SoFi Money Review
Founded in 2011, SoFi is a San Francisco-based non-bank financial service provider popular for student loan refinances. In 2019, SoFi introduced SoFi Money, an online cash management service offering a hybrid checking and savings account with no monthly or overdraft fees. In 2022, SoFi has officially become a bank.
When you sign up for SoFi Money, you also get a Visa debit card that you can use at any Allpoint Network ATM for free. The ATM transaction fees incurred are reimbursed to your account. The debit card gives you instant access to your funds instead of transferring your funds from the online account to a standard account and waiting for the funds to clear.
When you add funds to your SoFi Bank account, these funds are swept into SoFi partner banks for safe-keeping. Customer deposits are FDIC-insured up to $1.5 million, which is six times the standard FDIC deposit insurance limit.
SoFi Money is a good choice for someone looking for a hybrid account with savings and checking in one account. You can withdraw cash or pay for goods and services without extra cost. You also earn a 1.50% APY on your account balance for recurring deposits of at least $500 or more into your SoFi account.
SoFi can be a perfect fit if:
You prefer an online bank with good CD & savings rates
You may need one of the top-notch features SoFi checking account
- You want to access investing options, personal loans, credit cards, and mortgages
- You would like to get a sign-up bonus
Money Market Account
Let’s take a look at the benefits of the SoFi money and see if it’s the right one for your wallet or not.
With SoFi Money, you won't be charged any account fees such as overdraft fees, account inactivity fees, foreign transaction fees, or ATM fees. Simply open an account and add funds to your account without getting charged any fees in the process.
You get free access to over 55,000 ATMs that spread around the world. All withdrawals on the Allpoint Network ATMs are free.
When using a SoFi Money debit card, you may qualify to get cash backs on different spending categories. Check your SoFi Account for the current spending offers at any given time.
Any deposit you make to your account is FDIC-insured up to $1.5 million. SoFi sweeps all deposits into six partner banks, with each bank insuring up to $250,000.
SoFi Money pays a 1.50% APY for accounts with recurring monthly deposits of $500. You will still earn a 0.01% APY on your account balance if you don't meet this deposit requirement. However, make sure to compare other banks' rates before applying.
When you sign up for SoFi Money, you can earn a sign-up bonus of $100 if you meet certain deposit requirements. This bonus is available to new clients or existing clients who have not made direct deposits into their accounts.
SoFi Money has a spending tracker known as Relay, which lets you monitor your spending habits on your SoFi Money account and other accounts with other financial institutions. Link your accounts and monitor your spending.
Here are the most important cons you should consider before apply:
Unlike in traditional banks, you can’t deposit actual cash into SoFi Money. You must deposit the cash in another bank account, and then transfer the funds electronically into SoFi Money.
SoFi Money has a withdrawal limit of $1000 for ATMs, $150 for over-the-counter withdrawals, and $6000 for point of sale purchases. Also, you are limited to 12 POS transactions per day.
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card introductory rate only applies to balance transfers and not purchases. If you are looking for a long 0% introductory rate for a major purchase, this may not be the card for you.
If you want a physical banking experience, you won’t find that in SoFi Money. As an online-only bank, you only access banking services via the web platform or mobile app.
If you are a new SoFi Money user, you won’t get reimbursed for out-of-network ATM withdrawals. Only transactions on Allpoint Network ATMs are fee-free.
SoFi Money currently allows one account per user. However, you are allowed to create multiple vaults within your account for each goal you want to achieve.
Checking Account Features
In addition to the benefits described above, tere are the top features you will find:
- Monitor credit score – Through SoFi Money’s partnership with TransUnion, you can monitor your VantageScore 3.0 credit score and stay up to date with any changes in your credit score.
- No Minimum Account Balance – There is no minimum opening balance requirement on SoFi Money. To get started, sign up and link your bank account. You can start using the account with as little as $1 and add funds to your account every month. Also, before you apply – understand what do you need to open a bank account.
