Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance Review

Last Updated: October 5, 2021 by Melanie Hanson

Our Rating: C+ (Compare)

Loan Limits $7,500 – $175,000
Fixed Rates 2.99% – 12.03%*
Variable Rates 1.61% – 10.22% (18.00% Cap)
Terms 5, 10 or 15 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

Since 1933, Navy Federal Credit Union has grown to 10 million members. Navy Federal partners with LendKey to provide borrowers with student loan refinancing. Membership is not exclusive to U.S. Navy personnel, though certain restrictions apply.

Note that Navy Federal has temporarily suspended refinancing for federal loans until January 31, 2022.

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’s fixed rates are between 2.99% and 12.03%. Variable rates are between 1.61% and 10.22%. Lowest rates always include the 0.25% interest reduction for enrolling in autopay.

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5 Year 2.99% – 11.21% 1.61% – 9.47%
10 Year 4.47% – 11.82% 3.17% – 9.87%
15 Year 4.68% – 12.03% 3.42% – 10.22%

Additional information about Navy Federal refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with Navy Federal will not affect your credit score. They will conduct a soft, not hard, credit inquiry (learn the difference).
  • Navy Federal does offer a discount for setting up autopay: 0.25% interest rate reduction.
  • Variable rates are based on the 90-day SOFR (0.05% 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: an associate’s degree -OR- currently enrolled in an eligible school with loans in repayment.
  • Location Requirement: 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

Additional restrictions apply for specific individuals and 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 (3.7 out of 5).

Navy Federal 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 December 2011, consumers have submitted 8,167 complaints about Navy Federal Credit Union (Navy Federal) to the CFPB for an average of two (2) to three (3) complaints per day.

Among the total complaints, up to 40 of these complaints have to do with student loan and/or student loan refinancing services.

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, 7900 total since 2011, 1498 in 2020

Below we’ve included the 3 most recent complaints (as of this writing) regarding student loans and/or student loan refinancing in which the consumer consented to share their details. Some complaints may have minor edits to improve readability.


Complaint 4481331
6/22/2021
Texas

“Navy Federal Credit Union continues post transactions out of order on my checking account. They are not following the posting schedule and I believe they are doing this to collect more overdraft fees. They do not widely advertise the posting schedule I had to request a supervisor to tell me the schedule because the first representative did not know. This is deceptive practice. They are capitalizing off of people financial hardships during a pandemic.”


Complaint 4455050
6/13/2021
Pennsylvania

“Last onto l, Navy Federal Credit Union seized funds out of my account in the amounts of XXXX from savings, and XXXX from checking. I had no idea I had the debt because in speaking with themselves day after day, I was told there was a cease and desist by an attorney XXXX XXXX. XXXX is my VA attorney. He has no other rights to do anything with my accounts. I was also informed that I called them and told them to cease. I never would have done that as I know there would have been no settlement letter sent. My attorney also changed my address to his about XX/XX/2016. I asked Navy Fed for the returned mail as he moved and thats when I found out about this cease and desist document that I never permitted. I want my money back because I never got any letters from them. I should have the right to a settlement that I can afford.”


Complaint 4451267
6/11/2021
California

“I am a victim of identity theft. The following accounts were opened without my knowledge, consent or authority. I have no idea how the theft took place, nor do I have knowledge of the suspects. I did not receive any money, goods, or services as a result of the identity theft.”


For a full list of the 7,900 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.

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 700,000 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.”[2]

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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]


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.
  • 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?
    For their prequalification process, Navy Federal performs a soft credit check, which will not hurt your credit score. If you proceed with an application, however, Navy Federal will perform a hard credit check that may affect 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.
  • Is Navy Federal a Credible lender?
    Navy Federal does not partner with Credible and is not part of their lender marketplace.

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. Navy Federal Credit Union (Navy Federal), Private Education Loan Application and Solicitation Disclosure Form: Refinance Loans
  2. NFOverdraftLitigation.com, Lloyd v. Navy Federal Credit Union Settlement
  3. Navy Federal, 2020 Annual Report
  4. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB Orders Navy Federal Credit Union to Pay $28.5 Million for Improper Debt Collection Actions
  5. Annual Report Owl, Navy Federal Credit Union 2015 Annual Report Download
  6. Navy Federal, Rates & Terms
  7. CFPB, Consumer Complaint Database
  8. Dun & Bradstreet, Business Directory
  9. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities