Banking » Reviews » Sallie Mae Bank Review 2024
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Sallie Mae Bank Review 2024

Sallie Mae offers competitive rates on savings accounts and CDs, but there is no checking account, debit card and ATM access
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

We earn a commission from our partner links on this page. It doesn't affect the integrity of our unbiased, independent editorial staff. Transparency is a core value for us, read our advertiser disclosure and how we make money.

Sallie Mae Bank

sallie-mae- review
sallie-mae- review

Sallie Mae Bank

Fees

$0

Minimum Deposit

$0

Our Rating

4
4/5

APY Savings

4.50%

While Sallie Mae is a familiar name in regards to private student loans, you may not be aware that this is an online bank featuring a variety of savings and personal banking products.

Sallie Mae Bank is a division of SLM Corporation and it offers competitive rates that are available to almost anyone. The bank is an FDIC insured institution with its headquarters in Salt Lake City. In addition to offering savings, CDs and money market accounts, Sallie Mae Bank stands out for its goal setting features, which allow customers to put money into different buckets.

However, there are some areas where Sallie Mae falls short. The customer service hours are restricted to 9 am to 6 pm ET on weekdays with no service on weekends. Additionally, Sallie Mae has no checking account options and the app has garnered some low ratings from its users.

  • Decent Interest
  • No Balance Requirements
  • No Monthly Fees
  • Variety of CD Terms
  • Tools to Encourage Saving
  • No Checking Account
  • No ATM Access
  • Need a Third Party Account
  • App Has Low Ratings

What is required to open a Sallie Mae Bank account?

You’ll need to provide your basic details including your full name, address, date of birth, email and phone number. You will also need to confirm your ID with a valid driver’s license or other government-issued ID.

Is my money safe at Sallie Mae Bank?

Sallie Mae Bank is an FDIC-insured institution, which means that your funds are federally protected up to a maximum of $250,000 per account type, per depositor should the bank fail.

Can you buy/invest in gold via Sallie Mae Bank ?

No, there is no option for investments with Sallie Mae Bank, including buying gold.

Is Sallie Mae Bank worth it for Joint Accounts?

If you’re interested in deposit accounts with no fees, it could be a worthwhile option. The SmartyPig account is particularly helpful if you want to save for multiple savings goals without needing to have several separate accounts.

Table Of Content

Banking Services
Credit Options
Savings Accounts
Mortgage
Checking Accounts
Government Mortgage
CDs
Credit Cards
Money Market Account
Debit Card
Investing Capabilities
Personal Loans

Sallie Mae Bank Savings

Sallie Mae Bank has two types of savings accounts.

Savings Account
APY
High-Yield Savings Account
4.50%
SmartyPig Savings
4.25%

This account is a tempting choice as it offers a number of benefits for savers, including:

  • No minimum balance: Unlike many high-yield accounts, there is no minimum balance to qualify for the advertised rate. This means that you can earn the high yield rate regardless of whether you have $1 in the account or $100,000.
  • No initial balance requirements: You can open the account with no initial deposit, making it ideal for those who are just starting their savings journey.
  • No monthly fees: There are no monthly maintenance fees or charges to worry about.
  • Highly competitive rates: While the Sallie Mae High Yield account may not offer the highest rates in the market, the rates are competitive.
  • Daily compound interest: Interest is compounded daily and added to your account monthly to maximize your returns.

However, the rate is lower than the top high-yield savings account rates as of May 2024.

The other Sallie Mae savings account is the SmartyPig which was specifically created to help customers reach their savings goals. You’ll have a primary account, but you can set up savings goals each with their own sub account. So, you can add money to the account and work towards multiple savings goals without needing to manage multiple accounts.

The other features of the account include:

  • Automated deposits: You can set up biweekly or monthly automated deposits to help you to reach your savings goals.
  • No fee withdrawals: You can make a withdrawal at any time without incurring any fees.
  • No minimums: As with the high yield account, there are no minimum opening deposit or minimum balance requirements.
  • No monthly fees: There are no monthly maintenance or management fees.
  • Tiered interest: The APY for the account is tiered, so the more you save, the higher your returns.
  • Referral bonuses: Currently, there is a referral bonus for each person you refer who not only opens an account, but sets a goal and adds funds to it.

Sallie Mae Bank CDs

Overall, Sallie Mae Bank CD rates are very competitive, especially for the short term. For example, if you're looking for a 1-year CD, Sallie Mae offers 4.95% APY, a very competitive rate compared to other bank's 1-year CD rates.

CD Term
APY
6 Months
4.80%
9 Months
4.85%
12 Months
4.95%
18 Months
4.75%
24 Months
4.50%
30 Months
4.00%
36 Months
4.00%
60 Months
4.00%

Sallie Mae Bank offers CDs with terms from six months to five years. The rates are tiered towards longer terms, so with the exception of a 60 month CD.

All the CDs have a $2,500 minimum opening deposit and interest is added to your account monthly, quarterly, annually or at maturity. You can also have the interest disbursed to a linked bank account at these intervals.

Unfortunately, Sallie Mae Bank does not offer no-penalty CDs, so you will incur a penalty if you need to withdraw funds before the CD matures. The penalties are calculated according to your CD term.

For terms of 12 months or less, the penalty is 90 days of simple interest, longer term CDs have a penalty of 180 days of simple interest.

Does Sallie Mae Offer Checking Account?

If your'e looking for a good checking account, you won't find it with Sallie Mae Bank. However, there is a money market account, this offers a decent rate on your balance with no monthly service fees. This account also offers check writing privileges, so it does fill some of the gap in Sallie Mae Bank’s product line up.

Just bear in mind that the money market account does not have an associated ATM or debit card as you would have with a standard checking account.

Sallie Mae Bank Credit Cards

Sallie Mae Bank Credit Cards
(Screenshot from salliemae.com)

Sallie Mae Bank currently offers three credit card options. These are:

  • Ignite: This is the student card option from Sallie Mae bank. You can earn 2% cash back with no limits for the first year and there is a 25% bonus on the base cash back if you’ve made six consecutive on time payments. After the initial 12 month introductory period, the cash back is 1% with no limits.
  • Accelerate: This card also has a cash back promotion for the first 12 months. For the first year, you’ll earn 2.5% cash back on all your purchases, this drops to 1.25% unlimited after 12 months. There is also a 25% bonus on your cash back rewards when they are used to pay down your student loans.
  • Evolve: This card also has a 2.5% unlimited cash back rate for the first year, dropping down to 1.25% after 12 months. There is also a 25% bonus on your base cash back for your top two spending categories every month.

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Sallie Mae Bank Loan Products

Sallie Mae Bank loans are currently limited to student loans, but it does offer a selection of undergraduate, graduate and trade school private student loans.

Whether you’re studying on campus or online, you can use your Sallie Mae Bank student loan to cover your education expenses. This applies for full or part time students for tuition, fees, books, supplies, computers, transportation and room and board.

You can apply once and the funds will be sent to your college or university directly to cover each term as per your requests. You can also cancel future disbursements with no penalty and no interest is charged until the funds are sent to your school.

You’ll need to complete a basic application form and choose your repayment option and interest rate type. Generally, it is possible to apply with a cosigner, if necessary. The entire application process takes approximately 15 minutes and you’ll receive your credit result.

Pros and Cons

Pros
Cons
Decent Interest
No Checking Account
No Balance Requirements
No ATM Access
No Monthly Fees
Need a Third Party Account
Variety of CD Terms
App Has Low Ratings
Tools to Encourage Saving

All the deposit accounts including CDs and savings accounts offer decent APYs. 

Although Sallie Mae Bank does not offer the highest CD rates in the marketplace, they do still make these accounts worthy of consideration.

With the exception of the minimum deposit needed for Sallie Mae CDs, there are no initial deposit or minimum balance requirements to access the solid APYs on offer.

Fees are not a concern with Sallie Mae's accounts, as there are no monthly fees or other banking charges that could potentially eat into your balance.

For those who need a free online checking account, Sallie Mae is a great option. 

Although Sallie Mae Bank does not offer a no penalty CD, there is a variety of CD terms to suit most circumstances, such as CD ladders.

The SmartyPig account has been designed to help you set and work towards different savings goals.

You can assign money into various sub accounts, so you can keep track of savings targets without needing to manage multiple accounts.

Although there is a money market account, this is not a direct replacement for a checking account. This means that you cannot use Sallie Mae as your primary bank.

Sallie Mae only has one branch in the U.S and it does not operate its own ATM network. Furthermore, accounts are not issued with an ATM card.

This means that to access your funds, you’ll need to transfer the money into another account.

You’ll need a bank account with another financial institution to fund your account and withdraw money.

 It is not possible to open a new Sallie Mae account without first having an external bank account.

There are a number of complaints and poor reviews for the Sallie Mae banking app. Considering you don’t have branch support, having a well regarded app is a must.

Sallie Mae Bank Customer Service

Unfortunately, Sallie Mae Bank has limited options to access help if you have a query or question. There is no online live chat, or branch support. There is a helpline, but this is only available 8 am to 8 pm ET on weekdays with no option for on weekends.

The Sallie Mae Bank customer reviews also highlight issues with its customer service. According to numerous past and current customers, there is poor communication between departments, so if you do speak to the customer service team, you may find it difficult to get a fast response to a problem.

How to Open a Sallie Mae Bank Account?

Since Sallie Mae Bank only has one branch, you’ll need to go online to open an account. The website is quite clearly laid out, so you can begin the process by clicking on “savings” on the top bar.

  1. Find the Product Page: The first step is to find the product page for the appropriate account. Once you are on the page, you can browse the account details and if you’re happy to proceed, click on “Apply.”
  2. Create a Sallie Mae Account: You’ll need to provide a valid email address, and mobile phone number and then create and confirm a password. You will also need to consent to e-delivery.
  3. Complete the Application Form: Once you have a Sallie Mae account, you can proceed to the application form. You’ll need to provide your full name, date of birth, your Social Security Number and a residential address. You will also need to enter the details of your existing savings or checking account which you can link to your Sallie Mae savings or deposit account.
  4. Validate Your ID: The final step is to confirm your ID by providing a copy of your driver’s license or other government or state issued photo ID.

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FAQs

No, Sallie Mae Bank does not have any checking account options.

A Sallie Mae Bank savings account may be a good option if you need to work on rebuilding your finances, since you can access the impressive rates without needing to meet a minimum balance requirement.

The main reason to skip this account is if you want to move all your banking activities to one institution since Sallie Mae does not have a checking account. However, if you prefer face to face branch support, Sallie Mae Bank is also not a good option for you.

How We Rate And Review Banks: Our Methodology

The Smart Investor team extensively reviewed hundreds of banks and credit unions. We assessed them based on four main categories, each with specific features:

  • Diversity of Products and Their Attractiveness (40%): We extensively analyzed the breadth and appeal of each bank's product offerings, including savings accounts, checking accounts, loans, investment options, and more. Higher ratings were assigned to banks with a diverse range of products that are attractive in terms of interest rates, fees, terms, and additional features. This category provides insights into the variety and value of the bank's offerings, crucial for meeting customers' diverse financial needs.

  • Account Features (30%): This category delves into the features and benefits accompanying each bank's accounts. We scrutinized factors such as promotions, deposit and withdrawal options, ATM accessibility, online and mobile banking functionalities, as well as additional perks like overdraft protection and rewards programs. Banks offering comprehensive and convenient features received higher ratings, reflecting the overall value of their accounts to customers.

  • Customer Experience (20%): A positive customer experience is paramount in banking, so we evaluated each bank's performance in this area. This included assessing the ease of account opening, quality of customer service, availability of support channels, and overall user satisfaction. Ratings were based on factors such as responsiveness, efficiency, and the bank's commitment to meeting customer needs, ensuring a seamless and satisfactory banking experience.

  • Bank Reputation (10%): The reputation of a bank is a critical consideration for customers. We examined factors such as financial stability, regulatory compliance, and public perception to determine each institution's overall trustworthiness and reliability. Higher ratings were awarded to banks with strong reputations, reflecting their credibility and ability to inspire confidence among customers.

  •  

By considering these categories, individuals can make informed decisions that align with their financial needs and preferences, ensuring they choose a bank that offers competitive products, excellent features, a positive customer experience, and a solid reputation.

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Picture of Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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