Firstmark Services overview: What student loan borrowers need to know
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If you have student loans, your lender is likely contracted with a loan servicer to manage your loan payments and field any questions.
Firstmark Services is a company that only services private student loans. It’s a division of Nelnet, which manages federal student loans, along with consumer finance and telecommunications.
As a student loan servicer, Firstmark Services handles the administrative tasks associated with your student loan. This includes enrolling borrowers in payment plans, processing monthly bills and payments, reportingaccount activity to the credit bureaus and providing customer service.
Is Firstmark Services a good loan servicer?
Some borrowers have reported negative experiences with Firstmark Services over the years. Although Firstmark Services has an “A” rating through the Better Business Bureau, it averages just one star and has received 194 complaints in the last three years.
Recent complaints include payments not being recorded properly, active duty military SCRA (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act) benefits not being applied and elibile loans not being placed in deferment.
There have been 137 student loan complaints filed through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Complaint DatabaseConsumer Financial Protection Bureau. These complaints are similar, and include improper recording of payments, failure to get the original loan papers and receiving inconsistent answers to questions.
Lawsuits against Firstmark Services
In recent years, Firstmark Services has been involved in a series of lawsuits, including some that are ongoing.
In 2018, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Firstmark Services for alleged non-disclosure of consumers’ electronic funds transfer rights. A lawsuit filed in 2019 was resolved via arbitration. A class-action lawsuit filed in 2020 alleges Firstmark Services leads borrowers to believe their student loans are backed by the federal government, when in fact, they are private loans. Another lawsuit was filed in 2021 regarding the Fair Credit Reporting Act. These second two lawsuits were dismissed.
Lawsuits aren’t uncommon for loan servicers, so a lawsuit isn’t an automatic red flag.
What kinds of loans does Firstmark Services service?
Firstmark Services handles private student loans. If you have a federal student loan, it’s possible your loans are serviced by Firstmark’s parent company, Nelnet.
How do I know if Firstmark Services is my servicer?
Borrowers who have only federal student loans won’t work with Firstmark Services since the company services only private student loans. Federal student loan borrowers can log in to the Federal Student Aid website using their FSA ID to find out who services their student loans.
There’s no national database of private student loans, so if you have a private loan, you can check a recent student loan statement to find out who owns your loan and how to make a payment. The financial institution that originally lent you the money might also know who services your loan. Additionally, you can check your credit reports to see who is listed as the loan holder.
How do I make my Firstmark Services student loan payments?
If Firstmark Services handles your student loan, you have a few options for making your monthly payments:
- Online: You can log in to your Firstmark Services account to make secure payments. You can either make a one-time payment or set up automatic payments.
- By mail: You can mail a check to Firstmark Services, P.O. Box 2977, Omaha, NE 68103-2977. When mailing a payment, include your statement stub or write your account number on the check.
- By phone: You can pay over the phone by calling 888-538-7378.
How to contact Firstmark Services
Customers can call Firstmark Services at 888-538-7378, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT or send an email to Customer.Service@FirstmarkServices.com.
You can also write the servicer at Firstmark Services, P.O. Box 82522, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501-2522 or send a fax to 866-258-9222.
How to file a dispute with Firstmark Services
If FirstmarkServices is your private student loan servicer, you should report any issues to the company first. If your issue isn’t resolved, then you should submit a complaint with the CFPB, the Department of Education, your state attorney general’s office or your state consumer protection office. Companies are more likely to take you seriously after filing a complaint with one of these government organizations.
If you truly dislike dealing with Firstmark Services, you can refinance your student loan with a new lender. Through this process, your new lender will pay off your original private student loan and assign your new account to a loan servicer. Before going this route, try to find out which loan servicers contract with your new lender so you don’t end up reassigned to Firstmark Services.
The bottom line
If Firstmark Services handles your student loans, the best place to go for anything you need is your online account. This is where you can make payments, check your balance and manage your bill preferences.
If you’re not sure who services your student loan, check your most recent billing statement, call the lender that initially gave you the money or check your credit reports to see if Firstmark Services is listed.
You’ll want to find out who services your loan as soon as possible to avoid late payments and keep your account in good standing. Doing so can help you maintain healthy credit. Keep an eye on correspondence from Firstmark Services to check for changes or updates to your account.