- Use of Vaults – SoFi Money allows users to separate savings from spending. You can create up to 20 vaults in your SoFi Money account for each goal you want to accomplish. You don't have to make a different account when creating a vault; vaults are extensions of your account.
- You can use vaults as an emergency fund or for other goals and set up recurring transfers from the SoFi Money account balance to the vault. The funds you add to the vaults are FDIC-insured.
- Automatic Savings Roundups: The payment is automatically rounded up to the next whole number when paying for goods and services. This amount is automatically transferred to the specific vault you choose to fund. For example, if you make a purchase worth $3.60, this amount is rounded to $4.00, and $0.40 is transferred from the spending balance to the selected vault.
- Free paper checks: You can get unlimited free checks anytime if a creditor or landlord does not accept online payments. Use paper checks to pay rent, buy furniture, or make other bill payments.
SoFi has an easy-to-use website that allows you to access support and guidance on a variety of finance topics as well as browse the product line. This ensures a great user experience, especially if you're not sure which online banking services and products are best for you. The SoFi app has received 4.4 out of 5 stars on Google Play and 4.8 stars on the Apple App Store.
Depending on your banking product, SoFi offers a variety of customer service lines. While the credit card line is open 24 hours a day, the majority of the other lines are only open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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5 am – 7 pm PT
One of the attractive features of SoFi Money is its zero account fees. Most of the services are free, and you won’t be charged monthly fees, maintenance fees, minimum balance fees, inactive account fees, overdraft fees, ATM fees, or bill pay fees. When you use SoFi Money to pay for foreign purchases, SoFi does not charge an extra fee.
Even though most of the services are fee-free, there are specific fees that you might incur over time. For example, there is a $20 replacement debit card fee in case your first card is lost. Also, if you end up with a negative balance after an overdraft, you will not be charged an overdraft fee.
However, the outstanding negative balance will be charged interest at the bank’s lending rate. SoFi Money clarifies that the current fee-free structure is not permanent and is subject to change in the future.
SoFi only offers one credit card. This card aims to help customers save, invest, and pay off debt. You'll get 2% cash back if you use your credit card rewards to save, invest, or pay down your SoFi loan.
If, on the other hand, you want statement credit for your SoFi credit card, you'll get 1% unlimited cash back. Another benefit of this card is that SoFi will reduce your credit card rate by 1% if you make at least your minimum payments on time for the entire year.
Mortgage & Loan Options
SoFi offers a wide range of home loans and mortgage products, including home equity loans, fixed-rate mortgages, and cash-out refinancing. Prequalification is available through the bank, and you can choose the term and associated rate that works best for you.
SoFi home loans require a minimum down payment of 5% and a loan-to-value ratio of 80% or higher. SoFi members can also get a $500 discount on refinancing or home loan fees.
SoFi offers personal loans for various needs, including debt consolidation loans and home improvement loans for amounts up to $100,000, with no origination fees. SoFi also provides cash bonuses to its customers. If you proceed with your loan, you will receive $10 for viewing your loan rate and up to $1,000 cash.
SoFi Mobile app
The SoFi Mobile app is available for both iOS and android. You can use the SoFi Mobile app on a smartphone or tablet. This app allows users to monitor their account activity and manage their finances.
New users can sign for SoFi Money on the mobile app and access all digital tools offered by SoFi, including the free budgeting tool, spending tracker, and vaults. Here are the services you get on the mobile app:
- Deposit funds through mobile check deposit
- Check transaction history
- Check account balance
- Free bill pay for online bill payments
- Peer-to-peer payment transfers
- Monitor your TransUnion VantageScore 3.0.
- Talk to customer support via live chat
- Connect accounts from other financial institutions for easier tracking of savings and spending.
- Free and unfreeze the debit card
- Change pin
- Set up two-factor authentication and fingerprint recognition
How to Open an Account With SoFi?
SoFi Money has a simple sign-up process that takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete . Make sure all of the relevant things you need to open a bank account exists. To get started, go to the SoFi Money page and click “Get SoFi Money”. Follow these steps to open a SoFi Money management account:
On the sign-up page, provide your personal information such as first and last name, the state where you live, email, and password.
