Choosing a Student Loan Consolidation Lender

Choosing the right student loan consolidation lender is a very important decision. There is no question that it often makes sense to consolidate student loans. This is often a good way to improve your cash flow and your overall finances. Many students are bombarded with solicitations from many different lenders. Choosing among all the potential companies can be over whelming and confusing. The decision is too important to make a random choice Therefore one should not underestimate the importance of making the best decision. Here are a few suggestions that could help you sort through the different available lenders:

Start with Your Current Lender

The lender that you know best is your current lender. If you stay with the same lender it will probably be less complicated than changing to a new company Find out what your current lender has to offer. Find out what is the incentive that your lender offers for consolidation loans. A typical incentive for example, might be 1% discount on your interest rate if you make three years of timely payments. Another type of incentive could be an immediate interest reduction if you sign up to have payments automatically deducted from your bank account. What does your current lender offer?

How Does Your Company Stack Up?

Compare your current company with other potential lenders. As you compare incentives ask yourself if you will benefit from a particular incentive. For example, if the incentive can be earned only by making payment over a long period of time, it may be difficult for you to qualify. Perhaps an up front incentive may be better for your situation. The worth of an incentive is determined by your ability to gain from it. Don't forget customer service. The greatest incentives cannot make up for poor customer service. Therefore, research all potential lenders carefully. Consider everything each company has to offer.

Some Additional Things to Consider

If a potential lender cannot give you clear straightforward answers to these questions, it may indicate a problem. The company should be willing to patiently answer all of your questions and explain the features and benefits of their product.  The amount of efforts it takes to get answers your questions is also good way to judge the customer service orientation of the lender.

  • How long has the lender been involve in this business?
  • How many borrowers actually earn the incentive?
  • What is the company's policies regarding missed or late payments?
  • What happens if I need deferments?
  • Does the lender have a practice of selling consolidated loans to another company?
  • Does the company provide online access?
  • Is there a 24/7 customer service number available?

Remember you can only consolidate once. Therefore if you make the wrong choice you could be stuck for the long-term. A loan consolidation is often very a smart financial move.  However, if you consolidate with the wrong company you could mess up an otherwise intelligent financial decision.  Therefore, take the time to compare lenders. The time spent will be well worth the effort.


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