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Oritani Bank Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA 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.

Year Established1911
Total Assets$4.1B
LEARN MORE Oritani Bank’s secure websiteMember FDIC

Oritani Bank is a community bank headquartered in Washington Township, N.J. The bank was established in 1911 and has since grown to be the 10th-largest bank in New Jersey, with more than 200 employees at 26 locations.

It has branches in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties, with employees who pride themselves on being familiar with the needs of the community members the bank serves.

The bank offers a wide range of checking, savings, money market, CD and IRA account products. We will go through each one to help you determine if it is the right product for you.

Oritani Bank’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

Compare Rates from Similar Accounts

0.25%

Savings

Oritani Bank Statement Savings

2.10%

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings Account

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0.90%

CD Rates

Oritani Bank 12 - 15 Month Certificate

2.75%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 12 Month CD

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1.25%

CD Rates

Oritani Bank 36 Month Certificate

3.10%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 5 Year CD

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Oritani Bank’s checking account options

TGIF Checking

This basic, no-frills account does not earn interest, but it’s a solid fee-free checking account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None at Oritani Bank or Allpoint ATMs; 50 cents to $2 on outside ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $34

The selling point for this account is that it is very easy to open and maintain with such a low opening deposit requirement and no monthly fee or minimum balance to maintain. This account also comes with free online and mobile banking, bill pay, a free MasterMoney debit or Oritani Bank ATM card and a free first order of basic checks.

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Choice Plus Checking

A step above the TGIF account, this one allows you to earn a bit of interest on fairly low balances.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.20%$1,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $6 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: None at Oritani Bank or Allpoint ATMs; 50 cents to $2 on outside ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $34

This account does earn interest on balances of $1,000 or more. While it does have minimal requirements compared to the TGIF account, the $6 monthly service charge is fairly easy to avoid if you have a monthly direct deposit or maintain a $500 minimum balance. This account also offers free online banking and bill pay, along with an Oritani Bank MasterMoney debit card and a free first order of checks. “Bounce protection” is also a possibility, though you’ll have to contact the bank to learn more about what that entails.

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Nifty-Fifty Checking

A checking account for customers 50 and older.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.20%$1,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None at Oritani Bank or Allpoint ATMs; 50 cents to $2 on outside ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $34

This account is meant for bank customers who are 50 or older. Like the Choice Plus account, this one earns interest on balances of $1,000 or more. There are no monthly balance requirements, as well as no monthly fee, and this account offers unlimited check-writing. It also offers free online banking and bill pay services, a free 3-inch by 5-inch safety deposit box for the first year (with a 75% discount on other sizes), 50 free printed checks, an Oritani Bank MasterMoney debit card and bounce protection, though you will need to contact the bank about what that entails.

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Optimum Gold Checking

A checking account with a higher opening deposit account and lackluster tiered rates.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.20%$1,000
0.20%$5,000
0.30%$10,000
0.40%$25,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $20 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: None at Oritani Bank or Allpoint ATMs; 50 cents to $2 on outside ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $34

This account earns interest at four different tiers. Although the rates aren’t extraordinary, this account does come with a higher opening deposit requirement and a $10,000 minimum monthly balance requirement to avoid a higher-than-average $20 fee. On the plus side, it does come with free transactions at all Oritani Bank ATMs, free FastBanking phone service, free Optimum Gold checks, 50 free printed checks, an Oritani Bank MasterMoney debit card and bounce protection, though you’ll need to call the bank to inquire about what that entails.

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NJ Consumer Checking

The bank’s cheap checking option, with minimal requirements.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None at Oritani Bank or Allpoint ATMs; 50 cents to $2 on outside ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $34

This account does not earn interest. It’s another no-frills checking account option with a low opening deposit requirement, and then no balance requirement after that first minimum deposit. You can write up to eight checks a month for a fee of $3. You also get 50 free printed checks.

How to get Oritani Bank’s checking accounts

If you are a resident of New Jersey, you can open any of the above checking accounts at a branch. You’ll need to come with your government-issued ID, Social Security number and address.

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How Oritani Bank’s checking accounts compare

While most of Oritani Bank’s checking accounts come with low or no monthly fees and balance requirements, the interest rates on the accounts that offer it don’t stack up to the rates on our list of the best online checking accounts. Not only that, but the fact that you can only open an account in person could be an inconvenience if you don’t live near one of its branches. We say consider one of the accounts on our list instead.

Oritani Bank’s savings account options

Platinum Savings

This account offers an OK rate for a fairly high minimum balance requirement.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
2.00%$10,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None at Oritani Bank or Allpoint ATMs; 50 cents to $2 on outside ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $34

This account is advertised as the bank’s “preferred rate consumer Statement Savings account.” Although it comes with a low opening deposit, the minimum to earn interest is pretty high in comparison. Interest on this account is accrued daily and paid out monthly. This account also comes with online banking services and can be linked to an Oritani Bank checking account. As a savings account, this one is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain withdrawals and transfers up to six a month.

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Passbook Savings

This savings account comes with easier-to-meet requirements.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None at Oritani Bank or Allpoint ATMs; 50 cents to $2 on outside ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $34

This account also requires a very low opening deposit. But the minimum balance to earn the APY is also low at $100. This account accrues interest daily and pays it out monthly. It is not eligible for electronic transactions. As a savings account, it’s subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain transactions up to six a month.

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Statement Savings

The bank’s basic savings account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$250
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $250
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None at Oritani Bank or Allpoint ATMs; 50 cents to $2 on outside ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $34

This account also comes with the same $1 minimum opening deposit as many of the bank’s other accounts. The minimum balance requirement to earn the rate is fairly low, too. This account accrues interest daily and pays it out monthly. You can access the account via online banking, and you can link it to an Oritani Bank checking account. As a savings account, it’s subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain transactions up to six a month.

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Super Passbook Savings

This account offers the same rate as the regular Passbook Savings, though the balance required to earn it is higher.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$250
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $250
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None at Oritani Bank or Allpoint ATMs; 50 cents to $2 on outside ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $34

This account claims to be an upgrade from the regular Passbook Savings account, but the rate begs to differ, as it is the same. But as we mentioned before, the balance required to earn it is slightly higher. This account accrues interest daily and pays it monthly. It is not eligible for electronic transactions. As a savings account, it’s subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain transactions up to six a month.

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Super Saver Plus

Once linked to any active Oritani Bank checking account, this account can earn tiered rates depending on your daily balance.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15%$250
0.20%$5,000
0.25%$10,000
0.25%$25,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $250
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies; see table
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None at Oritani Bank or Allpoint ATMs; 50 cents to $2 on outside ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $34

This account must be linked to an active Oritani Bank checking account. From there, you can earn one of four tiered interest rate levels. Interest is accrued daily and paid monthly on this account. As a savings account, it’s subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain transactions up to six a month.

How to get Oritani Bank’s savings accounts

Like with the bank’s other personal accounts, these savings accounts must be opened in person if you meet the requirement of being a resident of New Jersey. Be sure to come with your government-issued ID, Social Security number and address.

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on Oritani Bank’s secure website

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How Oritani Bank’s savings accounts compare

While the Platinum Savings account’s rate is on par with some of the accounts on our list of the best online savings accounts, none of the others are. Not only that, but on that specific account, you need to maintain a pretty steep balance to earn that rate. This — along with the fact that you can’t open any of these accounts online — would lead us to say that you should continue to shop around or consider one of our recommended products.

Oritani Bank’s CD rates

Standard Certificates of Deposit

The bank’s regular CDs, with a minimum deposit of $1,000.
TermAPY
3 months0.25%
6 months0.50%
12-15 months0.90%
18 months1.00%
19-24 months1.25%
30 months0.90%
36 months1.25%
48 months1.50%
60 months1.75%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: On CDs of less than 12 months, the penalty is three months worth of interest at the rate it is earning; on CDs 12 months and longer, it’s six months worth of interest at the rate it is earning

These CDs are pretty standard as far as the minimum deposit requirements and early withdrawal penalties go. Interest on these accounts is compounded daily and credited monthly. The rates are fixed until the maturity date, at which point the interest may remain in the account, be automatically withdrawn by check or transferred to another Oritani Bank account. These certificates will automatically renew for the same term length upon maturity.

