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.
Alice HolbrookJun 25, 2021

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Overall bank rating

Sallie Mae Bank
  • Savings

  • CD rates

  • Banking experience

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

  • Solid rates on savings and CDs.
  • No minimum opening deposit on savings or money market accounts.
  • No monthly fees.

Cons

  • Limited customer service hours and options.
  • You’ll need another bank to fund your account.
  • Doesn't offer checking accounts.

Full review

Sallie Mae® SmartyPig Account

Sallie Mae® SmartyPig Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.70%

With $0.01 minimum balance

Sallie Mae Bank offers multiple savings options, including a high-yield savings account, a money market account and SmartyPig, an interest-paying account with goal tracking. You don’t need a minimum deposit to open the SmartyPig account, but you’ll have to make some kind of deposit to earn interest. You’ll get 0.70% APY on any amount up to $10,000, but after $10,000, the rate falls to 0.45% APY.

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.

Sallie Mae Bank CD

Sallie Mae Bank CD

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY

0.60%

3-year APY

0.80%

5-year APY

0.80%

Minimum Deposit

$2,500

Sallie Mae Bank offers CDs in a variety of term lengths, from six months to five years. They pay from 0.30% for terms shorter than one year to 0.80% APY.

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.

Banking 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. Sallie Mae Bank’s app gets decent ratings from Android users and high ratings from iOS users.

Sallie Mae® SmartyPig Account

Sallie Mae® SmartyPig Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.70%

With $0.01 minimum balance

Sallie Mae Bank offers multiple savings options, including a high-yield savings account, a money market account and SmartyPig, an interest-paying account with goal tracking. You don’t need a minimum deposit to open the SmartyPig account, but you’ll have to make some kind of deposit to earn interest. You’ll get 0.70% APY on any amount up to $10,000, but after $10,000, the rate falls to 0.45% APY.

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.

How does Sallie Mae Bank compare?

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.50%

With $0 minimum balance

APY

0.40%

With $0 minimum balance

APY

0.40%

With $1 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

$200

Requirements to qualify

Bonus

N/A

RATING 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.