CommonBond Review

Sarah BadaniBySarah BadaniAug. 22, 2019

In a Nutshell

CommonBond is a lender that focuses on private student loans, refinancing options, and even business solutions. With some of the lowest rates, free finance mentors to help you make better financial decisions, and world-class customer experience, CommonBond is redefining the way the world works with student loans. With an eye on customer satisfaction, ease of use, and friendly, helpful support, CommonBond gives students what they need to succeed.

pros

  • Low rates
  • Free money mentor with every loan
  • Best-in-class customer experience

cons

  • Not available in all states
  • Undergrad and grad students need cosigner to apply

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CommonBond at a Glance

Loan Types: Undergrad, grad, MBA, dental student loans

Loan Amount: Minimum $5,000 up to full costs up to $500k

Repayment Terms: 10-, 15-, 20-year terms, Deferment

Average APR: From 3.66% fixed and variable rates

Minimum Credit Score: 670, grad and undergrads must have cosigner

Fees: Only late fees

Overview

CommonBond is relatively new to the lending scene, having launched in 2012. In a few short years, though, CommonBond has managed to create big waves in the industry thanks to its unusually low rates, flexible terms, and customer-centric approach. CommonBond offers privately-funded undergraduate, graduate, MBA, and dental student loans. To date, the company has succeeded in funding more than $2.5 billion in student loans, and has contributed over $1 million to students in need through its Social Promise program.

CommonBond holds an A- from the Better Business Bureau and has won several awards, including Genius Company from Time Magazine and is ranked #1 Most Innovative Company in Education from Fast Company. The company has been highlighted in the media many times for its focus on customer satisfaction, fair pricing, and ‘disrupting Wall Street’ with its radically-different approach to student loans.

Best For?

CommonBond is a unique blend of competitive rates, flexible repayment options, and instructive financial guidance, so just about any student would benefit from one of these loans. Students who will really maximize their student loan opportunities include:

  • Dental students
  • Business school students
  • Students who want to pay lower rates
  • Students who want to learn how to make sounder, more responsible financial decisions in the future

Loan Features

CommonBond offers several types of private student loans including undergrad, graduate, MBA, and dental student loans. Having so many specialized options is a real benefit for students because it focuses on the unique needs of students working toward these specific degrees and tailors its programs accordingly. CommonBond requires you to sign up with a cosigner, but offers a short release of just 24 months.

What’s even more impressive is the number of forgiveness and flexible payment policies CommonBond offers its borrowers. Here are a few:

  • Resident deferral program

This program allows dental students to defer all loan payments until after they’ve finished their residency. This is a generous offer from CommonBond that allows students to solely focus on their residency instead of worrying about how to pay off their student loans or trying to juggle a job alongside resident duties.

  • Six-month grace period

Going one step further, CommonBond will also grant many dental students a 6-month grace period for paying off their loans. This allows you to launch your career, take care of the nitty-gritty details of starting that career, and only start paying off your loan 6 months later once you’ve established yourself and have started bringing in revenue.

  • Forbearance policy

But possibly the most generous feature of all is CommonBond’s forbearance policy. The company understands that sometimes life happens. And when it does, it would be nice to have a little wiggle room in paying off your student loans. Most financial establishments won’t afford you this leniency, but CommonBond does. It offers borrowers the ability to pause their private student loan payments for up to 12 months during the course of the loan term. This kind of flexibility is not something you see in most lenders, so it makes CommonBond a very attractive option.

CommonBond also offers each student a private finance mentor. These professionals will teach, guide, and aid students about healthy financial choices. This is a true benefit for anyone.

The Application Process

CommonBond is fast and simple, just the way we like it. You can sign up online, and it only takes a few minutes. You don’t need a lot of documentation, but you will need proof of enrollment and some documentation regarding your cosigner's creditworthiness. CommonBond requires a 670 minimum credit score, though this is slightly more flexible than the policy states. Undergrad and graduate students need a cosigner to apply for a loan, while MBA and dental students can generally qualify for a loan without one.

Eligibility Requirements

Here’s what you’ll need to apply:

  • Minimum credit score of 670
  • US citizenship or permanent residency
  • Live in one of the participating states
  • Proof of enrollment in at least half-time schedule
  • Attend an eligible title IV-accredited school

CommonBond has no minimum income requirement, a perk for most students.

Loan Rates

CommonBond has some of the lowest rates you will find anywhere. That’s one of the reasons students prefer this company despite the fact that it is newer to the industry than some lenders. CommonBond offers both fixed and variable rate private student loans.

  • Current fixed rates: 5.45%
  • Current variable rates: 3.66%

Those are some impressively low rates. CommonBond also charges no fees (except late payment fees). No application fees, no closing fees, no prepayment penalties. Nothing. That is extremely generous.

Repayment Terms

CommonBond offers private student loans with 5-, 10-, 15-, and 20-year terms, and with a flexible deferment program, CommonBond makes repayments flexible and convenient for borrowers. The MBA students can have as much as 32 months deferment. Graduate and undergrad students have 3 options for repayments:

  • You can defer all payments while you’re in school
  • You can make a flat rate $25 payment each month
  • You can pay just the interest while you’re in school

Or you can just make regular monthly payments, but most students find this difficult to juggle while attending full-day classes.

How Safe is It?

CommonBond employs state-of-the-art technical safeguards to protect all information submitted and collected via the website. There are also physical and administrative barriers in place to ensure the security of its borrowers at all times.

Customer Service

CommonBond has a customer service team based in the United States. You can reach them via live chat or phone anytime during normal business hours from 9am – 6pm ET. Customer support is also available via email at Care@CommonBond.co.

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How CommonBond Compares


CommonBond
Laurel Road
LendEDU
APR
3.66%
4.11%
3.99%
Minimum credit score
670
650
700
Loan amounts
$5,000-total COA
$5,000-total COA
Varies based on lender
Accepts co-signers
Yes
Yes
Yes
Best for
MBA, dental students, low rates
Students in eligible schools and degrees
Students looking for as much financial instruction as they can get

Summary

CommonBond is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dreary industry. The focus on giving students what they need in a friendly, upbeat manner takes a lot of the heaviness out of private student lending. And having a personal financial mentor affords students a golden opportunity to learn the ins and outs of finances first-hand. CommonBond’s rock-bottom rates make this a most competitive option, and the flexible repayment policies help any student pay off their loans with ease. Bottom line, CommonBond is an excellent choice for any student who has maxed out their federal loan options and wants a positive, affordable, and flexible experience.

Sarah BadaniBySarah BadaniSep. 16, 2019
Sarah Badani has extensive research and review experience in the finance industry. With a degree in psychology and education, she brings a level of depth and understanding to her writing along with her own flavor to spice up each topic in a unique and inviting way.
CommonBond