Note: LoanBuddy has shut down as of October 31, 2021. If you're looking for a student loan tool, check out Chipper.
Are you looking to make sense of your student loans? Figuring out the best way to pay off the loans can be confusing and overwhelming.
LoanBuddy is an online tool that helps borrowers understand their personal options, so borrowers can make the best decisions about repayment.
Here’s what you need to know about the tool.
Editor’s Note: Robert Farrington, the founder of The College Investor, is a partner of LoanBuddy.
- A tool that helps you figure out the best student loan repayment plan and loan forgiveness options
- Free to get started and see your lowest repayment plan
- Premium plans to get your paperwork, track your loans, and more
What Is LoanBuddy?
LoanBuddy is an online tool that helps borrowers understand their loan repayment options. It considers all the major variables with your loans, your income, your family, and your career. Then it provides a customized report that explains all your repayment options, so you can make a clear choice on repayment.
In some cases, choosing the repayment plan with the absolute lowest monthly payment makes the most sense. But in other cases, you’ll want to get your loans paid off as quickly as possible. LoanBuddy can help you make sense of your situation, so you can make better decisions overall.
LoanBuddy also has premium features, including document preparation help (for your repayment plan and Public Service Loan Forgiveness) and a life event explorer, so users can explore repayment options based on major life events. It also connects you to great loan refinancing offers if that makes sense for your situation.
How Much Does LoanBuddy Cost?
LoanBuddy offers a free initial report to all users. Most people with student loans will be able to use the report to make the smartest repayment decision for themselves. Honestly, the report is what the Department of Education should supply to all borrowers, but it doesn’t, so you have to turn to outside tools like LoanBuddy.
In addition to the free report, LoanBuddy offers a $99-per-year premium subscription or a $149 lifetime premium subscription. The premium product offers debt repayment tracking tools and DIY document preparation.
The document preparation is specifically geared towards people who need to “recertify” themselves each year to determine if they qualify for loan forgiveness. LoanBuddy helps users fill out this form which can keep borrowers on track for loan forgiveness.
If you’re someone who qualifies for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or another form of loan forgiveness, you may want to pay the $149 for a lifetime subscription. It will make the headache of annual recertification much less painful, and help you avoid the common reasons why your PSLF certification may be rejected (i.e. incorrectly filled out paperwork).
If you upgrade to the $99 or $149 option, you’ll also get the option to recreate a report every time a life event happens. If you get married, get divorced, have a baby, or get a new job, your repayment options may change. LoanBuddy can help you explore repayment options based on the new life events.
Is LoanBuddy Secure?
LoanBuddy asks users for loan information, so it adheres to bank-level security requirements. It also allows users to cancel accounts themselves.
LoanBuddy promises not to sell your information to partners unless you specifically agree to it. If you want to refinance to private student loans, LoanBuddy will send your information to third parties to get the best offers.
Should I Use LoanBuddy?
I love LoanBuddy’s free report, and I think most people with student loans should take advantage of the free option. LoanBuddy does a good job laying out the options for borrowers.
A friend who graduated from medical school used LoanBuddy and learned that she could qualify for loan forgiveness, and she was able to certify her first year in residency for a year that qualified for loan forgiveness. Another friend chose to refinance to pay off his loans more quickly. Other friends have figured out they have the right plan for their current circumstances. Overall, I’m a huge fan of the free plan.
I think the use case for the premium plan is much more niche. The certification preparation and storage features are useful, and for a one-time cost of $149, it could be worth the money. That said, preparing documents for PSLF shouldn’t be too difficult for most people, so the extra cost may not be worth it unless you value the convenience.
See how LoanBuddy compares to other similar tools like Chipper.
Ease of Use
Tools and Services
Pricing and Fees
Hannah is a wife, mom, and described personal finance geek. She excels with spreadsheets (and puns)! She regularly explores in-depth financial topics and enjoys looking at the latest tools and trends with money.