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Promo CDs, Loyalty CDs

The bank’s promotional CDs, with an opening deposit of $1,000.
TermAPY
6 month Promo CD1.75%
6 month Loyalty CD2.00%
12 month Promo CD2.25%
12 month Loyalty CD2.50%
15 month Promo CD2.50%
24 month Promo CD2.40%
24 month Loyalty CD2.65%
60 month Promo CD2.50%
60 month Loyalty CD2.75%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: On CDs of less than 12 months, the penalty is three months worth of interest at the rate it is earning; on CDs 12 months and longer, it’s six months worth of interest at the rate it is earning

These are Oritani Bank’s promotional CDs, which are offered from time to time for various terms. These will automatically renew at a traditional term that is determined at the time the account is opened at maturity. There is a seven-day grace period following maturity during which principal may be added to or withdrawn without penalty.

How to get Oritani Bank’s CDs

Oritani Bank’s CDs are the lone product that is open to anyone, even if they don’t live in New Jersey. But you still have to visit a branch to open one either way, so that’s likely not a win for potential out-of-state customers.

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How Oritani Bank’s CD rates compare

Although the bank claims its CD rates are competitive, only the promotional rates prove to be on par with the accounts on our list of the best CD rates. If there’s one product to go for at Oritani Bank, it’s these CDs. Get one while you can if it’s convenient for you to visit a bank branch in person and you’ve done your research to know this is the best product available to you.

Oritani Bank’s money market account options

Money Market

Oritani Bank’s basic money market account, offering three tiers.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.20%$1,000
0.20%$5,000
0.30%$10,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies; see table
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: None at Oritani Bank or Allpoint ATMs; 50 cents to $2 on outside ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $34

Oritani Bank’s money market accounts can be opened with a fairly low deposit, though the $10 monthly fee is only waivable if a minimum $1,000 balance is maintained. It comes with a free first order of Money Market checks, an Oritani Bank ATM card or MasterMoney debit card with no monthly charges, online banking and bill pay services, FastBanking phone service, statements with check images online or by mail, automatic transfers to other Oritani Bank accounts, direct deposit capability and bounce protection (though you’ll need to contact the bank about what that protection entails). This account allows for unlimited deposits and in-person withdrawals. But as a savings account, it is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits pre-authorized withdrawals and transfers up to six a month.

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Diamond Money Market

This money market account offers a higher rate than the regular account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.05%$0.01
0.45%$250,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies; see table
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: None at Oritani Bank or Allpoint ATMs; 50 cents to $2 on outside ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $34

Like with the regular Money Market account, this account can be opened with a fairly low deposit, though the monthly $10 fee is only waivable if a $1,000 average balance is maintained. Offering a higher rate at two tiers, the Diamond Money Market account also comes with a free first order of Money Market checks, an Oritani Bank ATM card or MasterMoney debit card with no monthly charges, online banking and bill pay services, FastBanking phone service, statements with check images online or by mail, automatic transfers to other Oritani Bank accounts, direct deposit capability and bounce protection (though you’ll need to contact the bank about what that protection entails). This account allows for unlimited deposits and in-person withdrawals. Keep in mind, though, that as a savings account, this one is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits pre-authorized withdrawals and transfers up to six a month.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Oritani Bank’s secure website

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Premier Money Market account

The bank’s “premier” money market account doesn’t live up to its name as far as the rates are concerned.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.50%$0.01
0.45%$250,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies; see table
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: None at Oritani Bank or Allpoint ATMs; 50 cents to $2 on outside ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $34

This account requires a higher opening deposit of $10,000, though the monthly $10 fee is only waivable if that $10,000 balance is maintained. It also offers a slightly higher rate at the first tier than with the Diamond Money Market account. The Premier Money Market account comes with the same account features as the Money Market and Diamond Money Market accounts. But as with all savings accounts, this one is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits pre-authorized withdrawals and transfers up to six a month.

