Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinancing and Private Student Loans: 2022 Review




Full Review

Citizens Bank private student loans are best for international students with a qualifying co-signer and those with an existing relationship with the bank. Citizens Bank offers a 0.25 percentage point interest rate discount for applicants with a qualifying Citizens Bank account.

Citizens Bank is not a good option if you’re attending a community college or taking a certificate course at a four-year school. Students must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher to qualify.

Citizens Bank offers multiyear approval for student loans. After freshman year, you can request loans for subsequent school years without you or your co-signer undergoing a hard credit check, which affects your credit. International students cannot receive multiyear approval.

Citizens Bank private student loan at a glance

  • No personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

  • International students can qualify with a co-signer.

  • Loan qualifies for co-signer release after 36 on-time payments.

How Citizens Bank could improve

Citizens Bank could improve its private student loans by offering:

  • Minimum credit score and income requirements.

  • Personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.

Citizens Bank private student loan details

Interest rates, fees and terms

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: No.

  • Loan terms: 5, 10 and 15 years.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $100,000.

  • Application or origination fee: No.

  • Late fees: Yes; 5% of payment amount for payments not made within 15 days of the due date.

Compare Citizens Bank’s range of interest rates with other private student loan lenders. Your actual rate will depend on factors including your — or your co-signer’s — credit history and financial situation. To see what rate Citizens Bank will offer you, apply on its website.

Citizens Bank doesn’t disclose most details about what it takes to qualify for its student loans. Lenders typically look for borrowers who have good credit and enough income to afford their debts and expenses.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: Did not disclose.

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.

  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.

  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: Did not disclose.

Other

  • Citizenship: International students are eligible if they apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • Location: Available to borrowers in all 50 U.S. states.

  • Must be enrolled half-time or more: Yes.

  • Types of schools served: Borrowers must attend a degree-granting institution and be pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher.

  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Did not disclose.

In-school repayment options

  • Immediate: Begin making full monthly payments as soon as the loan is disbursed. This option will save you the most in interest.

  • Interest-only: Make monthly interest payments while you’re in school and during your grace period.

  • Deferred: You won’t be required to make any payments until your grace period ends, but you can choose to make payments if you’d like. Interest will accrue while you’re in school and capitalize, or get added to your principal balance, at the end of your grace period.

Post-school repayment options

  • Academic deferment: Postpone payments if you return to school at least half-time.

  • Military deferment: Postpone payments if you’re on active military duty.

  • Internship and residency deferment: Postpone payments during an eligible internship or residency.

  • Grace period extension: Yes, an additional 6 months.

  • Forbearance: Postpone payments for up to 12 months if you’re experiencing economic hardship.

  • Co-signer release: Yes, after 36 on-time payments.

  • Death or disability discharge: Yes.

  • Loan discharge if co-signer dies or becomes disabled: No.

Repayment preferences

  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: No.

  • Loan servicer: Firstmark Services.

  • In-house customer service team: Yes.

  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.

  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: No.

  • Average time for approval: Two to four weeks on average.

  • Loyalty discount: Borrowers with a Citizens Bank account — like a checking account or auto loan — at the time of application get an additional 0.25% interest rate discount. Citizens Bank operates only in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

  • Multiyear approvals: After freshman year, borrowers can request loans for subsequent school years without you or your co-signer undergoing a hard credit check, which affects your credit. International students cannot receive multiyear approval.

Before applying for a Citizens Bank student loan

Before taking out a Citizens Bank student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.

Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.

If you aren’t eligible for a Citizens Bank student loan

If Citizens Bank denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.

STUDENT LOAN RATINGS METHODOLOGY

Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

We consider 40 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

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