Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance Review

Our Rating: D (Compare)

Nelnet Bank may be a good option for borrowers who already have Nelnet student loans. Nelnet Bank (previously U-fi) is a subsidiary of student lender Nelnet, Inc., which has repeatedly faced litigation for unlawful practices.

Loan Limits $5,000 – $500,000
Fixed Rates 2.30% – 5.96%*
Variable Rates 1.87% – 6.52% (16.00% Cap)
Terms 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 or 25 years
Min. Credit Score 680
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*Lowest rates always include a 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 either name†)
Federal student loans
Federal Parent PLUS loans (in either name)

Parents may refinance in their own names or transfer debt to a child

Nelnet Bank Refinance Rates & Fees

Nelnet Bank’s fixed rates are between 2.30% and 5.96%. Variable rates are between 1.87% and 6.52%. Lowest rates always include the 0.25% interest reduction for enrolling in auto-pay. Note that the rates below are from the Nelnet website, which explicitly states that rate values may not be up-to-date.

Also note that the lowest rates always include a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrolling in automatic payments.

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5, 7, 10, 15, 20 or 25 Years† 2.30% – 5.96% 1.87% – 6.52%

Only variable rates are available with 25-year terms; fixed rates are available on terms up to 20 years.

Additional information about Nelnet Bank refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with Nelnet Bank will not affect your credit score. They will conduct a soft, not hard, credit inquiry (learn the difference).
  • Nelnet Bank does offer a discount for setting up auto-pay: 0.25% interest rate reduction; this reduction is void any time three consecutive automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan.
  • Variable rates are based on the 1-month LIBOR (0.10% as of this writing). Nelnet Bank uses the highest 1-Month LIBOR published in The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the 25th day (or if such day is not a business day, the next business day thereafter) of the month immediately preceding such calendar month.
  • Nelnet Bank does not disclose a variable rate cap.

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 Nelnet Bank.

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 Nelnet Bank 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 The lesser of $10 or 5% of the overdue amount
Returned Payment Fee $20
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.
  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

Nelnet Bank offers a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrolling in auto-pay.

Nelnet Bank Refinance Eligibility Requirements

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

  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.
  • Income Requirement: $36,000 annual minimum without co-signer.
  • Credit Score Requirement: 680 minimum score.
  • Graduation Requirement: bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Location Requirement: unspecified.

Additional restrictions apply for specific individuals and loans.

  • Borrowers must not be enrolled in school half-time or more.
  • Borrowers with undergraduate degrees may refinance up to $125,000.
  • Graduate or doctorate degree holders may refinance up to $175,000.
  • A graduate degree in a healthcare profession may qualify the borrower to refinance up to $500,000.
  • No history of student loan default; this applies both to the primary borrower and the co-signer.
  • Neither borrower nor co-signer can have filed for bankruptcy in the last 84 months (7 years).

Nelnet Bank 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. Nelnet Bank offers some relief options.

Deferment & Forbearance

Nelnet Bank may offer forbearance under certain conditions, such as temporary hardship.

Condition Coverage
Returning to grad school Undisclosed
Disability rehabilitation Undisclosed
Active military duty Undisclosed
Involuntary unemployment Forbearance, up to 12 months
Economic hardship Forbearance, up to 12 months
Natural disaster Undisclosed
Temporary hardship Forbearance, up to 12 months

Additional Options

Nelnet Bank may offer other opportunities for relief or contract modification.

  • Nelnet Bank offers forbearance for general hardship in increments of 2 or 3 months up to 12 months total over the life of the loan.
  • Co-signer release is available after 24 months of consecutive, qualifying payments.
  • Death / disability discharge is available in the unfortunate circumstance that a borrower passes away or suffers total permanent disability.

Nelnet Bank 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.

Nelnet Bank Online Reviews

Few Nelnet Bank customer reviews are available on public forums due to the company’s newness. Customer reviews of Nelnet, Inc.’s past consolidation and refinancing programs have been included below for their value as unedited, uncensored, and unsolicited user experiences with Nelnet Bank’s parent corporation. Note that these reviews are unverified, may include inaccuracies, and may provide outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.).


“I was with nelnet and consolidated [my loans] which went to FedLoan servicing. However, I’ve been paying for 5 years and it’s literally at the same balance it was 5 years ago. Absolutely ridiculous”Aly Smotherman on Facebook, 7/9/2020


“Took out 32k in student loans, ended up owing 52k in 7 years while paying the minimum payment. Had to refinance privately with a 1.5 percent interest rate to stop the bleeding and turn it around. I’m now half way paid off and have another 1.5 years away from being debt free. Had Nelnet not jacked up my interest rate, I would be done with my loans by now. Nelnet is the worst and predatory.”Jason Christopher DeBaca on Facebook, 6/22/2019


“You always have the option of consolidation. I personally have Nelnet as my servicer as well, and while they are very helpful, be sure to document every call you have with them so you can refer back to it if they fail to do something they promised. I keep a running word doc and it’s saved me more than once.”User at reddit, 11/30/2015

Nelnet Bank 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 their mission, the CFPB allows consumers to log official complaints. These complaints are publicly available on the CFPB official website.

Since March 2012, consumers have submitted 6,099 complaints about Nelnet, Inc. (Nelnet Bank) to the CFPB at an average of one (1) complaint every 14 hours and nine (9) minutes (86 times faster than the average daily complaint rate among reviewed lenders). Among the 3,098 complaints with narratives, at least 73 or 2.4% specifically reference student loan refinance.

In 2020, consumers filed 1,119 complaints about Nelnet, which is equivalent to one (1) complaint for every $1.546 million of that year’s corporate revenue or two (2) complaints for every 11 employees.

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

Line Graph: Nelnet, Inc. (Nelnet Bank, U-fi) Consumer Complaints, Public Complaints Filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, from 2012 (31), 2013 (35), 2014 (24), 2015 (26), 2016 (553), 2017 (1,013), 2018 (991), 2019 (922), 2020 (1,119), and 2021 (1,385)

Below we’ve included three (3) of the most recent complaints (as of this writing) that specifically reference student loan refinance or refinancing and in which the consumer consented to sharing their details.


Complaint 4774717
10/3/2021
South Carolina

“There are 2 accounts – 1 ) my current student loan and 2 ) and old student loan from YEARS ago when I refinanced to get away from these XXXX. XXXX XXXX sold the loan back since then I’ve opened at least 3 CFPB complaints for XXXX behavior and will continue to document their scam tactics.”


Complaint 4685223
8/25/2021
Texas

“I have looked to refinance this loan however the only other available lenders all uses this awful servicer as well”


Complaint 4556578
7/19/2021
New Jersey

“I have a number of private student loans with Firstmark Services. I am trying to refinance my loans to lower my monthly payment. I’ve called Firstmark Services serval times ( XX/XX/XXXX, twice onXX/XX/XXXX, and several times in the prior weeks ). When I contacted them about lowering the payments, they informed me that they only service the loans. They are not the lender and can not change the terms of the loan. The original lender was XXXX. I received a letter from XXXX on XX/XX/XXXX informing me that they had transferred the servicing of my loans to Firstmark Services. ( By the way, Firstmark Services says they can not do any modifications only forbearance. ) When I asked Firstmark Serrvices for information on the lender, the name I was given was XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX ( XXXX ). When I asked for contact information for XXXX, I was told that since XXXX had sold the loan to XXXX in early XXXX, they did not have the contact information for me. I tried looking online myself and also could not find a phone number. This is completely unacceptable! I am paying monthly on loans and can not get the contact information for the lender. I am concerned that these banks and servicers are intentionally making it difficult for consumers. ( On a related note, I was told by Firstmark Services that I should seek to refinance my loans through a 3rd party lender. I tried that option but was unable to do so because I have a high debt-to-income ratio ( even though I have a high credit score and never miss payments ) It is precisely because I pay so much in student loans monthly that I need to reduce my monthly loan payments. )”


For a full list of complaints made against Nelnet, Inc. (Nelnet Bank) in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database, click here.

Nelnet Bank Lawsuits

Nelnet Bank has not been explicitly implicated in any Nelnet, Inc. lawsuits, though most ongoing litigation, such as the proposed class action Isner-Monticello et al. v. Nelnet, Inc. (Case No. 8:20-cv-02135-MSS-TGW), predates the bank’s November 2020 founding.[1]

Frequently Asked Questions

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

  • Is Nelnet Bank good for refinancing student loans?
    Nelnet Bank may be a good option for current Nelnet borrowers or for borrowers who wish to transfer a parent loan into the benefiting student’s name.
  • Does Nelnet Bank require a minimum credit score?
    Yes, Nelnet Bank requires a minimum credit score of 680 in order to qualify for student loan refinancing.
  • Are Nelnet Bank loans federal?
    Nelnet Bank loans are not federal. Nelnet Bank has no affiliation with the federal government or the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Does Nelnet Bank 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 Nelnet Bank hurt your credit score?
    For their prequalification process, Nelnet Bank performs a soft credit check, which will not hurt your credit score. If you proceed with an application, however, Nelnet Bank will perform a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Can I refinance a Nelnet Bank loan?
    You can refinance Nelnet Bank 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 Nelnet Bank. 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 Nelnet Bank?
    Yes, you can refinance some, all, or just one of your qualifying student loans with Nelnet Bank. 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 Nelnet Bank. 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 Nelnet Bank?
    Nelnet Bank does not allow spouses to combine debt.
  • How long does it take to refinance with Nelnet Bank?
    While Nelnet Bank does not disclose a detailed timeline, refinancing generally takes several weeks. After you accept their offer of terms, Nelnet Bank estimates 10-14 business days until disbursement.
  • Who services Nelnet Bank refinance loans?
    Nelnet Bank services its own loans.
  • Does Nelnet Bank offer a grace period?
    Nelnet Bank does not offer a grace period for refinance loans.
  • How often do variable rates change?
    Nelnet Bank recalculates its variable rates once per month according to the 1-month LIBOR.
  • Can I get any special rates or discounts with Nelnet Bank?
    Nelnet Bank offers a 0.25% interest rate reduction to borrowers who enroll in auto-pay.
  • What happens if I file for bankruptcy?
    You may still be required to repay your Nelnet Bank student refinance loan in the event that you declare bankruptcy.

Compare Student Loan Refinance Reviews

Lender Rating
RISLA A+
Brazos A
CommonBond A
Credible A
Advantage A-
ELFI A-
Laurel Road A-
Splash Financial A-
Purefy B+
UW Credit Union B+
LendKey B+
College Ave B
PenFed B
SoFi B
Earnest B-
EDvestinU B-
INvestEd B-
MEFA 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. ClassAction.org, Isener-Monticello et al v. Nelnet, Inc. et al
  2. Nelnet Bank, Student Loan Refinance
  3. Nelnet Bank, Disclosures
  4. Nelnet Bank, Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Nelnet Bank, Private Education Refinance Loan Application and Solicitation Disclosure
  6. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Consumer Complaint Database
  7. Dun & Bradstreet, Business Directory
  8. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities