CommonBond was formed by three graduate students (David Klein, Jessup Shean, and Mike Taormina) looking for a solution to high interest rates for student loans. CommonBond is one of several companies to emerge out of the student debt crisis, and it works with investors such as August Capital, NYCA, Tribeca Venture Partners, and more.

Loans are typically used to refinance graduate degrees, but they can also be used to refinance undergraduate degrees. In addition to refinancing loans, the company also offers MBA student loans and personal loans. CommonBond has a minimum refinance amount of $5,000.

With CommonBond Refinancing borrowers can expect the following:

  • Multiple federal and private student loans combined into one loan with one monthly payment
  • Interest rates based on their credit history and financial health
  • Customizable refinancing and repayment options tailored to the borrower's specific needs

The Good

  • Low and Transparent Rates
  • Enroll in Autopay and Receive a Discount
  • Refinancing Term Lengths
  • Forbearance Options
  • Career Services
  • Pencils of Promise

Low and Transparent Rates

First, CommonBond is an excellent company because prospective borrowers can easily see what rates they qualify for. CommonBond has charts laid out on its site for a variable loan, fixed loan, or hybrid loan. Consumers can see a high and low APR rate, estimated monthly payment, estimated interest, and an estimated cost of a $10,000 loan. All numbers are based on the terms of a loan.

Not only is CommonBond transparent, but it also features lower rates than other private lenders in the student debt industry. The site states that CommonBond investors believe that creditworthy borrowers deserve lower rates than traditional institutions provide. Individual rates depend on the credit profile, choice of variable or fixed rate, and the term (length) of the loan.

Fixed Interest Rates:

  • 3.67–7.25 percent
  • Terms: 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years

Variable Interest Rates:

  • 2.54–7.43 percent
  • Terms: 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years

Hybrid Interest Rates:

  • 4.40–6.35 percent
  • Terms: 10 years

Variable rates can change with the market, so monthly payments may vary.

Enroll in Autopay and Receive a Discount

As soon as their application is approved, borrowers can enroll in autopay and receive a .025 percent reduction in the loan rate.

Refinancing Term Lengths

CommonBond boasts some of the most flexible term options in the industry; when borrowers refinance their loan with CommonBond, they can choose from a variety of terms: 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years.

CommonBond also offers a 10-year hybrid loan. With the hybrid loan, the first 60 payments (5 years) of the loan have a fixed rate. The last 60 payments (last 5 years) will have a variable rate which is the total of the margin plus 1-month LIBOR.

The Common Bond Hybrid Loan is a great option for borrowers who tend to or would like to pay their loan off early.

Forbearance Options

CommonBond offers a degree of repayment flexibility many other private lenders lack.
 
Students can apply for in-school deferment of CommonBond student loans during the time they are enrolled. Like most private lenders, the loans will accrue interest while the student is in school, but deferment can be an attractive option for consumers who plan on attaining higher education to improve their career outlook.
 
CommonBond also offers military and residency forbearance. In addition, graduates may apply for loan forbearance in three-month periods for a total of 24 months over the loan lifetime. These options allow for greater customization in student repayment plans.

Career Services

Like many student consolidation and refinancing companies, CommonBond has an employment protection clause (known as forbearance period). Not only will the company pause any payments if a borrower loses their job, but its employment specialists will also help them find a new job.

Borrowers can also join the "CommonBond Community" and gain access to networking events. These events help members make connections in their industry and are especially great for those looking for a new job or a mentor.

Pencils of Promise

Inspired by other companies like TOMS Shoes and Warby Parker, CommonBond strives to prove that business can and should be a positive force for change. Through their partnership with the non-profit organization Pencils of Promise, for every degree fully funded through CommonBond, the company will fund the tuition of a student in need.

Check rates with CommonBond

The Bad

  • Must Be a Graduate
  • Fees and Penalties
  • Hard Credit Pull
  • Co-Signer Required

Must Be A Graduate

To start refinancing student loans, borrowers must be a graduate. This seems to be standard in the student debt industry, but some companies can still consolidate or refinance a loan if borrowers did not graduate.

Fees and Penalties

CommonBond charges a late fee of 5.00 percent of the unpaid amount of the due payment or $10.00 (whichever is less), and a return check fee of $5.00, subject to state law restrictions.

There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties for refinancing.

Hard Credit Pull

CommonBond will have to perform a hard credit pull to provide borrowers with an actual rate. The hard pull will show up on a borrower's credit report and can have an impact on their credit score.

Co-Signer Required

While co-signers are optional for MBA students, undergraduates and graduate students require a co-signer to refinance student loans. However, CommonBond offers co-signer release after the borrower graduates from his or her degree program, passes 21, completes 24 months of repayment, and meets CommonBond's underwriting criteria. 

The Bottom Line

CommonBond Highlights

  • No added fees of any kind (including prepayment penalties)
  • Offers forbearance options
  • Works with all Title IV schools

A loan from CommonBond is perfect for refinancing a graduate degree — especially if you have excellent credit and make close to or over $100,000 annually. When compared to competitors, CommonBond has some of the lowest refinancing rates in the industry.

Check rates with CommonBond

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User Reviews

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Jay
August 20th, 2019 Omaha, NE DETAILS
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This company ruined my life, I am unable to continue my education because of them. Do not use this company

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Cass
January 18th, 2019 Springfield, MO

Yikes...I have a high credit score, low DTI, and have never had an issue qualifying for any type of loan, including previous student loan refinances. They wanted me to have a COSIGNER....?!?!?! Um, no...pretty sure this is a scam company that just wants to source your personal information. STAY AWAY.

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Donna Reynolds
June 5th, 2018 Brazoria, TX

I have a Parent Plus loan from my daughter's education. I, however, do not hold a degree. CommonBond refuses to work with me to refinance this loan because of that. They did not check my credit score (it's over 850) nor did they ask my annual income. I find this to be a terribly prejudicial policy. I may not hold a degree, but my husband and I make close to $100K a year. We are perfectly capable of repaying this loan, we just want to not pay so much in interest.

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Larry Louis
May 25th, 2018 Midland, TX

Terrible. There site is a mess, sent me a link to co-sign for my daughter, first attempt wa a loop going nowhere, they would follow up with me, then site had me applying for a loan, sent me an email asking me to cosign for my own loan, then said they would follow up, next day an email came, I was back online and they saw a mess asking me that same questions, again another follow scenario. Not sure if this place is a real businss,

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Adam Fanelle
April 30th, 2018 Runnemede, NJ DETAILS
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Had an issue. They fixed it the next day. Now a happy customer

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Aurelia
March 27th, 2018 Woodstock, GA DETAILS
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I would give more stars for the CommonBond Care Team. They are responsive but they cannot correct the problem. There is one thing you need to keep in mind when you apply to refinance your existing student loan with CommonBond. The approval process itself might be quick, but once you are approved the check to pay off your existing loan goes to the lender via regular mail. This method of payment was not disclosed to me before or during the application period. It all became apparent after the loan was disbursed and the existing loan remained unpaid after a week. I contacted CommonBond to investigate why it was taking so long to pay off the existing loan and I was told that the payoff check goes to the existing lender via regular mail and it can take 2-3 weeks for the existing loan to be paid. What? In 2018, with all the great opportunities available to use some kind of faster method of payment, CommonBond still uses regular mail? There is something wrong with this process because typically student loan companies (Navient in my case) provide a 10-day payoff statement from the date of the request. However, the processing time plus the delivery method CommonBond uses will take easily twice that, perhaps more. In fact, the disbursement of my loan by CommonBond occurred on March 14, 2018 and as of today, March 27, 2018 (13 days later) the existing loan is still not paid. I also contacted Navient and apparently, they have not received the check and no way to find out when it will arrive. What is more worrisome is that the interest keeps accruing in both the old and the new loan at the same time. So, I am being penalized by the antiquated process CommonBond uses, which results in unnecessary increased interest payments. CommonBond does not want to take responsibility for this outdated method of payment. To be fair to the customer, CommonBond should disclose this upfront and not charge interest on the new loan until the old loan is paid off.

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Bretty Thompson
February 7th, 2018 Waynesboro, VA

I helped my son though college and still carry $5800.00 loans at 8% so while I was in my Credit Karma account, their information was there. I thought I would give it a try. No such luck! Even though I am 61 years old, have a successful business and a great credit score, I am not good enough because I did not personally attend college in the '70's. Don't waste your time if you fall into this category! What they did for me is remind me that both USAA and PFCU want my business for the same thing and the best part... a better rate.

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Lisa
March 17th, 2017 San Francisco, CA

Common Bond has a great concept and pretty website, and the customer reps on the phone seemed genuinely helpful. But when it came down to underwriting, it was a long and arduous process that takes AT LEAST TWO WEEKS, IF NOT MONTHS. While I was assured they would put it as a "priority" since I had a competing offer, the answers and explanations I got were canned and not transparent on timelines. At the same time, I was consolidating my federal loans with Great Lakes, one of the larger student loan servicers contracted with the DOE--even they can relay much better expectations and information about my application. Since I had a competing offer for my private student loans that was going to expire, and I didn't want to remain under the clutches of ACS Loan servicing any longer than necessary, I cancelled my application with Common Bond and went with Citizens Bank -- much faster response time and easy application process with competing rates.

