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Refinance your international student loan with a company that understands you

Prodigy Finance - August 14, 2019

Ignacio Vidal MBA and Prodigy Finance borrower

“As a foreign student with a non-permanent resident visa, you’re considered a subprime borrower. Can you believe it? You’ve been working at high profile positions in top notch firms, you were accepted to an elite business school, and yet you’re considered a high-risk borrower.”

Ignacio Vidal, originally from Madrid, felt the impact of his higher interest rate even as he headed to the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. He’d accepted his initial student loan from one of the school’s preferred lenders in the US, but was understandably dismayed by the interest rates he had to accept as an international student.

But Ignacio is accustomed to overcoming hurdles, as his double MBA concentrations - Asset Management and Investment Banking - suggest. Once he’d graduated, it was time to tackle the high interest rate on his student loan. 

How to lower the interest rate on your international student loan

“As an international student, my interest rate was high and a reduction of just 1 percent will save thousands of dollars by the time I payback my loan.”

Refinancing is the clearest path to lower interest rates on any loans, but especially international student loans.

While studying at Darden, interest rates sat at record lows in the United States. And, like many of his classmates, Ignacio made plans to lower the interest on his loan through refinance.  

“Everyone is lowering debt they have. You see refinancing as a normal; everyone is doing it.” 

The hurdle Ignacio faced was his international status. Even as he was working for Navigant in New York City, he couldn’t find a lender willing to extend refinancing to non-permanent residents. And, he approached every bank and fintech startup he could think of.

During the Prodigy Finance refinancing pilot, Ignacio jumped at the chance. 

What to look for when refinancing an international student loan

Lowering his interest rate was Ignacio’s biggest concern, but he also considered:

  • No signing fees when taking a new loan.
  • Refinance options regardless of visa status.
  • Interest rate calculation alongside low fees.
  • Loan term choices (specifically 10, 15 and 20 year options).
  • Easy repayment structures which allow speedy monthly payments.
  • A company that would understand when he returned to Europe.
  • Customer service and a human touch.

In the end, Ignacio chose a loan repayment duration that matched his existing terms, but with a lower interest rate. 

Work anywhere, repay from anywhere

International graduates in the US have several options for their post-grad careers:

  • Stay in the US for work (on the F-1 OPT extension and then the H-1B visa and, subsequently, a Green Card).
  • Return to their home countries (which, unlike Ignacio, is where many international students take their education loans).
  • Venture off to a new country or region using their advanced degrees as a springboard for recruitment.

And, if you’re like Ignacio, it’s a combination of these options. He wanted to gain a few years of work experience in the US, but had definite plans to return to Europe in the future and he needed a refinance lender who understood his plans might take him anywhere.

Professionally, by choosing a US employer with an international footprint, Ignacio had the ability to apply for a transfer - rather than a new job - when he made a personal decision to move to London. 

Refinance loan repayment options

While in the US, Ignacio found it easy to make payments on his refinanced student loan from Prodigy Finance. 

“Prodigy Finance has a great payment service. I easily set up auto debit from my US account once and for the amount I wanted to pay. Now, I receive an email every month with the amount that will be charged to my account 7 days before - and that’s it. I don’t stress about paying on time every month.”

Now that he’s moved to the UK, Ignacio still has repayment options:

  • Continue paying with the auto-debit from his US account.
  • Using Transferwise, a very cost-efficient way to make payments in a different currency.

Ignacio used his US account while settling into his life in London, though he’s now making the change to repayments from his new UK account.

“I know I have options which sets Prodigy Finance apart from the crowd. It’s valuable to have flexible payment options as I could be moving to another country in a few years and my loan term is 20 years.”

Do you have questions about refinancing?

Ignacio found Prodigy Finance’s “human touch” invaluable when he had questions. If you have questions about Prodigy Finance, our payment options or our refinancing waitlist, why not reach out to us? 

Prodigy Finance Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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