If you’re looking for a private student loan to pay for college, you might be wondering about Wells Fargo. This large bank has many on-campus branches and offers up to a 0.50% discount on its private student loan interest rates. However, its 15-year loan term and a very short forbearance period of six months moved this private student loan provider rank to sixth place in our review of the best private student loans.
Wells Fargo offers loans up to $120,000 for undergraduate education. This loan limit can be extended if you need to finance your graduate education, but it's still lower than many of the other banks and loan providers in our review. For average student loans, you have 15 years to pay off your loan, though, per Wells Fargo representatives, the term can change depending on the loan terms. In all of our conversations with Wells Fargo, however, its loan specialists consistently referred to loans with a 15-year repayment period.
One thing missing with Wells Fargo's private student loans is the option to consolidate both federal and private student loans. Though consolidation typically happens after a student has graduated, the flexibility of consolidating multiple loans is a great option for many seeking to lower their interest rates and simplify their payments.
If you’re like many students, you’ll need a cosigner with good credit history to help you qualify for the best interest rate on a private student loan. Wells Fargo can release your cosigner if you make 24 on-time payments and if your first payment is on time. If you miss your first payment, however, Wells Fargo doubles that number and requires 48 on-time payments.
Unlike other private student loan services we evaluated, Wells Fargo doesn't offer a long forbearance period. Over the life of the loan (15 years), you can only apply for six months of payment deferral. If you lose your job, six months isn't very long to line up a new job and resume making your payments. PNC Bank and College Ave offer more than twice as many months of forbearance.
Wells Fargo offers a 0.50% discount on its interest rates if you sign up for a Wells Fargo checking account and automatic loan payments. This rate discount is an easy way to lower the cost of your student loan. (We recommend that you try to qualify for any available discount regardless of which loan provider you choose.)
In terms of help and support, Wells Fargo offers good phone support and responsive email support. Wells Fargo responded in a little over one day with answers to our questions.
While Wells Fargo offers a good discount on its interest rates, you can't consolidate the loan later, and the forbearance period is only six months long. If you value in-person help and access to on-campus branches, Wells Fargo may be a good choice for a student loan. Otherwise, we recommend choosing another student loan provider.
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