iHelp Student Loan Refinance Review

Last Updated: September 21, 2021 by Melanie Hanson

Our Rating: D (Compare)

Loan Limits $10,000 – $250,000
Fixed Rates 3.92% – 5.60%*
Variable Rates 2.68% – 3.64% (No Cap)
Terms 5, 8, 12, or 20 years
Min. Credit Score Undisclosed
Apply Link

*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

iHELP® is a private student loan program that connects student borrowers with local and community banks. iHelp is a product of student loan originator and servicer ZuntaFi (formerly Reunion Student Loan Finance until September 2020), a subsidiary of the Student Loan Finance Corporation.

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

iHelp Refinance Rates & Fees

iHelp’s fixed rates are between 3.92% and 5.60%. Variable rates are between 2.68% and 3.64% with no cap. Lowest rates always include the 0.25% interest reduction for enrolling in auto-pay.

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5 Year 3.92% – 4.73% NA
8 Year 4.20% – 4.99% NA
12 Year 4.88% – 5.60% NA
20 Year 3.34% – 3.93%† 2.68% – 3.64%

For loan terms of 20 years, the APR is a fixed hybrid rate, meaning it’s fixed for the first 5 years and is then adjusted every 5 years according to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR).

Additional information about iHelp refinance rates:

  • $100 minimum monthly payment.
  • Checking your rate with iHelp will not affect your credit score. They will conduct a soft, not hard, credit inquiry (learn the difference).
  • iHelp does offer a discount for setting up auto-pay: 0.25% interest rate reduction.
  • Variable rates are based on the 90-day SOFR (0.044% as of this writing) as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125%).
  • Variable rates are not capped.

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 iHelp.

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 iHelp does or does not charge.

Fee Type Amount Charged
Application Fee Undisclosed
Loan Origination Fee None
Disbursement Fee Undisclosed
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Payment Fee 5% of the past due payment up to $10
Returned Payment Fee Up to $15
Collection Fee Up to 25% of the principal balance
  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; iHelp presumably considers a payment late on the first day it is 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

iHelp offers a 0.25% interest rate reduction with enrollment in automatic payments.

This lender also partners with local and community financial institutions in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or West Virginia. These institutions may offer their own benefits and promotions in conjunction with iHelp.

iHelp Refinance Eligibility Requirements

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

  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.
  • Income Requirement: minimum $24,000 income for the past two (2) years and a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or less.
  • Credit Score Requirement: 2-year credit history with no minimum score specified.
  • Graduation Requirement: none.
  • Location Requirement: limited to borrowers who attended school in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or West Virginia.

Additional restrictions apply for specific individuals and loans.

  • Applicants who do not meet the above criteria may still be eligible for refinancing if they have a co-signer who meets all qualifications.
  • No previous defaults on any education loans.

iHelp 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. iHelp offers some relief options.

Deferment & Forbearance

iHelp does offer forbearance for unspecified periods.

Condition Coverage
Returning to grad school (half-time or full-time) Deferment
Disability rehabilitation Undisclosed
Active military duty Undisclosed
Involuntary unemployment Undisclosed
Economic hardship Forbearance
Natural disaster Undisclosed
Temporary hardship Undisclosed

Additional Options

iHelp may offer other opportunities for relief or contract modification, including alternative payment plans.

  • Co-signer release is available after 24 months of qualifying, consecutive payments.
  • Death / disability discharge is available in the unfortunate circumstance that a borrower passes away or suffers total permanent disability.
  • With the income sensitive repayment plan, monthly payments are based on your gross income but are no less than the monthly interest accrual.
  • A graduated repayment plan includes monthly payments that are greater than or equal to the monthly interest accrual. These payment amounts gradually increase.

iHelp 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.

iHelp Online Reviews

Few iHelp customer reviews are available on public forums. We’ve included what comments we found 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.).


“IHELP WORST PRIVATE LOAN COMPANY!

Background History: I had just graduated from college with my Bachelor’s in Biology and was ready to take the next step in my career by applying to a private health institute. The next step into any career whether its going to a graduate school or obtaining a Doctorates degree has to be funded through loans. What many school fail to educate students is how financial aid is no longer available once your reach a certain degree and the only way to fund your education is through loans.

