I have been very impressed with Sallie Mae, the board of directors have made a decision to keep rates stable and retain being a market leader instead of a market lager. Most banks have had 3-7 rate decreases during 2013.
Pros: Sallie Mae Bank website works well with Mint.com, no issues with daily downloads
No tiered rates on Money Market, so everyone can be participatory in getting the most for their money, not just high depositors.
Customer service was great in helping me set up ACH as a first time user of this and all my interactions with different CSRs were high quality customer service.
Sallie Mae is the best value, look at other online banks, you may match the rate but you will not have money market check writing privileges, most offer savings account for this high rate, not a money market account.
This bank is well capitalized and that means sleeping better at night.
The rates are highly competitive (currently 1.5% on a money market account), and there are no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees. This bank is especially great for college students and the accounts can easily be linked to Upromise college savings accounts.
I just "partially" opened a Sallie Mae High-Yield Savings account and the preliminary part took about 5 minutes (maybe 10). It was very easy and straight forward! Now I am awaiting the test deposits to show up (which SM bank claims to take 2-3 business days). I shall write a second review depending on how the test deposit portion of the process turns out.
To help others make their decision for an online savings account... the reason I chose Sallie Mae is not actually because of the higher than average (currently 1.30%) APY, but more so because of their reputation in the student loan industry (90% of my ~$60,000 student loan debt is through Sallie Mae). I know they are new to the online banking community, so I wanted to give them a shot since I am more than pleased with my student loans through them (though, I do understand that not everyone has as good of luck with their student loans as I have). My second choice for online savings is HSBC, but that is because I find their online interface very professional and their APY competitive (at least for my puny $400 a month savings). I still might open an account the HSBC, but not just yet...
PS: I am giving them a 4 on customer service, but keep in mind that I have only dealt with their student loan customer service... if I encounter their banking customer service and am unsatisfied, then I will follow-up with a second review.
Sallie Mae Bank has remained competitive as interest rates continue to dwindle. Their online experience isn't great, but it's pretty good. Pretty easy to open multiple accounts for multiple savings goals. ACH in/out seems reasonably fast.
I'm a big fan of Sallie Mae, they really help me to get through my college years and I would recommend it to everyone!
I opened a savings account and deposited several thousand dollars. When I applied for one of their credit cards months later I was turned down. I'm now moving my savings to another bank.
This Bank is a nightmare. I have all my student loans with them, biggest mistake of my life. I have no problems paying my loans and my minimum payments but they make it so hard to pay. First of all once you sign up, you are going to be spammed, 2 emails a day at least, saying nothing but "Sallie Mae has something important and urgent to tell you please visit the website but due to security reasons we won't tell you anything in this email." Then you go to the website and nothing happens no notifications or anything telling you were to go or why they emailed you with this urgent document you needed to see. So once you get frustrated enough with the spam everyday and going to the slow nightmare of a website, you will probably do what I did just reroute those emails to spam. Which worked for the day to day. However, automatic debit does not work on the website for some reason I do not even know why they offer it. I have signed up for automatic debit from my account the first time a logged on the website then resigned up for auto debit every month after that because it never worked, finally on the 4th time I called into customer support to have them walk me through it, and once we were done doing exactly what I had done before to set up automatic debit they promised "yes all your loans are automatic debit" so I hung up and thought the nightmare was over, well its been 3 months and every month at least one of the auto debit loans does not debit my account so I get more spam from them and a phone call of a recording saying please salle mae at "1-800-Talk To A Robot For An Hour Even Though We Called You" I call then finally get to a customer service representative and ask why did you call, and they say I don't know sir what do you want? As if it is weird, and completely foreign to them that they are sending out automated calls telling people to call them for urgent account information. Anyways to add salt into the wound, to make a minimum payment it goes through immediately how
So here i was, an about-to-go-to-college student, and determined to stay away from having my parents cosign my loans. I went looking for private loans (i already maxed out my department of edu loans) and sallie mae seemed like a good choice. My first loan was the signature student loan, and for my first year of school everything went smoothly. I didn't have to pay any interest and my payments were deferred until 6 months after i graduated. My second year, i felt so confident in the sallie mae loan i had taken out, i decided to return.
