Ally Bank offers a wide variety of services — from savings accounts to adjustable rate mortgages — but one product you won’t find are Ally Bank student loans.
If you’re an Ally Bank consumer looking for a student loan, where can you find one that’ll help you pay for college without breaking the bank? Here are some great alternatives, including both federal and private student loan options:
Maximize your eligibility for federal student loans
Before turning to a bank for a student loan, explore your options for federal student loans. Federal Student Aid offers subsidized and unsubsidized student loans, as well as PLUS loans for graduate students and parents.
Federal loans tend to have low fixed interest rates, and they typically don’t require a cosigner to borrow. Plus, they have built-in protections, including:
To access federal student loans, all you need to do is submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your financial aid award letter from your college will tell you how much you’re eligible to borrow.
Since federal loans tend to have borrower-friendly terms, you should probably max out your eligibility for these before turning to a private lender. However, because federal loans do come with borrowing limits, so you might not get enough money to cover the cost of college. In that case, it could make sense to take out a private student loan.
Compare options for private student loans
While you won’t find student loans at Ally Bank, you can borrow a private student loan from another bank, credit union or online lender. Unlike the typical federal loan, you’ll need to pass a credit and income check to qualify. Most undergraduate students can’t qualify on their own, so they apply with a cosigner, such as a parent.
Rates and terms vary by lender, so it’s important to compare loan offers from multiple lenders. Look for a loan with the best interest rate to lower your costs of borrowing. You might also look at other factors before picking a lender, such as borrower protections (e.g., forbearance) and a reputation for strong customer service.
And before signing any paperwork, familiarize yourself with the details of your loan. Find out when your first payment is due and if your loan comes with a grace period. Carefully choose your repayment term — whether the standard 10 years or something else — and use a student loan calculator to estimate your monthly payments.
By reading over the fine print, you’ll understand exactly what you’re getting into and hopefully avoid taking on a burdensome amount of debt.
5 great alternatives to Ally Bank student loans
Since Ally Bank student loans are non-existent, where should you turn? You have a lot of options — here are a few lenders with great rates and terms to consider.
Alternatives for Ally private student loans
First, let’s look at where to go for college loans. Don’t forget that you’ll almost always want to first exhaust all of your federal student loan options. (See here for why.) But if you still need funds for school after there, here are some great options to consider.
- Has variable annual percentage rates (APRs) at 1.19% to 11.98% and fixed APRs at 3.49% to 12.99% as long as you’re enrolled in autopay
- Provides loans to cover up to 100% of the cost of attendance at your school
- Offers repayment terms of 5, 8, 10, 15 years
- Lets you defer payments while you’re in school and for six months after you graduate or make interest-only, flat or full payments while in school
- Doesn’t charge an origination fee
- Offers variable APRs at 1.89% to 11.98% and fixed APRs at 3.75% to 13.30% as long as you’re enrolled in autopay
- Provides loans to cover 100% of the cost of attendance
- Let’s you borrow a minimum of $1,000 with no maximum limit
- Loans do not have fees
- Repayment terms of 5, 10, 15 years
- Shows you several offers at once from its partner lenders, which include credit unions and community banks
- Repayment period of 10 years
- These partners offer variable APRs at 1.13% to 11.23% and fixed APRs at 3.50% to 12.60%, as long as you’re enrolled in autopay
Alternatives for Ally Bank student loan refinancing
At some point during your student loan repayment, you might want to refinance. When you refinance, a lender pays off your existing loan with a new loan featuring a lower interest rate — that lower rate saves you money. However, just like there are no Ally Bank student loans, there are no Ally Bank refinancing products.
Instead, check out these two lenders to see if either is the best alternative for you.
- Offers variable APRs at 1.74% (with autopay) to 9.51% (without autopay) and fixed APRs at 2.29% to 8.63% (both without autopay discount).
- No application, origination or prepayment fees
- Minimum loan of $5,000 with no maximum (depending on lending partner)
- Offers private and federal student loan refinancing
- Offers variable APRs starting at 1.74% and fixed APRs starting at 2.99%, as long as you’re enrolled in autopay
- No application, origination or prepayment fees
- Repayment terms from Up to 20 years
- Offers loans from $5,000 to $500,000
Shop around to find the best deal
Even if Ally Bank did offer student loans, it would still be a good idea to shop around with several lenders before choosing one.
Many online lenders make it easy to check your rates from the comfort of your laptop or phone, after providing a few basic pieces of information. These instant rate quotes won’t impact your credit at all, and they let you compare multiple offers at once. By taking the time to compare offers, you can find a loan that’ll cost you the least amount of interest over the years.
This same principle of shopping around applies if you decide to refinance for lower rates in the future. Since private lenders all want your business, let them compete for it.
And if you exhaust your federal loan options and need to turn to a private lender, you should still make sure to shop around. Once your first payment is due, you’ll be happy you took the time to find a private student loan with the best interest rate for you.