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SoFi Bank vs Discover: Which Online Banking Suits You Best?

While Discover has numerous credit card options, SoFi has just the one. However, SoFi money features are more enticing than Discover has. Here's our full comparison.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

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Table Of Content

When SoFi Bank Wins?

SoFi has developed a decent banking product line since it first started trading. In addition to its hybrid savings and checking account, there are mortgages, loans, and investment products.

The only thing lacking from the product line is a conventional savings account and CDs.

SoFi Money can be a better choice than Discover if:

  • You want to earn interest on your checking account

  • You want a higher welcome bonus

  • You want to invest via your account
sofi logo

When Discover Bank Wins?

Discover has come a long way since it was established as a credit card provider.

Of course, there is a wide selection of credit card options, but you can also access home loans, personal loans, and a selection of checking and savings products including retirement accounts, CDs and a money market account.

Discover can be a better choice than SoFi Money if:

  • You want access to a variety of credit card options

  • You want to access great savings rates without needing to meet account requirements

  • You want top noth customer experience
SoFi Money
Discover
Savings Accounts
Checking Accounts
CDs
Money Market Account
Debit Card
Credit Cards
Personal Loans
Mortgage
Government Mortgage
Business Loans
Investing Capabilities

Savings Account

SoFi has a hybrid savings and checking account that offers up to 4.60%. However, you can set up savings vaults to keep separate funds for your different savings goals. On the other hand, Discover has a more conventional savings account that offers 4.25%.

Both accounts have no minimum deposit, and there are no account fees to worry about.

SoFi Money
Discover
APY
up to 4.60%
4.25%
Fees
$0
$0
Minimum Deposit
$0
$0
Checking Needed?
Yes
No
Main Benefits
  • Savings vaults to have separate funds for each savings goal
  • No account fees
  • Rounds up your debit card purchases into your linked savings account
  • Easy to use app
  • No fees for maintenance, insufficient funds, stop payments or account closure.

Checking Account

If you are looking for a free checking account, both banks offer it.

The SoFi hybrid account also has some good checking account features. This includes round up, so your debit card payments are rounded up and the difference is directed into one of your savings vaults. There is also $50 of fee free overdraft protection, so you don’t need to worry about charges if your available balance drops too low. SoFi also offers new customers a $100 welcome bonus.

Discover’s checking account is more conventional. While the account is not interest bearing, you can earn 1% cash back on your debit card purchases. Additionally, there are no fees even if you need a replacement debit card, have a deposit item returned or have insufficient funds in your account.

SoFi Money
Discover
APY
0.50%
0% (1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month)
Fees
$0
$0
Minimum Deposit
$0
$0
Main Benefits
  • Overdraft Coverage covers you up to $50, no overdraft fees
  • Early payday – automatically get your paycheck up to two days early every time
  • Remote check deposit using your smartphone
  • cash back when you have recurring $500 monthly deposits.
  • Earn 1% cashback on your account debit card
  • No overdraft fees
  • ATM network with 60,000+ machines with no fees
  • Discover Zelle allows you to quickly move money or send or receive money with no fees

In the following screenshot, we can see one of the helpful features in SoFi checking – paying bills. 

How to pay your bills with SoFi
How to pay your bills with SoFi. (Screenshot from SoFi)

Cetificate Of Deposits (CDs)

As of May 2024, SoFi doesn't offer CDs. On the other hand, Discover offers some of the best CD rates in the market, but the minimum deposit is a bit high,$2,500.

Here are the Discover CD rates:

CD Term
APY
Early Withdrawal Penalty
3 Months
2.00%
3 months interest
6 Months
4.25%
3 months interest
9 Months
4.25%
3 months interest
12 Months
4.70%
6 months interest
18 Months
4.40%
6 months interest
24 Months
4.00%
6 months interest
30 Months
3.75%
6 months interest
36 Months
3.75%
6 months interest
48 Months
3.75%
9 months interest
60 Months
3.75%
18 months interest
120 Months
3.75%
24 months interest

Mortgage Options

Discover offers home equity loans of up to $200,000 with fixed rates and mortgage refinancing. You can apply over the phone or online to make the process as fast and easy as possible. What makes Discover stand apart is that there are zero closing costs. You won’t need to worry about appraisal fees, origination fees, or application fees. Discover is considered as one of top online mortgage lenders.

