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Removing Yourself as a Cosigner

Cosigner Release: Removing Yourself from a Loan
Jason Steele
Jason SteeleUpdated September 3, 2023
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
When you cosign a loan or line of credit, you're liable for the loan if the primary borrower fails to make payments. If you’ve previously cosigned a loan or line of credit for a friend or family member and are now wanting to be removed as the cosigner, you may be wondering if it's possible. Fortunately, there are a few ways to remove yourself as a cosigner on a loan or line of credit.

Can I Remove Myself as a Cosigner?

Yes, you can remove yourself as a cosigner on a loan, but your options will vary depending on the type of loan or line of credit. If you're trying to remove yourself from a personal loan, then you can have the original borrower refinance the loan or you can pay the loan off. Recommended: Personal Loans With a Cosigner: What to KnowIf you're trying to remove yourself as a cosigner from a credit card, then you could pay off the card and then close the card. If you don’t have the money to pay off the card balance, then you could get a new consolidation loan to cover the balance cost or open a new card that allows balance transfers. Either way, after you pay off the card with the cosigner, you would close that card. If you're trying to remove yourself as a cosigner from a student loan, a cosigner release could be an option. However, cosigner releases are difficult to get unless it was included as a provision in the original loan. To qualify for a cosigner release, borrowers must prove that they have the ability to pay off the loan on their own and they must not have any late payments over a set period of time. You could also have the original borrower refinance the student loan in order to remove yourself as cosigner. Cosigner releases are also potential options for auto loans. Other options for auto loans include selling the car or refinancing the loan. Recommended: Can a Cosigner Become the Primary Borrower?

How to Apply

If you want to remove yourself as a cosigner from a student loan or auto loan that has a cosigner release option, you would apply for a cosigner release with your lender. Each lender’s cosigner release application process will be different. You may be required to write up a cosigner release letter or sign an online form. 

What if the Primary Borrower Won’t Respond?

If the primary borrower won’t respond, it will be difficult to impossible to be legally removed from the loan. At this point, your only option would be to make sure that the creditor doesn’t allow the primary borrower to borrow any additional money with your name attached, and to terminate the cosigner obligation when the loan is repaid in full.If you're a cosigner on a credit card and the primary cardholder won’t respond, you can call the card issuer to request that you be removed as cosigner for any future charges on the card moving forward. You will still be legally responsible for existing amounts charged plus fees and interest, but you won’t be responsible for any new charges.If the matter is significant and serious, you could consult with an attorney. An attorney may be able to help you file an action to get removed from a loan. 

Alternatives to Cosigner Release

If you're not able to do a cosigner release, you have some alternative options. As previously mentioned, you could refinance the loan if it's a personal loan, student loan, or auto loan. If you're trying to remove yourself as a cosigner from a credit card, you could pay off the card (either with cash, a consolidation loan, or a balance transfer credit card) and then close the card. Another option is to ask or help the borrower pay off the loan as quickly as possible. If the borrower has the means to pay off the loan sooner than it's due, it will rid you of the cosigner responsibilities. If the borrower can’t afford to pay off the loan but you can, you should consider whether it would be worth doing in order to be free of the loan. Recommended: How to Refinance a Personal Loan

The Takeaway

Taking out a loan or line of credit with a cosigner is risky for the borrower, but it can be even riskier for the cosigner. If you, the cosigner, decide later that you no longer want your name on the loan or line of credit, it can be difficult to remove yourself. However, it's possible to remove yourself as a cosigner from a loan either by using a cosigner release form, refinancing the loan, or paying off the loan. Once you're removed as a cosigner, you shouldn’t have any further issues regarding the loan or line of credit. Whether you're looking for new personal loans with a cosigner or without a cosigner, Lantern by SoFi can help. Lantern lets you compare the top personal loans to find the right one for you.Lantern can help you compare rates and find loan offers in minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a cosigner and a co-borrower?
Can a cosigner be removed from a loan without a cosigner release?
What happens if the borrower defaults on the loan after a cosigner release?
Does removing yourself as a cosigner hurt your credit?
How long does it take to be removed as a cosigner?
Photo credit: iStock/Ridofranz

About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and award travel since 2008. One of the nation's leading experts in this field, he has contributed to dozens of personal finance and travel outlets and has been widely quoted in the mainstream media.
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