Unfortunately, the school I wanted to attend was not accredited until the following year and the only way to fund my education was through private loans.

Fun Fact: Private loans can give you a lower interest rate than federal loans.

I came upon the organization called iHelp. I was approved for a loan at the beginning of the month of June, 2018 where I had signed everything and was ready to take the next step in my career. But on June 11, 2018 I was informed through my future classmates that iHelp is no longer associated with the school??? In fact, I never received a call about their current situation and In a matter of a month iHelp issue with their type of insurance in the state of Florida has ceased all loans.. . DO NOT ATTEMPT TO APPLY FOR A LOAN!!! I REPEAT DO NOT ATTEMPT TO APPLY FOR A LOAN!!!”Anonymous on The College Investor, 7/13/2018


“I used iHelp, which I think I accessed through [a lender marketplace]. I refinanced with my husband as my co-signer, and we got a much, much better rate than I had with my old servicer. I’m really glad I did it – I’m saving $100 a month on what used to be a $415 payment, so my payments got cut by almost 25% a month. Part of the reason that’s the case is that my term is longer and part is the interest rate, but we just needed to get our mutual head out from underwater long enough to start getting ahead on this loan.

You’ll have to weigh your own situation, obviously – if you don’t think you’ll ever be able to make more than your monthly payment, refinancing with a longer term might not be a great choice unless you get such a huge reduction in your interest rate that it makes up for the longer term in the end.”and_so_obvs on reddit, 12/3/2017


More (unfiltered) customer reviews of iHelp are unavailable at this time.

iHelp 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.

Complaints about iHelp are filed under ZuntaFi Corp in the CFPB complaint database. Since August 2020, consumers have submitted 9 complaints about ZuntaFi Corp. None of these complaints appear to be related to iHelp.

Between 2012 and September 2020, the highest number of annual complaints the Student Loan Finance Corporation has seen was in 2014, when consumers filed 13 complaints to the bureau.

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

Line Graph: Consumer Complaints About ZuntaFi Corp, Public Complaints Filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, from August 2020 (1), November 2020 (1), January 2021 (2), February 2021 (3), and March 2021 (1) with zero (0) in April

Because ZuntaFi Corp services all iHelp refinance loans, we’ve included the 3 most recent complaints (as of this writing) in which the consumer consented to share their details.


Complaint 4149884
2/18/2021
Utah

“ZuntaFi sent a notice that they are willing to settle a defaulted student loan debt they claim to be servicing. My student loans are not in default, nor are they serviced by this company. There is no information about disputing the debt in their collection letter. Attempts to reach the company by phone are unanswered and in the meantime they are reporting the defaulted debt on my credit. There is no debt owed, I am in good standing and my servicer is XXXX according to studentaid.gov. Searching the internet on this company, they appear to be doing this to a lot of people. I am considering bringing a lawsuit against them under the fair debt collection practices act, but wanted to ensure they are reported to the government for running this scam so that perhaps you can hold these people legally accountable, because I can imagine many people would fall for this scam.”


Complaint 4122239
2/6/2021
Texas

“I received a letter from the ZuntaFi company about how my student loan servicer has changed to them and not XXXX. I am currently up to date and paying my student loans with XXXX. The account manager XXXX XXXX, stated that I owe {$17000.00} and if I pay {$3500.00} my student loans would be paid in full. I told her that I am paying my student loans with XXXX and have no other federal or private student loans. She insisted that I was wrong and has been sending me letters, emails, and threatening to damage my credit. I have confirmed my student loans with XXXX and the Federal Student Aid ( government ) website. None of this information she has is correct. She mailed me my original promissary notes, that has been refinanced with XXXX. I am still paying them off. I have asked her to stop contacting me and to cease all communication and harassment. I would like to report her ( XXXX XXXX ) and the company ZuntaFi Corp XXXX XXXX XXXX for illegal business practices and scamming. She has sent me a letter stating that she will send the dispute to the credit reporting agencies and may take up to 30 days of longer to update the reports. There address is XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX, SD XXXX. Please look into your student loan balances on the Federal Student Aid website to very all student debts owed. If I didn’t do this, I would have paid {$3500.00} on a debt that I am still paying on. Please be careful out here.”


