Advertiser Disclosure

Best of, Reviews

The Top 7 Second Chance Bank Accounts

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Some banks don’t like giving second chances to customers who have less-than-stellar financial histories, especially since it could expose them to expensive risks. A record of bounced checks or debit card overdrafts could easily lock you out of the conveniences of modern banking.

Fortunately, banks also like making money, and some offer special “second chance” accounts that minimize their risk while allowing consumers to stay in the banking system. A second chance bank account gives customers with troubled records a fresh opportunity to demonstrate they can bank responsibly.

When it comes to a second chance account, fees are an unfortunate reality. But some accounts offer customers a better deal than others, and we’ve researched our database to find the second chance accounts with the most reasonable fee structures, while also factoring in whether they provide online and mobile banking, and how accessible accounts are throughout the country.

Second chance account basics

With a second chance bank account, customers shut out of traditional bank accounts get the opportunity to win their way back into a bank’s good graces. Similar to credit bureaus, financial services company ChexSystems maintains records of consumers’ banking histories. Bounced checks, overdrawn accounts or instances of fraud can all end up on your ChexSystems record; if you accumulate enough black marks on ChexSystems, banks could deny your application to open a new account.

Because second chance accounts are meant for customers who have demonstrated bad banking behavior, some lack features of traditional accounts, such as overdraft protection. In the eyes of the bank, you represent too much of a risk for them to extend you such courtesies.

Nobody likes paying fees, and we generally advise consumers to avoid needless banking fees due to the many fee-free banking options available. But fees are the price you pay for access to banking when you have a poor record. Plus, the second chance accounts listed below give you access to online and mobile banking, which is always a plus.

The 7 best second chance bank accounts

1. Tie between BBVA Compass ClearConnect Checking and BBVA ClearChoice Free Checking

BBVA Compass

Regional bank BBVA’s Compass ClearChoice Free Checking product is available as a second chance bank account. Keep in mind that it’s only available to residents of the states where BBVA maintains physical branches: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas. But if you don’t live in those states, you can still avail yourself of BBVA’s Compass ClearConnect Checking account (unless you live in Alaska and Hawaii, in which case you are out of luck).

ClearChoice Free Checking features:

  • Free online and mobile banking, free customized alerts, free online and paper statements, and a free debit card (with option to personalize)
  • $25 minimum deposit to open
  • No monthly service charge to worry about

Fees to watch out for:

  • BBVA ATMs are free, otherwise a $3 fee will apply
  • $38 insufficient funds fee ($32 in California)
  • $15 deposit item returned fee
  • $32 stop payment fee made over the phone or in person ($30 in California); $25 if made online
  • No fee for closing your account within 180 days of opening

You can get a full list of Compass ClearChoice fees for each state here.

LEARN MORE Secured

on BBVA Compass’s secure website

Member FDIC

ClearConnect Checking features:

  • Free online and mobile banking
  • Minimum deposit of $25 needed to open the account
  • No monthly service charge

Fees to watch out for:

  • No fees for using any of the 55,000 BBVA and Allpoint ATMs, but for ATMs outside the network a $3 fee applies
  • $38 insufficient funds fee ($32 in California)
  • $15 deposit item returned fee
  • $32 stop-request fee when made over the phone or in person at a branch ($30 in California); a $25 fee to make the stop-request online
  • $25 account close fee if made within 180 days of opening

You can get a full list of Compass ClearConnect fees broken down by state here.

LEARN MORE Secured

on BBVA Compass’s secure website

Member FDIC

2. Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts

Wells Fargo Bank

Wells Fargo’s Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts are tailor-made for folks with a lackluster credit or banking history. With a $25 opening deposit, you’ll get access to a second chance bank account that offers most of the bells and whistles of a traditional bank account. The account does come with a monthly fee, although it’s possible to waive it if you meet a few requirements (see below).

