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How To Lower Interest On Student Loans
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Student Loans: Easing The Burden: Add On Interest In Student Loans
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How To Refinance A Student Loan
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Tens of millions of Americans have borrowed money to pay for college. If you’re one of those borrowers, reducing student loan debt may be one of your big financial goals.
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If you’re trying to pay off private student loan debt, a good place to start is to see if you can lower your interest rate, especially with interest rates on the rise due to recent rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. Below are four ways to lower your student loan interest rate and reduce your student loan payments.
1. Refinance your student loans Best for: Those with strong credit scores and want to pay off their loans quickly
If you have a solid credit foundation, are employed and plan to pay off your loans quickly, you may want to consider refinancing your private student loans. Qualified applicants may be able to take advantage of lower interest rates that can save money on monthly loan payments and overall interest fees.
You may be able to refinance student loans if you have bad credit, but your rates may be higher. A good credit score, by comparison, may increase your chances of qualifying for a lower interest rate. To improve your credit score, adopt good credit habits, such as paying on time and reducing the balance on your credit card (thereby lowering your credit utilization ratio).
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It’s okay to be strategic and refinance multiple times because there are no prepayment penalties on student loans, and most loans don’t charge origination fees.
One of the easiest ways to lower your interest rate is to automate your payments. Many lenders offer a 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent discount if you set up autopay from a checking or savings account. It can be added from time to time. For example, you can save around $25 a year on a $10,000 balance.
With some lenders, you may be eligible for a loyalty discount as well. Loyalty discounts, if you can find them, reward borrowers (and co-borrowers) with other accounts with the lender or bank— such as savings accounts or other loans. SoFi, for example, offers a “member discount” if you take out a student loan after opening a personal loan or investment account. Check with your lender to find out what’s available.
If you’re borrowing privately or have refinanced, you might consider shopping around for a more competitive student loan rate and presenting it to your current lender. Although it’s a long shot, lenders may be willing to match the rate to keep your business.
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If you fail to make payments on time, both your credit rating can suffer and you can both be financially responsible for the debt, so make sure you make your payments in full and on time.
4. Add a cosigner Best for: Those with less than excellent credit and a trusted third party willing to cosign
If you don’t have great credit but have a trusted friend or family member who does and is willing to help, many private lenders allow you to add a cosigner to your student loan. Adding a co-signer may help you if you need to show better credit or more income to qualify for a lower interest rate.
Your co-signer will be equally responsible for the loan, which can pose a financial risk to the co-signer. Some lenders have cosigner release programs, which allow you to release your cosigner from their financial responsibility once you meet certain credit and payment requirements.
Refinancing Student Loans For Lower Interest Rates
Not all methods are suitable for every student loan borrower. The good news is that there are other ways to lower the cost of your student loans, even if your interest rate stays the same.
You may be able to deduct a portion of your student loan interest payments from your top income. If you qualify, the deduction can offset the amount of income you have to claim and reduce your tax liability.
The student loan interest deduction is also an online exclusion from income, so you can claim the deduction even if you don’t claim it on your tax return.
While it’s not a lower interest rate, some private student loan lenders offer special cash back and refinancing rebates. Credible, for example, offers a “best rate guarantee,” which requires a $200 gift card if you can find another lender that offers you a lower rate.
How To Tackle Your Student Loans [infographic]
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