Complaint 4106156
1/31/2021
Michigan

“On XXXXa company called ZuntaFi said I had a coborrower requesting a payment of {$90.00} to be deducted from my bank account. On XX/XX/21 ZuntaFi indicated fake tax documents were ready for me to download serviced at XXXX On XX/XX/21 I have reported this fake company to the local authorities and emailed them back to please stop harassing me”.


For a full list of the 9 complaints made against iHelp in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database, click here.

iHelp Lawsuits

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

Booth v. Reunion Student Loan Finance et al Case No. 2:2018cv10046

Reunion Student Loan Finance (RSLF) was named a defendant in a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in January 2018. Plaintiff John Booth alleged violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Specifically, Booth “claims that his ex-wife forged his signature on student loan applications, and that RSL and the other defendants failed to properly investigate his dispute, respond as obligated under the FCRA, and remove the student loan debts from his credit report despite numerous requests.”[1]

The most recent activity related to the case is a June 2018 memorandum and order from Judge Avern Chon, presiding. The order denied RSLF’s request for a summary judgment or transfer of venue.

With no further information publicly available, the case is presumably ongoing.


Frequently Asked Questions

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

  • Is iHelp good for refinancing student loans?
    iHelp may be a fine choice for someone with a steady income and a relatively low debt balance.
  • Are iHelp loans federal?
    iHelp loans are not federal. iHelp has no affiliation with the federal government or the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Does iHelp 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 iHelp hurt your credit score?
    For their prequalification process, iHelp performs a soft credit check, which will not hurt your credit score. If you proceed with an application, however, iHelp will perform a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Is iHelp a bank?
    No, iHelp is not a bank; iHelp partners with banks to provide lending services to bank customers.
  • Is iHelp part of Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA)?
    No, ICBA advertises iHelp as its preferred lending partner on its website.
  • Is iHelp the same as ZuntaFi?
    iHelp is a turn-key loan servicing product administered by ZuntaFi. Lending services are available to borrowers via local and community financial institutions that offer the iHelp program.
  • Can I refinance a iHelp loan?
    You can refinance a iHelp student loan or a student loan from another private lender. There is no limit to the number of times a borrower may refinance with iHelp. 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 iHelp?
    Yes, you can refinance some, all, or just one of your qualifying student loans with iHelp. 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 iHelp. 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 iHelp?
    No, spouses may not combine debt into a single iHelp student refinance loan. A spouse may act as co-signer on a refinance loan, however.
  • How long does it take to refinance with iHelp?
    iHelp does not disclose a definitive timeline, but refinancing your student loans with iHelp will likely take between 6 and 18 weeks.
  • Who services iHelp refinance loans?
    ZuntaFi is the iHelp administrator and services all iHelp student refinance loans.
  • Does iHelp offer a grace period?
    Yes, iHelp does offer a 30- to 60-day grace period after refinancing.
  • How often do variable rates change?
    iHelp’s variable rate updates quarterly according to the 90-day SOFR. With a fixed hybrid loan, the rate is adjusted every 5 years according to the SOFR.
  • Can I get any special rates or discounts with iHelp ?
    iHelp offers a 0.25% APR reduction for setting up automatic payments. iHelp partners with local and community financial institutions, which may offer their own benefits and promotions.
  • What happens if I file for bankruptcy?
    iHelp does not specify a standard operating procedure in cases of bankruptcy but does disclose “[i]f you file for bankruptcy you may still be required to pay back this loan.”
  • Is iHelp a Credible lender?
    No, iHelp does not partner with Credible and is not part of the Credible market place.

Compare Student Loan Refinance Reviews

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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. Justia Dockets & Filings, Booth v. Trans Union, LLC et al: Filing 33
  2. Student Loan Finance Corporation, iHELP Private Variable Refinance Application and Solicitation Disclosure
  3. ZuntaFi, Student Loan Refinance
  4. Zuntafi, COVID-19 FAQ
  5. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Consumer Complaint Database
  6. Dun & Bradstreet, Business Directory
  7. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities