Really, Sallie Mae?

One of the blessings that has come from our whole apartment-we-were-moving-into-didn’t-have-a-certificate-of-occupancy-and-we-didn’t-find-out-until-we-had-moved-out-of-our-other-apartment-so-now-we’re-living-at-my-parents’-for-the-summer debacle is an increased cash flow, which means D and I can take this time to get our fiances in order and pay off our debt. My first order of business in doing this was paying off the remainder of my student loan, so I can officially say the degree that I earned is mine, and no longer partially owned by Sallie Mae.

I paid off the balance in May and excitedly waited for the “Congratulations–we no longer own your soul!” e-mail, but it never came. I finally logged back into my account to admire the zero balance and found that even though my payment had been processed before the actual due date for the loan, I was still charged interest on the balance. The amount? 2 cents.

I was slightly annoyed by this, slightly amused, and debated how to handle the remaining balance. Should I just go ahead and pay it online? Send them 2 pennies in the mail? Write a 2-cent check and mail it along with a snarky little letter? Or maybe not pay it at all and see what would actually happen… (I imagined one day I’d end up being featured on the yahoo main page for “weird but true” news stories: “Woman’s 2-cent student loan balance accrues to $10,000 after not being paid for 40 years”).

I finally decided to just bite the bullet and pay the pithy amount, and hope my opportunity for 15-minutes of internet fame would come elsewhere (and hopefully not come by way of arrest/public “wardrobe malfunction”).

However, I realized paying this amount would not be as easy as I expected…When I tried to pay the amount online, Sallie Mae’s automated system informed me that it could not accept payments less than a dollar. Fine, I grumbled, as I then entered in $1 payment, figuring the 98 cents would be my gift to them (because really, don’t they deserve it for all their hard work gouging us in our pursuit for higher education?)

I was then informed that I could not pay over the amount due on my loan. Suddenly, I found myself in a Mexican standoff with my payment options. I considered the 2-cent check option, but realized I would be paying more for the stamp than the cost of the actual loan payment.

I decided to email their customer service department regarding my woes.

A couple days later, I received an email from Sallie Mae congratulating me on paying off my loan. It indicated that I would be receiving my confirmation information shortly. Good for you, Sallie Mae customer service representative, I thought, way to rationally handle this issue.

After a week went by with still no “You did it!” email or letter, I decided to log back in my account, hoping to admire my zero balance, but instead I found those 2 rogue cents were there–waiting for me, taunting me–daring me not to pay them.

I ended up calling Sallie Mae’s customer support system directly. When the representative got on the phone, I explained the situation, explained how I had attempted to pay, explained how I was unable.

“I understand what you are saying, ma’am, but you are still charged interest on the balance, which must still be paid.”

I explained that I did, indeed, understand that, but reiterated once again how their online system was making it impossible to do so.

“Can I just give you my card number now so you can take my 2-cent payment?”

“I can, ma’am; however, we charge a $14.95 processing fee for online payments.”

This is when I officially lost it.

“So, what you’re telling me is I can’t pay online, and I will incur a $15 charge if I make my 2-cent payment over the phone?? Please, then, tell me what I should do. Should I mail you the 2 pennies, because I will do that.”

There was a brief moment of silence. I believe I could sense her fear–clearly, this was not covered in the sheet of required responses to customer queries she was regurgitating to me to the point of obscenity.

“Could you please hold while I discuss this with my manager?” she asked, tensely.


A few minutes went by before she got back on the line to inform me that as a “courtesy,” they would be waiving the 2 cents and that my loan would now be considered paid in full.  For the 2nd time.

I checked on my account a couple hours later, and it still is showing I owe the money.

I’m hoping this is just because it will take some time for their system to update and does not mean I will have to put in another phone call, another customer service email, another moment of my time trying to get this fucking situated.

I will guarantee though that if it’s not resolved, I will be mailing the 2 pennies along with a very colorful letter providing them with my two cents on the matter…



43 thoughts on “Really, Sallie Mae?

  1. BRILLIANT!!! I say mail them your two cents worth anyway 🙂 along with the two pennies!

  2. Exact same story minus customer service calls and add on that I paid the ‘full payoff balance’ last week only to see a 9cent balance today. Read your post before making myself infuriated. Will likely phone them tomorrow

  3. I’m sorry to hear of your similar woes, Robert-and to learn that Sallie Mae still hasn’t gotten their act together. I definitely recommend phoning them and if the drone who answers the phone can’t logically handle the situation, ask for the manager. Let me know how it goes for you!

  4. I googled “sallie mae owe less than $1” and found you–we should start a Sallie Mae recovering support group. I’m about to call customer service now, thanks for the post. Hope that after a year, things have been resolved.

  5. Wow! I can’t believe how many other people have experienced this exact same thing! I’m sorry to hear it, but I’m happy that we can share in the misery together 🙂

    I can happily say that after that last round of hassle, the loan was finally considered to be paid in full. Hopefully you all will have the same experience! (Please leave a comment and let me know what happens with your experience!)

  6. I also found this through a Google search. After a painless call to customer service, I was told that my account (also owing $.02) is considered paid in full, and I should expect to received a Paid in Full letter at my home address 30 days from my last payment. I will look for this letter and if I don’t see it within 30 days, then I will release my hellish fury on Sallie Mae. But this actually makes sense (though why 30 whole days, I don’t know)

  7. Hey Kristin– Calling and badgering customer service (which essentially led me to being transferred to a manager) finally got the issue cleared up (the ever-so-kindly finally waived the 2 cents that were due.)

    Let me know if that works for you!

  8. I also have a sallie mae loan that I plan to pay in full this coming june. After reading your experience I plan to overpay them by a dollar hell maybe i’ll even give them 2 dollars for all their “troubles” just to be on the safe side, Do you think i will still have 2 cents owing if I overpay by a dollar or 2? Stay tuned..I will let you know in june.

  9. This exact same thing just happened to me. I’m glad I’m not alone on this, but come on, Sallie Mae! How do you not have a policy in place for this? I just sent an email to customer service. I Guess I should make a call tomorrow during business hours.

  10. @Jason – we paid off this month and used their little “guess how much interest you’ll have to pay by the time the money transfers from your pocket to ours” calculator. It was a weekend when we made the decision to pay and maybe also a holiday that Monday (?). Either way, there were a couple of factors making us unsure of when our bank would be operating, so we erred on the side of caution. My account now shows a negative balance of $2.83. After reading the story here, I’m surprised they accepted my payment! I doubt I will see those nearly $3, but ask me if I care 🙂 We’ve been relatively constantly infuriated with Sallie Mae the entire years we had loans with them. I can’t even imagine how swear-inducingly maddening it would be to get to the end and find out you’re not actually done. Good luck to everyone!!

  11. I over paid one Sallie Mae loan by 43 cents. I hoped that they would send me a check, but they didn’t. They cancelled their debt to me (I wish I could do that). Now I underpaid by 58 cents hoping to recover my loss. Let’s see what happens.

  12. Owing 29 cents. Gonna call them and use the same argument. Planning to send 29 cents if issue is not resolved. Will follow up.

  13. Okay…this may be helpful to others. Called them just now about my 29 cents and asked them if they wanted me to send pennies in or what. I was then informed that after 30 days, any remaining payment left of $5 or less will be written off and the “paid in full” letter should be mailed.

  14. Salliemae can bill it but will not let you pay it. It’s a big and old bug in their system.
    6 Cents Here, same thing! This is my 2nd rodeo with the “Less than a Buck” club.

  15. Same issue. Just called in and was informed by the customer rep going my the name of “Isis” that any amount under $5.00 is written off by Sallie Mae, and to expect a Paid in Full letter in 30-45 days from the date of my last payment. I asked, if I do not receive the letter within 45-60 days, I should call back and she confirmed, yes.

    So, moral of the story is: under $5.00 and you’re free to go, as long as you wait 45 days for the Paid in Full letter.

  16. When paying my loans in full, I called in to SallieMae for the 10 day payoff. Customer Service gave me the amount. When I entered it online, it spit back that I couldn’t over pay the balance, and gave me a 4 day payoff amount that the system did accept.

    Sallie Mae now owes me $2.06 an I’m compounding interest daily.

  17. OH MY! Just starting to make my first pymt. & found this site! It sounds like a scam. Of the 13 people above who stared an amt. still owed, the total is $6.63. Can you umagine just HOW MUCH MONEY they make off of ALL THE PEOPLE they do this to? Think about how many loans they carry! How mant people just write a check or even send in cash just trying to get PAID IN FULL! Yep! A scam is EXACTLY what it sounds like!! Good luck to all! (Inclusive!)

  18. The website allowed me to pay off the loan when it was under a $1. I had one with .48 cents left and another with .07 cents left. I paid it for the sake of completion and didn’t know they considered it paid in full if it is less than $5. Even if I did know, I would have paid them off anyway because I don’t want that lady in my life anymore.

  19. This happened to me once when I owed $0.43. However at this point, I was finishing off the first of four loans, so I paid $1.00 on one of the three remaining loans for a total payment of $1.43. If you have multiple loans, this should work for all but the last one.

