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Originally a federal student loan provider and servicer, Sallie Mae's® main business is private student loans. But the online-only bank also offers a handful of savings options, including high-yield savings accounts, a money market account, and certificates of deposit (CDs).

If you're looking to make the most of your short- and mid-term savings, Sallie Mae can be a good option. Here's what you need to know.

Sallie Mae Bank Highlights

  • Up to 5.30% APY.
  • No monthly maintenance fees.
  • Savings and money market accounts have no minimum balance requirements.
  • CDs require a minimum deposit of $2,500.

Who Is Sallie Mae Best For?

Sallie Mae offers high interest rates on its savings products, particularly on its CDs. However, its savings account yields are a bit below some of the best options available, and the bank doesn't offer a checking account.

You may consider opening a savings, money market, or CD account with Sallie Mae if:

  • You want to earn a high yield on your short-term savings.
  • You want to track multiple savings goals without opening several savings accounts.
  • You don't mind not having ATM access.
  • You have a large chunk of money you can part with for a year or longer.
Hassle-free savings solutions

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Sallie Mae SmartyPig® Account

  • Interest rate: 4.25% APY
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None

The Sallie Mae SmartyPig account works similarly to its high-yield savings account but with a few extra features. The account is designed to help you track multiple savings goals without needing to open separate accounts for each one.

You can add a goal and set a deadline to make it easier to track your progress. You can also set up automatic biweekly or monthly deposits from your primary checking account, allowing you to automate your savings goals.

The account offers a tiered APY structure, though as of September 2023, all four tiers have the same rate:

Balance APY

$0.01 – $2,500

4.25%

$2,500.01 – $10,000

4.25%

$10,000.01 – $50,000

4.25%

$50,000.01 and up

4.25%

Compared to other top high-yield savings accounts, that's a bit low. However, having the flexibility to manage multiple savings goals in one account may be worth the lower rate.

Recommended High-Yield Savings Accounts

Bank Account APY Features Learn More

BrioDirect High-Yield Savings Account

5.30% More Info

*Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is accurate as of 6/4/2024. Rate is subject to certain terms and conditions. You must deposit at least $5,000 to open your account and maintain $25 to earn the disclosed APY. Rate and APY may change at any time. Fees may reduce earnings.

$5,000 min. deposit
No monthly fee

UFB Direct logo

UFB Direct Secure Savings Account

5.25% More Info

UFB Direct breaks balances into five tiers, but, currently, there is only one interest rate.

No minimum deposit
No monthly fee

SoFi Checking and Savings

0.50% - 4.60% More Info

SoFi members with Direct Deposit or $5,000 or more in Qualifying Deposits during the 30-Day Evaluation Period can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate. Members without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits, during the 30-Day Evaluation Period will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

No minimum deposit
No monthly fee

CIT Bank logo

CIT Bank Platinum Savings Account

5.00% More Info

Earn 5.00% APY on balances over $5,000. Balances of less than $5,000 earn 0.25% APY. Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of May 6, 2024. Interest rates for the Platinum Savings account are variable and subject to change at any time without notice.

$100 minimum deposit
No monthly fee

Finally, the SmartyPig account offers a $10 reward for each friend you refer who opens a SmartyPig account, sets a savings goal, and contributes at least $25 to it within 30 days of receiving the invitation. You can earn up to $1,000 in total referral rewards.

You can withdraw money via money transfer to a bank account with another financial institution.

Want to earn some extra cash?

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Sallie Mae High-Yield Savings Account

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  • Interest rate: 4.50% APY
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None

Sallie Mae's High-Yield Savings Account offers a high interest rate, regardless of your balance. If you only have one savings goal, this option will be a better fit than the SmartyPig account. There's also no monthly fee or balance requirement.

That said, its APY doesn't compete with the best high-yield savings accounts on the market. Additionally, the only way to access your funds is to transfer them to a bank account with another financial institution.

Recommended High-Yield Savings Accounts

Bank Account APY Features Learn More

BrioDirect High-Yield Savings Account

5.30% More Info

*Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is accurate as of 6/4/2024. Rate is subject to certain terms and conditions. You must deposit at least $5,000 to open your account and maintain $25 to earn the disclosed APY. Rate and APY may change at any time. Fees may reduce earnings.

