How to Refinance Student Loans With a 0% APR Credit Card Balance Transfer

Updated on April 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • Apply, gather loan info, request transfer, repay within 0% period.
  • Find a suitable card with long promo, minimal fees, eligibility. Collect loan details, understand terms.
  • Contact issuer, provide loan info for transfer. Repay card before promo ends to avoid interest.
  • Plan, automate, and pay extra for success.

Do you have student loans weighing you down? Well, it doesn’t have to be a struggle.  In this article, we’re going to dive into the world of refinancing student loans using a pretty clever  method – a 0% APR credit card balance transfer. Sounds intriguing, right? Let’s get started!

Making a student loan balance transfer to a zero-interest credit card

So, you want to save  some cash on your student loan interest by transferring it to a credit card with a sweet 0% APR promotion. Smart move! But first, let’s walk through the process step by step.Here’s a quick overview:

  1. Apply and get approved for a zero-interest credit card
  2. Gather the necessary information
  3. Request the student loan balance transfer
  4. Pay off the credit card during the 0% interest period

Now, let’s take a closer look at these steps.

1. Get the right zero-interest credit card

Not all credit cards are created equal. You need to find the perfect match – a credit card that offers an enticing 0% APR promotion for an extended period. Look around, compare, and read the fine print. It’s worth it in the long run.

When searching for the ideal zero-interest credit card, consider factors such as:

  • the length of the promotional period
  • any fees associated with the balance transfer
  • the credit card’s overall terms and conditions. 

Take your time to research and find the card that best suits your needs and financial goals. Ideally, you’d want a card with a long promo period, little or new fees, and terms and conditions that favor the customer. As we mentioned, not all cards are created equally, so look for the card the offers the best balance of these three.

Additionally, it’s essential to ensure that you meet the credit card issuer’s eligibility criteria. This may include:

  • having a good credit score
  • a stable income
  • a responsible credit history

Meeting these requirements will increase your chances of being approved for the credit card and enjoying the benefits of the 0% APR promotion.

2. Gather all of the necessary information

Before you dive into the world of balance transfers, make sure you have all the essential details of your student loans in hand. We’re talking about your loan balance, interest rates, and any other pertinent information that will make this refinancing process smoother than a summer breeze.

Take the time to gather all the necessary documentation related to your student loans. This includes:

  • statements from your loan servicer
  • information about your current interest rates
  • any other relevant paperwork

Having this information readily available will make it easier for you to compare the benefits of transferring your student loan balance to a zero-interest credit card.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to understand the terms and conditions of your student loans before proceeding with a balance transfer. Some student loans may have prepayment penalties or other restrictions that could affect your decision. By being well-informed, you can make a more educated choice and maximize your savings.

3. Request a student loan balance transfer

Now comes the exciting part – requesting a balance transfer. Contact your credit card issuer and let them know you’re ready to make the move. 

When contacting your credit card issuer, be prepared to provide them with information such as your student loan account numbers, outstanding balances, and the name of your loan servicer. This will help facilitate the balance transfer process and ensure that the correct loans are paid off.

Keep in mind that the credit card issuer may have specific procedures or forms for initiating a balance transfer. Familiarize yourself with their requirements and follow their instructions carefully. This will help prevent any delays or complications during the transfer process.

4. Repay your credit card balance before the 0% APR promotion ends

Remember, this 0% APR promotion won’t last forever. So, buckle up and channel your inner financial superhero. Make sure you repay that credit card balance before the promotion ends, or else you might find yourself drowning in interest fees.  Here are a few tips for paying down your balance: 

  • Create a Repayment Plan – Creating a repayment plan is crucial to ensure that you can pay off your credit card balance within the promotional period. Start by determining how much you need to pay each month to clear the debt before the 0% APR offer expires. Consider your budget, income, and other financial obligations to set realistic repayment goals.
  • Automate Payments – Automating your credit card payments can be a helpful strategy to stay on track. Set up automatic monthly payments from your bank account to ensure that you never miss a due date. This will help you avoid late payment fees and any potential negative impact on your credit score.
  • Make Extra Payments – Additionally, consider making extra payments whenever possible to accelerate your debt repayment. By paying more than the minimum required amount, you can reduce your overall balance faster and potentially save even more money in interest charges.

Remember, the goal of transferring your student loan balance to a zero-interest credit card is to save money and become debt-free sooner. Stay disciplined, stick to your repayment plan, and celebrate each milestone as you get closer to financial freedom!

Pros of a student loan balance transfer

As with any financial move, there are pros and cons to a credit card balance transfer. Here are some of the pros:

You can save a little on student loan interest

Who doesn’t love saving money? By transferring your student loan balance to a zero-interest credit card, you’ll wave goodbye to those pesky interest charges, even if only for a while. Every penny counts, my friend!

You might get more motivated to pay off debt

There’s something oddly satisfying about having a credit card balance instead of a ginormous student loan debt. This change in perspective might give you that extra push to tackle your debt with newfound determination.

Cons of a balance transfer for student loans

Now, let’s take a look at some of the down sides of a student loan credit card balance transfer:

You could spend a hefty amount on a balance transfer fee

Unfortunately, balance transfers aren’t always free. Some credit card issuers might slap you with a balance transfer fee. It’s like a slice of irony pie – trying to save on interest, but paying a fee instead. Crunch the numbers and make sure it’s worth it!

You might find that transferring a high balance is risky

If your student loan balance is sky-high, transferring it all at once might be risky. Credit card issuers have their limits, and exceeding them could lead to a less-than-ideal credit score or even a denied transfer. 

You could lose federal student loan protections

Before you jump into a balance transfer frenzy, let’s talk about federal student loan protections. These valuable benefits, such as income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness options, might disappear when you transfer your loans. Consider the consequences and evaluate if it’s a deal-breaker for you.

Other ways to pay off student loans with a 0% APR credit card

So, maybe a balance transfer is not your cup of tea. Fear not,for there are other paths to explore on your journey to become debt-free.

Pay your student loans with your credit card

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could pay off your student loans directly with your credit card. But, hold your enthusiasm – not all lenders allow this payment method. So, double-check with your student loan servicer before swiping like a maniac.

Use the ‘big purchase method’

This strategy works like this:  you have a big-ticket item to purchase – maybe a new laptop or a shiny bicycle. What if, instead of using your cash, you charge it to your credit card and use that cash to pay off your student loans? This way, you’re hitting two financial birds with one stone.Just make sure you factor in repayment feasibility first.

Refinancing your student loans as an alternative

If none of the above tickle your fancy, consider exploring traditional refinancing options. Research various lenders, compare interest rates, and assess the potential savings. From there, you can decide if a regular refinance or a balance transfer is the more magical option for your financial journey.

Personal Loans as Alternatives to Balance Transfers

Depending on your circumstances, you may be looking for alternative options to balance transfers. One of the best alternatives available is a personal loan. While you should expect to pay some interest on a personal loan, rates can be more attractive than student loan interest rates. And because personal loans can be used for anything with no questions asked, you can always get a personal loan to refinance student debt. Let’s take a look at some of the best options for personal loans

Top 5 Personal Loans for Auto Refinancing

When it comes to student loan refinancing, there are various lenders in the market who offer diverse interest rates, loan terms, and minimum credit score requirements. However, we have identified three key players that stand out for their unique attributes. Here are our top picks for student loan refinancing:

  1. AmOne (Best for Okay and Good Credit)
  2. Spring Loans (Best for Bad Credit)
  3. First Premier Lending (Best for Bad Credit)
  4. Upgrade (Best for Quick Disbursement)
  5. RefiJet (Best for Lower Credit Scores)

Read on to learn more about each of these auto refinancing lenders!

1. AmOne (Best for Okay and Good Credit)

AmOne is a leader is a great choice for auto refinancing, especially if your credit is solid but not the best. Their loan matching service ensures that car owners get connected with the best refinancing options. They provide solutions tailored to individual needs.

AmOne Personal Loan

4.5
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

600

Fixed APR

3.99%-35.99%

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: 600.
  • Fixed APR: 3.99%-35.99%.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000.
  • Repayment: 1 to 7 years.

Qualifications

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • While there’s no specific income requirement, a consistent source of income is essential for the applicant.

Pros

  • Suitable for individuals with lower credit scores.
  • No cost for the matching service.
  • Attractive loan rates.

Cons

  • Acts as an intermediary, not a direct lender.
  • Risk of multiple contacts from prospective lenders.
  • Lack of clarity on lender details.

2. Spring Loans (Best for Bad Credit)

Spring Loans offers a variety of auto refinance options for borrowers with less than stellar credit. They focus on flexible terms to serve a broad range of customers, covering both immediate and longer-term refinancing needs.

Spring Loans Personal Loan

4.2
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

None

Fixed APR

27.00%

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: None.
  • Fixed APR: 27.00%
  • Loan amounts: $3,000.
  • Repayment: 48 months.

Qualifications

  • Demonstrate a recurrent income.
  • Minimum age prerequisite: 18 years.
  • Validate U.S. citizenship status with an SSN.
  • Provide a legitimate U.S. driver’s license or a state identity card.
  • Establish a functional bank account for incoming deposits.
  • Adhere to any specific demands by the loan provider.

Pros

  • Open to applicants with any credit background.
  • Four-year loan period aids in structured financial management.
  • The $3,000 offer addresses several short-term financial challenges.
  • Wide-reaching eligibility criteria invite a broad spectrum of applicants.
  • The focus on dependable income over job title benefits varied income sources.

Cons

  • The set 27% APR is higher than many alternatives.
  • Restriction to a $3,000 loan might not cover all financial outlays.
  • Possessing specific IDs is mandatory, sidelining some applicants.
  • A prerequisite for an ongoing bank account may limit certain users.

3. First Premier Lending (Best for Bad Credit)

First Premier Lending is another auto refinancing option, especially for those with bad credit. They prioritize understanding each client’s specific needs, offering a wide range of refinancing options to meet diverse financial goals.

First Premier Lending Personal Loan

4.2
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

None

Fixed APR

27.00%

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: None.
  • Fixed APR: 27.00%.
  • Loan amounts: $3,000.
  • Repayment: 48 months.

Qualifications

  • Maintain a consistent source of income.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Possess valid U.S. citizenship and a legitimate social security number.
  • Hold a current U.S. driver’s license or state-issued ID.
  • Keep an active bank account for direct deposit.
  • Satisfy any lender-specific criteria, such as credit rating, borrowing history, or place of residence.

Pros

  • No minimum credit score requirement allows accessibility for those with varied credit histories.
  • 48-month term provides clarity and allows for long-term financial planning.
  • Specific loan amount of $3,000 can meet many short-term financial needs.
  • Broad set of qualifications make the loan accessible to a wide range of people.
  • Emphasis on consistent income, not necessarily employment type, allows flexibility for borrowers.

Cons

  • A fixed APR of 27% is relatively high.
  • Loan amount is capped at $3,000, which might not cater to larger financial requirements.
  • Requirement of a U.S. driver’s license or state-issued ID could exclude some individuals.
  • Mandatory active bank account could be limiting for those who are unbanked.

4. Upgrade (Best for Quick Disbursement)

Our fourth choice is Upgrade, which offers personal loans, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 and disbursed in as little as a day. With terms from 24 to 48 months, Upgrade provides ample flexibility for refinancing auto loans of various sizes.

Upgrade Personal Loan

5.0
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

560

Fixed APR

8.49% - 35.99%

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: 560
  • Fixed APR: 8.49% – 35.99%
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Repayment: 3 to 5 years (7 years on some larger loans)

Qualifications

  • Possess an active bank account.
  • Able to provide a legitimate email address.
  • Minimum age requirement: 18 years (19 for Alabama residents).
  • Credit score of 600 or higher.
  • Annual income of $25,000 or more.

Pros

  • Willing to accommodate borrowers with a credit score as low as 560.
  • Offers flexibility with a range of loan amounts from $1,000 to $50,000. This can be suitable for both small and large financial needs.
  • Provides options for repayment, allowing borrowers to choose a timeline that best suits their financial situation.
  • Once approved, borrowers can access funds in just one day, which is useful for urgent financial needs.

Cons

  • Origination fees can go as high as 9.99%, which might add a significant cost to the loan.
  • Apart from the origination fee, there are fees for late payments and failed payments, which can add up if one is not careful.
  • While there is an option to extend repayment for larger loans up to 7 years, it’s not standard for all loan amounts.

5. RefiJet (Best for Lower Credit Scores)

Renowned for their array of lending options, RefiJet comes fifth in our list. They’re the top pick for those seeking to compare offers from multiple lenders. With interest rates ranging from 3.39% to 22.00%, you can potentially secure a better deal on your auto loan.

RefiJet Refinancing Personal Loan

3.5
Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

550

Fixed APR

4.54-21.99%

Variable APR

N/A

Overview

  • Minimum credit score: 550.
  • Fixed APR: 4.54-21.99%.
  • Loan amounts: $5,000-$100,000.
  • Repayment: 24-84 months.

Qualifications

  • A FICO credit score of at least 550 is required.
  • Credit history requirements differ among lenders.
  • The minimum annual gross income is set by individual lenders, with $30,000 being the lowest known requirement.
  • The debt-to-income ratio should not exceed 60%.
  • Applicants should have no open or discharged bankruptcies in the last 12 months.
  • Services are accessible in all 50 states.

Pros

  • Pre-qualification is possible using a soft credit inquiry.
  • Automatic payment can lead to rate discounts with certain network lenders.
  • Services span across all states.
  • Customer support is accessible on Saturdays.
  • The website features a Spanish version.

Cons

  • An origination fee up to $395 may apply.
  • A fully online application process isn’t offered for those who desire it.

Why balance transfers for student loans aren’t usually worth it

While a balance transfer might sound like an easy solution, it’s not always worth the hassle. Before you make your final decision, let’s assess the situation.

First and foremost, rejoice in the fact that student loans often have lower interest rates than credit cards. So, unless your student loan interest rate is sky-high, the savings might not be as significant as you envisioned.

Second, remember those balance transfer fees we mentioned earlier? They can quickly eat away at any potential savings. Crunch those numbers and make sure the math works in your favor.

Lastly, let’s not forget about those precious federal student loan protections you might lose. Income-driven repayment plans and forgiveness options are like unicorns in the realm of student loans – hard to come by. Losing them might not be worth the temporary relief of a balance transfer.

So,now armed with knowledge, you can make an informed decision regarding your student loans. Whether you choose a balance transfer or an alternative, one thing remains certain – your determination to conquer that debt will lead you to financial freedom.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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