How to get Oritani Bank’s money market accounts

Like all of Oritani Bank’s personal banking products, its money market accounts must be opened at a branch. You must also be a New Jersey resident to open these accounts. Be sure to come with your government-issued ID, Social Security number and address.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Oritani Bank’s secure website

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How Oritani Bank’s money market accounts compare

As far as rates are concerned, none of Oritani Bank’s money market accounts stack up against the competing accounts on our list of the best money market account rates. Not only that, but a few of the tier levels require an astronomical balance to even earn these subpar rates. Add to that the fact that you have to open these in person, and we say give these money market accounts a hard pass.

Oritani Bank’s IRA options

IRA CD rates

IRA Standard Certificates

Oritani Bank’s regular CDs available to open within an IRA, with a $1,000 opening deposit.
TermAPY
3 months0.25%
6 months0.50%
12-15 months0.90%
18 months1.00%
19-24 months1.25%
30 months0.90%
36 months1.25%
48 months1.50%
60 months1.75%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: On CDs of less than 12 months, the penalty is three months worth of interest at the rate it is earning; on CDs 12 months and longer, it’s six months worth of interest at the rate it is earning

These are Oritani Bank’s CDs opened within an IRA. They, too, are pretty standard as far as the minimum deposit requirements and early withdrawal penalties go. Interest on these accounts is compounded daily and credited monthly. The IRA CD rates are fixed until the maturity date, at which point the interest may remain in the account, be automatically withdrawn by check or transferred to another Oritani Bank account. Like with the regular CDs, these certificates will automatically renew for the same term length upon maturity.

LEARN MORE Secured

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Promo IRA CDs, Loyalty IRA CDs

The bank’s promotional IRA CDs, with a $1,000 opening deposit.
TermAPY
6 month Promo CD1.75%
6 month Loyalty CD2.00%
12 month Promo CD2.25%
12 month Loyalty CD2.50%
15 month Promo CD2.50%
24 month Promo CD2.40%
24 month Loyalty CD2.65%
60 month Promo CD2.50%
60 month Loyalty CD2.75%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: On CDs of less than 12 months, the penalty is three months worth of interest at the rate it is earning; on CDs 12 months and longer, it’s six months worth of interest at the rate it is earning

Oritani Bank’s promotional certificates of deposit extend to its IRA CDs, which are also offered from time to time for various terms. Like with the regular ones, these will automatically renew at a traditional term that is determined at the time the account is opened at maturity. There is a seven-day grace period after maturity during which principal may be added to or withdrawn without penalty.

How to get Oritani Bank’s IRA CDs

Although these IRA CDs are available to anyone even if they live outside of New Jersey, you still have to visit a branch to open one. To do so, you’ll need to come with your government-issued ID, Social Security number and address.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Oritani Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Oritani Bank’s IRA CD rates compare

Like with the regular CD products, Oritani Bank’s standard IRA CDs don’t compare to those on our list of the best IRA CD rates. But its promotional rates do, so if this bank is a convenient option for you (convenient enough that you can visit a branch to open an account, anyway), there’s no reason to not at least consider one of these products when doing your research.

IRA Savings

This account can be opened as a traditional or Roth IRA.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%$250
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $250
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

This IRA Savings account can be opened as a traditional or Roth IRA. If you go the traditional route, some or all of your contributions may be tax deductible, which is dependent on your adjusted gross income. The interest can grow tax-deferred until you decide to withdraw it. If you open it as a Roth IRA, your interest can grow tax-free when withdrawn as a qualified distribution, though your contributions are not tax deductible. As with all savings accounts, this one is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain transfers and withdrawals up to six a month. This account may also be subject to an additional early withdrawal penalty by the IRS if you withdraw funds before age 59½.

How to get Oritani Bank’s IRA savings account

As with all of Oritani Bank’s deposit accounts, you must open the IRA Savings account in person if you qualify to do so by being a resident of New Jersey. Be sure to come with your government-issued ID, Social Security number and address.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Oritani Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Overall review of Oritani Bank’s banking products

When you look at the rates across the board for Oritani Bank’s personal banking products, none of them is anything to get excited about, save for its promotional CDs and IRA CDs, which you can open even if you’re not a New Jersey resident. But for those, like with all its personal banking products, you have to open them at a branch, which is sure to be a huge inconvenience for those who don’t live near one. If this alone causes you to give the bank a general pass, we can’t say we blame you.

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.

Emilia Benton
Emilia Benton |

Emilia Benton is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Emilia here

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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