How MagnifyMoney Gets Paid

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Banking Apps

5 Apps That Loan You Money Before Payday

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Financial emergencies have a habit of cropping up at the worst possible time — when you’re stuck in between paychecks. You might be tempted to turn to a credit card or a payday loan, but those could rack up costly fees.

You may be able to get a portion of your next paycheck early using apps like Earnin or Dave. These paycheck advance apps let you borrow small amounts of money, often without charging interest. With some, you may just pay a membership fee or a voluntary tip.

1. Earnin

  • Withdraw up to $100 per pay period, or up to $500 after continued use of the app.
  • Paycheck advance is available without a credit check
  • No fees or interest — Earnin makes money from voluntary tips

The Earnin app lets you borrow money from your next paycheck without charging fees or interest. However, Earnin does ask for support in the form of tips.

At the start, you may only be able to withdraw up to $100 each pay period. But based on your account balances and use, the pay-period maximum could potentially increase up to $500. The payment will arrive in your checking account within one business day, or even a few seconds, depending on where you bank.

The next time your paycheck hits your bank account, Earnin will automatically withdraw what you owe.

How it works: Earnin keeps track of the money you earn while you work, and you can withdraw a portion of your unpaid wages before your next payday.

Connect your bank account (if Earnin supports your bank) and verify your paycheck schedule. You must have direct deposit set up and linked to a checking account.

2. Dave

  • Interest-free cash advances worth up to $75, or $100 with a Dave debit card
  • Banking app with expense tracking and option to open debit account
  • $1 monthly membership fee and a small fee for expedited delivery, plus voluntary tip

Dave is a membership service that costs $1 per month. Qualified members can get paycheck advances worth up to $75, or up to $100 with a Dave debit card.

The money can take up to three business days to reach your account. There is also an express funding option that will get the money deposited quickly for a fee. You can also choose to give a tip when you take out an advance, but tipping is optional.

How it works: Connect a checking account where your paychecks are directly deposited and have an account history with several consistent paychecks. Your approval may also depend on whether Dave determines whether you’ll have enough money to repay the loan — so if you generally get paid and spend all your money the next day, you might not get approved.

You can repay the loan automatically from your connected checking account, or repay part or all of the advance early if you want.

3. MoneyLion

  • Up to $250 cash advance at 0% APR with Instacash
  • No credit check for using Instacash
  • Personal finance app offering various financial products

MoneyLion is a personal finance app with a variety of features, including interest-free cash advances worth up to $250 with its Instacash feature. MoneyLion also offers mobile banking, credit builder loans, automated investing, financial tracking and cashback rewards.

How it works: Download the MoneyLion app and create an account with your email address. Link your checking account to see if you qualify for 0% APR cash advances of up to $250 without a credit check.

To qualify for Instacash, you should use a checking account that’s been open for at least two months that shows a positive balance and regular income deposits.

4. Brigit

  • Borrow up to $250 with a cash advance without a credit check using Brigit Plus
  • $9.99 monthly membership fee, which includes free instant transfers
  • Banking app that helps with expense tracking

Brigit is a personal finance app that allows you to take out cash advances worth up to $250 with its Brigit Plus plan, which costs $9.99 per month. The amount you can borrow is based on your bank account activity rather than your work schedule.

Brigit Plus offers other features, such as account monitoring, and members are eligible for free extensions if they’re having trouble repaying the loan. Brigit doesn’t charge late fees or instant transfer fees, and it doesn’t ask for tips.

How it works: Connect a checking account that’s been active for at least 60 days, has a positive balance and has at least three recurring direct deposits from the same employer. You’ll also need to have a history of maintaining a positive balance the day of (and day after) your payday.

Once you’re set up, you can request an advance on your next paycheck. The amount will depend on your checking account’s history and can be worth up to $250. You can receive one advance at a time, which will automatically be repaid from your bank account on your next payday. However, you are also able to repay the advance early.

5. Branch

  • Withdraw up to 50% of your earned wages per pay period
  • No fee for standard (three-day) withdrawals or instant withdrawals to your Branch wallet, but $2.99 to $4.99 for instant withdrawals to accounts at any other bank
  • Banking platform partners with employers to offer more financial features

Branch is a financial wellness app that offers interest-free paycheck advances with its Instant Pay feature. You can request an advance of up to 50% of your next paycheck using the app — the money will be deposited into your account, and then paid back with an automatic withdrawal on your next payday.

A standard withdrawal into your bank account is free and could take up to three days. There is a $2.99 to $4.99 fee if you want to request an instant payment to a third-party bank, but instant transfers are free into your Branch Wallet.

How it works: To be eligible for Branch Instant Pay, you must have a checking account with two months’ worth of consecutive direct deposits from the same employer. The company also offers more features if multiple employees at the same company use the app, or if your employer signs up.

Need more money? Consider a personal loan

While a paycheck advance can help when you are in a small pinch, they often cannot cover a larger emergency expense. If you need more money, you might want to take out a personal loan.

Personal loans are often unsecured loans, meaning you’ll qualify based on your creditworthiness. You’ll receive the money and repay the loan over a predetermined period of time. Many personal loans have a fixed interest rate, and you can know exactly how much your monthly payments will be and how much you’ll pay overall before accepting a loan offer.

The downside is that you may wind up paying fees to take out the loan and a lot of interest, especially if you take out a large loan and then spend several years repaying it.

If you have poor or no credit, watch out for online lenders that offer high-rate installment loans. These can seem like good options when the monthly payments are affordable, but the fees and interest can result in repaying several times as much as you borrow. You can explore bad credit loan options here.

How MagnifyMoney Gets Paid

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Company
APR
Terms
Credit Req.
Upgrade

6.94% - 35.97%

36 or 60

months

620

Minimum Credit Score

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.94%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. Funds sent directly to pay off your creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear, depending on the creditor. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.

10.68% - 35.89%

36 or 60

months

Not specified

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3.99% - 19.99%*

with AutoPay

24 to 144*

months

Not specified

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Lender Disclosure

*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.

18.00% - 35.99%

24 to 60

months

Not specified

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Lender Disclosure

Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum annual percentage rate (APR) is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. Depending on the state where you open your loan, the origination fee may be either a flat amount or a percentage of your loan amount. Flat fee amounts vary by state, ranging from $25 to $400. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 10% of your loan amount subject to certain state limits on the fee amount. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes.

Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600.

Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: Florida: $8,000. Iowa: $8,500. Maine: $7,000. Mississippi: $7,500. North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. Texas: $8,000. West Virginia: $14,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.
SoFi

5.99% - 22.56%*

24 to 84

months

680

Minimum Credit Score

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Lender Disclosure

Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 22.56% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of January 11, 2021 and are subject to change without notice. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.

How MagnifyMoney Gets Paid

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College Students and Recent Grads, Reviews

Sallie Mae Student Loans Review for 2020

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Reviewed By

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Most students who borrow money for their education should start with federal student loans. The federal loan programs offer borrowers a variety of repayment, forgiveness, cancellation and discharge programs that aren’t available from private lenders.

But if you reach your federal loan limits, or examine your options and find you might be better off with a private student loan, you can compare loan offerings from private student lenders. One of the largest private student loan companies, Sallie Mae, has more than a dozen education loan products you can consider.

What is Sallie Mae?

Started nearly 50 years ago, Sallie Mae has played a variety of roles in the student loan space, including lending federally guaranteed loans and private student loans, and servicing federal and private loans.

Sallie Mae spun off a portion of its student loan servicing business to form a new company, Navient, in 2014. And due to changes in the federal student loan programs, Sallie Mae no longer originates federally guaranteed loans. Now, Sallie Mae only offers and services private student loans, while also offering other banking products, such as savings accounts.

Types of student loans Sallie Mae offers

Whether you’re a parent of a grade school student or about to begin your doctorate, Sallie Mae may have a student loan that fits your needs. Its loans are designed for undergraduate students, graduate students and parents or sponsors of students. It also has loans to cover medical residency or bar exam costs.

