ELFI Refinancing Review

ADVERTISING DISCLOSURE

ELFI is a student loan company offering private loans and refinancing at competitive rates. With stellar customer service and personal loan experts to assist through the refinancing process, they put their client’s needs first.

They focus on graduates with good credit scores and steady incomes. Some of their target customers include medical and law school graduates.

ELFI Refi Review
elfi logo

Name: ELFI

Description: is an excellent student loan company offering private loans and refinancing at competitive rates. With stellar customer service and personal loan experts to assist through the refinancing process, they put their client's needs first. However, cosigners are permanently binding and you must have a bachelor's degree or higher. 

Overall
4.5
  • Interest Rates
  • Repayment Options
  • Customer Service
  • Refi Amounts

ELFI Refinancing Review

ELFI is an excellent student loan company offering private loans and refinancing at competitive rates. With stellar customer service and personal loan experts to assist through the refinancing process, they put their client’s needs first. However, cosigners are permanently binding and you must have a bachelor’s degree or higher. 

Pros

  • Competitive and low APRs
  • Stellar customer service
  • Service offered across all 50 states
  • Little to no fees
  • No cap on how much you can refinance

Cons

  • Must refi at least $15,000
  • Cannot release the cosigner
  • No refinancing for associate degrees
  • No autopay discount

What Is ELFI?

Education Loan Finance (ELFI) is a student loan financial company founded in 2015 by SouthEast Bank. ELFI strives to provide a clean, simple-to-use application process that focuses on putting its student customers first and has financed over $1 billion in student loans. Furthermore, they have unique benefits, such as personal loan advisors, helping differentiate themselves from the surrounding competition. 

ELFI offers private student loans and student loan refinancing.

Besides, ELFI has a clean history and hasn’t run into any problems with the law. They’re rated “A+” by the Better Business Bureau and are an FDIC member. Overall, the firm is credible and offers fantastic student loan products. 

What Is Student Loan Refinancing (Refi)?

Say you had $10,000 in student loans with an interest rate of 10% per year. After one year of not paying off your debt, you’d owe $1,000 in interest. That’s a lot of moola.

Student loan refinancing (refi) is when a separate company pays off your loan but gives you a new loan at a (usually) lower interest rate. This is where lenders like ELFI, Earnest, or LendKey come in.

As an example, let’s say ELFI swoops in to refinance your student loan, offering first to pay off your $10,000 of existing loans and second to open a new $10,000 loan at a lower interest rate of 5%. If you took this refinancing option, you’d be able to save money on interest every year due to the lower interest rate. 

That’s a whole lot of savings. Now, imagine if this had gone on for several more years! You’d potentially be saving thousands of dollars.

Student loan refinancing can be one of the best ways to save money by decreasing the interest rates on your student loans.

ELFI Rates, Terms, and Fees Summary

ELFI is one of the best student loan refinancing options on the market right now, presenting competitive variable and fixed rates. Their refi products are only available to applicants with minimum credit scores of 680 who are looking to refinance $15,000 or more. These standards allow them to offer some of the lowest fixed APRs in the market and fantastic variable rates. 

ELFI also has excellent customer service, reflecting its focus on its clients. 

ELFI Refinancing Rates, Terms, and Fees Summary
Variable Rates (APR)2.39-6.01%
Fixed Rates (APR)3.19-6.69%
Loan Terms5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years
Loan Amounts$15,000 minimum; no max
FeesNone! Only late payment fees
Payment FrequencyMonthly
Co-signersELFI permits non-releasing cosigners
ResidencyU.S. Resident or permanent resident

What Makes ELFI Unique?

ELFI stands out from its competitors by providing access to expert personal loan advisors during the refinancing process. Customers on Trustpilot have consistently noted that these advisors are extremely helpful during the process, making everything “stress-free,” “easy,” and “quick.”

These are accolades I don’t typically hear to describe student loan companies.

Pros & Cons Of ELFI Refi

Generally speaking, ELFI’s refinancing products are excellent. With a strong customer service team, personal loan advisors, and competitive APRs, it’s hard to beat them off. However, there are some minor issues with their refinancing options that you should know.

Pros

  • Competitive and low APRs
  • Strong customer service
  • Personal loan advisors
  • Service offered across all 50 states
  • Little to no fees
  • No cap on how much you can refinance
  • All types of student loans are eligible

Cons

  • Must refi at least $15,000
  • Cannot release the cosigner (if you have one)
  • Not flexible repayment plans (vs. Earnest)
  • No refinancing for associate degrees
  • No autopay discount

How Do I Qualify To Refinance With ELFI?

ELFI has several requirements you need to check to be eligible to refinance your student loans. It’s worth noting that you can refinance your loans in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. 

  • You’re a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident
  • You have a credit score higher than 680
  • You’re refinancing at least $15,000 in student loans
  • You’re pursuing or graduating with a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Your debt-to-income ratio is less than 50%
  • You make at least $35,000 a year
  • You’re attending classes at least half-time
  • You have at least 36 months of credit history

If you check all these boxes off, you should be ready to rock and roll for refinancing!

If not, you’re not out of luck. ELFI allows cosigners, who are people that agree to pay back the loan if you default on it. Cosigners are typically your parents, close relatives, or friends who are willing to vouch their credit history for you. 

However, ELFI doesn’t allow you to release your cosigner, even if you demonstrate good repayment behavior. This rule might dissuade potential cosigners from helping you out and is worth noting.

Student Refi vs. Parent Refi

ELFI differentiates between student and parent refinancing. The rates and loan terms between the two groups are slightly different, where students have more term length options than parents. However, the variable and fixed rates are the same. If you’re a student reading this article expecting to make small monthly payments, it’s probably worth looking into refinancing your loans as soon as possible for the longer term. 