Account features:

  • $25 minimum deposit to open
  • Free transfers are available between Opportunity Checking and Savings accounts
  • You can choose to opt into overdraft protection
  • Free access to bill pay
  • “My Spending Report with Budget Watch” is available if you want to pay extra attention to where your money is going
  • Free debit card with access to more than 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs throughout the country

Fees to watch out for:

  • $10 monthly service fee, waived if any of the following are true:
    • You make 10 posted debit card purchases or payments
    • You keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500 in the account
    • You receive $500 total in direct deposits each statement cycle
  • $35 overdraft and returned item fee
  • $12.50 overdraft protection transfer fee
  • $15 fee for excess activity (exceeding withdrawals from your savings account)
  • 3% foreign transaction fee with your debit card
  • $5 for money orders
  • $31 for stop payments

LEARN MORE Secured

on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

3. Woodforest National Bank Second Chance Checking

Woodforest National Bank

This regional bank has a checking account aptly named Second Chance Checking, to help people rejected by other banks access — provided they live in one of the 17 states where a physical branch exists and can meet the $25 minimum opening deposit requirement. Those states are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Fees to watch out for:

  • $9.95 monthly maintenance fee if you use a direct deposit (or $11.95 without a direct deposit), $3.00 monthly paper statement fee (which can be avoided if you sign up for electronic statements)
  • $9 one-time account set-up fee
  • $2.50 ATM withdrawal fee when used at a non-Woodforest network ATM
  • $15 debit card set-up fee
  • $29 overdraft fee (for each charge)

LEARN MORE Secured

on Woodforest National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

4. First National Bank and Trust Company Renew Checking

First National Bank and Trust Company (WI)

First National Bank and Trust Company’s second chance bank account offering is called Renew Checking. You’re eligible for a new account if you live near the bank’s Beloit, Wisc. headquarters, in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Account Features:

  • No monthly minimum balance
  • $25 minimum deposit to open
  • Free online and mobile banking, bill pay, and e-statements
  • Access to 70,000 no-fee ATMs worldwide through Allpoint and MoneyPass
  • Eligible to upgrade account after twelve months in good standing

Fees to watch out for:

  • $9.95 monthly service fee, or $7.95 with direct deposit
  • $30 early account closure fee (if closed within 90 days of opening)
  • $34.50 overdraft fee
  • $34.50 insufficient funds fee
  • $34.50 stop payment fee

The fee schedule for personal accounts at First National Bank and Trust Company is here.

LEARN MORE Secured

on First National Bank And Trust Company (WI)’s secure website

Member FDIC

5. Peoples Bank Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking

Peoples Bank Cash Solutions

This Texas-based bank offers a second chance bank account that is available nationwide, and so long as you don’t have a record of bank or checking fraud on your record, you should be approved for this account. You’ll need to deposit at least $30 before the bank activates your account and provides you with checks and a debit card.

Fees to watch out for:

  • $4.95 monthly maintenance fee
  • $27.50 overdraft fee
  • $27.50 nonsufficient funds fee
  • $3.95 printed statement fee (which can be avoided with electronic statements)
  • $2.00 ATM withdrawal fee at machines not owned by Peoples Bank
  • $25 stop payment fee
  • $20 account closure fee (if within 90 days of opening account)

LEARN MORE Secured

on Peoples Bank Cash Solutions’s secure website

Member FDIC

6. Radius Essential Checking

Radius Bank

Products from online bank Radius are available to customers nationwide, and accessibility is a strong point in its favor. This second chance bank account only requires customers to deposit $10 to open an Essential Checking account, which is lower than some other accounts on this list.

