Sallie Mae Credit Card: How it Compares
Sallie Mae, famous (or infamous depending on your opinion) for servicing student loans, recently introduced it’s releasing its own slate of credit cards. The line includes three different cards aimed at college students and recent graduates working to pay down student loans.
The cards aim to appeal to this demographic by offering enticing rewards. But is opening a Sallie Mae credit card a good idea?
What is the Sallie Mae Credit Card?
The Sallie Mae line of credit cards include Ignite, Evolve and Accelerate, each of which offers their own unique approach to rewards. Ignite is meant to reward good financial behaviors. Evolve categorizes spending and rewards you for spending in the top categories each month. Accelerate is unique in that in rewards you for using cashback to pay down your student loans. The cards are meant to incentivize various positive financial habits and to set the Sallie Mae cards apart from the rest of the credit card market.
The major benefit of the Sallie Mae credit cards is their rewards. Each card offers at least a standard 1 percent cashback reward, with Accelerate offering 1.25 percent. But each card offers bigger rewards on top of that. Ignite offers a bonus 25 percent on your cashback rewards after making six on-time payments. With Evolve, you’ll earn the 25 percent cashback on your top two spending categories each month. And the most unique of all is Accelerate, which used the 25 percent to apply to any cashback rewards you use to pay down your student loans. These rewards are certainly enticing.
Other Beneficial Card Features
All three cards also come with no annual fee and a zero percent introductory interest rate. Additionally, paying your cell phone bill with your Sallie Mae credit card can earn you up to $600 in cell phone protection. The partner mobile app also allows you to set notifications to track your spending.
In general, having a credit card as a college student or young adult can help build your credit profile. The Sallie Mae credit cards target this group specifically by rewarding financial habits that will allow these consumers to successfully build credit and set them up for the future.
The Sallie Mae Name
Having the name “Sallie Mae” attached to a credit card could be a pro or a con, depending on your perspective. For those drowning in student loan debt, the words “Sallie Mae” alone may invoke an involuntary shudder. As a result, the negative emotional reaction could steer many away from a Sallie Mae card, despite the shiny rewards.
Adding to Your Debt
Sallie Mae could have young adults paying off their student loan debt by charging it to a card. This can be a dangerous game to play, because credit card interest rates, after the introductory period, are generally considerably higher than student loan interest rates. As a result, if Sallie Mae cardholders don’t pay off their balances in full each month, they could be paying exponentially more for their student loans than they would have otherwise. However, the Accelerate card only rewards using your cashback towards a loan payment. But generally, it’s best to keep your credit card and student loan accounts separate.
The idea of a credit card from a student loan provider certainly raises some eyebrows. Sallie Mae’s rewards programs may definitely be enticing to young adults and recent college graduates looking to build credit with a name that they’re familiar with. However, the notion of credit and student loan debt being linked can be threatening to young adults’ financial situations. Sallie Mae credit cards can be beneficial if used carefully and properly.