Unfortunately they threw out the signature student loan, and now had the smart option student loan, which required me to pay interest while i was in school. This deterred me a bit, so i called up sallie mae and a really nice woman told me it would only be about $25 a month, so in the end i thought it wouldn't be so bad. I took out the loan. Keep in mind i was a young student who read the disclosure agreement, but didn't fully understand it, and how could i? I wouldn't expect anyone under the age of 25 to understand those things. Months down the road, my interest payments started ballooning. $25, $50, $75, $100, $150.
Until i was crying every time i had to pay the bill. I called sallie mae many, many times, explaining to them i was a college student, i was told it would be low interest in college?! They proceeded to explain how each time my loan disbursed, my new interest was on that new number. I felt like an idiot. If i had known that, i would have taken out my loan with my bank instead (which is what i did for my last year in school). I found a way to pay and deal with it, then a few months later, i see on sallie mae's website they have this new loan that has locked $25 interest payments while you're in school. So again i called them, and begged to get into whatever program that was. They said no. I will never take a loan out with them again.
It has taken over 2 months and the bank has still not processed the loan. The right hand never knows what the left hand is doing!! One rep will tell you one thing and another rep will tell you another. They say you need specific forms filled out, but they can't find the forms?!! And when you try to access them from your account, you are unable. They have no correspondence with their customer and they would be content to just let you wait forever for your loan. I wouldn't of taken out the loan if I didn't need it. I would highly recommend that a person thinks twice before using Sallie Mae. It's not worth anyone's time and frustration!
I have dealt with such horrible customer service since I have had a loan with sallie mae. I am not getting any help whatsoever and I suggest people who are considering a loan with these people to not do it. I have complained to the Ombundsman group and my next step is the Department of Education. I think it is unfair how these people have treated me. I have filled out numerous forbearance applications and income based repayment to help me not to get into default with these loans. They continue to mislead me and give me false information. I wish I never had to deal with them.
Folks please, please, please, do not accept a loan from this bank. You will regret it if you are not able to pay the minimum amount due each month. I tried to no end to set up an arrangement where I could pay less than the minimum due as I have recently begin working again, but to no avail. This bank will absolutely do nothing to assist in paying back the loan, and is totally unforgiving of any circumstantial events. I have had unstable employment for several years and now that I have a stable job, Sallie Mae tells me what I can pay per month based on my salary, when I know that I can't pay it. Despite the fact, I am told that if the amount is not paid on a month-to-month basis, my name will be reported to the credit bureau. My credit score was going back up, but thanks to Sallie Mae, they will take any good report and make it negative.
Easy to get Sallie Mae loans, but just wait till its time to repay them. My son and his wife's monthly payment to Sallie Mae is nothing short of a mortgage payment amount. Following college, they both have minimum wage jobs, even after getting bachelor degrees. Sallie Mae doesn't care how much they make. They refused to take partial payments, and yet there is no way these two make enough to pay what Sallie Mae expects each month. Interest has been tacked on, even as Sallie Mae refuses to take any partial payments, and they now owe more than they will ever make in their lifetime. Yet still Sallie Mae refuses to work with them. It seems Sallie Mae would rather they live on the streets homeless in order to pay them. Their credit is ruined because of Sallie Mae's refusal to work with them. It seems downright stupid that Sallie Mae would not take something in payment rather than no payment at all. And when you try to contact them, be prepared to sit and wait for a long time for customer service, only to have them unable to do anything to help you - if they don't yell at you or if you can understand them at all
My sons student loan went delinquent, because I cosigned one of his loans, when I make a payment to that account, the payment is applied to the entire loan. I have my own student loan I am trying to keep up with and can't afford to pay on his full student loans along with my own. I am disabled so I can't afford to pay on my $50k loan as well as his 85k loan. So every time this happens, I spend hours on the phone. They require me to supply my bank statement showing the money was removed from my account and electronically submitted to sallie mae, oh and by the way, it will take them 5-10 days to get it straightened out. I am now waiting for them to investigate 2 payments to the cosigned loan that got applied to the full loan.
Don't bother trying to contact online, it doesn't work. You would think with the profits this company rakes in they would have top of the line technology for their customers.