Firstmark Student Loans Review: What You Need to Know
For most of the college students, Firstmark services will be their way to debt-free living. Federal loans do not always cover the whole cost of a college education in most cases and to deal with these students are forced to take out private loans.
So as a result of the federal loans not covering all the costs of a college education for some student they are forced to take out private student loans to be able to cover the difference in this cost. Instead of making the loan payment collection themselves from the students, most of the private lenders hire some third party loan servicers to get this task done and Firstmark is one of those few loan servicers.
If you have currently had a federal student loan then you might already be familiar with Firstmark's other name or their parent company, Nelnet, which services over 5 million student borrowers on their student loans.
But the major difference that sets these two apart is that where Nelnet services student loans of many kinds, Firstmark services only private student loans.
Where most private lenders prefer to focus on lending money instead of handling the payments or providing customer care which turns out to be a bit of a hassle, hence they partner with firms such as Firstmark who are servicers who usually deal with all the customer interactions.
If your student loan lender is currently employing Firstmark as a mode of collecting your payments then here are the things you should know.
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How does Nelnet Firstmark help student loan borrowers?
First, off the thing, you need to understand is that Firstmark is not your student loan lender nor are they the issuer of your student loan.
Your lender usually will be the one that decides the terms on which your student loan will be given out and handled with such as your interest rate, the repayment plan and the term duration over which the repayment will take place.
Whereas Firstmark works as a partner along with you to make sure that -
You get help to be able to repay your loans on a timely basis
Your payments are collected
Be able to clear any questions or doubts you have regarding anything concerning your loan
If you are unsure of whether Firstmark is who you are supposed to work with in regards to your private student loan servicer, you should be able to check a recent payment stub or a recent student loan statement or just call up your lender and ask them. You are also able to check up on your credit report to have a look at who services your student loan.
Once you are sure that Firstmark is the one you should be looking at regarding your student loan servicer, you should get in touch with them for any of your queries regarding your student loan and its repayment and more.
Think of Firstmark as the middleman that connects you and your student loan lender and also in some ways helps you in paying off the debts that you have in terms of private student loans as soon and as efficiently as possible.
Getting yourself an account with Firstmark
Since Firstmark is more of a customer-centered company, they offer their customers multiple avenues in terms of getting in touch with them.
Such as being able to contact them through a member of the customer service through a phone call, or an email, and even nothing works out you can try through a written correspondence too.
The easiest way for you to start paying back your private student loans is by getting yourself an account with Firstmark online -
To get this done you need to go to www.firstmarkservices.com and get registered as a borrower.
You will be required to fill your full name, DOB, Social security number and email address which will be used to contact you.
You will then be able to make an account with a username and password.
You can then log in using this to your online account for making payments to Firstmark Services. You are also able to make mail payments to Firstmark Services P.O. Box 2977, Omaha, NE 68103-2977.
In case you decide to reach Firstmark by phone, you should be able to call them up on 888-538-7378.
How do you pay off your student loans quicker?
The more you understand about the process of repayment, the more you can strategically plan and deal with it and be able to pay off your loans quickly.
Like most people plan to do, you are most probably looking to paying off your loans as quickly as possible and would definitely want to pay as little interest as you possibly can.
So following are some of the tips we have to offer for you to be able to do that.
Reduce your budget -
Through this, you will be able to save some money and be able to put that towards paying off your student loans sooner. Spend less on your daily budget, set it upright. Keep a count of where you spend and try to cut down on unnecessary things as much as possible.
Think up new streams of income -
Try and figure out new streams of income and be creative about it so you can raise the cash that can go towards paying off your student loans faster.
For example try to drive an Uber or sign up for lyft, do some freelance work or sell items on eBay which would be able to provide you will enough money to make any sort of an effect on your student loan payments.
Pay off more than the minimum monthly mentioned payments -
Here you will be able to make a huge difference over time even if the amount that you end up paying every month is as low as $50 that goes towards paying for your student loan monthly payments.
Put all that extra money you get into paying off your student loans -
Here if you manage to get some extra money by the way of certain avenues such as a bonus from work or some sort of inheritance then put it towards paying off your student loans instead of going out and partying or spending it over the weekend on an unnecessary vacation.
Try to get rid of those high-interest loans off first -
If you have any sort of extra money to put towards your student loans and you have other private loans that are with different rates but are higher as private loans usually are. Then you should begin by paying those higher interest rate loans off first.
Make sure you keep this in mind as when you make a payment because your payment is divided between all the loans that you currently have to repay. But if you are paying more than the minimum that is required of you, the extra payment is directed towards the loan with the highest interest rate and is sort of the strategy to save you money over time.
Make sure you avoid the need to make partial payments -
You might sometimes believe or be made to believe that partial payments are better than no payment, but any sort of partial payment might come back and bite you in the behind. If you are making a partial payment then the amount will be applied to the loan that has the lowest amount that is currently due. In the instance that your account is delinquent, the partial payments will then go towards the most delinquent loan and then to the loan that has the lowest monthly amount that is due.
But keep in mind that you can end up facing late fees and accumulating a lot more interest, which will definitely gonna cost you a lot more in terms of money over the life of your loan
What in case you are unable to make your student loan payment?
Making your monthly student loan payments on time is of top priority. Not only will it cost you money in terms of late fees if you do not make timely payments, but these late payments will have a negative impact on your credit score. The lower your score drops the hard it becomes for you to get a loan approved or a mortgage may be in the future.
Even if you are approved for a loan, a low credit can result in you having to deal with a higher interest rate, which means that you might have to pay a lot more on your loan over the life of it.
One of the ways for you to avoid making payments late is to get into the automatic payment program. Firstmark will work with you to help you make your payments automatic and have them withdrawn automatically from your checking account so that you do not even have to worry about it.
Some although will make late payments due to having their payday fall after their due date in a month. If you are stuck with such a situation, you should give Firstmark services a call and ask for a change so that your due date falls after your payday as long as your account is a current account.
There are times in our lives when things can go up or down, and there may be a time when you find it difficult in paying off your student loans. The worth thing that you might end up doing in such a situation is putting your head down and sulk. Instead, you should try to look up to your loan servicer, get in touch and try to figure out if there can be a solution that you can work out such that both the parties are happy.
If you fear that you might be on your way to making late payments because you do not have the money you should give Firstmark a call as soon as possible and let them know of your conditions. They will get back to you will any options that your lender has to offer that might help you out.
Some of the solutions that might potentially be offered to you are as follows -
Take a break from paying for all those loans -
Some loan repayment programs have the options that may help you make your payments a little more manageable. For example, you might be eligible to get your loans deferred for some time although depending on the loan program.
Forbearance is a temporary respite from making your loan payments which might also be another option that you could get.
But keep this in mind that your loan will continue accumulating interest even during the time that it is in forbearance even if you are not required to make any payments, so your total balance might increase due to the capitalization of the interest that is accumulated over the time period and this can eventually lead to your monthly payment to become higher when you finally start making payments again.
Get your loans under one roof -
Loan consolidation is one of the options you may be able to consider if you are unable to defer ot lower your payments or if your loan servicer or lender is unable to do so. You might be able to consider consolidation of your loans. Through this option, you might be able to reduce your monthly payments by choosing a longer repayment term. Although it is important that you take a note of the fact this will lead to you needing more time to make your student loan go away and also have you pay more in terms of student loan interest over the time of the loan.
You could also get help from a co-signer -
In the instance that you refinance your student loans to help you get more of a manageable payment or a longer term, you should also be able to add a co-signer and possibly someone with a great credit history which can help you qualify for a better rate. And with better rates, you might be able to land a lower monthly payment. If you already have a co-signer on your current student loan then you could ask them for some help in making payments temporarily while you get back on your feet financially. But make sure you get up with a written agreement with the same person about how you will pay them back and when so as to keep things cool in your relationship.
What do co-signers need to know about Firstmark?
While lenders are deciding whether to approve your private student loan or not they will definitely consider your credit history. Sadly, most students that are just entering college will at the best have a bleak credit file, in the sense that they will have a very limited credit history.
In such cases, the addition of a co-signer with a solid credit score and or history to the said loan would help the primary borrower qualify for much better rates than he would have had alone.
Basically, the co-signer makes a promise to pay back the loan in case the student is unable to make the payments at any point of the loan repayment timeline.