Depending on whether you want to go it alone, or sign up with your business partner, you can choose between the individual and joint account.
Next, provide your physical address, city and, state. This is the address where SoFi Money will send your debit card.
SoFi will require you to provide your phone number for verification. The app will send you a code, which you must enter to proceed with the application. This number will also be used for two-factor authentication.
You will be required to confirm your Social Security and date of birth. SoFi uses this information to check your credit score. This is a soft pull, and it won’t affect your credit score.
SoFi will require you to confirm your citizenship. Confirm whether you are a permanent US citizen, a non-permanent resident alien, or a green card holder.
The final step is to answer certain questions (in case they apply to you). These questions relate to your role in a brokerage firm or security exchange, your directorship or role in a publicly-traded company, or if you need to add a trusted person to help you manage the account.
Once you’ve answered these questions and accepted the agreement, your account is ready, and you can link up your bank account to add funds to your SoFi Money account.
Is SoFi Money FDIC Insured?
When you add funds to your SoFi Money account, SoFi transfers these funds to one or more of its partner banks. Since these banks are FDIC-insured, the funds transferred to these banks also get FDIC insurance coverage. Technically, these funds are FDIC-insured only when they are transferred to one of the partner banks. Before these funds are swept to the partner banks, they are covered by SIPC insurance.
Since each partner bank has a $250,000 FDIC insurance, it means that the funds deposited in the account are insured for up to $1,500,000. Although the actual cash deposits are held in external banks, SoFi Money customers can still manage their funds via the account dashboard, and make withdrawals using the debit card.
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If you are looking for a free checking account including a high-interest saving account, SoFi Money is a good pick. You can access your SoFi Bank management account via the web platform or mobile application, and you get access to a dozen digital tools to help manage your spending and savings.
One of the attractive perks of SoFi Money is that it is a fee-free account, and you won’t be charged minimum balance fees, overdraft fees, maintenance fees, or ATM fees. Also, there is no minimum balance requirement, and you can start with as little as $1, and deposit recurring funds every month. You will earn an attractive 1.50% interest rate if you deposit at least $500 every month into your SoFi Money account.
On the downside, as an online-only bank, you will not get the benefit of a traditional checking account where you can deposit cash. SoFi Money does not support cash deposits but you can make electronic transfers from other bank accounts to your SoFi Money account. Plus, you don’t get face-to-face interactions.
SoFi Money FAQs
SoFi is certainly a legit money management service, offering a combined savings and checking account. There is two factor authentication via the SoFi app.
You can also instantly unfreeze and freeze your card in the app. In addition to ensuring your data is secure, SoFi has federal protection via the FDIC, so your funds are protected should the bank cease trading.
As a mobile banking platform, SoFi is a great option for those looking for online banking. There are no account fees or ATM fees across a network of ATMs worldwide that has over 55,000 machines.
One of the stand out features of this online banking platform is that you can easily transfer and receive funds to any of your family and friends.
SoFi is a great online cash management platform that combines savings and checking facilities into one account. There are no overdraft or monthly maintenance fees and you can access a free ATM network.
This makes it a great option for those who don’t want to mess around with transfers between checking and savings to get the best rate.
SoFi and Axos offer digital banking services, but some key differences exist. While Axos Bank offers various checking, saving, and investment accounts, if you’re looking to make your finances as simple as possible, you’re likely to appreciate the SoFi Money model.
Since you don’t need to manage multiple accounts, you can use your one SoFi account for your everyday activities while earning interest on any excess funds. Similar to SoFi, Axos Bank has no fees on most account activities.
Like SoFi, Capital One checking account has no monthly fees or minimum deposits. Both banks offer competitive rates on its savings products
SoFi has some nice perks that you don’t typically find with Capital One 360, such as ATM fee reimbursement and no overdraft fees. So, unless a specific Capital One 360 product appeals, you are likely to find SoFi money a solid choice.
SoFi Money is well regarded for its personal loans, but it also offers competitive rate savings and checking accounts with no maintenance fees or account minimums. Varo's interest rate on savings is lower – only 1.20% APY.
