Will refinancing my student loans affect my credit score?


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If you can secure better terms for your student loan through refinancing, you can save money over the life of your loan. But does refinancing student loans hurt your credit score?


While refinancing may cause a small temporary dip in your credit score, your credit score will likely improve in the long term if it helps make your repayments more manageable.


Here’s what to know about how refinancing student loans may affect your credit and how to decide if student loan refinancing is the right choice for you.

Do Student Loan Refinance Lenders Look at Credit Scores?

Lenders look into factors including your credit score and payment history to determine if you qualify for student loan refinancing. As a reminder of what creditworthiness is: Your credit tells a story about your past borrowing habits and gives lenders insight into your likelihood of repaying the loan. If that story reflects positively on you, you’re considered “creditworthy” and more likely to qualify for better loan terms, such as a lower interest rate.


To provide you with pre-qualified refinancing rates, lenders usually run a soft credit check with the credit bureaus. A soft credit inquiry doesn’t typically impact your credit score. If you decide to move forward with a student loan refinance offer by submitting a formal application, a lender will conduct a hard credit inquiry, which will impact your score. This impact, however, is usually temporary and may be worth it if you’re able to secure better loan terms.

Possible Positive Effects

There are short- and long-term positive effects of refinancing student loans when it comes to your credit score. Here are some of the times when refinancing student loans can be a good idea.

Short Term

If your original loan has a high interest rate or high monthly payment and it causes you to have late or missed payments, that can hurt your credit score. According to FICO, a popular credit scoring model used by lenders, 35% of your FICO score calculation is based on your payment history.


Recommended: Refinancing Student Loans Guide


Refinancing student loans can affect your credit in a positive way in the short term by making your monthly payments manageable. You may be able to lower your monthly payments if you qualify for a reduced interest rate. You can also choose to extend your repayment term during a refinance to lower your monthly payment, though this may mean you’ll pay more over the life of the loan.

Long Term

If you secure better loan terms that make it easier to repay your loans on time, you’ll make positive strides with your credit over time as you maintain a good payment history. Again, with 35% of your FICO score impacted by your repayment habits, this is a key benefit.


And if you qualify for a lower student loan interest rate, a student loan refinance can help you apply more of your cash flow toward your principal balance. In addition to saving more on interest charges for your total education debt, you’ll also repay your student loans faster. Aside from the mental relief you’ll get from a faster debt payoff, paying off your student loan accounts reduces the total outstanding amount you owe, which can impact up to 30% of your FICO score calculation.

Possible Negative Effects

So how does refinancing student loans hurt credit exactly? The negative effects on your credit score are typically minimal if you’re able to make on-time payments. Here’s what to know.

Short Term

Although your credit isn’t impacted by a soft credit check, a hard inquiry does affect your credit score. However, the impact is usually a five-point reduction or less and a hard inquiry from a student loan refinance only hurts your score for a few months, according to credit bureau Experian. After the inquiry drops off of your credit report, it’s no longer factored into your credit score calculation.

Long Term

A student loan refinance can negatively impact your credit score long-term if you find that you’re still unable to make full, on-time monthly payments. If for any reason your loan goes into default, it will adversely affect your credit score.


Recommended: Can You Remove Student Loans from Your Credit Report?

Can You Prevent Any Negative Effects?

The negative impact of refinancing student loans is small, but there are still strategies to minimize their effect:


•   Keep applications within a 14- to 45-day window. When multiple credit inquiries of a similar type are conducted within a close time frame of each other, some credit scoring models count them at only one inquiry.

•   Keep paying your loans while in the refinancing process. Don’t stop making payments to your original loan servicer or lender until your refinancing lender gives you the all-clear. Prematurely stopping your loan payments can negatively impact your credit, even if you’re in the middle of refinancing.

•   Stay on top of your student loan refinance payments. Maintain positive payment activity on your loan to avoid adversely affecting your credit score down the line.

Recommended: Pros and Cons of Student Loan Refinancing

When Can Refinancing Student Loans Be a Bad Idea?

If you don’t have a strong credit history, it might be challenging to get approved for a competitive refinance student loan rate and terms. Consider building your credit before applying or finding a cosigner with strong credit.


Refinancing also is not a good idea if you’re planning to take advantage of federal student loan programs or benefits, such as deferment, forbearance, student loan forgiveness, or income-driven repayment plans. You will no longer have access to these federal programs if you refinance your loan with a private lender.

Alternatives to Student Loan Refinancing

Student loan refinancing isn’t the only student loan repayment approach available. Alternative options provided by federal and state programs offer various ways to get relief from your education debt.

Loan Forgiveness Programs

Federal student loan borrowers have access to various student loan forgiveness programs that cancel a portion of your student loan debt. Popular programs that can reduce your student loan burden without impacting your credit include:


•   Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Borrowers who participate in PSLF must work full-time at the government level (federal, state, local, or tribal) or nonprofit. During this time, you must also enroll in an income-driven repayment plan and make 120 qualifying payments. Afterward, your remaining eligible federal loan debt is forgiven.

•   Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans. If you don’t want to work in public service, but still want to get a portion of your loans forgiven, income-driven repayment is an option. After making 20 or 25 years of payments on an IDR plan, the remainder of your eligible debt is forgiven.

Each program has specific requirements that you’ll need to fulfill before receiving loan forgiveness.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs) are provided through federal and state-sponsored programs, and sometimes through a private employer as an incentive. Qualified loans vary between programs, but some allow commercial loans (i.e. private student loans) and federal student loans.


Typically, a service commitment to work at an approved facility in an underserved area is required to be eligible for loan repayment assistance. After your service contract ends, you’ll receive a certain amount of repayment assistance toward your student loan debt if you meet all of the program’s criteria.

