Sallie Mae Bank Review: Savings and CDs

Sallie Mae Bank offers strong rates on its savings account, but it has fewer customer service options than many online banks.
Ruth Sarreal
By Ruth Sarreal 
Edited by Margarette Burnette

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Sallie Mae Bank
  • Savings
  • Savings
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Money market
  • Customer experience

Overall institution rating

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

Sallie Mae Bank offers competitive savings rates, and it won’t drain your account with fees. Its website is easy to navigate, but the bank has limited customer service hours and making a phone call is the main way to get in touch.

Best for: Those who want strong savings rates without monthly fees, don’t need a checking account and aren’t likely to need customer service.

Pros

  • No monthly fees.
  • Competitive rate on savings and CDs.
  • No minimum opening deposits on some savings accounts.

Cons

  • No checking account offered.
  • Must already have another bank account to fund your account.
  • Limited customer support phone hours.

Full review

Savings

Sallie Mae Bank High-Yield Savings Account
Sallie Mae Bank High-Yield Savings Account

Savings

Member FDIC

4.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
APY
4.50%
With $0 min. balance for APY

Sallie Mae Bank offers multiple savings options, including a high-yield savings account, a money market account and an interest-paying account with goal tracking. The High-Yield Savings Account earns a competitive interest rate on all balances. There’s no minimum balance required to open an account and there are no monthly fees.

Note that to fund this account, you'll need to make an electronic transfer or deposit a check so that means you need to have an account at a different institution.

Savings

Sallie Mae® SmartyPig Account
Sallie Mae® SmartyPig Account

Savings

Member FDIC

4.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
APY
4.00%
With $0.01 min. balance for APY

SmartyPig is an interest-paying account with goal tracking. You don’t need a minimum deposit to open a SmartyPig account, but you’ll have to make some kind of deposit to earn interest.

You can move money into your savings account with an electronic transfer or a check only, so you need at least one additional account at another institution to fund it. SmartyPig is not factored into the overall institution’s rating (the high-yield savings account is).

Certificates of deposit

Sallie Mae Bank CD
Sallie Mae Bank CD

CD

Member FDIC

4.0

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY
5.10%
3-year APY
4.00%
5-year APY
4.00%
Minimum deposit
$2,500

Sallie Mae Bank offers CDs in a variety of term lengths, from six months to five years.

You’ll have to pay in $2,500 to get a CD from Sallie Mae Bank. This is on the high end, considering you can find online banks with lower or even no minimum deposit requirements.

» COMPARE: See our list of the best CD rates

  • 6-month CD: 4.95% APY.

  • 9-month CD: 5.00% APY.

  • 11-month CD: 5.05% APY.

  • 1-year CD: 5.10% APY.

  • 13-month CD: 5.05% APY.

  • 15-month CD: 5.00% APY.

  • 18-month CD: 4.90% APY.

  • 2-year CD: 4.50% APY.

  • 30-month CD: 4.00% APY.

  • 3-year CD: 4.00% APY.

  • 5-year CD: 4.00% APY.

Money market

Sallie Mae Money Market Account
Sallie Mae Money Market Account

Money market

Member FDIC

4.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
APY
4.75%
With $0.01 min. balance for APY

The Sallie Mae Money Market Account is not factored into the overall institution’s rating because its savings accounts are strong options for the average consumer, but if you are in the market for an MMA — say you want a savings account that also has check-writing privileges, for example — it is worth a look. It has no minimum balance and no monthly fees, and earns a strong APY. You can read more about this type of account in our primer on money market accounts and our comparison between MMAs and savings accounts.

Customer experience

3.0

NerdWallet rating 

As with most online banks, you shouldn’t expect to do your banking at a branch with Sallie Mae — it just has one, in Salt Lake City.

Sallie Mae’s products are all easy to find on its website and rates are clearly spelled out. But to get in touch with the bank, you’ll likely have to use its automated chat feature or make a call, and customer service hours are limited to weekdays.

Methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, banking experience and overdraft fees. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation. The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.