After paying my student loans for a few years, I received a letter notifying me that my student loans were being transferred to another loan servicer. What? Whyyyy?
Even though I didn’t particularly love my student loan servicer, I had absolutely no choice in the matter and experienced very little support when my largest financial obligation switched hands in a blink. I wasn’t sure what to expect. But now that my loan servicers have changed twice, I know what to do.
If you’re in the same situation, follow these steps to transition to your new loan serving company smoothly.
What Is a Student Loan Servicer?
A loan servicer is a company that manages your student loan payments. Your loan servicer is assigned to you by the U.S. Department of Education, so you can’t “shop around” for the best loan servicer. You deal with what you’re given, for better or worse.
Currently, there are 10 student loan servicing companies that manage student loan repayment and act as a liaison between borrower and lender.
What to Do When Student Loan Servicing Changes Hands
A change in loan servicers could signify some behind-the-scenes business from your current loan servicer. It could also be a move on behalf of the Department of Education, which is making an effort to aid borrowers with more than one loan servicer by transferring their loans so they only have one servicer to deal with.
A student loan servicer change can also occur if you are participating in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. All loans through that program are managed by FedLoan Servicing.
If you are unsure of who your loan servicer is, you can retrieve your federal loan information through the National Student Loan Data System. For private student loans, borrowers can check their credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com to find out.
Step 1: Stay up-to-date by reading your notifications.
I’m the first to admit that for a long while, I collected student loan letters and emails and never read them. I’ve always made on-time payments and learned quickly that most of the notifications were simply payment reminders. However, your loan servicer will notify you months in advance about a loan servicer switch, so it’s important you actually read your notifications.
Be sure your contact information is up-to-date — you may have an old email or your parent’s address on your account. Make sure everything is up-to-date so you can stay in communication with your current loan servicer and be notified of any changes.
Step 2: Create an account with the new loan servicer.
If your loan servicer is changing, you will receive a welcome letter from your new loan servicer that includes contact information and supporting materials. Your loans will be switched over to your new loan servicer automatically, but you’ll need to create a new account with your new loan servicer in order to manage payments and stay in touch online.
Go on to your new loan servicer’s website and create an account. Typically, this involves creating a username and password, as well as entering your personal information to match you to your loans.
Once you create an account, save your password, as well as documentation about the loan transfer and the welcome letter, somewhere safe. You’ll want to have those for reference later on, if need be.
Step 3: Update your payment information.
While your loans are transferred automatically to your new student loan servicer, it doesn’t mean your payment information will be. You may need to re-input your bank information and set up your payment preferences.
You don’t want to miss a payment because autopay wasn’t set up with your new loan servicer or because you didn’t have updated payment information.
Step 4: Get to know your loan servicer.
You can’t choose your student loan servicer, so you might as well get to know the one you have. Some loan servicers like Nelnet have financial education resources and also allow for text message reminders. Learn the ins and outs of your new loan servicer so you can take advantage of what they offer.
While it may seem like your loan servicer is just a means to an end, they can be a great resource should you need to defer your loans or change your repayment plan.
What To Do If the Process Is Messy
The process of changing loan servicing companies can be relatively painless. You get a notification, create an account, update your payment settings, and voila — done.
Unfortunately, not all borrowers have the best experiences with loan servicer transfers. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:
“More than 10 million borrowers have had their servicer change in the past five years…When servicers change, payments may be lost, consumers may incur surprise late fees, and processing problems and missing account records can knock borrowers off track on repaying their loans.”
If you’re having issues with your new loan servicer and you’ve tried to resolve your issues with them directly, you may want to consider submitting a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The most important thing to do if you’re dealing with loan servicer changes is to stay on top of repayment and maintain your records.
Photo credit: joethegoatfarmer.com
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
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|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|