Account Features:

  • A free debit card
  • 24/7 mobile and online banking
  • Access to Radius’s budgeting and personal finance tracking apps
  • Eligibility to upgrade to Radius’s Reward Checking account after 12 months of positive banking history

Fees to watch out for:

  • $9 monthly maintenance fee
  • $25 per item non-sufficient funds fee (waived on all overdraft items $5 or less)
  • $5 daily overdraft fee

LEARN MORE Secured

on Radius Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Alternatives to a second chance bank account

Get a prepaid debit card

Tired of the traditional banking experience? You could opt for a prepaid debit card instead. With a prepaid card, you can load money onto it and spend at merchants that accept major credit and debit cards. But if you try and spend more money than what’s on the card, the transaction is declined — although this prevents you from accruing any overdraft or insufficient funds fees. This is useful if you feel you may still have trouble managing your spending and need an extra layer of security to prevent you from getting into trouble.

Some prepaid cards offer extra perks like advance direct deposit and free ATMs so long as you stay in their network.

Open a secured credit card

You may also have better luck applying for a secured credit card if your credit score is in good enough shape. Usually, this requires depositing cash with the lender, who then gives you the credit card for the same amount. Each month that you make on-time payments, the bank will report that good behavior to the credit bureaus, helping you boost your credit score. At the end of the payment period (generally 12 months, though it varies by banks), you’ll get the full deposit back.

Secured cards can come with high interest rates and many don’t feature the enticing rewards other high-end cards do, but they get the basic job done for consumers who don’t need a card with a high credit limit.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

James Ellis
James Ellis |

James Ellis is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email James here

TAGS:

Advertiser Disclosure

College Students and Recent Grads, Reviews

Sallie Mae Student Loans Review for 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

mortar board cash

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% -
12.87%
Not available5.49% -
11.85%
6.00% -
10.23%
6.00% -
10.23%
Variable APR range*9.61% - 16.27%5.74% -
12.37%**
6.87% - 13.96%**4.37% -
11.47%**
4.50% -
10.11%**
4.62% -
10.23%**
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 residencyDental residencyLaw school
Fixed APR range*6.25% - 10.23%6.24% - 9.99%5.99% -
9.98%
Not availableNot availableNot available6.00% -
9.99%
Variable APR range*4.87% - 10.23%**4.87% - 9.99%**4.62% -
9.98%**
5.51% - 11.78%5.51% - 11.78%5.61% - 12.31%4.62% -
9.99%
Loan termsFive to 15 years20 years20 yearsUp to 20 yearsUp to 20 yearsUp to 15 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 $15,000
$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
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.

LEARN MORE ABOUT SALLIE MAE Secured

on Sallie Mae Bank’s secure website

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 our top picks to refinance student loans.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Louis DeNicola
Louis DeNicola |

Louis DeNicola is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Louis at louis@magnifymoney.com

Rebecca Safier
Rebecca Safier |

Rebecca Safier is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Rebecca here

TAGS: ,

Advertiser Disclosure

Reviews

An In-Depth Review of Discover’s Banking Products

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Year Established1911
Total Assets$108.0B

LEARN MORE Discover Bank’s secure websiteMember FDIC

Discover Bank, which originally was introduced as a credit card via Sears-owned Greenwood Trust Company, first came on the market in 1985. Since then, Discover has gone on to become one of the largest credit card issuer in the U.S., known for their customer loyalty. Discover Bank, which runs completely as an online bank, has made strides over the past decade to compete in the financial sector by offering an array of financial products that go beyond credit cards.

Bonus offer available

Discover Bank is offering a $150-$200 bonus. Here's how it works:
If you're able to deposit or maintain a balance of $15,000 by 04/15/19 in your first Discover Online Savings Account, you will receive a $150 bonus. If you're able to deposit or maintain a balance of $25,000, you will receive a $200 bonus. In order to qualify for one of the bonuses, you'll have to apply for the savings account by 04/01/19 and your funds must be deposited by 04/15/19. On 04/29/19, the bonuses will be credited to your account. You can easily get the bonus offer online by clicking on the Learn More button above or by calling Discover bank. Just be sure to enter or mention the promo code MM319. Discover's online savings account currently earns an APY of 2.10%.

Discover Bank offers competitive rates on their banking products, which include CDs, savings, checking, and money market accounts, which also boast perks like no monthly fees. However in recent years, many online banks have begun offering similar, if not better, rates for their deposit products.