Direct Consolidation Loan

Direct Consolidation Loan is only available for eligible federal loans; private student loans can’t be consolidated into a federal loan. If you have a hard time keeping track of multiple federal student loans, their due dates, and payment amounts, a consolidation loan simplifies your repayment.


It combines multiple loans into one new consolidation loan. The loan will be at a new interest rate which is the weighted average of the interest on all loans involved in the consolidation. This means that your interest rate will increase and you’ll pay more over the life of the loan. And while it can lower your monthly payment if you extend your repayment timeline, you typically end up paying more overall due to the additional interest you pay when lengthening your loan term.


There are many pros and cons involved with a Direct Consolidation Loan so tread carefully before taking this step.


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This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are looking to refinance federal student loans, please be aware that the White House has announced up to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for qualifying borrowers whose student loans are federally held. Additionally, the federal student loan payment pause and interest holiday has been extended beyond December 31, 2022. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans with SoFi, since the amount or portion of your federal student debt that you refinance will no longer qualify for the federal loan payment suspension, interest waiver, or any other current or future benefits applicable to federal loans. If you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness and still wish to refinance, leave unrefinanced the amount you expect to be forgiven to receive your federal benefit.


CLICK HERE  for more information.


Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891  Opens A New Window.(Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

More from MediaFeed:

7 fun ways to save money


Whether you’re building your emergency fund or putting a portion of your paycheck away for you and your family, chances are you’re saving money. It’s possible this all-important financial habit can feel tedious and boring, but with a little creativity and determination, saving can be interesting, dynamic and exciting.

Related: 50/30/20 rule demystified




Not sure how to make saving money fun? You could start by identifying your goals. Are you saving up for a big purchase, like a down payment on a house? Are you saving for your child’s future education?

Once you’ve figured out what you want to accomplish, you could determine a target amount of money you’d like to save. While this number might change over the course of your savings journey, you can always readjust your plan.

If you have an idea of how much money you’d like to work toward saving, you can consider diving deeper into your finances to pinpoint realistic objectives.

Once you’ve reviewed your individual financial circumstances and have a better idea of your savings goal(s), you could try these fun ways to save money.




With the right company, even the most mundane tasks can be enjoyable. You could talk about your savings goals with your friends and family members to potentially identify a saving buddy with similar objectives.

An ideal saving buddy will be supportive of your financial goals, flexible about changing plans in order to accommodate your specific savings needs and have a positive money mindset.

Checking in with your buddy regularly could help keep you both on track and you can celebrate each other’s accomplishments. If you’re stressed about how to make saving money fun, you could brainstorm creative tactics with your saving buddy and implement them together.




Saving money does not have to be synonymous with missing out on exciting opportunities around you. You could enjoy free activities offered in your area.

Perhaps your local park offers free theater performances or concerts in the summer, or your area bookstore hosts interesting literary panels and author discussions with no attendance fee. Think about the resources provided by your local library, such as book clubs, language exchange programs, craft nights and movie screenings.


jacoblund / istockphoto


A potential hands-on and fun way to save money is adopting a DIY (do-it-yourself) attitude. You could create things using materials you already own instead of buying new products. When meal-prepping for the week ahead, think about recipes that incorporate ingredients you already have in your pantry.

You could make your own household cleaners out of vinegar, lemon rinds and herbs or face masks and toners using fresh ingredients like avocado, tea, honey and oatmeal. There are ways to reuse materials that might otherwise be thrown out or recycled: Newspapers and coupon booklets could make great wrapping paper, and old cereal boxes might be repurposed into desk organizers.




If you’re looking to break up the monotony of saving, you could consider incorporating games and challenges into your overall savings plan. A friendly competition with your saving buddy could be seeing who can save the most money every week, month and/or year.

Creating small rewards for reaching your goals might be an incentive, too. (Bonus points if these rewards are free!) No-spend weeks, where you refrain from spending any money for seven days, also might help with saving. You could make it fun by taking out a $20 bill from the ATM at the beginning of each month, for example and not spending it.




Getting serious about saving money doesn’t mean you need to give up “luxuries” such as exercising, new clothes and accessories, or home goods. Trading skills and swapping goods are two potential examples of how to make saving money fun while not depriving yourself of the things you want.

You could go to your favorite yoga studio and ask if they have a work-trade program where you can clean or complete administrative duties in exchange for classes. A clothing swap with your friends could refresh your closet at no cost. You might also consider an informal exchange with skilled friends.

For example, if you’ve been eyeing an original painting from your artist pal but don’t have the funds to pay her, you could offer your website design services (or some other helpful skills) for the painting.




Sometimes, cutting down on expenses might not be the most effective way to reach a savings goal. It might be easier, in some cases, to make a bit more money than to reduce costs, especially if you are spending more than 50% of your income on non-discretionary expenses like groceries and debt payments.

A financial advisor can help you determine if increasing your income is an appropriate action based on your individual financial profile.

If so, you could reflect on your particular skills and/or hobbies to see if there is a way to translate one of them into an income stream.

For example, if you love to knit, you could start an online store for your yarn creations. If you have a knack for stringing words together, you could offer your writing or editing services in a freelance capacity. A successful side hustle could help bring additional money into your bank account and add more fun and enjoyment in your life.


Photobuay / istockphoto


Putting away money for your future does not need to be a boring task; there are countless fun ways to save money that could be customized to your specific financial needs and wants.

Starting to save today—even in small amounts—might help prepare you for even more fun in the future.

Learn more:

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
SoFi Money
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA  SIPC  . Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank.




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