailing list and this stopped for sometime. However, I am not sure it stopped because of my call ( which there was no follow up as promised ) or because I moved. At the time of the call I lived in XXXX CA. I have since moved to XXXX, CA. I even received mail from them when living in another state. Even when submitting an opt-out request on their website I continue to receive mail from them.”


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

First Tech Lawsuits

First Tech does not appear to be involved in any active cases, and the company does not have a history of major legal trouble.

Note that while this information is updated regularly, ongoing legal action is subject to change.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

  • Is First Tech good for refinancing student loans?
    First Tech may be a good option for financially secure borrowers with good credit and for First Tech Federal Credit Union members.
  • Does First Tech have a minimum credit score requirement?
    First Tech does not disclose a minimum credit score.
  • Are First Tech loans federal?
    First Tech loans are not federal. First Tech has no affiliation with the federal government or the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Does First Tech charge a prepayment penalty?
    There are no penalties for early payments or repaying a loan in full before its term is over.
  • Does checking your rates with First Tech hurt your credit score?
    For their prequalification process, First Tech performs a soft credit check, which will not hurt your credit score. If you proceed with an application, however, First Tech will perform a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Is First Tech a bank?
    First Tech is not a bank but a member-owned credit union that provides financial products and services to its members.
  • Can I refinance a First Tech loan?
    You can refinance a First Tech student loan or a student loan from another private lender. There is no limit to the number of times a borrower may refinance with First Tech. Note, however, that every new line of credit requires a hard credit check that may affect your FICO score.
  • Can I refinance just some of my loans with First Tech?
    Yes, you can refinance some, all, or just one of your qualifying student loans with First Tech. 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?
    Yes, you can refinance loans as many times as you want with First Tech. 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.
  • Can my spouse and I refinance our loans together with First Tech?
    First Tech will only refinance loans for principal borrowers.
  • How long does it take to refinance with First Tech?
    First Tech does not disclose a timeline but does offer a 90-day period with no payments after loan disbursement.
  • Does First Tech offer a grace period?
    No, First Tech does not offer a grace period, but this lender does offer no payments for 90 days after loan disbursement.
  • Can I get any special rates or discounts with First Tech?
    First Tech does advertise some special offers. Check the official First Tech web site for updates on deals and discounts for student loan refinancing and other services.
  • What happens if I file for bankruptcy?
    First Tech does not specify a course of action in response to bankruptcy; it is common practice among lenders to declare the entire loan amount due immediately upon a borrower’s declaration of bankruptcy.
  • Does First Tech partner with any major student refinance lender marketplaces?
    First Tech does not appear to partner with any major multilender marketplaces.

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+
Discover D
Nelnet Bank D
PNC Bank D-
NaviRefi F

Sources

  1. First Tech Federal, Rates: Student Loan Refinance
  2. First Tech, Student Loan Refinance
  3. First Tech, Fee Schedule/Sheet
  4. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Consumer Complaint Database
  5. Dun & Bradstreet, Business Directory: First Technology Federal Credit Union
  6. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities