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How to Choose a Private Student Loan Lender

When it comes time for you to take out a private student loan or refinance your old student loans, you want to know that you chose the right and best lender in your area. It can be difficult to work with some companies, especially if they do not offer you the benefits you desire. It is important that you spend some time researching student loan lenders BEFORE you decide to sign a contract with any of them.
It is always smart to shop around before choosing a private student loan lender or a new refinancing lender. Consider using a tool to help you compare the best lenders. Some sites allow you compare refinancing lenders with one simple application.

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Below, we will go over some of the things you need to look for to help you choose the right private student loan lender.
Benefits and Discounts for Borrowers
When you are looking around for a private student loan lender, you want to ask about their benefits and discounts for borrowers. This is important because the more money you can save, the more money that stays in your pocket.
Many lenders will offer discounts for paying on time each month, for automatic payments, and similar. Some programs even reduce your interest rate by a little bit, if you choose to pay a certain way, etc. You should talk to your lender to see what discounts are available and what you have to do to receive them. Sometimes, you may need to make qualifying payments for the first 12 months or 18 months on your loan before the benefits kick in, so it is helpful to know these things beforehand.
Penalties for Non-Payment
Another thing that you want to talk to your private student loan lender about is the penalties that you face if you do NOT make a payment otechn your account. Some lenders will work with you to establish new payment terms while others may punish you and charge a high late fee.
Customer Service is Paramount
When you choose your private student loan lender, make sure that you call them a couple of times and inquire with them to gauge their customer service. Also, you should read multiple reviews to see what problems people may have. If your lender is not cooperative, takes too long to get back to you, or is overall not friendly, then you want to look for someone else.
Remember, you are tied to your student loan lender for up to 10 years or more, so you want to feel comfortable talking to them and conducting business with them.
When it comes down to the customer service features, you want to consider whether or not online bill payment is available, what the support hours are, how problems and issues are resolved, if there are any online forms or help to apply for, and similar.
Loan Payback Flexibility
Paying back your loan is definitely not fun, especially when you watch the money fly out of your paycheck, but it is something that needs to be done. When you start to choose your private student loan lender, check out the flexibility they offer when it comes time to repay.
For example, what options are available to you? Do you have to pay BEFORE or AFTER graduation? Do they allow you to decide where you want overages in payment to go?
All of these questions are important to ask and many times, the more flexibility you have, the quicker you can pay off your student loans.
A Solid Reputation
Of course, as with anything else, make sure you look for a private student loan lender that has a solid reputation. If you work with a lender that has poor reviews or no reviews, you may quickly find that you are stuck in a situation where it is difficult to pay your loans and you may default or damage your credit score.
Lenders with a solid reputation have helped thousands of students just like you and you will be able to rest easy knowing that thousands of other people are happy with the services and benefits that the lender provides.
When it comes time to look for a private student loan lender, make sure you look over each company and ask a lot of questions. Choosing your lender is not an easy task or one that should be taken lightly. Consider the above things and then go with your gut feeling.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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