How To Refinance A Personal Loan
Refinancing a personal loan involves taking out a new loan and using that money to pay off the existing loan. You can refinance a personal loan at any time, but it is most beneficial for borrowers who have improved their credit score since applying for their original loan and will qualify for a lower interest rate.
Personal loan refinancing can also be a good option for people who want to reduce their monthly payments by extending the loan tenure. Keep in mind that refinancing often comes with an underwriting fee and can result in a drop in your credit score, which can happen when a lender performs a rigorous credit check as part of the underwriting process. You may also be subject to a prepayment penalty fee from the original lender.
When is the best time to refinance a personal loan?
Absent restrictions in their loan agreements, borrowers can usually refinance personal loans as soon as they start making payments. However, there are certain circumstances where refinancing a loan makes more sense and is more beneficial to the borrower. If you:
- Get access to lower interest rates based on a higher credit score or a more favorable credit environment
- Want to lower your payments?
- You’re facing a balloon payment that you’re unable—or unwilling—to pay
- You are comfortable with potentially lowering your credit score as a result of the application process
- You do not have access to a balance transfer credit card or other source of funds
How to refinance a personal loan in 5 steps
The loan refinancing process varies by lender. However, it is largely the same as the standard loan application process. Follow these steps to refinance your Refinance A personal loan:
1. Check your credit score
When refinancing a Refinance A personal loan, start by checking your credit score. Check with your bank or credit card company, as they will let you check your score for free. Generally, lenders look for a credit score of 660 when refinancing a personal loan, but a score between 580 and 600 may be sufficient. However, a higher score will give you access to more favorable terms – such as lower interest rates.
If possible, familiarize yourself with your credit score and history before the refinancing application process. That way, you’ll have time to make improvements—like lowering your credit utilization rate—before the lender does a hard credit check.
2. Shop for terms
When your credit score is in good standing, research traditional and online lenders that offer Refinance A personal loan refinancing. Start by contacting your current loan provider to see if they are willing to refinance your loan. Your current lender should also be able to tell you how much you owe on your loan so you know what to borrow. Next, contact local banks and online lenders to compare interest rates and other loan terms.
When shopping for a lender, compare loan terms and interest rates, which typically range from about 3.5% to 35% or more. You should also evaluate each lender’s origination fees so that they are no more than the standard 0.5% to 1% of the total loan amount.
3. Apply for the loan and wait for underwriting
Once you’ve chosen a lender, compile all the information and documents the bank needs to complete your application. This will likely include copies of your most recent tax returns and pay stubs, but specific application requirements will vary by lender. After completing your loan application, expect to wait a few hours to a few weeks to get approved.
4. Pay off the original loan
After the new loan proceeds are disbursed, use them to pay off your original loan balance. Depending on the terms of your original loan, you may also be liable for a prepayment penalty. Finally, wait for confirmation from the lender that your account has been closed so that you can avoid any further fees and penalties.
5. Start making payments on the new loan
After paying off and repaying your original loan, start making regular payments on the new loan. If possible, sign up for automatic payments so you don’t have to remember to pay each month. Regular, on-time payments will help restore any damage to your credit score during the application process and can help build your credit history over the long term.
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Use a Refinance A Personal Loan Calculator to Determine Savings
Deciding whether or not loan refinancing is your best option can be difficult. However, Refinance A personal loan calculators can make it easy to estimate your monthly and overall payments so you know what to expect. Loan calculators make it easy to compare multiple loans while shopping for the most favorable terms.
How Refinance A Personal Loan Refinance Affects Your Credit Score
Refinancing a Refinance A personal loan can affect your credit score in several ways: First, refinancing a loan usually requires a rigorous credit check, which can negatively affect your score. However, this is usually a small reduction and is often outweighed by the benefits of refinancing. Just be sure to shop for a loan within a limited time frame—usually between 14 and 45 days—so the credit bureaus will only count the applications as one for reporting purposes.
Your credit score can also drop when your original loan account is closed as a result of a refi. However, the effect of closing this account will largely depend on when the original loan was issued in relation to your other outstanding debts and whether it was in good standing. In most cases, borrowers can regain their original credit by making timely payments on the new loan.
Advantages of Refinance A personal loan refinancing
- Lower interest rates may be available depending on your credit score and current lending environment
- Depending on the terms available, you can choose a longer or shorter repayment period
- Extending the loan tenure means lower monthly payments
- You can switch from a variable to a fixed-rate loan
Disadvantages of refinancing a Refinance A personal loan
Lenders typically charge an origination fee between 0.5% and 1% of the loan amount.
You may have to pay a prepayment penalty on your original loan
Most lenders require a strict credit check, which can negatively impact your credit score
By extending your loan tenure, you will end up paying more interest over time
Alternatives to Refinancing a Refinance A Personal Loan
There are really only three options for refinancing a Refinance A personal loan: The first option is to pay off the loan balance and close the account. However, this is usually not an option and some borrowers resort to another, less attractive option – defaulting on the loan.
Fortunately, some borrowers also have balance transfer credit cards that allow them to transfer outstanding loan balances and pay them off over time. Borrowers with good to excellent credit scores can access 0% interest rates for an initial period of 12 months or more. This makes it an excellent option for borrowers with strong credit history. However, keep in mind that many cards charge a fee of between 3% and 5% of the transferred balance.