SoFi has a variety of home loan and mortgage products including home equity loans, fixed rate mortgages, and cash out refinancing, with prequalification available. Where SoFi excels is in its low down payments. You’ll need a down payment of 5% or more and a loan to value of at least 80%. While there are closing costs, SoFi also offers its members a $500 discount on refinancing or home loan fees.

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Loan Options

Discover offers personal loans with the slogan to design a loan around you. You can enjoy flexible repayment terms and fixed rates subject to status. You can lock in your rate to ensure that your monthly repayments will never change. Additionally, there are no origination fees.

SoFi has a variety of personal loans including credit consolidation and home improvement loans. You can borrow up to $100k with lower rates than discover. Like Discover, there are no origination fees. However, SoFi offers its loan customers bonus rewards. You’ll get $10 for viewing your specific rate and up to $1,000 in cash when your loan application is finalized. Besides personal loans, SoFi offers student loan for qualified borrowers.

SoFi Personal Loan
Discover Personal Loan
APR Range
8.99% – 29.99%
7.99% – 24.99%
Term
24-84 months
36 to 84 months
Loan Amount
$5,000 – $100,000
$2,500 – $40,000

Credit Cards

Discover began operating as a credit card company and over time it has expanded its banking services. So, it stands to reason that Discover would continue to offer an excellent selection of credit card options. All Discover cards offer rewards with a maximum of 5% (with the Discover Cash Back card), but it also has tiered reward cards, like the Gas & Restaurant card and a Travel card offering miles.

Discover also has a secured card to help you to build your credit and earn rewards. Even students can earn rewards with the Student Chrome card and Student Cash Back. What’s really attractive is that all these cards offer Unlimited Cashback Match, where Discover will match your first year’s cash back dollar for dollar with no minimum spend or maximum rewards.

SoFi has only one credit card with the intention to help you save, invest or pay down your debt. If you use your rewards for saving, investing, or paying down a SoFi loan, you’ll receive 2% unlimited cash back. However, for SoFi credit card statement credit, you’ll earn 1%. As another perk, SoFi will lower your rate by 1% if you make at least the minimum payment on time for a year.

Customer Service

Discover offers 24/7 access to customer support. This means that if you have any queries or questions or have a banking emergency, you can quickly access the support team.

SoFi has a variety of customer service lines according to the banking product. While the credit card line is available 24/7, most of the other lines are only available from 5 am to 7pm.

However, the consumer review ratings do not reflect a high standard of customer service. Discover has a rather poor 2.0 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot, while SoFi has an average 3 out of 5 rating.

Whether we needed help with a transaction or had general inquiries, the support options within the app were comprehensive and user-friendly.

Accessing support through the SoFi App was a reassuring experience. The Support feature provided a range of resources, FAQs, and avenues to connect with customer service.

SoFi support options
SoFi support options (Screenshot from SoFi)
SoFi support options
SoFi support options (Screenshot from SoFi)

Online/Digital Experience

Both Discover and SoFi have easy to use websites allowing you to explore the products and access a help center for various financial topics. This provides a great user experience even if you are unfamiliar with exactly what type of banking services would be best for you.

Both banks also have highly rated apps. Discover’s is rated 4.9/5 and 4.6/5 on the Apple Store and Google Play respectively, while the SoFi app is rated 4.4 out of 5 on Google Play and 4.8 out of 5 on the Apple Store. The apps allow you to not only manage your transactions, but access support and transfer funds

Which Bank is The Winner?