In this article we’ll take an in-depth look at Discover Bank’s products. We’ll cover account features, rates and anything else you might need to know to make the most informed decision on your financial needs. Most of our research was conducted by analyzing rates from Depositaccounts.com, which is another LendingTree-owned site.

See Advertiser Website for Full Details
Discover Bank’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

2.10%

Savings

Discover Bank Online Savings

LEARN MORE Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Discover Online Savings account

A completely fee-free online savings account, with no minimum balance requirements, and competitive interest rates.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

2.10%

$0

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: None as long you use an ATM within Discover’s network.
  • ATM fee refund: None.
  • Overdraft fee: None.

There is no minimum balance to open a Discover Online Savings account, nor do they charge any monthly maintenance fees. While account holders do not have the ability to withdraw money from their savings account via an ATM, they are able to access and manage their savings account via Discover’s online banking and mobile app.The online banking and mobile app lets users deposit and transfer money to both Discover Bank and non-Discover bank accounts. However, you’ll get hit with a $30 fee for an outgoing wire transfer, as well as a $15 charge per item for exceeding the Federal Reserve’s Regulation D limitation of six withdrawals or transfers in one calendar month. Overdrafting your online savings account results in a $30 fee, which you can avoid by signing up for overdraft protection.

Currently, you can earn a competitive interest rate of 2.10% APY on a Discover Online Savings account. This is compounded daily and deposited into your savings account every month. As soon as you deposit money in your account, you’ll begin earning interest.

This is a solid savings account for anyone who already has a checking account with Discover, has a substantial amount of savings, or wants to earn a competitive interest rate on their savings account. It stands out for being fee-free and requiring no minimum balance or deposit, but falls short when compared with all the current interest rates out there.

There are no eligibility requirements to open a Discover Online Savings account since they do not require an initial minimum deposit or any minimum balance. There is currently a bonus being offered if you apply for the savings account for the very first time by 04/01/19. If you meet qualifications by 04/15/19, you could receive the $150 or $200 bonus. Click the button below for full details.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

See Advertiser Website for Full Details

magnifying glass

How Discover Bank’s savings account compares

Compared with other online savings accounts, Discover Bank does not have the best offerings. That’s not to say it’s bad. Next to what major banks are currently offering, this account is a major win. However, with a little research, you can find better interest rates out there that don’t charge fees or have minimum balance requirements.

To see what other rates and offers are out there that fit your savings goals check out our Best Online Savings Account Guide.

Discover Bank’s CD Rates

A minimum deposit of $2,500 gives you competitive CD rates among online banks, but higher rates can be found.

CD term

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

3 months

0.35%

6 months

0.65%

9 months

0.70%

12 months

2.65%

18 months

2.65%

24 months

2.70%

30 months

2.70%

3 years

2.75%

4 years

2.80%

5 years

3.00%

7 years

3.05%

10 years

3.10%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For CDs that are less than one year, the penalty will be worth 3 months of simple interest.
    • For 1-3 year CDs, the penalty is 6 months of simple interest.
    • For a 4 year CD, the penalty is 9 months of simple interest.
    • For a 5 year CD, the penalty is 18 months of simple interest.
    • For 7-10 year CDs, the penalty is 24 months of simple interest.

Discover Bank offers certificates of deposits with terms ranging from three months to 10 years. Interest is compounded daily and is deposited every month. As with most CD rates, the longer the term of the CD, the higher the rate you will receive. To make sure you lock in the highest possible rate for your CD, make sure you fund your account within ten days of application.

There are early withdrawal penalties for taking your money out before the end of the term. The penalty amount varies depending on how far you are into your CDs term.

While there are penalties for withdrawing your money early, you do have the option to withdraw any interest earned on your CD to a Discover bank account without penalty. This money can also be left in your CD to compound throughout the life of your CD. Account holders receive notice of CD maturity 30 days prior to the end of the term. Once a term has ended, account holders have a 9-day grace period to make a change to their CD before incurring penalties. If no action is taken, Discover CDs will automatically renew at the same rate and term.

You can open a Discover CD online or by phone. The only eligibility requirements come in the form the $2,500 minimum deposit, which can be paid via phone, check or an online transfer from your bank. Discover provides the option of opening your CD in the form of a Trust, Guardian, Estate or Custodial account, but in order to do so, you must call one of their Banking Specialists.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

magnifying glass

How Discover Bank’s CD rates compare

Overall, Discover Bank CD rates are competitive. They certainly beat out most of the major banks by far when it comes to APY. However, if you do some digging, there are better rates out there for CDs, both in terms of minimum deposit and interest rate earned.

Discover’s minimum deposit of $2,500 is the biggest downside to this product. While it’s not common for banks to offer no-fee withdrawals on CDs, there are some out there. To find the most competitive CD rates on the market right now, check out our Best CD Rates page.

Discover CashBack Debit account

If you use your debit card often, Discover CashBack Debit offers no monthly fees and pays decent cashback rewards.
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None.
  • ATM fee: None as long as the ATM is within Discover’s network.
  • ATM fee refund: None.
  • Overdraft fee: None.

The Discover CashBack Debit account is appealing because it carries very few fees — that means no monthly maintenance fee, no minimum balance requirements and no fees for check ordering or debit card replacement.

They offer free online and mobile banking options like bill-pay, wire transfers and account management.

One of the account’s main selling points is the cashback reward, which pays 1.00% on debit card transactions up to $3,000 on purchases each month. In other words, if you spend up to $3,000 in a month you receive $30 cash back. This 1.00% return is not an interest rate, but rather a cashback reward. There are no qualifications to earn the cashback rewards — when you spend with your debit card, you’re earning rewards. These rewards can be redeemed as a credit to your checking account or transferred to a Discover CashBack Bonus card account.

Discover recently partnered with AllPoint and MoneyPass to increase their in-network ATM locations by 60,000+. While Discover does not charge ATM fees for going out-of-network, they do not reimburse ATM fees incurred by third-party ATMs.

One of the few fees you’ll find is an overdraft fee. Their overdraft fee is $30 per transaction, which is on par with other financial institutions. You can avoid an overdraft fee by opting in to overdraft protection, which requires account holders to link their checking account with a Discover savings account.

Since Discover Bank is considered an online bank, you must open your account online via their website or by phone. There are no minimum deposit requirements, nor do they require account holders to keep a minimum balance. Once you open your account, you’ll receive your debit card within 10 business days. Discover offers free checks for their CashBack Debit account, although you must request them.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

magnifying glass

How Discover Bank’s checking account compares

The Discover CashBack Debit account stacks up against other banks when it comes to offering a no-fee checking account. While they do boast a large ATM network, in part to their partnerships, they still do not reimburse out-of-network ATM fees. When it comes to rewards, their cashback reward is decent.

There are better cashback rewards programs out there, as well as, accounts that don’t require you to spend money to make money. If you spend a significant amount money via your debit card every month, this rewards program might make sense. If not, there are other banks that currently offer better rates on checking accounts for less effort on your end.

Discover Bank’s Money Market Account

Good withdrawal options, but with a high minimum balance requirement and interest rates that don’t stack up.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

1.95%

Less than $100,000

2.00%

Greater than $100,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None, but only if you use an ATM within Discover Bank’s network.
  • ATM fee refund: None.
  • Overdraft fee: None.

Opening a money market account with Discover Bank requires a minimum initial deposit of $2,500. While their money market accounts don’t charge any monthly maintenance fees, account holders must maintain a minimum balance of $2,500 to avoid a $10 fee. They don’t even beat out Discover’s saving account rates.

There are a few account features worth noting, starting with the withdrawal options. Unlike the Discover Online Savings account, account holders will receive checks and a free debit card. Your debit card can be used to withdraw money via ATMs and at stores.

