Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance Review

Our Rating: C- (Compare)

Navy Federal may be a good option for current members and those who would like to join the credit union. Membership is open to residents of any state or Puerto Rico; some, such as certain military personnel, receive exclusive perks.

Loan Limits $7,500 – $175,000*
Fixed Rates 2.34%† – 12.28%
Variable Rates 1.79% – 10.50% (18.00% Cap)
Terms 5, 10 or 15 years
Min. Credit Score Undisclosed
Apply Link

*Undergraduates may refinance up to $125,000 in student loans.
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

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)

Parent borrowers may consolidate loans for multiple children; they may also refinance before their student has graduated.

Navy Federal Refinance Rates & Fees

Navy Federal Credit Union’s fixed rates are between 2.34% and 12.28%. Variable rates are between 1.79% and 10.50%. Note that the lowest rates always include the 0.25% interest reduction for enrolling in autopay.

In 2022, Navy Federal’s lowest available fixed rate for new loans has declined 21.7% (from 2.99% APR) while its highest fixed rate has remained the same. The lowest available variable rate is up 11.2% (from 1.61% APR) and the highest starting variable rate has increased just 0.3% (from 10.47% APR).

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5 Year 2.34% – 11.46% 1.79% – 9.76%
10 Year 4.47% – 12.07% 3.17% – 10.16%
15 Year 4.68% – 12.28% 3.42% – 10.50%

Additional information about Navy Federal refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with Navy Federal will affect your credit score. They will conduct a hard, not soft, credit inquiry (learn the difference).
  • Variable rates are based on the 90-day SOFR (0.17% as of this writing) as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York two (2) business days before the quarterly adjustment date.
  • Variable rates are capped at 18.00%.

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 Navy Federal.

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 Navy Federal 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 $20
Returned Payment Fee $10
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. Navy Federal considers payments late once they are 15 days overdue. For Wisconsin residents, the late payment fee is the lesser of $10 or 5% of the overdue balance.
  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

Navy Federal Credit Union offers a 0.25% interest rate reduction to borrowers who enroll to make automatic payments. Members of the credit union can take advantage of special offers with Navy Federal’s partners, including discounts and cash bonuses from Navy Federal as well as from their partnering corporations and organizations.

Navy Federal Refinance Eligibility Requirements

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

  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.
  • Income Requirement: a minimum $24,000 annual income -OR- at least $1,200 annual income with an eligible co-signer.
  • Credit Score Requirement: no minimum score specified.
  • Graduation Requirement: must have graduated from an eligible school.
  • Location Requirement: 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

Additional restrictions apply for specific individuals and loans.

  • Undergraduates may refinance up to $125,000 in student loans.
  • The minimum monthly payment is $50 or $25 with special permission.
  • 21 months of credit history may be required.
  • Borrowers are required to become members of Navy Federal Credit Union. Membership is not limited to the Navy, but it is restricted to:
    • Members of any branch of the U.S. military, including active duty members, members of the Delayed Entry Programs (DEP), officer candidates, reserves, and veterans, retirees, and annuitants.
    • Family members of any of the above, including parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings, children (including adopted and stepchildren), grandchildren, and household members.
    • DoD civilian employees, including contractors, retirees, and other U.S. government employees assigned to DoD installations.

Navy Federal 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. Navy Federal offers some relief options.

Deferment & Forbearance

As of March 2020, Navy Federal allows borrowers to apply for three (3) months of temporary forbearance due to hardship related to COVID-19. Navy Federal has no other official forbearance or deferment policy, though the institution’s refinance loan disclosure does refer to “periods of forbearance and deferment.”[1]

Navy Federal and LendKey may each allow borrowers to apply for deferments on a case-by-case basis and/or under certain undisclosed circumstances.

Condition Coverage
Returning to grad school Undisclosed
Disability rehabilitation Undisclosed
Active military duty Undisclosed
Involuntary unemployment Undisclosed
Economic hardship Undisclosed
Natural disaster Undisclosed
Temporary hardship Undisclosed

Additional Options

Navy Federal may offer other opportunities for relief or contract modification.

  • Co-signer release may be available after 12 consecutive, qualifying payments.
  • Death / disability discharge may be available in the unfortunate circumstance that a borrower passes away or suffers total permanent disability.

Navy Federal 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.

Navy Federal Online Reviews

Below are 3 samples of Navy Federal 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.).


“Navy Federal does not allow me to refinance my student loans with them because they “are not partnered with my school to verify graduation.” I think it’s absurd that I can’t refinance my loans through Navy. I was in the process of switching to Navy as my primary financial institution, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that. ”Connor on Trustpilot, 6/4/2021


“I have been with NFCU for over 21 years. Did everything with them from my first time shared secured loan, auto loan, to mortgage loan, student loan, and then now working on my retirement portfolio. ”Areeyah-Michaelaon Trustpilot, 4/29/2021


“I absolutely love navy federal. We have our mortgage, a student loan refinance and a used car loan through them.

