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What to expect with Sallie Mae student loan servicing

How to make online payments, log in to your account and more.

Sallie Mae is one of the biggest student loan providers out there, so it should come as no surprise that it services its own student loans. This means it handles all aspects of borrowing and repayments. But watch out for issues changing your repayment plan: Former borrowers complain about getting the runaround from customer service.

How do repayments work with Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae offers multiple ways to pay off your loan, including through autopay, online and over the phone. If it’s your first time making a repayment, have your bank account and routing numbers on hand before you get started.

Sallie Mae considers all repayments more than 15 days past due to be late. Being late can disqualify you from certain benefits like auto debit enrollment and can also hurt your credit score.

How do I pay off my loan early?

The simplest way to pay off your Sallie Mae student loans early is by logging in to your online account and making an additional repayment. You can also make extra repayments over the phone or by mail. If you don’t provide any instructions, your extra repayment applies to costs in the following order:

  1. Unpaid fees
  2. Unpaid interest
  3. Unpaid principal

If you want Sallie Mae to process additional repayments differently, you can mail in written instructions on how you’d like them to be allocated on a separate piece of paper along with a check or money order. Make sure to include your loan number on both your payment and your payment instructions.

How do I log in to my Sallie Mae account?

Follow these steps to log in to your Sallie Mae account:

  1. Go to the Sallie Mae website.
  2. Click Log in at the top of the page.
  3. Enter your username and password and click Log in to loans.

If you don’t remember your username or password, you can have it sent to your email by clicking either Forgot username? or Forgot password?

To retrieve your username, enter either your Social Security number or the 10-digit customer identification number on your billing statement. Write your birthdate and click Continue.

To retrieve your password, enter your username, birthdate and either the last four digits of your Social Security number or your customer identification number. Then click Continue.

How to contact Sallie Mae customer service

You can contact Sallie Mae customer service by phone or mail. While it has one number for all phone correspondence, it has several different addresses depending on the issue.

How to contact Sallie Mae by phone

You can get in touch with Sallie Mae’s customer service team by calling:

  • Toll-free: 800-472-5543

While you can make repayments at any time, Sallie Mae’s customer service team is only available during the following hours:

  • Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET
  • Friday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET

How to contact Sallie Mae by mail

How to contact Sallie Mae about a defaulted loan

Think you’re in danger of defaulting? Already have? Sallie Mae recommends that you reach out to its customer service line as soon as possible to discuss your options.

The company might be willing to work with you to come up with an adjusted repayment plan, especially if your financial situation has changed since you first took out your loan.

How to refinance your Sallie Mae student loans

You can refinance your Sallie Mae student loans by paying them off with another loan from a different lender. Refinancing can often get you more competitive rates and terms than your current loan. It’s also the only way to change up your servicer on private student loans.

Before you refinance, consider which servicer your new lender uses. You can start comparing rates and terms with the table below.

Compare student loan refinancing options

Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing (Variable Rate)
1.88% to 5.54%
$5,000 - $300,000
5 to 20 years
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
1.80% to 7.74%
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $5,000
5 to 20 years
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
2.25% to 6.59%
Starting at $5,000
5 to 20 years
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing
1.89% to 6.66%
Starting at $7,500
5 to 25 years
Save on your student loans with this market-leading newcomer.
Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing
2.39% to 6.01%
Starting at $15,000
5 to 20 years
Lower your student debt costs with manageable payments, affordable rates and flexible terms.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing
1.88% to 5.64% APR with autopay
$5,000 - $500,000
5 to 20 years
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
Supermoney student loan refinancing
Starting at 1.9%
No minimum credit score
$5,000 - $300,000
5 to 20 years
Compare options to combine both private and federal debts into one monthly payment.

Compare up to 4 providers

How to avoid common complaints with Sallie Mae

Being one of the biggest private student loan providers, Sallie Mae has relatively few complaints — especially compared to federal student loan servicers of a similar size.

Still, some borrowers aren’t happy with their experience. Over 1,750 customers have filed complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as of February 2019. And while it gets an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it scores a low 1 out of 5 stars based on 35 customer reviews.

Here are the two top complaints customers had about Sallie Mae servicing:

Trouble adjusting repayment plan

Several borrowers had issues adjusting their repayment plan to meet their budget. Part of the problem is that Sallie Mae technically only offers one standard full repayment plan, though it’s often willing to be flexible in special circumstances. Several borrowers complained that customer service gave them the runaround when they tried to negotiate their plan.

  • How to avoid it: Contact Sallie Mae as soon as you think you might have trouble making repayments. If Sallie Mae is inflexible, consider refinancing your student loans for a longer term or with a company that has more flexible repayment options.

Incorrect information on credit report

A few borrowers also said Sallie Mae sent the wrong information to the credit bureaus, hurting their credit score. Some noticed that Sallie Mae reported their account as in collection or late when it wasn’t — one was even completely paid off.

  • How to avoid it: Check your credit report regularly — you can get a free copy online from each of the three credit bureaus once a year. If you notice anything off, the quickest way to resolve the dispute is to reach out by phone.

Are Sallie Mae and Navient the same company?

They used to be. Sallie Mae was originally the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) — a government-sponsored company that offered federal student loans. It became fully private in 2004 and split into two companies in 2014: Navient Corporation and SLM Corporation.

SLM is the private student loan provider and servicer known as Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer.

What to expect from other student loan servicers

Bottom line

For such a large student loan servicer, Sallie Mae’s customers seem to be relatively satisfied — at least compared to some federal loan servicers. But you might want to consider refinancing if you’re looking for flexible repayment options.

See how Sallie Mae compares to other companies by checking out our guide to student loan servicers.

Frequently asked questions

Read more about Sallie Mae as a student loan servicer with these answers to standard quesitons.

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