Student Refi
5 Years7 Years10 Years15 Years20 Years
Variable Rates2.39-4.99%3.94-5.14%4.05-5.39%4.30-5.75%4.64-6.01%
Fixed Rates3.19-5.99%4.00-6.48%3.86-6.69%4.17-6.69%4.75-6.69%
# of Payments6084120180240
Parent Refi
5 Years7 Years10 Years
Variable Rates2.39-4.99%3.94-5.14%4.05-5.39%
Fixed Rates3.19-5.99%4.00-6.48%3.86-6.69%
# of Payments6084120

What Are ELFI Repayment Options?

ELFI repayments are standardized by year. There is no difference between monthly payments for students or parents.

Monthly payment ranges will vary depending on the length of your loan term, the size of your loan, and the interest rate. Though, the lower your monthly payment, the more you’ll end up paying in interest. So, if you can, make bigger monthly payments.

If you’re looking for more individualized repayment plan lengths, check out Earnest refinancing.

Who Should Get ELFI Refi?

ELFI refinancing isn’t for everyone, since they have ‘higher’ standards for who they work with.

If you meet all of the minimum requirements, then ELFI is generally a pretty solid option. After all, these standards are what allow them to offer highly competitive interest rates!

Though, make sure you take a look at its competitors to see what has the best rates and term length for you.

ELFI does have one of the lowest fixed-rate loans available.

However, if you don’t meet the criteria, then you likely won’t be eligible for refinancing anyways. ELFI wants to ensure that the risk of default is low so that they don’t lose a lot of money.

Though, if your credit score is still above 650 or 660, you could try looking at other shops like Earnest or CommonBond, respectively. 

How Much Does ELFI Refi Cost?

ELFI has little to no fees. They don’t charge an application fee, origination fee, nor prepayment penalties. Furthermore, their prequalification check can give you an accurate estimate of your refi rates in minutes.

The only fees that arise are if you make late payments. These occur after payments aren’t for 11 days and are either 5% of the amount past due or $50, whichever is smaller.

Is ELFI Safe?

Yes! 

As mentioned previously, ELFI has a clean track record and hasn’t run into problems with the law like other student loan companies have (looking at you Navient). 

Furthermore, several rating agencies rank ELFI highly. For instance, Trustpilot and Better Business Bureau give ELFI 4.9/5.0 and “A+” ratings, respectively. These stellar scores reflect the loan company’s trustworthiness.

Will ELFI Refi Hurt My Credit Score?

Well, yes and no.

Initially, during the prequalification process, ELFI will only do a “soft pull” for your credit score. “Soft pulls” do not affect your credit score.

However, if you decide to refinance your loans with ELFI, they will temporarily hurt your credit score. To finalize the refi, the firm needs to do a “hard pull” on your credit score to thoroughly determine your creditworthiness. “Hard pulls” look through your entire credit history to ensure that the prequalifying “soft pull” didn’t miss anything. 

Though, it’s worth noting that the effects of “hard pulls” are small. Your credit score only factors new credit applications and inquiries for 10%. Moreover, these hard inquiries only stay on your credit report for 24 months. Thus, your credit score will be back to normal pretty soon. 

Nothing to worry about!

You can check your credit score for free using Credit Karma or Credit Sesame!

How Is ELFI’s Customer Service?

Like we’ve briefly talked about, ELFI has excellent customer service. They are the only firm to offer personalized loan assistance throughout the refi process. 

ELFI provides several ways to contact their customer service. 

Their customer service calling hours (Eastern time) are as follows:

  • Mon – Thu, 8am – 8pm
  • Fri, 8am – 5pm
  • Sat & Sun, 10am – 4pm

They even have Sunday hours for help, which is rare amongst these industries!

How Does ELFI Fare Against Competitors?

As a whole, ELFI does pretty well against its competitors. Although it requires a credit score on the higher end, it offers low APRs.

Top Student Loan Refinance Companies

CompanyVariable APRFixed APR 
should I refinance my student loans2.39-6.01%3.19-5.99%Get My Rate
should I refinance my student loans1.99-5.64%2.98-5.79%Get My Rate
Should I Refinance My Student Loans1.99-6.09%2.99-6.09%Get My Rate
Should I Refinance My Student Loans1.99-6.10%3.00-6.20%Get My Rate
Should I Refinance My Student Loans2.99-6.06%2.99-5.99%Get My Rate
Should I Refinance My Student Loans1.99-5.25%2.99-7.75%Get My Rate

How To Get Started On ELFI

ELFI prides itself on how easy it is to get started with refinancing.

All you really need to do is:

  1. Get a quote via prequalification (~2 min)
  2. Determine if the fixed or variable rate is the best option you have
  3. Submit an application (~10 min)
  4. Upload relevant documents (Government-issued ID, W2, previous month’s pay stub)
  5. Sign your name
  6. Wait up to one business day
  7. Hear back!

If you are ever confused during this simple process, ELFI provides free access to personal loan support experts. Also, their customer service is open every day of the week. 

Are There Referral Bonuses?

For every friend who refinances their student loans with ELFI, the company will reward you $400, and your friend will get $100. In fact, referring your friend is easy too. You just need to refi your loans and then sign up for a personalized referral link that you can share. 

This is a pretty sweet deal!

Should You Use ELFI?

We believe ELFI is an excellent refinancing option. Given the company’s clean history, competitive APRs, and client-first attitude, ELFI proves itself as a top competitor. Furthermore, being the only firm to offer personalized assistance during the refi process is something worth noting. 

However, even if ELFI provides a reasonable rate, make sure to take a look at some other companies. Earnest, for example, offers innovational and individual APRs and loan term lengths that might suit you better. LendKey will try to match you to your perfect loan.

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