Having a cosigner will also be a great boon in terms of getting a good interest rate on your student loans. Often a cosigner ends up being the parent or a close relative for a college student that is opting for a private student loan. In case you do get a cosigner along, Firstmark will have them set up an account with them so that they get the access on all the information regarding the loan that you make with them cosigning on it.
But you need to keep in mind that there are also some negatives about being the cosigner of a loan. In the instance that the borrower fails to pay the student loan back, Not only will you the cosigner be obligated to make the payments for the rest of the loan or until the original borrower begins or continues to make his payments, but even their credit scores will drop and this will also reflect on their credit history.
On the other hand, if your cosigner files for bankruptcy, that could have an effect on the borrower. A Firstmark customer service representative should be able to answer any of the questions that you might have regarding your cosigner agreement.
Some of the lenders might allow for the cosigners to be released from a loan they have cosigned if some specific conditions are met. For example, the borrower must have made a certain number of consecutive monthly loan payments or be able to prove that he or she now has the creditworthiness or the income that is required to qualify on their own for the loan. You should contact Firstmark to figure out if your lender will allow for a cosigner to be released.
Customer reviews of Firstmark services -
One of your best bets on figuring out what it is like to work with a company is to see what the customers that have worked with them previously have to say about the said company. If you are in touch with someone or if anybody that you know has already worked with Firstmark, you could ask them about Firstmark's customer service.
You could also do some of your own digging on social media about Firstmark to figure out what the public has to say about them in the past with their experiences. For example on Facebook and more.
The Better Business Bureau, which is one of the few companies that collects and consolidates reviews and complaints about companies, has anointed Firstmark a services B+ rating. There have been around 60 complaints that were filed against Firstmark, and the website has a total of 30 odd customer reviews which should be able to light up some of the concerns regarding those that customers that have dealt with Firstmark could have had.
Getting out of private student loans can be a pain, but with some thought and some patience and persistence along with some strategic planning, it is definitely a task that can be accomplished. Considering Firstmark services as a partner in your endeavor or quest in paying off your private student loans, while you step towards a more secure and strong financial future.
FirstMark Student loan servicer review FAQs
How can I change the due date on my payment?
You are able to request a due date change as long as your account is a current account. But the month and the year that your payments are due cannot be changed. To be able to make this change you should give a call to their representative at 888-538-7378.
If you are on active duty in the military and are looking for any benefits?
Have a look at their Military Benefits page to see what the options are that are available for you, or give a call to one of their representatives at 888-538-7378 to understand more.
Is it possible for me to consolidate my student loans?
As long as you meet the criteria for loan consolidation or for refinancing options, then you should be able to avail them. This helps by reducing the payments through a longer repayment term and might also reduce your interest rates.
Can I release my Cosigner from my loan?
This depends on the loan program that you are on, you might be able to have the co-signer released from your loan. Give your representative a call at 888-538-7378 to see if this option is made available for you.
If you become disabled. What are your options for making payments?
Get in touch with one of their representatives by calling them through 999-538-7378 to discuss the options that you might have for continuing your repayment.
What happens if I am unable to afford to make payments every month?
There may be some repayment options that might help make your monthly payments more tolerable. Give a call to their representative at 888-538-7378 to figure out your eligibility.
In case your loan program does not offer any options that might work for you, you can consider consolidating your loans with a private lender. This option can usually help reduce your monthly payments by offering you a longer repayment term and also reduce your interest rates.
What kinda loan servicer is FirstMark?
FirstMark is a private loan servicer that is a part of a bigger company called Nelnet, Inc.
How does my loan get reported to the credit bureaus?
Your account status is reported to the Credit Bureaus as of 4pm (central time) on the last business day of every month. Any negative mark is reported on the basis of the delinquency standards of the loan program. Any and all of the web and phone payments need to be authorized before 4pm (Central time) for it to be effective for the same day.
What does Total Outstanding Balance mean?
This is the amount that includes all your unpaid principal, outstanding interest, any fees that is left to be paid, as well as the interest that is estimated to accumulate over the period of the next 20 days. To get a payoff quote for said date, get in touch with the customer service department at 888-538-7378.
How reliable is Nelnet?
If you have a letter or received a call from a company called Nelnet related to your student loans, you might have been wondering if the company was a fraud or if it was a scam. Nelnet is legit. About 20% of all the student loans and their payments are routed through the U.S. Department of Education are serviced by Nelnet