SoFi Review for 2021
SoFi—which stands for Social Finance—is an innovative financial services company based out of San Francisco, California.
The company was founded in 2011 by four Stamford Business School students and quickly garnered attention for revolutionizing the way student loans are refinanced. SoFi has since grown tremendously and branched out into several other financial services areas.
If you’re looking to learn more about SoFi, or maybe you’re considering signing up for one of their services, you’ve come to the right place.
This post provides a high-level overview of SoFi’s services and benefits, as well as the pros and cons of doing business with them.
What Services Does SoFi Offer?
In addition to its initial student loan refinancing services, SoFi now offers personal loans, private student loans, mortgages, investment products, and SoFi Money, which is the equivalent of a high-yield savings account (HYSA).
Once you have a SoFi account, it’s super easy to access the company’s various services.
Let’s take a closer look at each one of these services.
Student Loan Refi
SoFi Student Loan Refinance offers most student loan borrowers the option to pay off their loans faster while saving potentially thousands on interest rates.
Thanks to benefits such as flexible terms and low-interest rates—and a super-easy online sign-up process—the company already has over 300,000 customers and over $18 billion in student loan refinances under its belt. Impressive!
SoFi offers Personal Loans up to $100,000 for loan terms of two to seven years. The interest rates range from 5.99% to 17.67% and the amount of interest you pay depends on your credit score, outstanding loans, and other factors.
A SoFi Personal Loan might be the perfect option for you if you have high-interest credit card debts or need some extra cash for something like making home improvements.
SoFi Home Loans is the company’s relatively new online home mortgage lending division. This division offers traditional home loans, competitive mortgage refinancing rates, and jumbo loans that don’t require private mortgage insurance (PMI).
It’s worth noting that borrowers need to put down at least 10% in order to get a loan from SoFi. I like this requirement because it forces borrowers to save up a decent down payment, giving them more equity out of the gate.
That sure beats paying the bare minimum that many first time home buyers opt for. In many cases, that leads to much higher fees and interest paid overtime. You obviously want to avoid that whenever possible.
SoFi Home Loans offers the following products:
- 30-year fixed term. This is ideal for those looking for a lower fixed monthly payment. This loan type is as close to a standard mortgage as you’ll find with SoFi.
- 15-year fixed term. This is perfect for home buyers that also want to get on the fast track to Financial Independence.
- 7/1 ARM. This is a 30-year loan term that carries a fixed rate for the first seven years and an adjustable-rate after that.
- 5/1 Adjustable ARM interest-only. This 30-year term loan has a fixed interest rate for the first five years. After that, it switches to a variable rate. There’s also an interest-only payment option for the first 10 years followed by a 20-year principal and interest payment plan.
Private Student Loans
SoFi’s offers several types of Private Student Loans that have no hidden fees. There’s also an easy online application process.
SoFi’s student loan offerings include:
- Undergraduate Student Loans. Undergrads can pay for their entire tuition with SoFi’s Undergraduate Loans. SoFi offers fixed rates from 4.73% – 11.46% APR and variable rates from 2.74% – 11.56% APR.
- Graduate Student Loans. Grad students can finance their tuition fees with SoFi’s Graduate Student Loans. Rates range from 4.41% to 11.76% APR for fixed-interest loans, while variable-rate interest loans range from 2.52% to 11.85% APR.
- Parent Loans. As you might expect, SoFi’s Parent Loans were designed to help parents pay for the cost of their children’s tuition. Fantastic branding! Fixed interest rate loans range from 4.73% to 11.46% APR and variable rate loans range from 2.74% to 11.56% APR.
It’s worth noting that each of the above student loan rates includes an autopay discount.
I recommend taking advantage of any payment discounts that are available to you as long as you can afford to do so.
SoFi Money is an online cash management account that offers a high-interest rate, no account fees, and ATM fee reimbursement.
SoFi isn’t an actual bank. But their SoFi Money platform is essentially the same as a high-yield savings account (HYSA).
SoFi Money offers account holders 1.80% APY on cash deposits and easy access to your funds at any time through their slick mobile app.
Once you’ve created your SoFi Money account, simply connect your other bank accounts within the app and you’re ready to get started.
SoFi Invest is the company’s investment arm that allows members to trade stocks, purchase ETFs, and invest in cryptocurrency.
SoFi members can access this option via the mobile app.
SoFi Invest offers some unique investing opportunities. Let’s take a look at them.
This investment feature allows members to purchase fractional shares of mainstream single stocks and ETFs.
Some examples of the single stocks you can invest in include: Amazon, Netflix, and Tesla. When it comes to ETFs, some of your options include Vanguard S&P 500 ETF, SoFi Next 500 ETF, and SPDR S&P 500 ETF, among others.
This service gives members the option to purchase Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Check out by Bitcoin post for my thoughts on crypto.
Active Investing offers no-fee purchasing of traditional stocks and ETFs — similar to commonly known investing platforms such as ETRADE and Fidelity.