They gave us the best rates on our student loan refi, and they’re generally easy to deal with. We just closed our [Big Bank] account last month and now do all our banking with them.”KAT_85 on reddit, 5/2/2020


More (unfiltered) customer reviews of Navy Federal are available at TrustPilot.com (4.7 out of 5) and ConsumerAffairs.com (3.5 out of 5).

Navy Federal 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 December 2, 2011, consumers have submitted 10,254 complaints about Navy Federal Credit Union (Navy Federal) to the CFPB for an approximate average of one (1) complaint every nine (9) hours; that is over 137 times faster than the average daily complaint rate among reviewed lenders.

In 2021, Navy Federal received 2,340 complaints, which is 146% higher than its average annual complaint rate.

In 2020, consumers filed 1,498 complaints about Navy Federal, which is equivalent to one (1) complaint for every $4.166 million of that year’s corporate revenue or one (1) complaint for every four (4) employees.

The allegations made in these complaints are unverified, are not necessarily representative of all consumers’ experiences with Navy Federal, 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 Navy Federal Credit Union, Public Complaints Filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, from December 2011 (8), all of 2012 (210), 2013 (290), 2014 (419), 2015 (515), 2016 (671), 2017 (961), 2018 (1,133), 2019 (1,162), 2020 (1,498), and 2021 (2,340)

Below we’ve included three (3) of the most recent complaints (as of this writing) regarding student loans, student loan refinancing, and/or credit or debt collection in which the consumer consented to share their details.


Complaint 5319942
3/14/2022
Georgia

“I applied for a mortgage refinance loan with Navy Federal Credit Union. Navy Federal ultimately denied my application. However, the reason ( s ) for the denial were never consistent, and Navy Federal alluded to items that were in fact not on my credit report. For example, in a letter they sent to me, Navy Federal referenced a collection account on my credit report, when there was no such item. Additionally, I was told verbally by one of their representatives ( XXXX XXXX ) that my credit score was too low for approval, but the denial based on my score was not referenced as a reason for denying my application. Navy Federal has never given me concrete reasons for my loan denial, and the reasons constantly shifted. I believe that Navy Federals denial of my application was arbitrary, careless, and possibly discriminatory.”


Complaint 5318511
3/12/2022
Washington

“We hired XXXX XXXX XXXX to move our belongings from XXXXXXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX and charged us {$12000.00} for the move. I paid the amount by my XXXX card issued by Navy Federal Credit Union. The Van Line is supposed to move the belongings safely. However, when we received our belongings 80 % of the furniture that was packed, loaded, moved, and unloded by XXXX were damaged. Hence, I disputed the amount charged to my Credit card around XX/XX/2022. I provided all necessary documentation including the pictures of damaged goods. After a month, Navy Federal closed the dispute without doing proper investigation with the following comment : ” No billing error occurred. The merchant did not violate the terms of their return/ cancellation policy with the transaction in question ”. The bank forgot that it is not a good that I bought. It is a service. How can I return a service? The merchant violated their service obligation of safe movement of belongings ”. The bank is guilty of a wrong decision.”


Complaint 5307880
3/10/2022
Missouri

“In early 2021 ( XXXX or XXXX ) I contacted navy federal trying to settle and receive information about a debt they claim I owe them. They told me the debt was charged off and that Navy Federal is no longer handling the debt and said that I could no longer pay Navy Federal for it. Via telephone on their recorded line They provided me the number to a collection agency and told me to call them to handle the debt. I did and couldn’t reach anyone but left messages. I received a letter from XXXX XXXX XXXX asking for payment of debt on behalf of Navy Federal Credit Union. I responded and asked that they verify and validate the debt, which they had 30 days to do so, they sent me the same letter in the mail along with a few blank pages but nothing validating the debt in XX/XX/2021. They never validated the debt on behalf of their client Navy Federal and they both never contacted me again, navy federal said it was due to a ” cease and desist letter ” that I sent XXXX XXXX, which was a formal complaint against the company for reporting falsely without validating the debt on behalf of Navy Federal. I still sent letters every month to XXXX XXXX who Navy Federal referred me to, their representation, asking them to validate the debt XXXX XXXX XXXX and they never responded them or their client. I attempted to report the collection agency with the CFPB, complaint number XXXX are claiming that they gave it back to Navy federal in XX/XX/2021 but that was the month they tried to validate the debt with the letter and blank pages and I responded XX/XX/XXXX demanding that they delete the information according to the law. By law they are required to verify the debt or promptly delete it. Navy Federal referred me to XXXX XXXX to handle this debt and XXXX XXXX failed to properly validate the debt within the 30 day time period for their client. It legally has to be removed. I tried to settle this with navy federal directly over a year ago and the referred me to their representation. This is defamation and Navy Federal should be held accountable, I should not have to go through the entire disputing process again directly through them because when I attempted to in 2021 they told me they will not be handling it and directed me to their representation and I spent over 6 months trying to get them to properly validate the debt and because XXXX XXXX, Navy Federal ‘s Representation/an extension of them couldn’t properly validate it within the allotted time frame I now still have to go through navy federal ? They refused to handle my debt directly and I exercise my rights according to the FCRA and they couldn’t validate the debt but refused to delete it after all this time they get to say now you have to directly through us even though XXXX XXXX XXXX was working for navy federal to settle the debt? please do something about this.”