Discover Bank does not charge ATM fees, however if you use an out-of-network ATM they will not reimburse the fee. It’s important to note, that your money market account is subject to the same Federal Reserve regulations limiting transfer and withdrawals to six per month. If you exceed the six withdrawals you’ll be charged a $15 fee per item; however this does not apply to withdrawals from ATMs or via official check that is mailed to you. Discover Money Market accounts also give you the ability to sign up for online bill pay, as well as, overdraft protection.

The only eligibility requirements to open a Discover Money Market account is an initial minimum deposit of $2,500. You can open an account either online or by calling one of their Banking Specialists. To fund your account, you have the option of an online transfer, direct deposit or check, which can be mailed or deposited via Discover Bank’s Mobile Check Deposit app.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

magnifying glass

How Discover Bank’s money market account compares

Looking at the overall market offerings, Discover Bank Money Market accounts do not stack up. Their competitive account features like a large ATM network, free checks and a debit card are nice, but their rates do not compete.

You can find other banks offering lower deposit requirements, as well as better rates. To see how this account compares, check out MagnifyMoney’s Best Money Market Rates guide.

Discover IRA CD rates

Competitive rates with a higher-than-average minimum deposit for both traditional and Roth options.

Term

APY

3 Months

0.35%

6 Months

0.65%

9 Months

0.70%

12 Months

2.65%

18 Months

2.65%

24 Months

2.70%

30 Months

2.70%

3 Years

2.75%

4 Years

2.80%

5 Years

3.00%

7 Years

3.05%

10 Years

3.10%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For CDs that are less than one year, the penalty will be worth 3 months of simple interest.
    • For 1-3 year CDs, the penalty is 6 months of simple interest.
    • For a 4 year CD, the penalty is 9 months of simple interest.
    • For a 5 year CD, the penalty is 18 months of simple interest.
    • For 7-10 year CDs, the penalty is 24 months of simple interest.

Similar to other Discover Bank CD products, the minimum deposit to open an IRA CD is $2,500. This is also the minimum balance required to earn your interest rate. They offer both Traditional and Roth IRA CD options, with interest rates that vary depending on the CD term you choose. Terms can be as short as 3 months to up to 10 years. Their early withdrawal penalties remain the same for both IRA and non-IRA CDs.

An IRA CD is a worthwhile investment if you aren’t touching your savings and want to earn a higher APY than what’s being offered for your savings account. IRA CDs make the most sense if you’re looking for a long-term investment. While they don’t pay crazy high returns, if you have extra capital, it’s a good investment vehicle to have in your portfolio.

Opening an IRA CD account with Discover Bank can be done by phone or online, and requires an initial minimum deposit of $2,500. Funding your account can be done by phone, via check or via a bank-to-bank transfer from an existing IRA. Discover also allows account holders to initiate a direct or indirect rollover from an existing IRA.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

magnifying glass

How Discover Bank’s IRA CD compares

Compared with other IRA CD’s out there, Discover Bank’s rates fall somewhere in the middle. The minimum deposit is higher than other offerings out there and the rates are competitive, but not high enough to be the best on the market.

Overall review of Discover Bank’s deposit products

Discover has created a suite of banking products that can compete in today’s market. Their online and mobile banking has all the necessary features to access and manage your account, and they boast a large ATM network that limits, but does not completely remove, ATM fees from your life.

Compared with the traditional big banks, Discover Bank has them beat when it comes to rates and offerings. However, if you take the entire market into consideration, adding in online banks, community banks and credit unions, Discover banking products fall somewhere in the middle.

Based on the fact that all of the reviewed products above do not have monthly maintenance fees attached to them and pay some form of interest or cash back, means you aren’t going to be wrong by opening an account. However, if you’re looking for the best of the best, Discover Bank is not quite there yet.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Jackson Wise
Jackson Wise |

Jackson Wise is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jackson here

TAGS: