Looking to lower your student loan interest rate, reduce payments, or even combine student loans with your spouse? PenFed student loan refinancing, powered by Purefy, offers amazingly low interest rates for qualified borrowers looking to refinance their student loans.
Is PenFed the right lender to refinance your student loans? This article explains the good and the bad of refinancing with PenFed.
PenFed is one of multiple lenders on the Credible comparison platform. We love Credible because it allows you to compare multiple lenders in about 2 minutes. Check out how PenFed compares on Credible, and if you refinance through Credible, you'll get up to a $1,000 gift card bonus!
For more on student loan refinancing, check out our full list of the best places to refinance your student loans. Also, check out which lenders are currently offering the best student loan refinancing bonus offers.
Let's dive in and look at PenFed.
- Very low rates (some of the best in the industry)
- Spousal student loan refinancing option
- Easy application process
PenFed Student Loan Refinancing Details
PenFed Student Loan Refinancing
Min Loan Amount
Max Loan Amount
7.74% - 9.93% APR
Variable and Fixed
5, 8, 12, and 15 Years
Up to $1,000 Bonus via Credible
PenFed’s Student Loan Refinancing
PenFed is able to offers student loan refinancing to its members by partnering with the online lender, Purefy. Purefy provides the funding, but PenFed takes care of all the loan servicing. Here's what you'll get with PenFed student loan refinancing.
Rates And Terms
PenFed’s student loan refinancing rates are (they only offer fixed rate loans):
- Fixed-rate: 7.74% - 9.93% APR
For both loan types, PenFed offers terms of 5, 8, 12 and 15 years.
Parents with Parent Plus loan or private education loans are also eligible for these loans. And PenFed is also one of the few lenders that allow Parent PLUS loans to be transferred into the child's name. Check out our full guide on dealing with Parent PLUS Loans here.
PenFed also offers a unique options for spouse’s who want to refinance their loans to a single payment. PenFed will allow married couples to refinance two loans into a single loan with a single monthly payment. They will also refinance the combined loan using the highest credit score, and using your combined income. This will give you the lowest possible interest rate on the combined loan.
Please remember, all rates and terms are subject to change. These rates are current as of the date updated. For the most current rates and terms, please make sure you check out PenFed here.
Who Can Refinance With PenFed?
To refinance with PenFed, you must become a member of PenFed Credit Union. Thankfully, PenFed makes it very easy to join the credit union. To establish your membership, PenFed will open a savings account preloaded with $5 in your name. There is no annual fee for membership.
PenFed’s student loan refinance program is for people with strong credit history. You'll need a score of at least 670 to qualify for refinancing. And for loans exceeding $150,000, you'll need to have a credit score of at least 725 to qualify without a cosigner.
You also need to meet certain income eligibility. For loans up to $150,000 you must earn at least $42,000 or $25,000 if you have a cosigner that earns at least $42,000. For larger loans you need an income of at least $50,000 annually to take out a refinance loan without a cosigner.
While PenFed's eligibility requirements are fairly strict, the good news is that it offers one of the fastest cosigner release programs in the industry. Refinance borrowers can request to have their cosigners released after they've made just 12 consecutive on-time monthly payments.
How Does PenFed Compare?
Thanks in large part to its tough borrower requirements, PenFed is able to offer some of the lowest rates in the industry. It also provides a speedy cosigner release program and a bonus of up to $1,000 through Credible. Here's how it compares to other lenders.
4.74% - 9.99%
4.78% - 8.49%
7.74% - 9.93%
4.96% - 9.99%
5.08% - 8.04%
Soonest Cosigner Release Eligibility
Up to $1,000
Up to $500
Up to $1,100
What Borrower Protections Are Available?
PenFed offers great rates and generous underwriting options. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t offer any forbearance or deferment options. The credit union will work with individuals on a case by case basis if a borrower loses his or her job, or experiences another extraordinary circumstance.
If PenFed grants forbearance, interest continues to accrue during the forbearance period. Anyone who cannot easily repay their loans, should opt to use income based repayment options through the Federal government rather than refinancing.
Another area of possible concern is the number of people who may refinance with cosigners. Cosigners are jointly responsible for loan repayment. So if you fail to make a payment, it will hurt your cosigner's credit score (and pocket book).
While PenFed's 12-month cosigner release program is one of the best we've seen, you must meet the income and credit score standards set by PenFed to qualify. That may mean that some cosigners stay on the hook for the duration of the loan.
Are There Any Fees?
PenFed does not charge any application or origination fees on its refinance loans. You won't be charged a penalty for paying your loan off early either. However, if you're late on a payment, you'll be subject to a late fee of 20% of the finance charge with a $5 minimum fee and a $25 maximum.
How Do I Contact PenFed?
PenFed provides all of the servicing and customer service for its student loans. To contact, PenFed, you can call 1-800-247-5626 from 9 AM - 7 PM (ET), Monday through Friday. You can also reach out via email at email@example.com. Depending on where you live, you may also have a nearby local branches.
Is It Worth It?
Right now, PenFed offers great rates for people with strong incomes and strong credit scores. These are among the lowest rates you will find on student loan refinances. PenFed’s options for joint spouse refinancing, can make a lot of sense for couples that want to lower their interest rates. In fact, if one half of the couple has a poor credit score, PenFed is likely the best option for refinancing.
Outside of joint spouse refinancing, PenFed could still be a great option. It has an easy way to get an estimate of your new interest rate, so you can easily compare the quote to other lenders. (Find other lenders using Credible).
PenFed is a great choice to refinance your student loans, but remember, they're also consistently on our list of the best credit unions as well!
Here are some of the most common questions we hear about PenFed student loan refinancing:
Do you have to be a PenFed member to refinance your student loans?
Yes, you'll need to join the credit union to become eligible for student loan refinancing. However, it's easy to open an account and you can check your pre-qualified rates before you join.
Will PenFed student loan refinancing hurt my credit score?
Checking your rates with PenFed won't impact your credit score as it uses soft credit inquiries to provide pre-qualified rates. However, if you move forward with a full loan application, PenFed will run a hard credit inquiry which is likely to have an affect on your score.
Is PenFed credit union legit?
Yes, PenFed has been serving its members since 1935 and has consistently earned high customer service ratings.
Does PenFed offer any type of refinancing bonus?
While PenFed doesn't offer any incentives directly, borrowers can qualify for a bonus of up to $1,000 by applying through Credible.
PenFed Student Loan Refinancing Features
Min Loan Amount
Max Loan Amount
7.74% - 9.93%
Pre-Qualified Rates (Soft Credit Check)
5,8, 12, and 15 years
Late Payment Fee
20% of the finance charge ($5 to $25)
Yes, can be requested after 12 months of consecutive, on-time monthly payments
Title-IV accredited schools
Yes, bachelor's degree or higher
Customer Service Phone Number
Customer Service Email
Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 7 PM (ET)
Customer Service Hours
Address For Sending Payments
PenFed Credit Union
Up to $1,000 bonus via Credible
PenFed Student Loan Refinancing
Rates and Fees
Products and Services
PenFed is a credit union that offers competitive rates and products for student loan refinancing. In fact, they are one of the largest credit union student loan lenders.
- Highly competitive interest rates (only fixed-rate loans)
- Allows spousal and parent refinancing
- Cosigner release in as little as 12 months
- No formal forbearance policy
- Strict eligibility requirements
- No autopay discount
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.
Editor: Clint Proctor Reviewed by: Claire Tak