SoFi doesn’t charge transaction fees.
SoFi’s Automated Investing option allows you to simply deposit your investment funds. SoFi’s investment experts will take care of the rest.
As with SoFi’s other investment options, there are no transaction fees.
The fact that SoFi now offers its own white-labeled SoFi ETFs is simply incredible.
SoFi has four unique ETFs under its belt:
- SoFi Select 500
- SoFi Next 500
- SoFi 50
- SoFi Gig Economy
Now, let’s answer some of the most common questions I’m getting on my blog about SoFi.
Is SoFi legit?
Yes. SoFi is legit. The company is currently worth nearly $5 billion. Enough said!
What credit score do you need for SoFi?
SoFi is tailored toward people with good credit. Some reports indicate that you’ll need a minimum credit score of 680 in order to qualify for a personal loan. For their other products—for example, student loans and mortgages—you’ll get the lowest interest rates the better your credit score is.
This is why I always recommend for people to keep their debts to a minimum. Always have an emergency savings fund ready to go for unforeseen expenses. And lastly, don’t buy things you can’t afford. That could later cause you to fall behind in credit card payments.
When you add it all up, the financial decisions you make each day can literally cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the long haul. Over time, they can either lead to a debt-free retirement or a life in which you’ll always be living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Is a SoFi loan a good idea?
Yes. If you need a loan and if you have solid credit, SoFi is the best place to borrow from. They offer some of the lowest interest rates on the market, top-notch customer service, and an extremely user-friendly online platform.
Can you pay off a loan early SoFi?
Yes. You can pay off your loan early with SoFi, and there are no early payment penalties. The company prides itself on not charging unnecessary fees to customers so that they can get ahead financially.
Is SoFi federally insured?
According to their website: The cash balance in SoFi Money accounts is swept to one or more program banks where it earns a variable rate of interest and is eligible for FDIC insurance. FDIC insurance does not immediately apply. Coverage begins when funds arrive at a partner bank.
There are currently six banks available to accept these deposits, making customers eligible for up to $1,500,000 of FDIC insurance (six banks, $250,000 per bank). If the number of available banks changes, or you elect not to use, and/or have existing assets at, one or more of the available banks, the actual amount could be lower.
In reality, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will ever face an issue that requires FDIC insurance. But as someone who always reads into the fine print, I just felt this information was worth noting. It’s also interesting to me that SoFi doesn’t disclose which banks they partner with.
Perhaps they’re afraid of being circumvented by customers who can get a better APY by going direct. Who knows?
Pros & Cons
If you’re trying to decide if SoFi is right for you, check out these pros and cons of SoFi.
- Abundant Services: SoFi is rapidly adding to its service portfolio. Their wide array of services—including student loans, personal loans, SoFi Money (similar to a HYSA), Sofi Home Loans, and SoFI Invest—is simply unmatched in the online banking world.
- Next-Level Technology: When you interact with SoFi’s web portal and mobile app, you can immediately detect that absolutely no expense was spared when it comes to their technology and development costs.
- Mobile-Friendly: SoFi’s mobile app is rated at 4.8 stars (out of 5) in the App Store and 4.6 stars (out of 5) in the Google Play store. This is among the highest ratings of any financial app that I’ve ever seen.
- Competitive Rates: SoFi offers some of the lowest interest rates on their loan products and a solid APY on their SoFi Money cash savings account. I personally know several people who have saved literally thousands of dollars by refinancing their student loans with SoFi.
- No Fees or Annoying Charges: I’m a huge fan of SoFi’s no-fee philosophy. The company puts its customers’ interest forward. It shows.
- No Physical Locations: As with all online financial products, there’s no brick-and-mortar branch for you to stroll into. You’ll have to deposit cash elsewhere.
- Not FDIC Insured: The elephant in the room is that SoFi is a for-profit financial services company—not a bank. When you deposit money into a SoFi Money account, it’s not FDIC-insured. According to their website: The cash balance in SoFi Money accounts is swept to one or more program banks where it earns a variable rate of interest and is eligible for FDIC insurance. FDIC insurance does not immediately apply. Coverage begins when funds arrive at a partner bank.
- Not a One-Stop-Shop: SoFi offers a ton of services. But most people will still need separate accounts for managing their checking and credit cards. It wouldn’t surprise me if SoFi eventually offers these services down the road. Time will tell.
Is SoFi a Good Option?
It’s impossible for me to tell you whether SoFi is the best bank for your needs. It’s certainly a great option for some folks, but it might not work well at all for others.
Research your options and you’ll make the right decision.
Thanks for reading!
SoFi started as a student loan refinance company, but has expanded its fully integrated no-fee offerings to include personal loans, private student loans, mortgages, a robo-advisor, a brokerage, and a high yield savings account.
- Abundant services
- Next level technology
- Mobile friendly
- Competitive rates
- No fees
- No physical locations
- Not a one stop shop
- Not FDIC Insured