However, SoFi money has an advantage over Varo if you are a frequent traveler. From anywhere in the world, SoFi will reimburse ATM charges providing you use a machine that accepts Visa.
So, if you like to travel and need a little more from your banking services, SoFi money could be a better choice.
While they may appear similar, there are some key differences between Chime and SoFi money that give Chime the edge over which is better.
While SoFi allows you to keep all savings and checking funds in one account, Chime app has no fees and it allows you to have multiple separate accounts. This makes it easier to manage your money.
Additionally, while you may earn 1.50% on all funds in your SoFi account, you’ll earn 1.00%* on your Chime savings. So, just be sure to transfer any excess funds across to your savings account to earn interest.
While SoFi aims to offer a simple banking solution for most customers, all of your funds are combined into one account. Although this does attract 1.50% interest, it can make it tricky to effectively manage your money.
CIT Bank offers checking, saving and money market accounts, so you can more easily control your finances to ensure the best rates and greatest accessibility to your funds. You can have CIT checking accounts with a debit card for your everyday spending, but easily transfer excess funds into your savings account online or via the app.
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APY Savings The annual percentage yield (APY) is a percentage that represents the amount of money or interest earned on your savings account over the course of a year. The APY factored in compound interest. A savings calculator can help you quickly determine how much you'll earn with a given APY.
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Spend and Save is a SoFi savings and checking account hybrid. For the purposes of this comparison, we'll look at the savings features, of which there are a few. The most visible are the savings vaults. These enable you to set up separate funds to work toward different savings goals without the need for multiple accounts. This helps you organize your money, and you can even designate a vault for your round-up funds.
Bank of America offers a more traditional savings account, but it pays far less interest, ranging from 0.01 percent to 0.04 percent depending on your Preferred Rewards status, compared to SoFi's 0.25 percent. In addition, there is a $8 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived by keeping a balance of $500 or more in the account or linking your checking account. By linking your accounts, you can avoid going overdrawn with Balance Connect.
Read Full Comparison: SoFi Money vs Bank of America: Which Is Better For Your Needs?
Since the bank's inception, the SoFi product line has come a long way. You can now get access to investment products, mortgages, and loans, in addition to its hybrid checking and savings account. SoFi even offers insurance. The only thing missing from this bank are CDs and traditional savings accounts.
Ally offers a much broader range of traditional banking products. In addition to checking, savings, and CD accounts, there are investment and retirement products, mortgages, auto loans, and personal loans available.
Read Full Comparison: SoFi Money vs Ally Bank: Compare Banking Options
Marcus is a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, which is reflected in its banking products. Marcus provides high-yielding savings and CDs, as well as investment options and a variety of loans. This does not, however, include a checking account.
SoFi's banking products are more akin to those of traditional banks. While there are no checking or savings accounts available, rather a hybrid account, you can access loans, mortgages, and investment products. SoFi also offers insurance. CDs and traditional savings accounts, on the other hand, are not available in the SoFi catalog.
Read Full Comparison: Marcus vs SoFi Money: Which Banking Service Is Better?
SoFi offers a Spend and Save account that is part savings account and part checking account. You can earn 0.25 percent on your entire balance, but you can also establish savings vaults. These are separate funds within the account that allow you to allocate funds to various savings goals. This allows you to save for both short and long-term goals without having to manage multiple savings accounts.
Varo, on the other hand, has a more traditional savings account that offers an impressive up to 3% interest rate. Higher rates are available if you keep a savings balance of $5,000 or more or receive $1,000 or more in direct deposits during the qualifying period.
Read Full Comparison: SoFi vs Varo Bank: Which Account Is Better For Your Money?
SoFi's online Spend and Save account, like the Chime online checking account, is fee-free, but it has some different checking account features. Chime, for example, offers a $200 fee-free overdraft facility subject to terms, whereas SoFi provides cash back if you have recurring direct deposits of $500 or more each month.
Read Full Comparison: SoFi vs Chime: Which Online Banking Wins?