Firstmark Student Loan Services Review: What You Should Know

 February 25, 2022
How Student Loan Hero Gets Paid

How Student Loan Hero Gets Paid

Student Loan Hero is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). Student Loan Hero does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products.

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

Logo

We’ve got your back! Student Loan Hero is a completely free website 100% focused on helping student loan borrowers get the answers they need. Read more

How do we make money? It’s actually pretty simple. If you choose to check out and become a customer of any of the loan providers featured on our site, we get compensated for sending you their way. This helps pay for our amazing staff of writers (many of which are paying back student loans of their own!).

Bottom line: We’re here for you. So please learn all you can, email us with any questions, and feel free to visit or not visit any of the loan providers on our site. Read less

If you borrowed private student loans, you probably won’t pay them back directly to your lender. Instead, you’ll send payments to a third-party loan servicer, such as Firstmark. A division of Nelnet, Firstmark handles payments and customer service for some private student loans.

This Firstmark Services review explains more about what the loan servicer does, what its customers are saying about it and what you should know if Firstmark is handling your student loan repayment.

Firstmark Services review: What does Firstmark do?

Firstmark — founded in 1997 — is a division of Nelnet, a student loan servicer that manages federal student loans for millions of borrowers and provides refinanced and private student loans through Nelnet Bank and U-fi by Nelnet.

However, Firstmark doesn’t service federal student loans or lend money to students. Instead, Firstmark services private or refinanced student loans by:

  • Helping borrowers organize their payments through tools such as autopay
  • Processing monthly student loan payments on behalf of the lender that originated the loan
  • Providing customer service

Lenders set loan terms like APRs and eligibility terms, whereas a loan servicer like Firstmark handles your loan payments. If your lender has partnered with Firstmark, you must use it. You don’t get to choose your servicer as a borrower.

Firstmark works with a number of lenders, including:

Note that some of these lenders work with multiple servicers.

Firstmark is the primary contact for customer service-related issues and is in charge of reporting payment information to the credit bureaus. Additionally, Firstmark will help with other tasks, such as pulling a document if you need to show the status of your payments.

How does Firstmark work with student loan borrowers?

Firstmark student loan services manages your student loan repayment. Firstmark offers services like KwikPay, which deducts your monthly payments automatically, and provides access to an online account where you can see:

  • The status of your loan
  • Your payment schedule
  • Your completed payments

What should cosigners know about Firstmark?

Cosigners can register for their own Firstmark accounts to access loan information. They can also make payments toward student loans. While cosigners are not eligible to receive loan statements by mail, they can opt in for electronic correspondence.

For borrowers who want to release a cosigner, first check with your lender to see if it offers this feature. Some lenders will let you remove a cosigner from your loan after a certain number of on-time payments.

If your lender allows cosigner release, contact Firstmark about next steps. You might need to file some documentation to show that you meet eligibility requirements.

Who is eligible to use Firstmark?

Firstmark doesn’t determine who is eligible for student loans, as it is simply a payment collector. You would need to borrow loans from a private student loan lender that works with Firstmark, such as Citizens Bank. (Check our list of private student loan lenders for more information.)

Multiple factors determine your eligibility for borrowing a private student loan or refinancing a student loan, including:

  • Whether you have a co-borrower
  • Your choice of school
  • Your credit history

If a private student loan lender confirms your eligibility and approves the student loan, your lender will indicate who your student loan servicer is in your promissory agreement.

However, if you haven’t heard from the lender or servicer, ask your lender or look at your most recent student loan statement to see if Firstmark is listed.

You’ll want to figure out this information as soon as possible to make sure you’re on top of any payments. It’s important to read all correspondence that comes through about your student loan in case there are any changes or updates to your account.

How do you know if Firstmark is your loan servicer?

There are a few ways you can find out who’s servicing your private student loans, whether Firstmark or another loan servicer. First, Firstmark should contact you if it is servicing your private student loan through a letter or email.

But you don’t have to wait for this communication to find out who’s servicing your loan. You can check your private student loan statements to see if they list your loan servicer.

You can also reach out directly to your lender to see if it has information on your servicer. And finally, you can order a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com for information on your loan.

Note that your federal student loans will be managed by one or more different servicers, since Firstmark only works with private loans. You can find your federal loan servicers by logging into your Federal Student Aid account.

How do you sign up for Firstmark?