$5,000 min. deposit
No monthly fee

UFB Direct logo

UFB Direct Secure Savings Account

5.25% More Info

UFB Direct breaks balances into five tiers, but, currently, there is only one interest rate.

No minimum deposit
No monthly fee

SoFi Checking and Savings

0.50% - 4.60% More Info

SoFi members with Direct Deposit or $5,000 or more in Qualifying Deposits during the 30-Day Evaluation Period can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate. Members without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits, during the 30-Day Evaluation Period will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

No minimum deposit
No monthly fee

CIT Bank logo

CIT Bank Platinum Savings Account

5.00% More Info

Earn 5.00% APY on balances over $5,000. Balances of less than $5,000 earn 0.25% APY. Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of May 6, 2024. Interest rates for the Platinum Savings account are variable and subject to change at any time without notice.

$100 minimum deposit
No monthly fee

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Sallie Mae Money Market Account

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iStock

  • Interest rate: 4.75% APY
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance requirement: None
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None

If you like Sallie Mae's High-Yield Savings Account but want a bit more value, consider the bank's Money Market Account. In addition to a higher interest rate on your deposits, you'll also be able to write checks from the account, giving you a bit more flexibility with funds access.

Unlike some other standard money market accounts, Sallie Mae doesn't charge a monthly maintenance fee or require a minimum balance to earn interest or avoid a fee. The bank also doesn't list a monthly limit of six withdrawals or an excessive withdrawal fee in its terms and conditions.

UFB Direct logo and skyscraper Related Article

UFB Direct Secure Money Market: Earn 5.25% APY

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Sallie Mae Certificate of Deposit (CD)

  • Interest rate: Up to 5.30% APY
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Terms: Six months to five years
  • Early-withdrawal penalty: Up to 180 days' simple interest

Sallie Mae offers a wide range of terms and rates for its CDs, with some of the best CD rates on the market. However, each one has a $2,500 minimum deposit requirement, and there are no specialized CD options. Here's what you can get:

Term APY

6 months

4.95%

9 months

5.10%

11 months

5.15%

12 months

5.25%

13 months

5.25%

15 months

5.30%

18 months

5.15%

24 months

4.65%

30 months

4.00%

36 months

4.00%

60 months

4.00%

If you withdraw funds before your account matures with a term of 12 months or less, your penalty will be 90 days' simple interest. If the term is more than 12 months, the penalty is 180 days' simple interest.

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4 Best No-Penalty CD Rates in July 2024: Earn Up to 4.70% APY

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Other CDs to Consider

Recommended CD Accounts

Account 1-Year APY 3-Year APY 5-Year APY Learn More
CIT Bank logo

CIT Bank Term Certificates of Deposit

0.30% More Info

Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of April 2, 2024. Interest rates for CIT Bank's term CDs are variable and subject to change at any time without notice

0.40% More Info

Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of April 2, 2024. Interest rates for CIT Bank's term CDs are variable and subject to change at any time without notice

0.50% More Info

Annual Percentage Yield is accurate as of April 2, 2024. Interest rates for CIT Bank's term CDs are variable and subject to change at any time without notice

Capital One 360 Certificates of Deposit

4.80% 4.00% 3.90%
Marcus by Goldman Sachs logo

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield Certificates of Deposit

5.00% 4.15% 4.00%
Discover Bank logo

Discover Certificates of Deposit

4.70% 3.75% 3.75%

Quontic Bank Certificates of Deposit

4.50% 4.40% 4.30%

Is Sallie Mae Worth It?

Sallie Mae offers some solid savings products, but interest rates on some of its accounts aren't as good as the rates other banks offer. Additionally, Sallie Mae doesn't offer a checking account or ATM access, making it a bit harder to access your funds compared to other financial institutions.

As with any other financial decision, take some time to research all of your options to determine the best fit for you.

BL

Ben Luthi

Ben Luthi is a personal finance and travel writer and credit card expert. He has a degree in finance from Brigham Young University and worked in financial planning, banking and auto finance before writing full-time for NerdWallet and Student Loan Hero. Ben is now a full-time freelance writer and enjoys traveling and spending time with his two kids. His work has appeared in several publications, including U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Money, Success and Slickdeals.