Can You Refinance a Personal Loan?

By Janet Schaaf · September 27, 2023 · 7 minute read

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Can You Refinance a Personal Loan?

Consolidating credit card debt is a common use of personal loans. And it makes sense, given that personal loans typically have lower interest rates than credit cards (which currently average 24.58%).

But what about saving money on an existing personal loan? Can you refinance a personal loan, ultimately saving money on interest or lowering your monthly payment? The answer is, yes. However, it may not make sense for every person or every type of personal loan.

Read on to learn why you might refinance a personal loan, how the process works, plus the pros and cons of a personal loan refinance.

Why Refinance a Personal Loan?

While there may be a variety of reasons to refinance a loan, it mainly comes down to two.

1.    To lower the overall interest rate and total interest paid.

2.    To lower the monthly payment.

These two might seem like the same thing, but they’re not.

When you refinance any type of loan, you are essentially replacing your old loan with a new loan that has a different rate and/or repayment term. If the new loan has a lower annual percentage rate (APR), you can save money on interest. If the APR is the same but the repayment term is longer, you can lower your monthly payments, making them easier to manage, but won’t save any money. (In fact, a longer repayment term generally means paying more in interest over the life of the loan.)

Another reason why you might consider refinancing a personal loan is to consolidate your debts (so you just have one payment) or to add or remove a cosigner.

Possible Advantages of Refinancing a Personal Loan

Here’s a look at some of the benefits of refinancing a personal loan.

Pay Less in Interest

If you are able to qualify for a personal loan with a lower APR, it may be possible to save a significant amount of money over time, provided you don’t extend your loan term. You can also save on interest by shortening your existing loan term, since this allows you to pay off the loan sooner.

Lower Your Monthly Payment

Refinancing to a lower APR and/or extending the length of the loan can lower your monthly payment. A lower monthly bill could help you get back on track, especially if you’ve been struggling to make your monthly payments.

Consolidate Multiple Debts

If you have a personal loan as well as other debts (such as credit card debt), you can use a new personal loan to consolidate those debts into one loan and a single monthly payment. If your new loan has a lower APR than the average of your combined debts, you may also be able to save money.

Possible Disadvantages of Refinancing a Personal Loan

Refinancing a personal loan might not be the right move for everybody. Here are some disadvantages to consider.

You May Pay More in Interest

If you refinance a personal loan using a loan that has a longer repayment term, you could end up paying much more in interest over the life of the loan.

You May Have to Pay an Origination Fee

Many personal loan lenders charge origination fees to cover the cost of processing and closing the loan. This is a one-time fee charged at the time the loan closes and, in some cases, can be as high as 10% of the loan. Since the fee is deducted before the loan is disbursed to you, it reduces the amount of money you actually get.

You Might Get Hit with a Prepayment Penalty

Some lenders charge a fee if you pay off the loan before the agreed-upon term, which is known as a prepayment penalty. If your original lender charges you a prepayment penalty, it could cut into your potential refinancing savings.

Refinancing a Personal Loan

If you are thinking about refinancing a personal loan, here are some steps you’ll want to take.

Check Your Credit Report and Score

To benefit from personal loan refinancing, you typically need to have better credit than you had when you got your original personal loan. With a stronger credit profile, you might qualify for a lower APR on the new personal loan.

You can access your credit report for free from each of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian — through It’s a good idea to scan your reports for any errors and, if you find one, report it to the appropriate bureau.

You can typically access your credit score for free through your credit card company (it may be listed on your monthly statement or found by logging in to your online account).

Shop Around for Loans

Every bank has different parameters for determining who they’ll offer loans to and at what rate, so it’s always worth it to shop around. This could mean looking at traditional banks, credit unions, and online-only lenders.

Many lenders will give you a free quote through a prequalification process. This typically takes only a few minutes and does not result in a hard inquiry, which means it won’t impact your credit score. Prequalifying for a personal loan refinance can help compare rates and terms from different lenders and find the best deal.

Awarded Best Personal Loan by NerdWallet.
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Applying for a Loan

Once you’ve decided on a lender who can help you refinance to a new loan, it’s time to formally apply. You’ll likely need to submit several documents, including pay stubs, recent tax returns, and a loan payoff statement from your original lender (which will show how much is still owed).

Paying Off the Old Loan

Once you have your new loan funds, you can pay off your original loan. You’ll want to contact your original lender to find out what the process is and follow their instructions. It’s also a good idea to ask your original lender for documentation showing the loan has been paid off.

Making Payments on the New Loan

Be sure to confirm your first payment due date and minimum payment amount with your new lender and make your first payment on time. You may want to enroll in autopay to ensure you never miss a payment. Some lenders even offer a discount on your rate if you sign up for autopay.

The Takeaway

Can you refinance a personal loan? Yes, and doing so may allow you to get a better rate and/or more affordable payments. However, you’ll want to factor in any fees (such as origination fee on the new loan and/or a prepayment penalty on the old loan) to make sure the refinance will save you money. Also keep in mind that extending the term of your loan can increase the cost of the loan over time.

If you’re interested in exploring your personal loan refinance options, SoFi could help. SoFi personal loans offer competitive, fixed rates and a variety of terms. Checking your rate won’t affect your credit score, and it takes just one minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.


Can you refinance a personal loan?

Yes, it is possible to refinance a personal loan. Refinancing involves taking out a new loan to pay off the existing personal loan, ideally with more favorable rates and terms. However, whether you can refinance your personal loan will depend on factors such as your creditworthiness, the terms of the original loan, and the policies of the new lender.

Does refinancing a loan hurt your credit?

Refinancing a loan can have both positive and negative impacts on your credit. Initially, the process of refinancing may result in a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can cause a temporary decrease in your credit score. However, if you use the refinanced loan to pay off the existing loan and make timely payments on that loan, it can positively impact your credit over time.

Can I refinance a personal loan with another bank?

Yes, it is possible to refinance a personal loan with another bank. Many banks, credit unions, and online lenders offer loan refinancing options. This allows you to transfer your personal loan balance to a new loan with a new lender. However, eligibility criteria, terms, and interest rates will vary by lender. It’s a good idea to shop around, compare offers, and consider factors such as interest rates, fees, and repayment terms before deciding to refinance with another bank.

What are the pros and cons of refinancing a personal loan?

The pros of refinancing a personal loan include the potential to:

•   Secure a lower interest rate

•   Reduce monthly payments

•   Consolidate multiple debts into a single loan

•   Switch to a more favorable lender

This can result in savings on interest costs and improved cash flow. However, there are also potential downsides to consider, which include:

•   Paying an origination fee for the new loan

•   Getting hit with a prepayment fee from your original lender

•   Extending your loan term can increase the total cost of the loan

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before you pursue a personal loan refinance.

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