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Richard Griffith
February 21st, 2017 Acworth, GA

Commonbond saved us thousands of dollars in additional interest to Sallie Mae. Thankful for their help in transferring our loan to them. The process was very simplistic and was handled with professionalism. Love Commonbond!

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Hadi
February 8th, 2017 Ann Arbor, MI

Interacting with Common Bond is a completely different ball game and a very good one at that. I've always been pleasantly surprised to have received very personalized service and the realization that I am talking with the same person who I had been interacting with via email. There hasn't been a single thing to complain about and it's been one positive experience after another. I've been super glad to have discovered Common Bond and hope others get the experience of working with Common Bond too.

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Maggy Sharobeem
February 7th, 2017 NJ

The whole process was pretty easy and they gave me the best rates. I shopped around for a while to find a good company to refinance my loans with and CommonBond exceeded them all. Other companies even tried to tell me there was no way I got the rates I got with CommonBond. Very happy so far.

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Christina Maly
February 7th, 2017 Baltimore, MD

When I first tried to apply for refinance, I was not eligible given I had earned an MPH. I was pleasantly surprised when months later CommonBond sent me an email letting me know that the eligibility criteria had been expanded. My interest dropped 2%, there were no fees and every single staff person I had an interaction with (either over the phone or via email), was professional, helpful and efficient. I cannot recommend CommonBond highly enough.

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Sherri mcnamara
February 6th, 2017 George West, TX

I think they are sharks that shop around to kleen user info and sell your info. I have near perfect credit but all we got to was a denial based on the school I graduated from. I should have been denied as soon as I enterd the school name before they got the last 4 of my social. They got my email address, my phone number, home address and ;last 4.....I feel totally violated. Should have checked the BBB before I went for this site. They have no rating becuase they suck!

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C McManus
October 5th, 2016 Tampa, FL

Refinancing a ParentPlus loan and the application process was unbelievable. Over 3 weeks after being approved still asking for more and more documentation (every 5 days or so) - submitted 2 years W2's, 3 pay stubs, proof of graduation, Loan documentation, updated documents because Commonbond went into another month for approval. Also raised the interest rate 2 points after being approved. I got a lower rate with less headache at SoFi Lending.

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Rob
May 16th, 2016 Hollis, NY

Took them 2 months to review my application. I called after a month and they said they would prioritize it. I finally got fed up and told them to cancel. I'll have my loans paid off at the rate they process applications.

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J.R.
May 10th, 2016 Saint Michael, MN

Not a fan of Commonbond. It took them 2 to 3 weeks to finally tell me that my wife wasn't qualified as a co-signer even though she makes $50k per year working part time. My wife and I had a good laugh about that one. Not to mention they raised my rate last minute right before I was going to sign with them without co-signer. I ended up trying Lendkey and got a decent rate, 4.25% with my wife as a co-signer. This is much better than my current 7.2% rate with federal loans. Stay away from Commonbond - their underwriters are awful and try to cover it up with their cool marketing.

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James
April 13th, 2016 Washington, DC

Commonbond's primary value proposition is their rates -- supposedly lower than federal loan rates by a material amount. This is NOT the case for me, and I'm not sure this is the case for many folks. My Commonbond rates turned out to be higher than my federal rates: 6.74% (Commonbond 2014) vs. 6.21% (federal 2014); and 5.95% (Commonbond 2015) vs. 5.84% (federal 2015). This was both a surprise and a disappointment. The student loan business model is broken, and Commonbond is not promising a solution, rather, they are adding to it. They have a modern, cool marketing pitch, but are they really different? Not really. Perhaps it good knowing that the extra you are paying on your Commonbond loans may go to a good cause.

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Tom F
April 11th, 2016 Springfield, PA

The application process is terrible. Unable to reach a live person. Cannot back up on the site to change previously entered responses. Now they have been reviewing my documents for two weeks with no end in sight.

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Katie
October 20th, 2015 Saint Louis, MO

CommonBond was ridiculous. They told me I needed a cosigner on a $9500 refinance due to "insufficient income". I make 75k/year! They said the minimum is 80k. Really??

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Dave Carter
October 15th, 2015 New York, NY

I used commonbond for my MBA loans at stern instead of going with federal loans and it saved me a lot of money (close to 20k). I had a good experience with them - they sent me a book on entrepreneurship and took me out to a few borrowers dinners (on them). Good experience overall.