Once you’ve determined that Firstmark is servicing your student loan, you can follow a few simple steps to set up your account:

  • Go to the Firstmark website and click “Log in/Register” in the top right corner. Make sure to click on the “Borrowers” option. You’ll be led to the login page, so click the “Register” button to continue.
  • You’ll need to enter your Social Security number, full name, email address and date of birth.
  • Create a username and password and click “Continue.”
  • After answering and setting up security questions, verify that your contact information is correct, make any necessary changes and submit.
  • Review the terms and conditions.
  • If you agree to the terms and conditions, select the checkbox and click “Go to My Account.”

How do you make payments to Firstmark?

The easiest way to make payments to Firstmark is through your online account. You can make one-time payments or set up monthly autopay.

Alternatively, you can make your payments via mail or over the phone.

  • Pay by mail: Send your student loan payments to Firstmark Services, P.O. Box 2977, Omaha, NE 68103-2977.
  • Pay by phone: Call 888-538-7378 to make payments over the phone.

If you need additional information, you can call Firstmark at 888-538-7378 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central, Monday through Friday or email [email protected]

Firstmark services reviews: What are customers saying?

Firstmark customers tend to cite negative experiences with the loan servicer online. On Better Business Bureau, for example, 41 reviewers give Firstmark an average of 1.12 stars out of five. On Facebook, the average is similarly low — 1.1 stars based on 62 reviews.

Some customers complain that Firstmark didn’t process their payments correctly, resulting in late fees or unfair derogatory marks on their credit reports. Others said that customer service was unhelpful or difficult to reach.

Another reviewer said that Firstmark lost their documentation for cosigner release and delayed the process for months. Others wrote that the company was “incompetent” and working with them was a “stressful nightmare.”

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for student loan borrowers to have negative experiences with student loan servicers. In fact, some loan servicers have successfully been sued for misleading borrowers.

Since you don’t have a choice when it comes to your loan servicer — unless you refinance with a different lender — it’s worth checking in with your student loan accounts to make sure everything looks as it should.

Firstmark Services FAQ

Here are answers to some common questions about Firstmark:

Are there any loan fees?

There are no prepayment penalties, though Firstmark will still deduct your regular payment from your bank account each month if you enrolled in autopay.

Late fees will differ by lender. Call Firstmark customer service at 888-538-7378 or check your promissory note for more information.

You could be subject to a returned payment fee if your payment method is denied.

What if I miss — or think I will miss — a payment?

Missing student loan payments can not only result in late fees but also damage your credit. If you’re worried that you’ll forget to make your payment, sign up for auto debit so Firstmark can automatically withdraw it from your account.

If, on the other hand, you can’t afford your payments, reach out to Firstmark to see if it can help. It might be able to adjust your monthly payments or offer other forms of help.

Here are a couple of solutions that Firstmark might be able to offer, though these options can vary depending on your lender:

  • Change your payment due date. If you’re not able to pay because your bill falls before payday, Firstmark might be able to adjust your deadline so it falls at a better time of month.
  • Temporarily pause payments. Some lenders offer temporary forbearance or deferment of payments if you’ve run into financial hardship. Note that interest will continue to accrue on your balance.
  • Skip a payment. Some lenders let you skip a payment if you’ve made a certain number of on-time payments. Note that you’re not skipping this payment completely; it will just be tacked on to the end of your loan term.

It’s worth reaching out to Firstmark as soon as possible to see if you can resolve your problem before you miss a student loan payment.

Can I refinance a Firstmark student loan?

You can refinance a loan that’s being serviced by Firstmark, as long as you meet certain credit requirements. Your new lender will issue a disbursement, so you’ll need to contact it rather than Firstmark if you have any questions.

Depending on the refinancing lender you choose, you might end up paying back Firstmark again or working with a new loan servicer.

How do I pay off my student loans faster?

If you can afford extra payments, you can always pay off your student loans early without penalty. Here are some tips to help you chip away at your balance faster:

  • Reduce your spending. Take a look at your budget and identify areas where you can cut back. Even an extra $25 per month on your student loans could help you get out of debt faster and save on interest.
  • Find ways to increase your income. Whether you work a side hustle or start your own online business, increasing your income could help you afford extra debt payments.
  • Instruct Firstmark on how to apply your extra payments. Make sure that Firstmark is applying your extra payments to pay down your principal balance, rather than saving them for future payments.
  • Use the debt avalanche method. If you have multiple loans, target the ones with the highest interest rate first (while still making the required payments on all your debts). With this strategy, you can save the most on interest.

This guide gives additional tips on how to pay off your student loans ahead of schedule.

Jordi Lippe-McGraw and Sarah Li Cain contributed to this report

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2022!
LenderAPR RangeLoan Amount 
7.99% – 23.43%1$5,000 - $100,000

Visit SoFi

4.37% – 35.99%$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upstart

7.46% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upgrade

99.00% – 199.00%2$500 - $4,000

Visit OppLoans

5.99% – 24.99%3$5,000 - $40,000

Visit Happy Money

7.99% – 20.88%4$5,000 - $50,000

Visit Citizens

7.99% – 35.99%5$2,000 - $36,500

Visit LendingPoint

10.68% – 35.89%6$1,000 - $40,000

Visit LendingClub

9.95% – 35.99%7$2,000 - $35,000

Visit Avant

1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

Fixed rates from 7.99% APR to 23.43% APR APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 8/22/22 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.


2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Opploans.

Opploans Disclosures

Direct Deposit required for payroll.

Opploans currently operates in these states: . *Approval may take longer if additional verification documents are requested. Not all loan requests are approved. Approval and loan terms vary based on credit determination and state law. Applications processed and approved before 7:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday are typically funded the next business day.

  1. To qualify, a borrower must (i) be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; (ii) reside in a state where OppLoans operates; (iii) have direct deposit; (iv) meet income requirements; (v) be 18 years of age (19 in Alabama); and, (vi) meet verification standards.
  2. NV Residents: The use of high-interest loans services should be used for short-term financial needs only and not as a long-term financial solution. Customers with credit difficulties should seek credit counseling before entering into any loan transaction.

  3. OppLoans performs no credit checks through the three major credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Applicants’ credit scores are provided by Clarity Services, Inc., a credit reporting agency.

  4. Based on customer service ratings on Google and Facebook. Testimonials reflect the individual’s opinion and may not be illustrative of all individual experiences with OppLoans. Check loan reviews.

  5. Rates and terms vary by state.


3 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Happy Money.

Happy Money Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Rates and offer subject to change. All accounts, loans and services subject to individual approval.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.

LendingPoint Disclosures

Applications submitted on this website may be funded by one of several lenders, including: FinWise Bank, a Utah-chartered bank, Member FDIC; Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC; Midland States Bank, Member FDIC; and LendingPoint, a licensed lender in certain states. Loan approval is not guaranteed. Actual loan offers and loan amounts, terms and annual percentage rates (“APR”) may vary based upon LendingPoint’s proprietary scoring and underwriting system’s review of your credit, financial condition, other factors, and supporting documents or information you provide. Origination or other fees from 0% to 7% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. Loans are offered from $2,000 to $36,500, at rates ranging from 7.99% to 35.99% APR, with terms from 24 to 72 months. Minimum loan amounts apply in Georgia, $3,500; Colorado, $3,001; and Hawaii, $1,500. For a well-qualified customer, a $10,000 loan for a period of 48 months with an APR of 24.34% and origination fee of 7% will have a payment of $327.89 per month. (Actual terms and rate depend on credit history, income, and other factors.) The $15,575.04 total amount due under the loan terms provided as an example in this disclaimer includes the origination fee financed in addition to the loan amount. Customers may have the option to deduct the origination fee from the disbursed loan amount if desired. If the origination fee is added to the financed amount, interest is charged on the full principal amount. The total amount due is the total amount of the loan you will have paid after you have made all payments as scheduled.


6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.

LendingClub Disclosures

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 10.68% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 9.56% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 13.11%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $192.37. The total amount repayable will be $6,925.32. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 2% to 6% (average is 4.86% as of 7/1/2019 – 9/30/2019). In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,001 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.


7 Important Disclosures for Avant.

Avant Disclosures

*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.

**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.

Based on the responses from 7,302 customers in a survey of 140,258 newly funded customers, conducted from August 1, 2018 – August 1, 2019, 95.11% of customers stated that they were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with Avant. 4/5 Customers would recommend us. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.


* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 7.46%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 1.85% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 24 to 84 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.59% APR (which includes a 13.94% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $341.48. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,293.46. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade’s bank partners. Information on Upgrade’s bank partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/bank-partners/ .