Say NO if anyone asks for your Federal PIN to help you with your student loans!
The Federal PIN is for you, and only you, to access your student loan information on NSLDS. While the government’s site is helpful, there are several firms that can help you actively manage your student loans on the Web, all at no cost to you. Don’t use anyone who charges you a fee to manage your Federal student loans. Even the firms that provide services at no cost to you “scrape” the NSLDS site to get your loan information. Not all scrapes are created equal. Some scrapes deliver poor information; some incorrect information. All of them ask for your Federal PIN if you are willing to give it. Then they store it. It is not a good idea and the Department specifically prohibits sharing the Federal PIN.
In 2012, the US Department of Education created the My Data Button on the NSLDS website so student-borrowers can download, and then upload their detailed, and accurate loan information to any private sector application of their choice, securely, and without compromising the integrity of your federal PIN. It is not the easiest thing to do. It takes a few minutes. And it is cumbersome. We know. But it is safe.
The websites that take your PIN and scrape NSLDS surely make it easier. But in a world of electronic “fraud without borders” this is not a good idea. Giving your PIN by itself, is a problem. Letting vendors store your PIN on their own websites, is definitely against the rules of the Electronic Signature Act and your best interests.
Loanlook.com will not ask for your PIN. Store it. Or Scrape NSLDS. If your school has contracted with Loanlook.com, they provide us your loan data – weekly. This is the best method for you to safeguard your data.
To have an easier process to view your loans, the best option is to have the private website have direct, secure access to your NSLDS loan information with your express consent. If you want this option, the US Department of Education must approve it.
Our work is just starting – to help students borrow the less, pay less and do it all on the Web. And your college is helping in this area. A dynamite combination!
But say NO when someone asks for your PIN. It is a bad idea.