Wells Fargo Student Loan Refinancing Review
Matt is a Certified Financial Planner® and investment advisor based in Columbia, South Carolina. He writes personal finance and investment advice, and in 2017 he received the SABEW Best in Business Award.
As part of its massive portfolio of banking products, Wells Fargo offers private student loans. This includes both newly-originated student loans, as well as refinancing loans. Wells Fargo calls its refinancing loan the Wells Fargo Private Consolidation loan. In this review, we’ll take a deeper dive into the bank’s Private Consolidation Loan and discuss what consumers should know before they decide to apply.
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Wells Fargo Student Loan Refinancing
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 starsWe want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Rates & Terms:
Fixed Rates: 3.99 - 9.99%
Variable Rates: 3.75 - 9.74%
Terms: 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years
What I like about Wells Fargo refinancing loans
- No-fee loans -- Wells Fargo doesn’t charge application, origination, or prepayment fees.
- Automatic payment discount -- Borrowers who enroll in automatic payments get a 0.25% interest rate discount. (Note: This discount is reflected in the APR ranges in this review.)
- Relationship discount -- Existing Wells Fargo student loan or checking account customers can get a relationship discount that lowers their interest rate by 0.25%-0.50%. This is in addition to the automatic payment discount. (This discount is not reflected in the APR ranges in this review.)
- High limits -- The Wells Fargo Private Consolidation Loan can be made for up to $120,000. Borrowers’ combined education debt (including this loan) cannot exceed $250,000.
- Cosigners are allowed -- If you feel that a cosigner will increase your chances of approval and lower your interest rate, you’re welcome to apply with one.
Why you can trust me
I’m a Certified Financial Planner® who has published more than 4,500 articles on various personal finance and investment topics, and my work has been syndicated on news outlets such as MSN Money, USA Today, CNN Money, and more. In addition, I’m a highly experienced student loan borrower myself (14 individual loans throughout undergrad and grad school and one federal direct consolidation loan) who has extensive firsthand experience with the student loan borrowing, repayment, and refinancing processes.
Drawbacks of Wells Fargo refinancing loans
While Wells Fargo’s refinancing loans have a lot of attributes we like, there’s no such thing as a perfect lender (if there is, I haven’t found them). With that in mind, here are some potential drawbacks to Wells Fargo’s loans that its competitors do better in many cases:
- No soft credit pull -- Unlike many competitors, Wells Fargo doesn’t provide personalized loan offers without conducting a hard credit pull, which could potentially have a negative effect on your credit score.
What to look for when refinancing student loans
The primary reason most people refinance student loans is to lower their APR, so the interest rate you get is obviously a big factor to consider.
It’s also a good idea to consider things like:
- Do they offer a discount for autopay?
- Is there a variety of loan term lengths to choose from, or just a few?
- Is there a deferment option if you experience financial hardship?
- Can you check your interest rate quickly and without a hard credit pull?
- Does the lender charge an origination fee, or a fee for prepayment?
How to refinance your student loans with Wells Fargo
Like most student loan refinancers, Wells Fargo offers a quick and easy online application process, or borrowers can choose to apply over the phone if they prefer. During the process, any required documentation can be easily uploaded online.
Unfortunately, there’s no pre-qualification option. In other words, you can’t just take a peek at your APR offers without triggering a hard credit pull.
When to refinance with Wells Fargo
In a nutshell, the Wells Fargo Private Consolidation loan makes the most sense for consumers with strong credit scores that can secure a lower rate as a result. If you have this and are also a Wells Fargo banking customer, it could be an especially good fit.
But if any of the below are valuable to you, then I'd suggest sticking with a Federal loan.
- Federal student loans are eligible for income-driven repayment plans, like Pay As You Earn. These cap your monthly payment at a certain percentage of your discretionary income. I’m yet to find a private lender that offers this.
- Federal loans may qualify for loan forgiveness programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness. To be clear, not all federal loans are eligible for these, but no private loans are.
- Federal loans are relatively easy to defer repayment if you run into financial hardship. Some private lenders offer some sort of deferment procedure, but it isn’t common.