  20. You should pay them 1 dollar. By law, they have to issue you a refund for the over payment. I am in the same boat with Sallie Mae – their “online system” is a mess. Wish i was like you….. i overpaid by $600 due to their stupid system and their useless customer support.

    I do this all the time though…… if a company iritates me enough, i will send in a payment for 1 dollar more than i owe. It costs the typical enterprise between $25 and $75 to send you that $1 over payment 🙂

  21. They did the same thing to me!!! I paid over $1400 to pay off a loan and son of a bee sting if I don’t log back on and see I still owe 32 cents!!!!

    Customer service did the same for me (waived the charge) but it took 45 days before online was updated and the loan zero-ed out. They said their website can no longer accept FINAL PAYMENTS. Those must be made over the phone or in the mail.

  22. Hmm amazed that all these college grads don’t know the first thing about interest accumulation, every single loan I’ve paid off I mailed in the last payment AFTER I requested a payoff amount.

  23. It has nothing to do with understanding interest accumulation and calling for a payoff amount…… It has to do with Sallie Mae being utterly clueless and useless. Call them 3 times and you’ll get 3 different answers. Their systems are antiquated and their staff not well trained.

  24. I paid off my final balance of 287.18 logged on 3 days later to make sure it cleared expecting a congratulations you’re free and I apparently still owed 4 CENTS WTF thanks sallie “this is aiiiishleyyy with salllly maaaayyyy”

  25. So how did you guys resoved it because I called 2x already and waited 10 days for each and still no letter. I did see some cents when I last logged in and i was told it is already paid in full. But until now no letter I think its been 2 months! what should i do?

  26. I just went through this nightmare with a loan group on Sallie Mae, which is now Navient. Just now I tried this with a different loan group : submitted payment online for the exact loan amount, then immediately submitted a 2nd payment for $1 scheduled for two days later. I’ll see in about a week if it all zeroes out.

  27. Hmm . . . I saw this post was from 2011 and was hoping Sallie Mae would have corrected the problem by now . . . until I scrolled down. I’ll be divorcing Sallie Mae in less than a month. I wonder if a way to avoid the problem is to pay off all but a dollar and then pay off the dollar (and whatever interest) as soon as soon as the previous payment clears. The dollar+ barely would accrue enough interest for there to be a balance (I think).

  28. I’ve never tried this, but I would recommend doing using your bank bill pay service to set a 0.xx check for free.

  29. I’m hoping to get a “you did it letter,” but I”m better I never get one. I pay them via e-check from my bank, so I’m hoping I don’t run into the 2 cents problem with navient/sallie or my bank! =)

  30. WHY are we not unifying around this sort of corrupt and blatant theft and initiating a class action suit? Any lawyers in a large firm with sufficient resources being rooked here who could get that started?

  31. I had the same thing happen to me but over ONE CENT, one measly penny!!! Naturally I called customer service and asked why their system had rejected my ridiculous one cent payment and what I had to do in order to pay off my account in full. I received the response of “we waive anything under $5” and that I would receive a letter in the mail 30 days from now saying I had paid in full and in 45 days my account would be closed. I was surprised to find this post and relieved that I was not alone in this ridiculous situation. I don’t know how this will turn out and if my ONE CENT will actually be waived, but I refuse to have a blemish on my good credit for a stupid penny!!! You better believe I will continue to harass them until my account shows $0.00!!!

  32. YEARS ago when my husband and I were still in college he transferred. At some point Sallie Mae decided he was no longer in school. Every year he would fill out the deferment paperwork and every year they would not document and he would end up with 2 months of hassle and bad credit reports because they would say he was delinquent on the loan. A few years after graduation we decided to purchase a house and what is on the credit report… husband has defaulted on the student loans. The interesting part is that we were not one day late on a single payment but the defaulted loan was after graduation. Do you have any idea what type of hoops WE had to go through to prove he had not defaulted on the loan? All Sallie Mae did was send a report…that was not even true! It was horrible and we almost lost our first house because of them. They refused to take it off the report for MONTHS!!! The bank looked over all of our information and just discounted what Sallie Mae was saying because we had proof.

  33. I have a sallie mae story all my own. I graduated with my Associates degree back in 1995. In 2011, I finally paid off my student loan TO THE FUCKING PENNY. This summer I finally decided what I want to do for the rest of my life and returned to my alma matter to begin the process. Guess what my financial aid officer just told me. No. Not 2 pennies. That I am in default for ONE FUCKING DOLLAR. ONE. FUCKING. DOLLAR. Sallie Fucking Mae. At least I now know why my credit score is not in better standing. No more loans. Not. Ever.

Comments are closed.