  1. K-12: For a parent or sponsor of a child who wants to take out a loan to pay for a student’s private kindergarten-through-high school education
  2. Parent: For a parent or sponsor of a child who wants to take out a loan to pay for an undergraduate, graduate or certificate program
  3. Career training: For students at eligible non-degree granting schools
  4. Undergraduate: For students at degree-granting schools who are earning an associate or bachelor’s degree
  5. Graduate: For students at degree-granting schools who are earning a master’s, doctorate or law degree
  6. MBA: For business school students
  7. Health professions graduate: For graduate health profession students, including those in allied health, nursing, pharmacy, and other graduate-level health degrees.
  8. Dental school: For graduate dental degree students, including those in dentistry, endodontics and orthodontics programs
  9. Medical school: For graduate medical degree students, including those in allopathic, osteopathic and podiatric programs
  10. Medical residency and relocation: For medical residency students to help pay for board examinations and residency-related travel and moving expenses
  11. Dental residency and relocation: For dental residency students to help pay for board examinations and residency-related travel and moving expenses
  12. Bar study: For law students and recent graduates to help pay for bar review courses, registration and living expenses while you study
  13. Law school: For students studying for their law degree

Sallie Mae student loans in a nutshell

Most of Sallie Mae’s loans are identical when it comes to fees, cosigner release options and discounts.

Fees

  • Aside from the K-12 loan’s 3% disbursement fee, none of the loans have application, origination, disbursement or prepayment fees.
  • Late payments result in a fee that’s 5% of the amount due (capped at $25).
  • Returned checks carry a $20 fee.

Cosigner release

  • You can apply to release a cosigner after making 12 consecutive, on-time, full interest and principal payments. However, parent loans don’t offer a cosigner release option.

Discounts

  • With all but the K-12 loans, you can receive a 0.25% interest rate discount if you sign up for automatic payments.
 K-12 loansParent loansCareer trainingUndergraduate loansGraduate loansMBA loans
Fixed APR range*Not available5.49% -
13.87%
Not available4.25% -
12.59%
5.50% -
10.23%
5.50% -
10.23%
Variable APR range*7.24% - 13.87%3.50% -
13.12%**
4.25% - 11.64%**1.25% -
11.35%**
2.25% -
7.96%**
2.25% -
7.96%**
Loan termsThree years10 yearsFive to 15 yearsFive to 15 yearsFive to 15 yearsFive to 15 years
Loan amount$1,000 minimum

Borrow up to the school-certified cost of tuition
$1,000 minimum

Borrow up to the school-certified cost of attendance
$1,000 minimum

Borrow up to the school-certified cost of attendance
$1,000 minimum

Borrow up to the school-certified cost of attendance
$1,000 minimum

Borrow up to the school-certified cost of attendance
$1,000 minimum

Borrow up to the school-certified cost of attendance
Repayment plans (both in-school and post-school)Full interest and principal paymentsFull interest and principal payments

Interest-only payments
$25 a month

Interest-only payments


12-month interest-only repayment that begins after your separation or grace period ends
Deferment

$25 a month

Interest-only payments

12-month interest-only repayment that begins after your separation or grace period ends
Deferment

$25 a month

Interest-only payments

12-month interest-only repayment that begins after your separation or grace period ends
Deferment

$25 a month

Interest-only payments

12-month interest-only repayment that begins after your separation or grace period ends

**Variable rates are capped at 25%.

 Health professionsDental schoolMedical schoolMedical residencyDental residencyLaw school
Fixed APR range*5.50% - 10.23%5.50% - 9.99%5.49% -
9.98%
6.52% - 12.00%6.52% - 12.00%5.50% -
9.99%
Variable APR range*2.25% - 7.96%**2.25% - 7.66%**2.25% -
7.62%**
3.03% - 9.62%3.03% - 9.62%2.25% -
7.79%
Loan termsFive to 15 years20 years20 yearsUp to 20 yearsUp to 20 yearsUp to 15 years
Loan amount$1,000 minimum

Borrow up to the school-certified cost of attendance
$1,000 minimum

Borrow up to the school-certified cost of attendance
$1,000 minimum

Borrow up to the school-certified cost of attendance
$1,000 minimum

Borrow up to $20,000
$1,000 minimum

Borrow up to $20,000
$1,000 minimum

Borrow up to the school-certified cost of attendance
Repayment plans (both in-school and post-school)Deferment

$25 a month

Interest-only payments

12-month interest-only repayment that begins after your separation or grace period ends
Deferment

$25 a month

Interest-only payments

12-month interest-only repayment that begins after your separation or grace period ends
Deferment

$25 a month

Interest-only payments

12-month interest-only repayment that begins after your separation or grace period ends
Full interest and principal payments

Two- or four-year interest-only repayment
Full interest and principal payments

Two- or four-year interest-only repayment
Deferment

$25 a month

Interest-only payments

12-month interest-only repayment that begins after your separation or grace period ends

**Variable-rate loans have a 25% APR cap.

How Sallie Mae compares with other lenders

Sallie Mae finished first among MagnifyMoney’s top five private student lenders for 2019. We compared undergraduate student loan products and began with the nation’s 10 largest national lenders. The ranking focused on loans’ APR ranges, discounts, fees and repayment terms, as well as lenders’ policies for releasing a cosigner, deferring loan payments and their online applications.

In addition to having a top-rated undergraduate loan, Sallie Mae differentiates itself by offering its wide variety of different student loans. Many of these other loans share characteristics with the undergraduate loan, including the 12-payment cosigner release requirement, lack of a specific maximum loan amount and a 0.25% interest rate discount for auto debit.

However, as with any lender, there are pros and cons to consider before taking out a loan from Sallie Mae.

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Lender Disclosure

Advantages of Sallie Mae Student Loans

You may be able to choose a repayment plan. Depending on the loan product, you may be able to choose from up to three different repayment plans. A plan that requires you make payments while you’re in school could help you save money in the long run; however, deferring your full payments can give you more money to cover education and living expenses now.

12-month payment requirement for cosigner release. With most Sallie Mae student loans, you can apply to release your cosigner once you make 12 consecutive, full, on-time payments. Other lenders may let you apply for cosigner release, but it could take longer to qualify, in some cases requiring 48 full monthly payments before you can apply.

In addition to the payments, you’ll need to pass a credit check and meet Sallie Mae’s requirements for releasing a cosigner.

Discharge due to death or permanent and total disability. Similar to the federal student loan guidelines, Sallie Mae will waive a borrower’s current balance if he or she dies or becomes permanently and totally disabled. The benefit may be especially important to borrowers who have a cosigner or dependents, such as a spouse or child(ren), who could be affected if the debt isn’t waived.

No preset loan limit. While some federal student loans and private student loans set dollar-amount limits on how much you can borrow, most Sallie Mae student loans allow you to borrow up to your school’s certified cost of attendance.

Loans for less-than-half-time students. Some private school lenders require borrowers to have at least a half-time course load to qualify for a student loan. Sallie Mae’s loans for students don’t have this requirement.

Forbearance and deferment options. Putting your loans into forbearance or deferment lets you temporarily stop making payments without getting charged late fees or hurting your credit. Forbearance is generally for when you have trouble making payments, perhaps due to losing a job or a medical emergency. Deferment, meanwhile, may apply to other circumstances, such as returning to school.

Sallie Mae could approve up to 12 months of forbearance in three-month increments and up to 60 months of deferment in 12-month increments. Interest continues to accumulate, and your long-term costs may increase, but forbearance or deferment are still better options than missing a payment or letting a loan go into default.

Extra perks. Many of Sallie Mae’s student loans also come with the Study Smarter benefit. With it, borrowers can get four months of free study tools or 30 minutes of live online tutoring through Chegg Tutors® or a combination of the two.

All of Sallie Mae’s loans also give borrowers and cosigners quarterly access to a FICO® credit score.

Drawbacks of Sallie Mae Student Loans

No additional interest rate discount. Sallie Mae’s 0.25% interest rate discount for auto debit is standard for most federal and private student loans. But other private lenders offer borrowers opportunities to get an additional 0.25% to 0.50% interest rate discount by having other financial products from the same lender or making auto debits from an account with the same lender.

Sallie Mae assigns loan terms. Many Sallie Mae student loans have a repayment term that ranges from five to 15 years. Most other lenders that offer a range of terms let borrowers choose their term, along with the corresponding monthly payment and interest rate. Sallie Mae, however, will assign you a term.

No loan pre-approval. Private student loans require a credit check. Some lenders will do a soft credit pull, which doesn’t hurt your score, to determine if you can qualify for a loan or need a cosigner and to show you estimated interest rates if you qualify. Sallie Mae will only show you rates after a hard credit inquiry, which could hurt your score slightly.

What it takes to qualify with Sallie Mae

All Sallie Mae student loans have the same basic requirements:

Minimum credit score: Sallie Mae doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score requirement. In 2016, applicants that were approved for a Sallie Mae student loan had, on average, a 748 FICO score at the time of approval.
Minimum age for borrowers: Borrowers must be the age of majority in their state (often 18 years old). Younger applicants will need an eligible and creditworthy cosigner.
State residency requirements: Sallie Mae student loans are available in every state.
Eligible schools: Sallie Mae doesn’t publish a list of eligible schools, but you can search for the name of a school at the beginning of the loan application to see if your school qualifies.

 K-12 loansParent loansCareer trainingUndergraduate loansGraduate loansMBA loans
Additional requirementsThe student you’re taking the loan out for has to be enrolled in a private school.The student you’re taking the loan out for has to be pursuing a certificate or an associate, bachelor’s or graduate degree at a degree-granting school.You must be enrolled at a non-degree-granting school and pursuing professional training or a certification.You must be a enrolled at a degree-granting school and pursuing a certification or an associate or bachelor’s degree.You must be enrolled at a degree-granting school and pursuing a master’s, doctorate or law degree.You must be enrolled at a degree-granting school and pursuing a masters of business administration degree.
 Health professionsDental schoolMedical schoolMedical residencyDental residencyBar studyLaw school
Additional requirementsYou must be enrolled at a degree-granting school and pursuing a degree in one of the eligible areas of study.You must be enrolled at a degree-granting school and pursuing a degree in one of the eligible areas of study.You must be enrolled at a degree-granting school and pursuing a degree in one of the eligible areas of study.You must either have a half-time course load and be in your last year at an eligible school, or graduated from an eligible school in the previous 12 months.

If you didn’t already earn your medical degree, you must expect to earn the degree in the current academic program year.
You must either have a half-time course load and be in your last year at an eligible school, or graduated from an eligible school in the previous 12 months.

If you didn’t already earn your dental degree, you must expect to earn the degree in the current academic program year.
You must either have a half-time course load and be in your last year at an eligible school, or graduated from an eligible school in the previous 12 months.

You must take the bar exam within 12 months of graduating.
You must be enrolled at a degree-granting school and pursuing a J.D. degree.

What borrower is Sallie Mae best for?

Sallie Mae offers a variety of student loan products that could be a good fit for parents or students. If you, or a student you’re supporting, can’t take out additional federal student loans but need more money for school, Sallie Mae’s lack of a predefined loan limit could make it a good option.

The medical and dental residency programs and the bar study loan do have a loan limit. But even then, it’s higher than the limit of some competitors who offer similar types of loans.

You also may want to consider Sallie Mae if you think you’ll need a cosigner and would like to release the cosigner later. Although you still may not qualify, depending on your creditworthiness, the 12 months of consecutive full payments is shorter than what some other lenders require.

Taking a closer look at the online platform

You can learn a lot of details about Sallie Mae’s student loans on its website. There are specific pages for each loan product that have a lot of the basic information you’ll want to know. And there are pages with generally helpful information, such as how to make a loan payment or options if you’re having trouble making payments.

Some of the informational pages, such as on the one about interest rates and interest capitalization, also have quick video explainers to help you understand the topic and why it’s important to student loan borrowers.

The actual loan application doesn’t have quite as nice of a design as the other parts of the Sallie Mae website, but it’s still relatively easy to navigate and fill out.

The fine print

The Sallie Mae product and informational pages give you a lot of the basic information you’ll want if you’re comparing student loans from several lenders. There are also loan application and solicitation disclosure forms for many of the loans online. In these, you can see fine-print items like the variable-rate loans’ interest-rate cap and late payment fees.

It’s more difficult to find fine-print information on some of the loans, though. The K-12, residency and bar loans don’t have application and disclosure forms on their pages, for example. We were only able to confirm these loans’ fees and interest rate caps by reaching out to a representative from Sallie Mae.

While you would have a chance to review your loan details after agreeing to a credit check but before signing the loan agreement, it would be nice to have that information up front.

We were also disappointed in how difficult it is to understand how loan terms work with Sallie Mae student loans.

Some private lenders only offer one term. Others offer a variety of terms and let borrowers choose their loan term. Most of Sallie Mae’s undergraduate and graduate student loans have a five- to 15-year term, but Sallie Mae chooses which term to offer you.

The loan-term range and the fact that Sallie Mae chooses the term rather than the borrower aren’t clearly disclosed on the loan’s main page.

What to expect during the application process

Sallie Mae has an online loan application system that makes the process fairly uniform for all its student loans. A few questions may differ, but you can expect the process to be similar to the following steps. Applicants with cosigners may need the cosigner’s personal information, including his or her Social Security number and date of birth.

Basic information

General information. Basic information about the student and borrower:

  • Your name, email address and phone number.
  • Your date of birth, citizenship status and Social Security number.
  • Your relationship to the student, if you’re taking out a loan for someone else.

Address. Your permanent address and a previous address if you moved in the last year. If you have a different mailing address you’ll have to fill that in, too.

Student and school information. If you’re taking out the loan for a student, you’ll need the student’s name, date of birth, citizenship status and Social Security number.

Enter the name of the school and your (or the student’s) academic information:

  • Degree type or certificate of study
  • Major or specialty
  • Enrollment status
  • Grade level
  • Academic period that the loan will cover
  • Anticipated graduation or certification graduate date

Loan application

Loan amount. The cost of attendance, which the application can help you estimate, as well as your estimated financial assistance.

You’ll automatically have a loan amount for the difference between your cost of attendance and financial assistance. You can choose to request less money, and even if you’re approved, Sallie Mae could offer you less than what you requested.

Employment info: Fill in information about your work, including:

  • Employment status
  • Employer’s name
  • Your occupation
  • Work phone number
  • Years with the current employer
  • Gross annual income

Financial info: You can list additional income and assets you have, such as:

  • Income from alimony, child support or a rental property
  • Investments
  • Disability
  • Social Security
  • Income from a household member, such as a spouse
  • Your current assets that could be in checking, savings, CD or money market accounts

You’ll also be asked about your expenses, including monthly housing payments (when applicable).

Personal contacts: Unless you’re taking out a loan for someone else, you’ll have to share two personal contacts that Sallie Mae can use as references. These could be a relative or family friends, and you’ll have to have their full name and phone number.

Submit application: Choose to apply on your own or add a cosigner. You’ll be prompted to read and agree to an electronic delivery consent form, and may then get a copy of the loan’s disclosure form and Sallie Mae’s privacy policy.

You’ll have to agree to let Sallie Mae review your credit history to submit your application.

Finalize the loan

Once you’ve completed an application, you may need to send verification information (such as pay stubs or tax returns). But generally, Sallie Mae will offer a quick response based on your credit.

If you’re approved, you can choose your type of interest rate and repayment plan before accepting the loan. Once you accept the loan offer, Sallie Mae will contact your school to verify that you’re eligible for the loan and loan amount.

The school certification process may take several weeks, and it could even be put on hold until about a month before your term begins. As long as everything checks out, Sallie Mae will send the loan to you or your school, depending on the type of loan.

Already have student loans and looking to refinance? Check out one of our top refinance lenders below.

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What Is an Immediate Annuity and How Does it Work?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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An immediate annuity, also known as an income annuity, is a type of annuity that begins paying out right away. With an annuity, you enter into a contract with an insurance company. In exchange for your payments, the insurance company will send you disbursements for a predetermined term — sometimes for the rest of your life.

Immediate annuities are distinct from deferred annuities, which have an initial accumulation phase during which the pool of money grows, followed by a later payout phase. Both immediate and deferred annuities are good tools for funding your retirement, though they serve different purposes. A deferred annuity allows your money grow tax-deferred so you’ll have income at a future date, while an immediate annuity is useful if you need regular income right away.

What is an immediate annuity?

If you’re already in retirement or plan on retiring soon, an immediate annuity might make more sense than a deferred annuity because you may have an immediate need for steady income. If you live a long time, an immediate annuity could pay out more than it initially cost. On the other hand, the insurance company may keep the money that’s left in accounts when a contract-holder passes.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind to determine if immediate annuities are right for you:

  • Payments: With an immediate annuity, you’ll receive payments on a regular schedule, such as monthly or annually. The first payment will begin with your next scheduled payment. Immediate annuities can have either a fixed payment period, such as 10 or 20 years, or your annuity could pay out for your lifetime, or your lifetime plus the lifetime of a beneficiary (such as a spouse).
  • Interest: The principal balance in your annuity will grow at a predetermined rate (i.e., it’s a fixed annuity), based on underlying investments (a variable annuity) or based on the growth in an index, such as the S&P 500 (an indexed annuity). Your payments may either be fixed or they could go up and down depending on whether you buy a variable or indexed annuity.
  • Costs: A variety of fees can impact the growth of your annuity and your payments. Costs may include administrative fees, underlying fund fees, commissions and mortality and expense risk fees. Additionally, you’ll pay extra for riders, which are different types of add-ons that you can purchase for your annuity. For example, a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) rider will increase your payments to keep up with inflation. Compare annuities to one another, and to other retirement options, before signing a contract.

Qualified immediate annuity vs. non-qualified: What’s the difference?

Depending on how you pay for your immediate annuity, it could be classified as either qualified or non-qualified.

“Qualified annuities refers to when the source of the funds comes from a tax-deferred account,” said Ray Caucci, chairman and CEO of Vantis Life Insurance Company. In other words, if you have money in an IRA, 401(k) or another type of tax-advantaged retirement account, and then use the money to buy an annuity, the annuity is considered qualified.

By contrast, if you use after-tax dollars (i.e., you don’t receive a deduction from putting your money into an account) to purchase an annuity, then it will be a non-qualified annuity.

In other words, the main difference between qualified and non-qualified immediate annuities is the taxes on your payments.

Immediate annuity taxation issues

Unlike when you contribute to a tax-deferred retirement account, the premiums you pay when you purchase an annuity aren’t tax deductible. But the payments you receive can be taxable.

If you have a qualified annuity — meaning you bought the annuity with money that was inside a tax-advantaged account — then the entire annuity payment is fully taxable as income. Unlike with investment distributions, the principal and interest or gains portions of your annuity payments are taxed as ordinary income rather than capital gains. And, similarly to tax-advantaged accounts, you may need to pay a 10% penalty fee if you withdraw money before you are 59½ years old.

Taxation is a bit trickier with a non-qualified annuity. “The benefit is split between a return of the principal and interest,” Caucci said. The interest or gains portion is subject to ordinary income taxes, while the principal portion isn’t taxed (because you already paid taxes on the money before you bought the annuity.)

“That’s done through the means of an exclusion ratio that’s determined by the insurance company,” Caucci said. The ratio, which depends on your life expectancy, is often shared as a percentage and indicates how much of each payment is non-taxable income from the principal. If you live beyond your life expectancy, your remaining payments will become completely taxable.

Who should invest in immediate annuities?

Immediate annuities are generally best for those who are already in retirement, or who are about to retire, and are looking for a low-risk option to boost their income. Particularly if you’re worried about outliving your savings, an annuity with a lifetime payout could ease that concern.

“It could be a foundational income source that doesn’t change,” Caucci said. “You can decide how you want to distribute your other savings and investments, but you always have a foundation of the income.”

One of the downsides is that the guarantee also means you might have to keep your money locked up in the annuity. “People who want more control over their retirement income won’t be as enamored with an immediate annuity,” Caucci said.

Immediate annuity pros and cons

While an immediate annuity could offer a secure and steady source of income during retirement, it’s not the right fit for everyone. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider:

Pros

Cons

  • You can start receiving income almost right away.
  • There’s the potential to receive a steady income stream for the rest of your life.
  • You may receive a higher interest rate than you would with other low-risk options, such as a certificate of deposit (CD) or a bond.
  • Market fluctuations generally won’t impact your payments.
  • Many immediate annuities won’t let you withdraw any of your principal once your payments start.
  • The fees associated with an annuity could make it a more costly option than other types of retirement accounts or investments.
  • If the insurance company goes under, state guaranty funds may only cover a portion of your annuity’s balance, typically $250,000.
  • Depending on the type of annuity and the riders you choose, your remaining account balance might not pass on to your estate or heirs.

The bottom line

If you’re in or nearing retirement and worried about outliving your savings, an immediate annuity could offer a solution. You can also customize annuities in many ways, to provide payment increases that keep up with inflation or payments to a spouse after you pass, for example. Before you buy a contract, learn more about the potential fees, features and annuity providers, and consider the different types of annuities that are available if you don’t need the immediate income.

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