student in graduation cap and gown

When Do Student Loans Start Accruing Interest?

Student loans — federal or private — begin accruing interest when they’re disbursed, and the borrower is responsible for paying the interest on all but subsidized federal student loans during grace periods or deferment.

There are a few exceptions, though, including periods of deferment for certain subsidized loans. And if you have federal student loans that were subject to the payment pause that began in 2020, it’s important to know when those loans begin accruing interest again in 2023.

Key Points

•   Student loans generally start accruing interest as soon as they are disbursed.

•   Subsidized federal loans do not accrue interest while the student is in school or during deferment periods.

•   The federal student loan forbearance set interest rates at 0% temporarily, resuming regular accrual in September 2023.

•   Private student loans may offer deferment with interest accruing, which is added to the principal after the pause.

•   Understanding when interest starts and how it is capitalized is crucial for managing repayment effectively.

Interest Accrual Basics and Exceptions

As a general rule, interest begins accruing on a student loan as soon as it’s disbursed. While the repayment of the loan is usually subject to a grace period (detailed later in this article), the interest continues to accrue even while the payments are paused.

The one exception is when certain loans are on deferment. Interest on the following types of loans usually does not accrue when a loan is on deferment:

•   Direct Subsidized Loans

•   Perkins Loans

•   The subsidized portion of Direct Consolidation Loans

•   The subsidized portion of Federal Family Education Loan Consolidation Loans

The other major exception is the federal student loan forbearance that the government implemented in March 2020. Not only did this pause federal student loan payments, it also set federal student loan interest rates at 0%, thereby pausing all interest accrual. The 2023 debt ceiling bill officially ended the payment pause, requiring interest accrual to resume on Sept. 1 and payments to resume on Oct. 1, 2023.

Some private student loan issuers offer deferment or forbearance for specific reasons. Any unpaid interest will likely accrue and be added to the principal after the payment pause, though.

The Basics of Student Loan Interest

A student who takes out a student loan (or a parent who takes out a parent-student loan in their own name) signs a promissory note outlining all the terms of the loan, which include the loan amount, interest rate, disbursement date, and payment schedule.

Federal student loans issued after July 1, 2006, have a fixed rate. The repayment default is the standard 10-year plan, but there are options, such as income-based repayment or a Direct Consolidation Loan, that can draw out repayment to double that or more. The Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan is one of the federal student loan repayment options to consider.

The SAVE Plan is the most affordable repayment plan for federal student loans, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Borrowers who are single and make less than $32,800 a year won’t have to make any payments under this federal income-driven repayment plan. (If you are a family of four and make less than $67,500 annually, you also won’t have to make payments.)

Private student loans are not eligible for federal income-driven repayment plans. Interest rates on private student loans may be fixed or variable, and are based on your — or your cosigner’s — financial history. The repayment term can be anywhere from five to 20 years.

When does interest start on student loans? Federal and private student loans typically begin accruing interest when they’re disbursed. With federal student loans and most private student loans, payments are deferred until after you graduate. Interest will have accrued, and in almost all cases you’re responsible for paying it.

Interest and Grace Periods by Loan

Capitalized interest on student loans can significantly increase how much a borrower owes. This is when a lender adds unpaid interest to your principal loan balance and then charges interest on your larger balance.

The Department of Education implemented new regulations in July 2023 eliminating all instances of interest capitalization that are not specified in the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA). That means federal student loan interest capitalization no longer occurs when a borrower first enters repayment status following the grace period.

A federal student loan borrower who exits a period of deferment on an unsubsidized loan or who overcomes a partial financial hardship on the Income-Based Repayment Plan may face capitalized interest charges. Federal student loan interest capitalization can also occur upon loan consolidation. These are the few instances where federal law requires interest capitalization.

Fixed interest rates on newly disbursed federal student loans are determined by formulas specified in the HEA. These are the rates and loan fees (deducted from each disbursement) for the 2024–25 school year:

•   6.53% for Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized loans for undergraduates

•   8.08% for Direct Unsubsidized loans for graduate and professional students

•   9.08% for Direct PLUS loans for graduate students, professional students, and parents

Recommended: Types of Federal Student Loans

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Unsubsidized Student Loans

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students with no regard to financial need.

Loan fee: 1.057%.

Grace period: While you’re in school at least half-time and for six months after graduation.

Subsidized Student Loans

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduates with financial needs.

Loan fee: 1.057%.

Grace period: While you’re in school at least half-time and for six months after you leave school. The government pays the interest during those grace periods and during any deferment.

Direct PLUS Loans

Taken Out by a Parent

A Parent PLUS Loan acquired to help a dependent undergraduate is unsubsidized.

Loan fee: 4.228%.

Some private lenders refinance Parent PLUS loans at what could be a lower rate.

Grace period: First payment is due within 60 days of final disbursement, but a parent can apply to defer payments while their child is in school at least half-time and for six months after.

Taken Out by a Graduate Student or Professional Student

Grad PLUS Loans are available to students through schools participating in the Direct Loan Program.

Loan fee: 4.228%.

Grace period: Automatic deferment while in school and for six months after graduating or dropping below half-time enrollment.

Private Student Loans

Some banks, credit unions, state agencies, and online lenders offer private student loans.

Rate and fee: Rates can be fixed or variable, and rates and fees vary by lender

Grace period: Student loan interest accrual begins when a private student loan is disbursed, but payments may be deferred while a borrower is in school.

How Is Interest on Student Loans Calculated?

Student loans typically generate interest every day. Your annual percentage rate (APR) is divided by 365 days to determine a daily interest rate, and you are then charged interest each day on the total amount you owe.

That interest is added to your total balance, and you’re then charged interest on the new balance — paying interest on interest until the loans are paid off.

If you don’t know what your monthly payments will be, a student loan payment calculator can help. This one estimates how much you’ll be paying each month so you can better prepare for your upcoming bills.
The amount you pay each month will be the same, but the money first goes toward paying off interest and any fees you’ve been charged (like late fees); the remainder goes to pay down the principal of the loan.

As you pay down your loan, because the principal is decreasing, the amount of interest you’re accruing decreases. And so, over the life of your loan, less of your monthly payment will go toward interest and more will go toward the principal. This is known as amortization

💡 Quick Tip: Ready to refinance your student loan? With SoFi’s no-fee loans, you could save thousands.

How You Could Save on Interest

Because interest can add up so quickly, it’s important to pay attention to the interest rates you’re paying on your student loans.

Student loan refinancing — taking out a brand-new loan that pays off your current loans — can lower the amount of interest your loans accrue if you qualify for a lower interest rate or a shorter term. To see how refinancing might save you money, take a look at this student loan refinance calculator.

Even a small difference in interest rates could help you save a substantial amount of money paid in total interest over the life of the loan, depending on the term you select.

It’s important to know, though, that refinancing federal student loans will make them ineligible for federal benefits like income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

💡 Quick Tip: If you have student loans with variable rates, you may want to consider refinancing to lock in a fixed rate before rates rise. But if you’re willing to take a risk to potentially save on interest — and will be able to pay off your student loans quickly — you might consider a variable rate.

The Takeaway

When does student loan interest start accruing? The minute the loan is disbursed, and you’re usually responsible for paying it. It’s important for borrowers to understand and pay attention to capitalized interest.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.

Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.


SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.


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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Changing a Secured Credit Card to an Unsecured Card

A secured credit card can help you establish credit for the first time or build your credit if you’ve damaged yours with missed payments, defaults, or bankruptcy. While secured credit cards offer many of the same advantages as traditional credit cards, they do have some limitations.

Eventually, those who start out with a secured card may want to switch to a traditional credit card. Here’s a closer look at how to transition from a secured credit card to an unsecured card.

What Is A Secured Credit Card?

A secured credit card requires that you put down a cash deposit, which serves as collateral for the charges you make with the card. Usually, the amount of the deposit is the same as your credit limit. So if you deposit $1,000, you’ll be able to borrow up to that amount.

If you miss payments, the bank can cover their losses by drawing on money from the deposit. That said, making on-time payments is just as important with secured credit cards as it is with traditional cards, especially if you are using the secured card to build credit.

As with traditional credit cards, secured cards require that you make a minimum monthly payment. Beyond that, you can carry a balance from month to month, but you will be charged interest on that balance. Pay your balance off in full each month to avoid interest payments.

Recommended: Differences Between a Secured and Unsecured Credit Card

Benefits of Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards offer users and banks a number of advantages.

Easier to Qualify

Because secured cards require users to put down a deposit, banks are taking on relatively little risk. As a result, it can be much easier to qualify for a secured card than it would be a traditional credit card.

Can Help Build Credit

If you have no credit or poor credit, it can be difficult to get approved for credit cards or loans. Making small purchases regularly with a secured card and paying off your bill in full and on time can help you establish credit or rebuild your credit.

If you’re looking to build credit, you may also consider becoming an authorized user on a credit card.

Convenience

You can use secured credit cards anywhere traditional cards are accepted. Secured credit cards allow you to shop in person or online without carrying cash around with you. It’s also difficult to accrue too much debt because you’re limited by the amount of your deposit.

Drawbacks of Secured Credit Cards

Alongside the benefits offered by secured cards, there are limitations to be aware of.

Coming Up With the Deposit

In order to get a secured card, you will have to come up with the cash that will serve as your deposit. That may require you to save for a period of time before you apply.

Once you deposit that cash, you can’t access it while your secured card is in use. That said, your deposit is refundable when you close the account or convert your secured credit card to an unsecured card.

Higher APR

The annual percentage rate (APR) is the interest rate you’re charged when you carry a balance on your card. Secured credit cards may offer higher interest rates than traditional cards, which can end up costing you more money if you carry a balance.

Spending Is Limited

Most credit cards, whether they’re secured or unsecured, have spending limits. For a secured credit card, your limit will depend on the size of the deposit you make, which will typically range from $200 to $2,000. If you’ve only deposited $1,000 and need to replace your transmission for $1,800, you won’t be able to put the repair on your card.

In comparison, the average credit limit across all cards is upwards of $30,000, according to a recent report from the credit reporting bureau Experian®.

What Is an Unsecured Credit Card?

An unsecured credit card is a traditional credit card that does not require a deposit as collateral. Instead, your credit limit is determined based on your creditworthiness. If you fail to pay off your credit card, your card company can send your bill to a collections agency, and your credit score will take a hit.

There are a variety of types of credit cards to choose from when it comes to unsecured cards, including rewards cards and balance transfer cards.

When You Might Keep Your Secured Credit Card Open

The biggest reasons to keep your secured credit card open have to do with the potential implications closing the account can have for your credit score.

For one, closing an account may result in a dip in your credit score. Additionally, closing the account may decrease the age of your credit history, another factor that goes into determining your credit score.

When You Might Upgrade to an Unsecured Credit Card

You may consider upgrading to a traditional, unsecured card if you’re able to manage a secured card responsibly and are looking for a lower APR or a higher credit limit. Ultimately, making the move requires that your credit is in decent shape.

To do so, it’s important that you stick to credit card rules. That includes being sure that you’re not in the habit of overspending, you’re able to pay your bills on time and in full, and you can keep your total purchases lower than your available credit. Experts suggest keeping your total balance at 30% or less of your available credit.

However, whether you can change a secured credit card to unsecured will also depend on your credit card issuer. Not all card companies offer unsecured options that you can upgrade to. In those cases, you’ll need to apply for a new card.

Guide to Upgrading from a Secured Card to Unsecured Credit Card

If you’re looking to upgrade to an unsecured card, make sure you’re following these steps.

Monitor Your Credit Score

Many credit cards require that you have at least a good credit score to qualify. That means, you’ll need a FICO® score of 670 or higher. Not only are you more likely to qualify for a card with a higher score, you’ll also be more likely to secure more favorable terms and lower interest rates.

If you’re considering trying to convert a secured credit card to an unsecured card, monitor your credit score regularly. You might check with your card issuer to see if they offer you free access to your credit score.

Making the Minimum Monthly Payment

Getting approved for a change from a secured credit card to an unsecured credit card requires displaying responsible credit card behavior. Ideally, you’d avoid interest payments by paying off your credit card in full every month. But if that’s not possible, be sure you are making at least your minimum monthly payment, as payment history is one of the biggest determinants of your credit score. On-time payments are a big part of using a credit card responsibly.

Managing All Your Accounts Responsibly

Before opening an unsecured credit card, make sure you’re able to make other debt payments on time as well. This includes student loans, car payments, or a mortgage. If you’re not displaying good credit behavior elsewhere, that will show up on your credit report and potentially hurt your chances of qualifying for an unsecured credit card.

Limiting the Number of Credit Accounts You Open

Opening new accounts requires a hard inquiry, which will result in a temporary dip in your credit score. Additionally, if you open too many new accounts in a short period of time, it can lower the average age of your credit accounts, which is another factor that influences your credit score.

Ideally, you’ll avoid activities that will cause your credit score to drop as you’re trying to work toward being able to qualify for a secured credit card. A better score will improve your chances of getting approved.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

The Takeaway

A secured card is an important tool for building or rebuilding credit. However, once you’ve established healthy credit card habits and good credit score, it may serve you to switch from a secured to unsecured credit card.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.

FAQ

Can I upgrade my secured credit card to unsecured?

Some lenders will allow you to change a secured credit card to an unsecured card. However, others will require that you apply for a new card.

How long does it take to convert a secured credit card to an unsecured one?

To move from a secured credit card to an unsecured one can take anywhere from several months to a couple of years. How long it takes will depend on the credit card issuer’s policies as well as what your credit score was when you opened the account.

Does converting a secured credit card to an unsecured card hurt your credit score?

Closing your secured card to open a traditional credit card may cause your credit score to take a temporary dip. However, you shouldn’t notice a huge impact.

Do all credit card issuers allow the conversion from a secured to unsecured card?

Not all credit card issuers will convert a secured card to an unsecured card. More often than not, you’ll have to close your secured account and open a brand new card.


Photo credit: iStock/Ridofranz

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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A Guide to Credit Card Grace Periods

A Guide to Credit Card Grace Periods

Your credit card’s grace period is the length of time that starts at the end of your billing cycle and ends when your payment is due. During this period, you may not have to pay interest on your balance — as long as you pay it off in full by your payment due date.

While a lot of credit cards have a grace period, not all of them do. Here’s a look at how grace periods on credit cards work and how you can take full advantage of them.

What Is the Grace Period on a Credit Card?

Credit cards allow you to borrow money over the course of a one-month billing cycle, during which you may not need to pay interest. The end of your credit card billing cycle is also called your statement date. That’s when your monthly credit card statement is sent to you in the mail or becomes available online. Credit card payments are due on the payment due date, about three weeks later. The time in between these dates is what’s known as the grace period.

During this time, you won’t be charged any interest on the purchases that you made during the billing cycle. However, because of how credit card payments work, you must pay off your credit card balance in full by your payment due date in order to avoid interest payments. At the very least, you must make your minimum payment, and you’ll then owe interest on whatever balance you carry into the next month.

Recommended: What Is a Charge Card?

How Credit Card Billing Cycles and Grace Periods Work

Grace periods on credit cards are different from the grace period for other loan products. For example, the grace period for a mortgage lasts about 15 days. If your payment is due on the first of the month, you’d have until mid-month to make your payment before it’s considered late and you’re charged potential late fees.

This is not how credit card grace periods work. The grace period for revolving credit — which is what a credit card is — comes before the payment due date. As such, credit card grace periods don’t protect you from late fees. Rather, they give you a period of time in which you can avoid interest payments.

If you miss the date when credit card payments are due, your payment is considered late. Late payments may trigger penalties, and they can have a negative effect on your credit score if they’re reported to the credit reporting bureaus.

Limits on Credit Card Grace Periods

Credit card companies are not required to offer their customers a grace period. However, many of them choose to do so.

Federal law requires credit card companies to send you a bill within 21 days of the payment due date, meaning you’ll get at least three weeks’ notice of how much you owe for your previous billing cycle (after the credit card closing date). However, the amount of time you’ll have for your grace period will vary by lender.

Credit card grace periods typically only apply to purchases. That means if you’ve used your credit card for a cash advance, for example, you’ll have to start paying interest on the date of the cash advance transaction.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

How Long Is the Typical Grace Period for a Credit Card?

Typically, grace periods last at least 21 days and up to 25 days.

You can find out how long your grace period is by checking your cardholder agreement. The length of your grace period should be listed alongside fees and your annual percentage rate (APR). You can also call your credit card company and ask them directly.

You may also have a longer grace period for special promotions. Those can be as long as 55 days.

What Types of Transactions Are Eligible for Credit Card Grace Periods?

As mentioned above, generally only purchase transactions are eligible for the credit card grace period. Cash advances — which allow you to borrow a certain amount of money against your line of credit — typically are not eligible. They will start accruing interest the day you make the transaction.

Similarly, if you transfer a balance from one credit card to another, you’ll start to accrue interest on that balance immediately. The only exception is if you have a balance transfer credit card with a 0% introductory rate for a period of time. If you pay off the balance during that period, you won’t owe interest. However, interest will accrue on whatever remains of your balance at the end of that period.

Taking Maximum Advantage of Your Credit Card’s Grace Period

If you pay off your credit card bill in full each month, you’ll avoid accruing credit card interest. Even carrying a small balance will disrupt your grace periods. If you do, you’ll owe interest on the remaining amount, and all of the new purchases that you make in the next billing cycle will accrue interest immediately as well.

To take full advantage of your credit card’s grace period, plan your purchases accordingly to ensure you’re able to pay your bills in full and on time. For example, if you’re going to make a large purchase, you may want to do so close to the first day of your billing cycle. That way, you’ll have the full cycle (about four weeks), plus your grace period (about three weeks), to pay off your purchase without owing any interest.

Can You Lose Your Credit Card’s Grace Period?

It is possible to lose your credit card grace period if you don’t make on-time payments in full each month by the payment due date. If you lose your grace period, you’ll be charged interest on the remaining portion of your balance. In the new billing cycle, you’ll also owe interest on any new purchases on the day the transaction takes place. This can lead to you falling into a debt cycle, which isn’t easy to get out of. (It’s wise to educate yourself on what happens to credit card debt when you die, too.)

Luckily, issuers usually restore grace periods once you’ve paid your outstanding balance and are back to making full on-time payments for a month or two.

The Takeaway

Your credit card grace period is an important tool that can save you money on interest if you pay off your balance in full each month. If you don’t pay your balance in full each month, you could lose this privilege temporarily. As such, you’d end up owing interest on your previous remaining balance and any new purchases.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.

FAQ

What is the grace period for credit card payments after the due date?

Credit card grace periods occur before the payment due date. Payments made after that date are considered late. After the due date, cardholders will owe interest on their balance. Further, they may lose their grace period until they can pay their balance off in full for one or two months.

What happens if you are one day late on a credit card payment?

Being one day late on a credit card payment can still trigger late fees, interest, and potentially the loss of your grace period. Late payments may also be reported to the credit reporting bureaus, which can have a negative impact on your credit score.

What is the typical grace period for a credit card?

Federal law requires that credit card companies provide your bill at least 21 days before your next payment due date. The length of the grace period can vary depending on the credit card issuer, though they typically last 21 to 25 days.


Photo credit: iStock/Moyo Studio

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

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Is There a Statute of Limitations on Debt?

Statute of Limitations on Debt: Things to Know

A statute of limitations is a state law that limits the period during which a creditor or debt collector can bring action in court to enforce a contract, such as a loan agreement or note. This means a creditor may not be allowed to sue a borrower in court to force them to pay a debt after the period has expired.

However, the statute of limitations on debt isn’t a wait-it-out solution that simply erases debt once it’s been owed for a few years. There may still be consequences to failing to pay back debts once the statute of limitations for debts has expired — and statutes of limitations don’t apply to some debts, including federal student loans. Here’s what you should know about statutes of limitations on debt.

What Is The Statute of Limitations on Debt?

Essentially, a statute of limitations on debt puts a time restriction on how long a creditor or debt collector is able to sue a borrower in state court to enforce the loan agreement and force them to repay the outstanding debts. In practice, this means that if a borrower chooses not to pay a debt, after the statute of limitation runs out, the creditor or debt collector doesn’t have a legal remedy to force them to pay.

To be clear, just because the statute of limitations has expired, it doesn’t mean that the borrower no longer owes the money, even though it does mean that the lender may not be able to take them to court for non-payment. The borrower will continue to owe the money borrowed, and their non-payment could be reported to the credit bureaus, which would then remain on the report for as long as allowed under the applicable credit reporting time limit. (For further evidence of how long debt can stick around, you might consider what happens to credit card debt when you die.)

Statutes of limitations don’t apply to all debts. They don’t, for example, apply to federal student loans. Federal student loans that are in default may be collected through wage or tax refund garnishment without a court order.

How Long Until a Debt Expires?

The length of the statute of limitations is determined by state law. State statutes of limitations on debt typically vary from three years to more than 10 years, depending on the type of debt and when the contract was entered into.

Figuring out exactly which state’s laws your debt falls under isn’t always as simple as you might imagine. The applicable statute of limitations may be determined by the state you live in, the state you lived in when you first took on the debt, or even the state where the lender or debt collector is located. The lender may even have included a clause in the contract you signed mandating that the debt is governed by a specific state’s laws.

One commonality in every state’s statutes of limitations on debt is that the “clock” does not start ticking until the borrower’s last activity on the relevant account. Say, for example, that you made a payment on a credit card two years ago and then entered into a payment plan with the debt collector last year but never made any subsequent payments. In that case, the statute of limitations clock would start on the date that you entered into the payment plan.

In this example, simply entering into a payment plan counts as “activity” on the account. This can make it confusing to determine if the statute of limitations has expired on your old debts, especially if you haven’t made a payment in a long time.

It may be possible to find out what the statute of limitations is by contacting the lender or debt collector and asking for verification of the debt. Remember that agreeing to make a payment, entering a payment plan, or otherwise taking any action on the account — including simply acknowledging the debt — may restart the statute of limitations.

After the statute of limitations on the debt has expired, the debt is considered time-barred.

Types of Debt

As mentioned, the length of the statute of limitations on debt can vary depending on the type of debt it is. To know which timeline applies, it helps to understand the different types of debt.

Written Contract

A written contract is an agreement that is signed in writing by both you and the creditor. This contract must include the terms of the loan, such as how much the loan is for and how much monthly payments are.

Oral Contract

An oral contract is bound by verbal agreement — there is no written contract involved. In other words, you said you would pay back the money, but did not sign any paperwork.

Promissory Notes

Promissory notes are written agreements in which you agree to pay back the amount of money by a certain date, in agreed upon installments and at a set interest rate. Examples of promissory notes are student loan agreements and mortgages.

Open-Ended Accounts

Open-ended accounts include credit cards and lines of credit. With an open-ended account, you can repeatedly borrow funds up to the agreed upon credit limit. Upon repayment, you can then borrow money again.

Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

Each state has its own statute of limitations on debt collection. Here’s a breakdown of the varying timelines by state:

Statute of Limitations For Debts By State and Type of Debt

State Written Contract Oral Contract Promissory Note Open-Ended Account
Alabama 6 6 6 3
Alaska 3 3 3 3
Arizona 6 3 6 3
Arkansas 5 3 5 5
California 4 2 4 4
Colorado 3 3 3 3
Connecticut 6 3 6 3
Delaware 3 3 3 3
District of Columbia 3 3 3 3
Florida 5 5 4 4
Georgia 6 4 4 4
Hawaii 6 6 6 6
Idaho 5 4 5 4
Illinois 10 5 10 5
Indiana 6 6 6 6
Iowa 10 5 10 5
Kansas 5 3 6 3
Kentucky 15 5 10 5
Louisiana 10 10 10 3
Maine 6 6 6 6
Maryland 3 3 6 3
Massachusetts 6 6 6 6
Michigan 6 6 6 6
Minnesota 6 6 6 6
Mississippi 3 3 3 3
Missouri 10 6 10 5
Montana 8 5 5 5
Nebraska 5 4 5 4
Nevada 6 4 3 4
New Hampshire 3 3 6 3
New Jersey 6 6 6 6
New Mexico 6 4 6 4
New York 6 6 6 6
North Carolina 3 3 3 3
North Dakota 6 6 6 6
Ohio 8 6 6 6
Oklahoma 5 3 5 3
Oregon 6 6 6 6
Pennsylvania 4 4 4 4
Rhode Island 10 10 10 10
South Carolina 3 3 3 3
South Dakota 6 6 6 6
Tennessee 6 6 6 6
Texas 4 4 4 4
Utah 6 4 4 4
Vermont 6 6 14 3
Virginia 5 3 6 3
Washington 6 3 6 6
West Virginia 10 5 6 5
Wisconsin 6 6 10 6
Wyoming 10 8 10 6

Statutes of limitations on certain old debts may prevent creditors or debt collectors from suing you to recover what you owe. However, it’s important to realize that debt statutes of limitations don’t protect you from creditors or debt collectors continuing to attempt to collect payments on the time-barred debt, such as in the case of credit card default. Remember, you still owe that money, whether or not the debt is time-barred. The statute of limitations merely prevents a lender or debt collector from pursuing legal action against you indefinitely.

Debt collectors may continue to contact you about your debt. But under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors cannot sue or threaten to sue you for a time-barred debt. (Note that this act applies only to debt collectors and not to the original lenders.)

Some debt collectors, however, may still try to take you to court on a time-barred debt. If you receive notice of a lawsuit about a debt you believe is time-barred, you may wish to consult an attorney about your legal rights and resolution strategies.

Disputing Time-Barred Debt With Debt Collectors

If a debt collector is contacting you to attempt to collect on a debt that you know is time-barred and you don’t intend to pay the debt, you can request that the debt collector stop contacting you.

One option is to write a letter stating that the debt is time-barred and you no longer wish to be contacted about the money owed. If you’re unsure, it may be possible to state that you would like to dispute the debt and want verification that the debt is not time-barred. If the debt is sold to another debt collector, it may be necessary to repeat this process with the new collection agency.

Remember, even though a collector can’t force you to pay the debt once the statute of limitations expires, there may still be consequences for non-payment. For one, your original creditor may continue to contact you through the mail and by phone.

Additionally, most unpaid debts can be listed on your credit report for seven years, which may negatively affect your credit score. That means that failing to pay a debt may impact your ability to buy a car, rent a house, or take out new credit cards, even if that debt is time-barred.

Statute of Limitations on Student Loan Debt

Statutes of limitations don’t apply to federal student loan debt. If you default on your federal student loan, your wages or tax refunds may be garnished.

If you have federal student loan debt, you may consider managing your student loans through consolidating or refinancing. This can help you decrease your loan term or secure a lower interest rate.

Borrowers who hold only federal student loans may be able to consolidate their student loans with the federal government to simplify their payments.

Those with a combination of both private and federal student loans might consider student loan refinancing to get a new interest rate and/or loan term. Depending on an individual’s financial circumstances, refinancing can potentially result in a lower monthly payment (though it may also mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan).

All borrowers with federal loans should keep in mind that refinancing federal loans can mean relinquishing certain benefits, like forbearance and income-based repayment options.

Statute of Limitations on Credit Card Debt

The statute of limitations on credit card debts can generally range anywhere from three years to 10 years, depending on the state. However, the laws in the state in which you live aren’t necessarily what dictates your credit card statute of limitations. Many of the top credit issuers name a specific state whose laws apply in the credit card agreement.

How Long Does the Statute of Limitations on Credit Card Debt Last?

Here’s a look at how long can credit card debt be collected through court proceedings for each state in the U.S.:

Statute of Limitations on Credit Card Debt By State

State Number of years
Alabama 3
Alaska 3
Arizona 6
Arkansas 5
California 4
Colorado 6
Connecticut 6
Delaware 3
District of Columbia 3
Florida 5
Georgia 6
Hawaii 6
Idaho 5
Illinois 5
Indiana 6
Iowa 5
Kansas 3
Kentucky 5 or 15
Louisiana 3
Maine 6
Maryland 3
Massachusetts 6
Michigan 6
Minnesota 6
Mississippi 3
Missouri 5
Montana 8
Nebraska 4
Nevada 4
New Hampshire 6
New Jersey 6
New Mexico 4
New York 6
North Carolina 3
North Dakota 6
Ohio 6
Oklahoma 5
Oregon 6
Pennsylvania 4
Rhode Island 10
South Carolina 3
South Dakota 6
Tennessee 6
Texas 4
Utah 6
Vermont 6
Virginia 3
Washington 6
West Virginia 10
Wisconsin 6
Wyoming 8

Effects of the Statute of Limitations on Your Credit Report

The statute of limitations on credit card debt doesn’t have an impact on what appears on your credit report. Even if the credit card statute of limitations has passed, your debt can still appear on your credit report, underscoring the importance of using a credit card responsibly.

Unpaid debts typically remain on your credit report for seven years, during which time they’ll negatively impact your credit (though its effect can wane over time). So, for instance, if the state laws of Delaware apply to your credit card debt, your statute of limitations would be four years. Your unpaid debt would remain on your credit report for another three years after that period elapsed.

This is why it’s important to consider solutions, such as negotiating credit card debt settlement or credit card debt forgiveness, rather than just waiting for the clock to run out.

How to Know If a Debt Is Time-Barred

To determine if a debt is time-barred — meaning the statute of limitations has passed — the first step is figuring out the last date of activity on the account. This generally means your last payment on the account, though in some cases it can even include a promise to make a payment, such as saying you’d soon work on paying off $10,000 in credit card debt.

You can find out when you made your last payment on the account by pulling your credit report, which you can access at no cost once per year at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Once you have that information in hand, you can take a look at state statutes of limitation laws. Keep in mind that it might not be your state’s laws that apply. If you’re looking for the statute of limitations for credit card debt, for instance, check your credit card’s terms and conditions to see which state’s laws apply.

Figuring out all of the relevant information isn’t always easy. If you’re unsure or have any questions, consider contacting a debt collections lawyer, who should be able to assist with answers to all your credit card debt questions.

What to Do If You Are Sued Over a Time-Barred Debt

Even if you know a debt is time-barred, it’s important to take action if you’re sued over it. You’ll need to verify that the statute of limitations has indeed passed, and you’ll need to come forward with that information. It may be helpful to work with an attorney to help you respond appropriately and avoid any missteps.

If you do end up going to court, it’s critical to show up. The judge will dismiss your case as long as you can prove that the debt is indeed time-barred. However, if you don’t show up, you will lose the case.

How to Verify Whether You Owe the Debt

If you’re not sure whether a debt you’ve been contacted about is yours, you can ask the debt collector for verification. Request the debt collector’s name, the company’s name, address and phone number, and a professional license number. Also ask that the company mail you a validation notice, which will include the name of the creditor seeking payment and the amount you owe. This notice must be sent within five days of when the debt collector contacted you.

If, upon receiving the validation notice, you do not recognize the debt is yours, you can send the debt collector a letter of dispute. You must do so within 30 days.

The Takeaway

Statutes of limitations on debt create limits for how long debt collectors are able to sue borrowers in a court of law. These limits vary by state but are often between three to 10 or more years. Once the statute of limitations on a debt has expired, the debt is considered time-barred. However, any action the borrower takes on the account has the potential to restart the statute of limitations clock.

While borrowing money can leave you in a stressful situation where you’re waiting for the clock to run out, it can also help you build your credit profile and access new financial opportunities.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.

FAQ

Do I still owe a debt after the statute of limitations has passed?

Yes. The statute of limitations passing simply means that the creditor cannot take legal action to recoup the debt. Your debt will still remain, and it can continue to affect your credit.

Can a debt collector contact me after the statute of limitations has passed?

Yes, a debt collector can still contact you after the statute of limitations on debt passes as there isn’t a statute of limitations on debt collection. However, you do have the right to request that they stop contacting you. You can make this request by sending a cease communications letter.

Additionally, if you believe the contact is in violation of provisions in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act — such as if they are harassing or threatening you — then you can file a complaint by contacting your local attorney general’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

When does the statute of limitations commence?

The clock starts ticking on the statute of limitations on the last date of activity on the account. This generally means your last payment on the account, but it also could be when you last used the account, entered into a payment agreement, or made a promise to make a payment.

After the statute of limitations has passed, how do I remove debt from my credit report?

Even if the statute of limitations has already passed, debt will remain on your credit report for seven years. At this point, it should automatically drop off your report. If, for some reason, it does not, then you can dispute the information with the credit bureau.

What state’s laws on statute of limitations apply if I incur credit card debt in one state, then move to another state?

If you’re unsure of what the statute of limitations on credit card debt is, the first thing to do is to check your credit card agreement. Which state you live in may not have an impact, as many credit card companies dictate in the credit card agreement which state court will preside.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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Paying for Pharmacy School Need to Knows

A Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree is a four-year, licensed professional degree that teaches students how to fill prescription medications and how to educate patients about using prescriptions safely. Pharmacy school can be expensive, adding up to nearly $200,000 dollars on the high end.

With that price tag, it’s not a surprise that pharmacy students may have to rely on a few different sources of financing to pay for school, sometimes using a combination of savings, grants, scholarships, and student loans. This article will review the pharmacy school costs, the amount pharmacists can make, and nine tips for paying for pharmacy school.

How Much Does Pharmacy School Typically Cost?

The cost of pharmacy school can vary depending on where you enroll, the location, and the extent to which public dollars support the university you plan to attend. As mentioned, the complete cost of pharmacy school can add up to $200,000. The cost can swing higher for students who opt for an out-of-state institution. The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) lists the tuition and fees for pharmacy school for the 2022-2023 academic year on its website, which can help you compare costs at the pharmacy schools you may be considering.

For example, the first school on the list, Auburn University, costs $22,736 for in-state pharmacy students and $43,508 for out-of-state students. Mandatory fees cost $410 for 33 credit hours for students in their first year. However, in the fourth year, it costs $27,216 for in-state students and $58,374 for out-of-state students, with $210 for mandatory fees for 46 credit hours.

It’s worthwhile to compare the costs of various institutions before you make a decision. However, remember that financial aid can potentially bring the costs down further, so don’t rely completely on the published tuition prices. A conversation with the financial aid office at each school may give you a more in-depth analysis of how much it will actually cost, taking your personal situation into account.

Is Pharmacy School Worth It?

For the right individual, pharmacy school can be worth it. The costs of pharmacy school may seem daunting, but the professional perks, ability to become a part of a healthcare team, job opportunities, and career stability can mean that pharmacy school is the right option for many individuals. The high salary of pharmacists may also make pharmacy school worth it.

How Much Can Pharmacists Make?

The 2023 median pay for pharmacists was $136,030 per year, or $65.40 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Job outlook from 2022-2032 will increase 3% per year, which is as fast as average.

9 Tips for Paying for Pharmacy School

Think of paying for pharmacy school as a pie. There are many ways to pay for pharmacy school by dividing that pie. For example, various pieces of the pie might make up scholarships, grants, loans, and money out of your own pocket. No matter how you slice the pie, every dollar you contribute is an investment into your career and your future. We’ll discuss scholarships, including university, pharmacy, and private scholarships, as well as grants in the next section.

1. Scholarships

Scholarships are funds that you don’t have to pay back. You can get scholarships as a pharmacy student from a number of different sources, including from the university that you plan to attend as well as through designated pharmacy scholarships and private scholarships.

It’s worth considering other interests beyond pharmacy. Scholarships may be awarded based on heritage, location, or even hobbies or special skills. Maybe you have talents in another area that qualify you for additional scholarships.

University Scholarships

Pharmacy colleges and schools traditionally offer direct financial assistance to pharmacy students through various sources, including alumni associations and local chapters of pharmaceutical organizations and fraternities.

Consider setting a meeting with the financial aid office at the university you plan to attend to learn more about specific scholarships from each pharmacy school you’re interested in attending.

Pharmacy Scholarships

Local and state pharmaceutical associations, practicing pharmacists, drug manufacturers, and wholesalers may offer pharmacy scholarships to promising pharmacists, as well.

For example, 10 pharmacy students annually can receive a $5,000 Walmart Health Equity Scholarship. Students must be accepted or enrolled in the professional curriculum at a U.S. college or school of pharmacy, and show evidence of leadership skills, academic success, and must have a preference to serve rural or medically underserved patients.

Here’s another example: Five underrepresented minority students can receive the CVS Health Minority Scholarship for Pharmacy Students annually. Students must be African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and/or Pacific Islander students, as well as U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Each successful candidate will receive a single $7,000 scholarship.

Private Scholarships

Private scholarships come from companies, service groups and organizations, foundations, and individuals. For example, Tylenol offers a scholarship for students pursuing careers in healthcare, including pharmacy. There may also be scholarships available from local or regional organizations.

2. Grants

Like scholarships, you do not have to repay the money you receive from grants. Grants, which are typically based on need, can also be awarded based on merit. Filling the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) automatically considers you for federal grants based on need. You may also become eligible for state grants. Your college or university can give you more information about the types of grants you’re eligible for through your pharmacy program.

3. Federal Student Loans

You may be wondering how to pay for pharmacy school without loans. It’s possible to do it through a combination of scholarships, grants, and savings, though many people take advantage of federal student loans through the U.S. Department of Education. Federal student loans have fixed interest rates and benefits such as income-driven repayment plans. Just like obtaining an auto loan or a mortgage, you must pay back loans with interest.

Federal student loans are a type of federal financial aid, and to apply, you must file the FAFSA. Learn more about the requirements for this application in SoFi’s comprehensive guide to the FAFSA.

You can qualify for two types of federal student loans for pharmacy school: Direct PLUS Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

Direct PLUS Loans

Pharmacy students can take advantage of Direct PLUS Loans, also called graduate PLUS loans or direct grad PLUS loans, to help finance graduate and professional school. The Graduate PLUS Loan comes from the U.S. Department of Education for graduate or professional students. In order to get one, your school must participate in the Direct Loan Program.

The Direct PLUS Loan is not need-based, which means you can get it no matter your income level. You can borrow up to the full cost of attendance and can use the money to pay for tuition, room and board, and fees. Your school will subtract other financial aid you receive (such as scholarships, grants, and fellowships) from the full cost of attendance and award you the difference with a Direct PLUS Loan.

The interest rate is 8.05% for Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2023 and before July 1, 2024.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Similar to student loans for undergraduates, you can tap into Direct Unsubsidized Loans. You can borrow up to $20,500 per year with the Direct Unsubsidized Loan, and the interest rate is 7.05% if disbursed between July 1, 2023 and July 1, 2024 for graduate students. “Unsubsidized” means that the government doesn’t pay the interest while you’re in school and during the grace period.

It’s generally a good idea to first consider opting for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan, over a Graduate PLUS Loan. Why opt for the Direct Unsubsidized loan first?

You’ll pay more in interest for the Direct PLUS Loan (8.05% interest rate).

4. Private Student Loans

Private graduate student loans do not come from the federal government. They can come from a bank, credit union, or another financial institution and can be used to help finance college or career school. The amount you can borrow depends on the costs of your degree, but also depends on personal financial factors (such as your credit score and income).

You may have gotten advice that suggested exhausting all of your federal grant and loan options before you consider private loans because interest rates are usually higher compared to federal student loans. Additionally, private student loans don’t qualify for the same borrower protections as federal student loans, like income-driven repayment plans or deferment options. However, private student loans can be an option to consider if you need additional funding to cover your pharmacy school expenses.

Recommended: Things to know before applying for private student loans

5. PSLF Programs

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program is a federal student loan forgiveness program. More specifically, you may qualify to have the remaining balance on your Direct Loans forgiven after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan. You must work full-time for a qualifying employer in order to qualify and your employer must be a qualifying organization such as a federal, state, local, or tribal government organization or other nonprofit organization.

You must have Direct Loans or consolidate other types of federal student loans into a Direct Loan, repay loans under an income-driven repayment plan, as well as make 120 qualifying payments toward your student loans. The requirements for PSLF can be quite strict, so be sure to read the requirements closely.

For more information about PSLF programs and to learn more about your eligibility, contact your loan servicer, which is the entity that services your loan.

6. Pharmacy Internships

Pharmacy internships can be instrumental in your budding career as a pharmacist in helping you understand how pharmacies operate, learning the ins and outs of customer service, helping you dive into inventory management, and learning the professional skills necessary to become a pharmacist. You may also learn more from pharmacist professionals about leading a pharmacy team and help you bring tangible professional experience back to the classroom.

You may also want to look into pharmacy fellowships, which provide financial support in an external or internal capacity (in or out of the university environment). Assistantships also provide financial support in an academic department through teaching, research, or administrative responsibilities.

7. Work Part Time

You may want to consider working a part-time job in conjunction with pharmacy school. For example, if you attend school from 8am to 4pm, you may want to seek a part-time job after hours.

However, it’s important to consider your time constraints and whether you can succeed in your coursework. Consider your ability to manage your time before you take on a part-time job. However, for the right student, taking on a job can help pay for college tuition and give you an additional source of income. Networking opportunities and skill development can come from a part-time job, even if it doesn’t relate to pharmacy.

8. Borrow From Family

Do you have a family member who really wants to give you money for your education? You may seriously consider borrowing from your parents or a sister or brother (or whoever else wants to lend you money).

Just remember that it could strain family relationships if you fail to pay back the loan. It’s a good idea to have a plan in place to repay your relative(s) as well as create boundaries, so both parties feel good about the arrangement.

9. HRSA Loans

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, improves health care for geographically isolated and vulnerable individuals.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the HRSA, also offers several loans for health services students. For example, Health Professions Student Loans are available to individuals who study pharmacy (as well as dentistry, optometry, podiatry, or veterinary medicine). Pharmacy students who show financial need may also be able to tap into Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS). Health professions student loans have fixed interest rates of 5%, lower than both Direct Unsubsidized Loans and PLUS loans. They also allow 12 months of grace periods, while most other loans only offer six months of grace periods. In addition, health professions loans are subsidized, which means you don’t pay interest on the loan while you’re in school, nor do you pay additional loan fees.

However, they come with a few downsides: Not all schools participate, and there are no set borrowing limits. You also can’t tap into income-driven repayment plans or PSLF.

Private Student Loans for Pharmacy School

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.


Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.

FAQ

Can you use FAFSA for pharmacy school?

Absolutely! It’s generally a smart idea to file the FAFSA for pharmacy school, no matter your financial situation. The FAFSA can give you access to a range of financial aid options, including scholarships (your school will consider your eligibility based on the FAFSA results), grants, loans, and work-study. You want to be able to put together the best financial aid options for your needs, and the best way to do that involves filing the FAFSA.

Does CVS or Walgreens pay for pharmacy school?

CVS and Walgreens both offer pharmacy scholarships, like the ones we listed above, the Walmart Health Equity Scholarship and the CVS Health Minority Scholarship for Pharmacy Students. If you work for either company, you may also qualify through each company’s employee tuition reimbursement program. Check with the human resources department at each company for more details.

How much can pharmacists make after graduating?

The 2023 median pay for pharmacists was $136,030 per year, or $65.40 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The job outlook for pharmacists is 3% from 2022 through 2032, which is as fast as average.


Photo credit: iStock/cagkansayin

SoFi Private Student Loans
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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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