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

Navy Federal Lawsuits

Navy Federal Credit Union has recently faced legal action regarding how the institution issues fees for returned checks or insufficient/nonsufficient funds (NFS). In addition, their collection practices have also been the subject of federal investigation.

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

Ruby Lambert v Navy Federal Credit Union, Case No. 1:19-cv-00103-LO-MSN

In April 2021, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Navy Federal Credit Union was obligated to pay $16 million in a class action lawsuit to credit union members who were charged Represent non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees between January 28, 2014 and October 27, 2020. Beneficiaries to the settlement have been advised they will receive their payments automatically.[2][3]

Lloyd, et al. v. Navy Federal Credit Union, Case No. 17-cv-1280

Jenna Lloyd sued Navy Federal in 2019 on behalf of herself and other current and former members alleging the institution “breached its contract with member checking Account Holders and improperly assessed and collected Overdraft Fees on certain transactions.”[4]

The following year, a judge ordered Navy Federal to pay a total of $25 million (or 0.30% of annual corporate revenue, 0.02% of corporate assets) for reimbursements and legal fees.[5]

Current account holders were reimbursed via direct deposit in January 2021, and checks to former account holders were posted on February 24, 2021.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Charges

In 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) investigated Navy Federal and found that the credit union had violated the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.[6]

The CFPB charged that between 2013 and 2015, Navy Federal Credit Union falsely threatened legal action and wage garnishment, falsely threatened to contact commanding officers of the U.S. military, misrepresented the consequences of overdue payments on a line of credit, and illegally froze members’ funds and account access.

Navy Federal was fined $28.5 million (or 0.04% of corporate assets at the time); this included a $5.5 million civil penalty and $23 million to compensate affected consumers. Those who received a letter threatening to contact their commanding officer received at least $1,000 in compensation.[7]


Frequently Asked Questions

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

  • Is Navy Federal good for refinancing student loans?
    Navy Federal may be a good option for current members and those who would like to join Navy Federal Credit Union. Membership includes exclusive perks; some of these are extended just to particular members, such as certain military personnel.
  • Does Navy Federal have a minimum credit score requirement to refinance student loans?
    Navy Federal does not disclose a minimum credit score to qualify for student loan refinancing.
  • Are Navy Federal loans federal?
    Navy Federal loans are not federal. Navy Federal has no affiliation with the federal government or the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Does Navy Federal 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 Navy Federal hurt your credit score?
    Yes, checking your rates with Navy Federal may impact your credit score.
  • Is Navy Federal a bank?
    Navy Federal, while offering many of the same financial services that a traditional bank does, is a credit union with limited membership eligibility.
  • Can I refinance a Navy Federal loan?
    You can refinance Navy Federal student loans, student loans from another private lender, and federal loans. There is no limit to the number of times a borrower may refinance with Navy Federal. 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 Navy Federal?
    Yes, you can refinance some, all, or just one of your qualifying student loans with Navy Federal. 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 Navy Federal. 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 Navy Federal?
    Navy Federal does not offer joint refinancing.
  • How long does it take to refinance with Navy Federal?
    Navy Federal does not offer a timeline. Approved loan offers are valid for 30 days.
  • Who services Navy Federal refinance loans?
    Navy Federal services all their own refinance loans.
  • Does Navy Federal offer a grace period?
    Navy Federal does not offer a grace period but may honor an existing grace period.
  • How often do variable rates change?
    Navy Federal updates variable rates every 90 days for a total of four (4) times per year.
  • Can I get any special rates or discounts with Navy Federal?
    Navy Federal Credit Union offers a 0.25% interest rate reduction to borrowers who enroll to make automatic payments. Members of the credit union can take advantage of special offers with Navy Federal’s partners, including discounts and cash bonuses.
  • What happens if I file for bankruptcy?
    Navy Federal specifies that borrowers who declare bankruptcy may still be obligated to repay their loan.
  • Does Navy Federal partner with any major student refinance lender marketplaces?
    Navy Federal partners with LendKey.

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Navy Federal C-
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Juno D+
Discover D
Nelnet Bank D
PNC Bank D-
NaviRefi F

Sources

  1. Navy Federal Credit Union (Navy Federal), Private Education Loan Application and Solicitation Disclosure Form: Refinance Loans
  2. Credit Union Times, Federal Judge Grants Final Approval Over Navy Federal’s $16 Million Class Action Suit

  3. JND Legal Administration, Lambert Representment NSF Fee Settlement: Frequently Asked Questions
  4. NFOverdraftLitigation.com, Lloyd v. Navy Federal Credit Union Settlement
  5. Navy Federal, 2020 Annual Report
  6. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB Orders Navy Federal Credit Union to Pay $28.5 Million for Improper Debt Collection Actions
  7. Annual Report Owl, Navy Federal Credit Union 2015 Annual Report Download
  8. Navy Federal, Rates & Terms
  9. CFPB, Consumer Complaint Database
  10. Dun & Bradstreet, Business Directory
  11. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities