First Tech Federal Student Loan Refinance Review

Last Updated: October 4, 2021 by Melanie Hanson

Our Rating: C- (Compare)

Loan Limits $5,000 – $500,000*
Fixed Rates 2.55% – 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.
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 1952, First Technology Federal Credit Union is a financial servicer rated highly by the National Credit Union Administration. Membership is required to borrow – though not to apply – and First Tech offers many repayment options most lenders do not.

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 Tech does not disclose its maximum APRs; fixed rates start at 2.55%. Lowest rates always include the 0.25% interest reduction for enrolling in auto-pay. Balloon loans and interest-only payments start at 6.35%.

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate
5 Year 2.55% – Undisclosed
7 Year 2.65% – Undisclosed
10 Year 2.85% – Undisclosed
15 Year 3.25% – 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).
  • Variable rates are based on Prime Rate (3.25% as of this writing) as published by the
  • First Tech does offer a discount for setting up auto-pay: 0.25% interest rate reduction.
  • 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 $15.00
Returned Payment Fee $28.00
Collection Fee Undisclosed
Payment Processing Fee $3.00
CU Membership Fee $5.00 monthly
  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; First Tech considers a payment late if it is received more than 10 days beyond the 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 collection activity on a defaulted debt.
  8. Payment processing fee – fee for each payment applied to repaying the loan balance.
  9. CU membership fee – First Tech charges credit union members $5.00 each month.

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


Zero customer reviews of First Tech are available at TrustPilot.com.

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

Since 2017, consumers have submitted 230 complaints about First Technology Federal Credit Union to the CFPB for an average of one (1) complaint per week. At least one (1) of these complaints was explicitly in regard to First Tech’s student refinance loan product to the CFPB. Note, however, that refinancing with First Tech Federal requires credit union membership.

First Tech averages roughly 1 complaint for every 8 corporate employees. Annually, consumers file an average of 1 complaint for every $6.84 million of company revenue ($480.81 million total).

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

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


Complaint 3829040
9/3/2020
Oregon

“In XX/XX/XXXX my husband and I refinanced our home mortgage with First Tech Federal Credit Union. We were waiting for our new loan statement in order to start payment, however we never received any mortgage statement for our new loan, but in XXXX, we got notice that we were late on our mortgage, and once we were able to get information about where and how to pay our new mortgage, we did so immediately. This was all news to us, as we had just thought that we would start our new payments in XXXX, since we were told you typically miss one months payment when you refinance. After this incident, First Tech Credit Union, reported us to the credit bureau for the delinquency and would not remove the delinquency even after multiple attempts and calls to do so. Fast forward to XX/XX/XXXX. We sold our house in XXXX and moved back to XXXX XXXX, XXXX. In XXXX of XXXX we tried to apply for a loan to buy a home and we were informed that our credit report said we are delinquent AGAIN for payment in XX/XX/XXXX! First Tech Credit Union reported us for late payment, even though our mortgage was paid off! My husband and I called multiple times and First Tech member services admitted that it was an internal mistake and they can see that we paid off our mortgage in XXXX, and they are not sure why it was reported delinquent! They expressed that they informed the right department, but every time we call, we are given the run around and no one is taking responsibility for this issue! Due to the negligence and internal mistakes of First Tech Federal Credit Union, my husband and I and our XXXX young children are unable to buy a home, and are even having trouble renting. We are highly educated, make great money, and we work very hard. We have been home owners for years, and now, due to these errors on the part of First Tech, we are unable to secure housing! I will continue to slam First Tech Federal Credit Union.”


Complaint 4162719
2/24/2021
California

“I am filing a complaint in regards to First Tech Federal Credit Union. I was referred to opened a checking account & saving account online on XX/XX/2020, and completed the deposit of {$250.00} on the same day and have maintained the required $ XXXX balance ever since per the terms of their their referral reward of {$100.00}. In the term, it says the reward will be deposited into the saving account within 30 days after maintain {$250.00} for 30 days, which should be deposited by XX/XX/XXXX in my case. However I have not received any reward as of today. I sent secure message to the bank ‘s customer service but the rep asked me to provide the full name of the referrer as well as their phone number or email. However, providing such information was not noted in the terms of bonus offer, thus this excuse should not be the reason they reject my reward. I am unable to provide the referrer ‘s information, but had I known it was required, would have obtained it from the beginning. I am seeking help on CFPB.”


Complaint 4153158
2/20/2021
Georgia

“I hold a checking account with First Tech Federal Credit Union with a running balance of {$7000.00}, to which I made a XXXX deposit of {$6800.00} and two XXXX credit card payments of {$4200.00} and {$4600.00}, all ACH transfers. All three transactions posted to my account on XX/XX/XXXX. Because First Tech FCU ‘s processing systems chose to post the debits to my account before the credit, they returned the second XXXX payment unpaid, incurring a {$33.00} ” return item fee ” to my account. This has happened once before in my multi year tenure with the bank, however they were able to reverse the fee upon request as it was a similar issue. This time however, even when I escalated the issue to a supervisor for review, they refused to reverse the fee, saying that in XX/XX/2020 they have increased their ” return item fee ” by {$5.00} and also became more strict on not reversing them. They neglected to address the issue that their system could’ve posted the credit first, but did not. The bank charges me nothing when a debit card transaction is declined, because I have opted out of ” overdraft protection ”. However an ACH decline, which is just as free for the bank to process, incurs an exorbitant {$33.00} penalty. This needs to stop.”


For a full list of the 230 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 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.
  • 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?
    From application to the first payment’s due date, refinancing with First Tech takes between 12 and 20 weeks. First Tech advertises a minimum 30 seconds for quote and no payments for 90 days after loan disbursement.
  • Does First Tech offer a grace period?
    No, First Tech does not offer a grace period.
  • 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.
  • Is First Tech a Credible lender?
    No, First Tech does not partner with Credible.

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. 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
  6. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities