Custom Choice stands out for its customizable student loan options that come with no hidden fees, including no late fees. Considering that Custom Choice offers competitive interest rates and does not require a co-signer, it is best for borrowers who have excellent credit or students who have minimal borrowing needs.
Custom Choice features
Custom Choice offers student loans for both undergraduate and graduate students, and borrowers can apply with or without a co-signer. Custom Choice says that borrowers are four times more likely to be approved if they add a co-signer, but co-signers may also be released from the loan in as little as 36 months.
An addition to its core loan offerings, Custom Choice goes beyond simply lending by opening opportunities for scholarships and graduation rewards. It also provides a free guide to navigating private student loans, available to download on its website.
Custom Choice student loan snapshot
|Loan types||Undergraduate, graduate|
|Loan amounts||$1,000 to $99,999 annually ($180,000 aggregate)|
|Interest rates||1.29% to 9.9% variable APR, 3.2% to 10.76% fixed APR (with autopay)|
|Repayment terms||7 to 15 years|
|Grace period||6 months|
Pros and cons of Custom Choice student loans
Custom Choice student loans can help you fund higher education, and you’ll even get some benefits for graduating. However, it’s important to consider both the benefits and the drawbacks before applying.
- Flexible co-signer options: Co-signers are not required, not even for undergraduates, although having one can help you get approved or receive better rates and terms. Unlike some lenders, Custom Choice also offers co-signer release after 36 consecutive on-time payments.
- Graduation reward: Borrowers can receive a 2 percent principal reduction for their loan when they show proof of graduation, which can make starting repayment easier.
- Zero fees: Some lenders charge an origination fee for student loans, and many more impose fees for late payments. While it’s never good to miss a loan payment, Custom Choice waives all fees, including late fees.
- Short forbearance program: Custom Choice limits its forbearance period to no more than two months at a time and no more than 12 months total. This may not be enough if you’re experiencing a long period of unemployment.
- Loans aren’t available nationwide: You can’t use Custom Choice for funding if you’re a permanent resident of Arizona, Iowa or Wisconsin.
- Limited loan amounts: While Custom Choice loans should be sufficient for most borrowers, it’s worth noting that they do have limits of $99,999 per year and $180,000 aggregate.
Custom Choice student loan requirements
In order to qualify for Custom Choice student loans, undergraduate and graduate students must be enrolled at least half time in a degree-granting program at a school approved by the lender. Borrowers must also be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident applying with a qualified co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Borrowers must also be the age of majority at the time of application or have a co-signer who is.
Custom Choice does not share other requirements for loan approval, such as a minimum credit score or minimum income requirement.
Who is this loan good for?
Student loans from Custom Choice are a solid option for borrowers who don’t need to borrow much for school but want flexible options when it comes to paying them off — while the maximum repayment term is 15 years, borrowers have four options for making payments while in school. Because of Custom Choice’s low interest rates, it’s also ideal for borrowers with excellent credit.
Interest rates and terms
Custom Choice offers a 0.25 percent rate discount for borrowers who agree to use autopay. The rates below reflect the autopay discount.
|Loan product||Variable rate||Fixed rate|
|Undergraduate student loans||1.27% to 9.9% APR||3.2% to 10.76% APR|
|Graduate student loans||1.27% to 9.9% APR||3.2% to 10.76% APR|
Fees and penalties
Custom Choice student loans come with no origination fee and no late fees. Keep in mind that even if you’re not charged for missing a payment, a late payment will still negatively affect your credit score.
Repayment terms and grace period
Custom Choice student loans can be repaid over seven, 10 or 15 years, and students can begin repaying their loans during school or defer them until graduation. A six-month grace period also applies.
Payments can be made in the following ways:
- Deferred payments until six months after you graduate.
- Flat payments of $25 during school that can help you reduce interest accrual.
- Interest-only payments until you graduate.
- Immediate full payments that include principal and interest.
Custom Choice has several avenues for customer service, including an online chat feature. If you’d like to speak with a representative, you can also call 888-513-8445 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also send correspondence via mail to Cognition Financial, 200 Clarendon Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116.
How to apply for a loan with Custom Choice
Applying for a student loan with Custom Choice is easy, and the company even lets you check your rate online and without any impact to your credit score. The company says that you’ll need the following information to start your application:
- Social Security number or documentation regarding current immigration status.
- School information.
- Loan amount.
- Proof of income (if applicable).
- Monthly housing cost.
- Anticipated graduation date.
If you’re applying with a co-signer, they will need:
- Social Security number.
- Proof of income.
- Government-issued ID.
Once you’re ready to apply, you’ll fill out the loan application online. If your loan is approved, you’ll accept the terms virtually and e-sign your loan documents. After that, Custom Choice will send your loan information to your school for verification, and then your loan funds will be sent directly to the institution you plan to attend.
How Bankrate rates Custom Choice
|Repayment options||3.8||Custom Choice doesn’t have many repayment term options and has loan caps, though its minimum loan amount is low.|
|Affordability||4.8||Custom Choice offers borrowers low minimum and maximum APRs and no fees, even if its grace period is relatively short.|
|Customer experience||4.0||While Custom Choice makes online access and payments easy, it does not specify customer service hours and has no mobile app.|
Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.