To determine which bank is better, we will need to consider your requirements. Both banks offer fee free accounts, so you don’t need to worry about account minimums or other waiver requirements.

However, while Discover has numerous credit card options, SoFi has just the one.  Discover also has conventional savings and checking accounts while SoFi only has one hybrid account. Both banks offer home loans and personal loans, but SoFi does not offer CDs.

sofi logo
discover logo
The Smart Investor Logo
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.
up to 4.60%
4.25%
Up to 5.02%
Checking Fee The monthly fee on checking account
$0
$0
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4.2/5 on Android
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FAQs

Based on the sum of their first month's direct deposits, new members will receive a tiered direct deposit welcome bonus of up to $50-$300 paid straight to their SoFi Checking & Savings accounts. 

Discover promotions for new accounts are relevant for both savings and checking, as well as on a variety of credit cards. As of May 2024 , Discover Cashback Debit account offers Up to $360 bonus promotion, depending on your monthly debit card activity.

Like the major banks, SoFi requires applicants to verify their identity and personal details to open an account. This will include your Social Security number, a valid home address and contact details. All of these details are included in the application form, so be sure that you don’t leave any mandatory fields blank.

SoFi is a great option if you want to simplify your finances. The Spend and Save account allows you to earn interest on your full balance, but there is no fee overdraft coverage.

SoFi also has a variety of student loans and student loan refinancing options. Additionally, there is a cash back card that can help you to pay down your debt or build your savings, which can be helpful when you’re trying to get your student finances in order.

To open an account with Discover, you must verify your identity and address in accordance with federal banking regulations. When you submit your application, you must include your full name, a valid mailing address, and your Social Security number. To support your application, you will also need to show a valid government ID, such as a passport, driver's license, or state ID.

All banks evaluate account applications to determine the suitability of the applicant. Discover's checking account criteria are quite flexible, but there is still the possibility that a red flag on your application will result in a decline notification. In this case, you may need to speak with a member of the support team to see if there is anything you can do to have your application reconsidered.

SoFi vs Discover: Comparison Methodology

In our detailed comparison, The Smart Investor team thoroughly looked at SoFi and Discover in five main areas:

  1. Checking Accounts (30%): We checked things like direct deposit, debit card availability, monthly fees, ATM and branch access, check deposit, bill pay options, and account alerts. We also considered any special offers for customers.

  2. Savings Accounts including CDs (20%): We focused on important stuff like how much interest you can earn (APY), the smallest amount you need to open an account, how flexible the accounts are, and if they're insured by FDIC. We also looked at special savings offers, different types of CDs, and any fees for taking money out early.

  3. Credit Cards (15%): We looked at what rewards you get, how much the card costs each year, any bonuses you get for signing up, perks for traveling, how much interest you pay on balances, and if you can transfer balances from other cards.

  4. Lending Options (15%): We checked out the different kinds of loans they offer, like personal loans, student loans, mortgages, and loans where you use your home as collateral.

  5. Customer Experience And Bank Reputation (20%): We looked into how easy it is to use their online and mobile banking, how helpful their customer support is, what people say about them online, any awards they've won, and how stable they are financially. This gave us a good idea of what it's like to be a customer and how much people trust them.

Compare SoFi With Alternative Banks

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?

Upgrade and SoFi Bank offer various online banking products, including checking, savings, and credit cards. Let's compare them side by side: Upgrade vs. SoFi Bank

Chase Bank is our winner with a complete package of banking services. SoFi is best for savings rates, online experience, and lending options.

Chase vs. SoFi: Which Bank Account Is Better?

There is no clear winner between SoFi and Wells Fargo as each bank excels in different areas – but Wells Fargo is our winner. Here's why.

Wells Fargo vs. SoFi: Which Bank Account Is Better?

PNC Bank is our winner with a complete package of banking services. SoFi is best for savings rates, online experience, and lending options.

PNC Bank vs. SoFi Bank: Compare Banking Options

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Picture of Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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