Going to college can be a very expensive process, but in recent years a number of great private student loan providers have emerged on the scene to make the process of securing education loans easier. Citizens Bank is one of the better-ranked lenders for both new students and those looking to refinance their old student loans. In this Citizens Bank student loan review, we will provide a detailed analysis of the benefits and the drawbacks of choosing Citizens Bank as your student loan provider.
Citizens Bank Student Loan Overview
In general, Citizens Bank student loans are aimed at graduates who have had some time to build up their credit and develop a stable work history who are now looking to leverage those things in order to refinance their student loans. Citizens Bank offers some fairly good rates and distinguishes itself by not charging many of the common bank fees associated with student loans. There are a number of available terms, from as low as 5 to as high as 20 years, that make it easy to tailor your loan repayment to your financial needs.
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In general, these many options and the high numbers for both minimum and maximum refinance amount lead it to be a better option for students who have gone to expensive schools or have pursued advanced degrees. However, the low rates and the good flexibility offered by the lack of an early repayment penalty make it a very good option for young professionals on the rise who are making full use of their college degrees, resulting in a mostly positive Citizens Bank student loan review.
- Fixed Rates: 3.50% – 8.34%
- Variable Rates: 2.90% – 8.00%
- Loan Terms: 5, 10 or 15 years for either new loans or refinancing. Refinancing is also available with a 20-year term.
- Minimum Amount: $1000 for new loans, $10,000 for refinancing.
- Maximum Amount: $90,000 for undergraduate students, $225,000 for masters and Ph.D. students, $300,000 for law students, and $350,000 for specialized professional education such as doctors or dentists.
Citizens Bank Student Loan Requirements
While the rates and options available are one of the stronger areas in this Citizens Bank student loan review, the requirements are the aspect that makes it less appealing. Borrowers have to have fairly good credit scores and work history in order to qualify for either a new student loan through Citizens Bank or their refinancing program.
- Credit Score: At least 690-700 or more. You can estimate your credit score using one of a number of calculators such as this one.
- Annual Income: At least $12,000 if applying without a cosigner
- Citizenship: must be a citizen or a permanent resident, or have a citizen as a co-signer.
- Application Fee: None!
- Other requirements: Students who are out of school looking to refinance their loans can do so even if they didn’t graduate from a Title IV compliant school, or graduate at all, though they must show that they have made their last 12 student loan payments on time to qualify.
We Liked Citizens Bank Student Loans Because…
Over the course of our Citizens Bank student loan review, we found a number of areas where Citizens Bank excels compared to the competition.
- It waives a number of the most common fees in the industry. There is no origination fee and no application fee, which can result is a decent amount of savings for borrowers. More importantly, there is no early repayment fee. Repaying a student loan early without having to pay any fees on top of it can provide excellent savings.
- Bonus discounts for being current Citizens Bank members. People with existing Citizens Bank accounts can get up to 0.5% taken off their interest rate. Over the course of 10 or 20 years, that can be a lot of money.
- Many flexible rate terms. Being able to select terms of up to 20 years can make repaying expensive loans from law school or medical school a lot easier, especially when there is no pre-payment penalty.
- Several different customer service options. It is possible to contact Citizens Bank through email, phone, and web chat, or just walk into one of the Citizens Bank branches that are available in many states.
- Backed by a large bank. Citizens Bank is one of the larger financial institutions in America and has a long history of banking and customer service. It is unlikely to disappear overnight or participate in scams or shady deals.
Not So Sure About…
- The high credit and income requirements. Many prospective students and recent graduates alike are likely to be missing one of those two components, making it hard for most borrowers to take the full advantage of Citizens low rates and fees.
- High refinance minimum. Combined with the difficulty that many new graduates have meeting the credit and income history requirements, this means that refinancing with Citizens Bank is only possible for those who took out fairly sizable loans. Those who worked through school received sizable scholarships or otherwise reduced their college costs – the kind of diligent borrowers Citizens Bank wants – may find their remaining loan balances too low by the time they qualify.
- Strict cosigner releases. Most other student loan providers allow cosigners to be removed from their financial liability after 12 on-time payments by the principal borrower. Citizens Bank requires a significantly larger 36 payments before a cosigner can be released. With the bank’s high requirements making a cosigner necessary for many, this is a significant drawback.
- Mixed experiences with customer service. Some of the customer service channels for Citizens Bank are definitely better than others. While their phone and chat support was fairly good, it took a while to get a response from their customer service branch using email. Similarly, the quality of in-person service can vary significantly depending on which branch you choose to go to.
Online Reviews Say That…
Most online reviewers seem to agree with our Citizens Bank student loan review, and give them a good score. Some reviews name them among the best when it comes to the private student loan and refinancing market. Others place them more in the middle of the pack, with some concerns over their aggressive marketing towards students who borrowed through the federal government, and who could lose a number of options by refinancing their loans privately. The general sentiment found in Citizens Bank student loan reviews is a positive one, however.
Citizens Bank Student Loans Contact Details
Citizens Bank offers a number of different contact options, including phone, email, web chat, and conventional mail, as well as Twitter and Facebook. It is also possible to visit a branch in person as well.
- Customer Support: 1-800-922-9999
- Email address: available through the secure Online Banking system
Based on our research, Citizens Bank is among the better student loan providers that are available today. Our overall conclusion at the end of this Citizens Bank student loan review is a positive one. It offers great flexibility, very few fees, and fairly good rates compared to the rest of the market. Unfortunately, its rather strict borrower and loan requirements may leave some who are likely to get many benefits from choosing Citizens unable to do so. For those who qualify though, Citizens Bank offers a solid student loan and refinancing option. What do you think about it? Leave your Citizens Bank student loan review in the comments below!