Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

This device is too small

If you're on a Galaxy Fold, consider unfolding your phone or viewing it in full screen to best optimize your experience.

Skip to main content

Sallie Mae Bank Review: Competitive Rates and Low Fees

Refreshed Review Updated Jan. 24, 2023
Kailey Hagen
By: Kailey Hagen

Our Banking Expert

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

If you're looking for an online bank with promising products, Sallie Mae Bank might be a good fit. You've probably heard of Sallie Mae because of its loans. However, its banking division offers deposit accounts featuring high-yield interest with no deposit requirements. This review surveys Sallie Mae's bank accounts and services so you can see how it stacks up to the competition and whether it's right for you.

Offer image for

Sallie Mae

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
4.50/5
Bottom Line

Sallie Mae Bank is an online bank with a range of interesting products. Its savings accounts have competitive APRs, with no deposit requirements or monthly maintenance fees.

Pros
  • Competitive rates on most accounts
  • No minimum opening deposits 
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Check-writing privileges with MMA
Cons
  • No ATM cards
  • No physical bank branches
  • SmartyPig Account rate decreases on larger balances

Sallie Mae savings accounts review

If you're trying to build an emergency fund or save for another goal, both of Sallie Mae's savings products are a great place to start.

Sallie Mae High-Yield Savings Account

Sallie Mae High-Yield Savings Account comes with rates comparable to those of many top online banks. Besides high rates, its main selling points are no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. This makes it a perfect savings vehicle for almost anybody.

Customers can manage their funds through online account access or the bank's mobile app.

SmartyPig Account

Think of SmartyPig as an online piggy bank for adults. It works like a traditional savings account, but allows customers to set and track savings goals. SmartyPig rates are among the best in the industry. It's worth noting, however, that the APY drops for higher account balances. Plus, there's a $250,000 maximum balance allowed.

This savings account has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. The SmartyPig Account's goal-oriented structure makes it a great vehicle for those with specific goals in mind.

Compare savings accounts

Check out our list of the best savings accounts to see how the Sallie Mae High-Yield Savings Account compares to others. We've included some of our top picks below.

Rates as of Feb. 2, 2023
Offer
 
 
 
Account
Goldman Sachs Bank USA.
Sponsored Listing
Rating
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
4.00/5
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
4.00/5
Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor
5.00/5
APY 3.30% 4.05% 3.30%
Min. to earn APY $1 $100 $0
Next Steps

Sallie Mae CD accounts

CDs typically offer higher rates than traditional savings accounts. If you're looking for guaranteed returns, a CD is a good way to go. Sallie Mae Bank CDs come with flexible terms and high rates.

Sallie Mae CDs

Sallie Mae CD rates are competitive with those of other top online banks. Terms range from six months to five years, so these CDs could work well if you're building a CD ladder. However, each CD requires a $2,500 initial deposit. Because of this high minimum deposit requirement, you'll need a substantial amount to build a Sallie Mae CD ladder.

Like most CDs, Sallie Mae CDs carry no monthly fees. Customers have the option of monthly, quarterly, or annual interest disbursements to a linked bank account. Alternatively, disbursement can occur when the CD reaches maturity.

Compare CD rates

Sallie Mae CDs offer favorable rates, but they aren't the only options for earning high-yield interest. Below, you can compare Sallie Mae to some of our other top picks for CDs:

Rates as of Feb. 2, 2023
Lender
Account
1 yr. apy
2 yr. apy
3 yr. apy
4 yr. apy
5 yr. apy
Min. deposit
Early Withdrawal Penalty
Next Steps
Logo for Discover High Yield CD
Member FDIC.
4.25%
4.30%
4.30%
4.30%
4.30%
$2,500
Yes
Logo for Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield CD
Member FDIC.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield CD
4.40%
4.35%
4.00%
4.00%
3.80%
$500
Yes
Logo for CIT Bank CD
Member FDIC.
0.30%
0.40%
0.40%
0.50%
0.50%
$1,000
Yes

Alternatives to Sallie Mae checking accounts

Sallie Mae doesn't offer checking accounts. It does have a money market account with check-writing privileges. But if you'd like an ATM card, you'll need to search elsewhere. If you're looking for a checking account, check out our list of best checking accounts to find one that fits your lifestyle.

Sallie Mae's customer service and experience

Most of Sallie Mae's customer ratings focus on its private loans, not personal banking services. Customer support is almost nonexistent beyond phone support, which has limited business hours on weekdays only.

Customers have access to their funds through Sallie Mae's mobile banking app. Unfortunately, it has two-star ratings in both the App Store and Google Play. You probably shouldn't get too excited about banking on your phone if you're interested in Sallie Mae.

Sallie Mae's relationship benefits

Sometimes banks offer relationship benefits to customers using multiple products or services. Benefits often include rate increases or fee waivers. This is most common with brick-and-mortar banks, where APYs are otherwise fairly low. Online banks rarely offer relationship benefits. Instead, online banks generally offer the same high interest rates and low fees to all customers.

Currently, Sallie Mae Bank doesn't provide relationship benefits on any of its banking products. Instead, it offers attractive terms for anyone interested in opening an account.

Alternatives to Sallie Mae

Ally Bank

Ally Bank offers comprehensive personal banking online. It has a variety of deposit accounts with high APYs. Even its checking account is interest-bearing, which is a rare perk. None of its accounts come with monthly maintenance fees. If you're open to online banking, and you'd like a jaw-dropping APY, Ally may be a good match for you.

Discover Bank

Discover Bank isn't just a credit card issuer. It also features several banking products that earn high APYs. Additionally, unlike Sallie Mae, Discover Bank offers checking accounts. Its checking account even earns cash back on debit card purchases. To keep your money more accessible, take a look at Discover Bank's current product range.

Is Sallie Mae right for you?

Sallie Mae bank is an excellent choice for you if:

  • You want to earn high APYs without monthly fees.
  • You don't need a traditional checking account.
  • You like the idea of a bank account that helps you set and track savings goals.

Our Banking Expert