Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Paying for college gets more expensive every year. Many students struggle paying for college with just scholarships and federal student loans, and you might be considering getting a private student loan. iHelp works with local community banks to loan students up to $100,000 to pay for college expenses.
iHelp's loan limits are lower than LendKey and PNC Bank, but for many students, $100,000 is more than sufficient to cover education expenses, especially if you maximize federal student loans beforehand. If you have federal student loans and private student loans, iHelp will consolidate both loans into a single loan so you make one payment rather than several.
One downside to this student loan provider, though, is that you can only get a variable-rate loan. Other student loans give you the option of a fixed rate. That means your interest rate – and payments – fluctuate based on the rise or fall of the financial markets.
Like the best student loans, iHelp will release your cosigner if you make 24 on-time payments. Additionally, you can apply for up to 24 months of forbearance if you lose your job or run into financial difficulties after you've graduated and started repaying your loan.
This student loan provider doesn't offer a rate discount for scheduling automatic payments, something other student loan services offer. The only bonus iHelp offers is a small 0.30% discount if you have a loan with the highest variable rate and make 24 on-time payments.
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iHelp offers several ways to reach its representatives if you have a question about your loan. You can contact customer service agents by phone, email or live chat. We tested its chat feature. Agents responded to our first question in approximately three minutes, just as fast as the other chat services we tested. Further, representatives were helpful and personable.
Though iHelp bills itself as a student-focused student loan provider, the low loan limit of $100,000 and lack of a fixed-rate option is problematic. iHelp does offer several ways of reaching the organization, plus it offers a long 24 months of forbearance if you're unable to pay your monthly loan payments. iHelp lacks many of the student loan options that are standard with other providers we reviewed, such as a discounted rate if you sign up for automatic payments. If you’re contemplating taking out a student loan, consider which features and benefits matter most to you.