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 3.44%† – 11.28%
Variable Rates 3.23% – 10.61% (18.00% Cap)
Terms 5, 10 or 15 years
Min. Credit Score Undisclosed
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*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 3.44% and 11.28%. Variable rates are between 3.23% and 10.61%. 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 increased 15.1% (from 2.99% APR) while its highest fixed rate has declined 8.1% (from 12.28% APR). The lowest available variable rate is up 100.6% (from 1.61% APR) and the highest starting variable rate has increased just 1.3% (from 10.47% APR).

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5 Year 3.44% – 10.46% 3.23% – 9.37%
10 Year 4.97% – 11.07% 4.51% – 10.27%
15 Year 5.18% – 11.28% 5.36% – 10.61%

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 (1.70% 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 (3.7 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 11,220 complaints about Navy Federal Credit Union (Navy Federal) to the CFPB for an approximate average of one (1) complaint every eight (8) hours and 24 minutes; that complaint rate is over 161 times higher than the average daily complaint rate among reviewed lenders.

In 2022, the complaint rate is nearly three (3) times as high as it is in an average year. In 2021, Navy Federal received 2,340 complaints, which is 124.4% 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 total number of complaints in 2020 was 147.5% higher than it is in an average year.

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 5747659
7/8/2022
California

“XXXX, XXXX, and XXXX are violating the FCRA by reporting inaccurate information on my credit reports. The payment history states the wrong first date of delinquencies among various other inaccuracies such as : XXXX XXXX and XX/XX/2020 both report XXXX days late, XXXX- XXXX and XX/XX/2020 both report XXXX days late, and also XXXX and XX/XX/2020 report XXXX days late. XXXX Not reporting XXXX days late at all. All credit bureaus are reporting incorrect information. According to the FCRA, any inaccurate or incomplete information must be deleted. Please delete NAVY Federal CU charge off account from my credit report immediately. Thank you!”


Complaint 5720346
6/28/2022
Virginia

“loan wa snever executed per vehichle of interest was sold and I never took possesion of vehichle, numerous visits to branch as well as multiple phone calls to address situation, was assured that loan was cancelled, however still showing on account and reflected on credit report. loan no.XXXX Navy Federal”


Complaint 5719470
6/28/2022
Florida

“Navy Federal Credit Union XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX, VA XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX. XXXX Florida XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX Protected Consumer to Navy Federal . I am a natural person who is at all times relevant. Navy Federal has caused my family and I great harm. In 2017 Navy Federal received my Federal Income Tax Return into my checking account. After they received my Tax Refund via direct deposit I was asked to come into the branch for verification purposes. After the teller verified who I was and that was XXXX XXXX ‘s Tax Refund I was told I would not be receiving my tax refund. Navy Federal lied, stole, and mislead me wrongfully restricting my account and stealing from me. I was told since I was past due on my loans Navy Federal reserved all rights to my Tax Refund since it was deposited into my account. I was told I would not be able to access my account nor would I be receiving my Tax Refund because I owed on my loan. Unfair restrictions were placed on my accounts after Navy Federal fraudulently stole my Tax Return and did as they pleased with over {$8000.00} of my hard-earned money. At this time I had just turned XXXX XXXX XXXX. I did not understand anything that Navy Federal was doing to me and my family. My family ended up being evicted from our apartment and my car was repoed as a result of Navy Federal stealing my Tax Refund. I was planning to use a portion of my Refund to pay on my Navy Federal loans as well as catch up on my rental and living expenses. I was stripped of the chance to do those things and lost everything in the process. Navy Federal Credit Union deceived and mislead me in the worst way possible. My family and I were living on the XXXX out of funds in a short time as a result of Navy Federals ‘ willful negligent practice. I received several calls and late notices that were harmful and threatening to me as I felt like I could not do anything to help myself at the time from being harassed and humiliated by Navy Federal. I thought so highly of Navy Federal until I witnessed them engaging in unfair and deceptive acts or practices and violated me per federal consumer financial laws. Navy Federal violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act by making deceptive representations to Consumers in connection with its debt collection activities. Navy Federal also violated CFPA by unfairly restricting my account access, and blocking my debit cards, and online access. I was told I would only be allowed to come into the branch for any banking transactions. I was also told I will no longer have an account other than my savings, so all other accounts were permanently XXXX. My remedy I am seeking to recover my Federal Tax Refund that was illegally fraudulently stolen from me. Navy federal was not authorized to pursue any of the actions they insisted on.”


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.

Compare Student Loan Refinance Reviews

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ELFI A-
Laurel Road A-
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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. 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