Sofi Review [2021 Loans, Refinancing, Mortgages, & Investing]

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SoFi Review

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Review Of SoFi

SoFi Review

Now, instead of driving downtown to apply for a loan at your bank or credit union, you can often just log on to your computer or open up a financial app on your smartphone and apply for the loan you need.

One of these online lending platforms that borrowers are increasingly turning to is SoFi. Let’s take a close look at SoFi, so you can find out whether or not it is a good fit for you.

Onto our SoFi review!

What is SoFi?

SoFi, short for Social Finance, is an online lending platform established in 2001 in San Francisco, California. As one of the older online lending platforms out there, SoFi offers a comprehensive set of borrowing, investing, and saving options; it is much more than just an online lender.

However, SoFi is renowned for providing student loan refinancing, mortgages, personal loans, investing, and banking services. Additionally, in 2019 the platform introduced  SoFi Invest, which allows users to invest their SoFi funds in the stock market. SoFi offers insurance and cash management services as well.

Services Offered

  • Private student loans
  • Student loan refinancing
  • Home loans
  • Personal loans
  • SoFi Invest
  • SoFi Protect
  • SoFi Spend
  • Small business financing
  • SoFi at Work

SoFi Private Student Loans

Private student loans are loans that are aimed at helping students complete their education. SoFi clearly states that applicants should first exhaust all options for federal and state loans as they are cheaper than what SoFi has to offer.

SoFi private student loans are available to students of different educational streams. Generally, the higher the educational qualification of the applicant, the better the rates will be. These are some of the most flexible loans that SoFi has to offer.

SoFi Student Loan Refinancing

SoFi claims to be the leading student loan refinancing provider. The website claims to have refinanced $18 billion worth of loans for over 300,000 applicants in the last two decades and 98% of the applicants have referred the service to their friends and family members.

SoFi Home Loans

The home loan service provided by SoFi includes mortgages and mortgage refinance facilities. The mortgage rates are competitive with a 10% down payment. SoFi mortgages come in the following term limits with fixed and variable rates: 

  • 10 years
  • 15 years
  • 20 years
  • 30 years

The rates are not disclosed on the website, so applicants will receive customized rates after filling out the application form on the site.

SoFi Personal Loans

The personal loans offered by SoFi are simple installment loans that can be used for any reason. This means that since the loans are given out on personal creditworthiness, SoFi personal loans can also be used for startups and business funding.

SoFi also offers the following under the category of personal loans:

  • Home improvement loans and
  • Credit card consolidation

These loans are unsecured loans which means they do not require any collateral and are a bit more expensive as they are riskier for the lender. 

Non-Lending Options

The non-lending options offered by SoFi include:

SoFi Invest

SoFi Invest allows members and non-members to invest their savings in various investment options.

SoFi allows investment in:

  • Stocks
  • Fractional stocks
  • Retirement accounts
  • Exchange-traded funds
  • Cryptocurrencies

SoFi Invest encourages investors to build and diversify their portfolios. Members receive exclusive access to investment advice from fellow investors, and can start investing with as little as $1.

Investors can even invest in fractional stocks which makes an investment with extremely low amounts much easier. SoFi is trying to go for the micro-investment model here, and just like the lending service, SoFi does not charge any trading fees on the sale and purchase of stocks in order to make investing easier for investors.

This absence of friction costs makes SoFi a cheaper investment platform compared to other investment platforms in the market. Friction costs are usually the main deterrent for amateur investors from trading more frequently.

SoFi Protect

SoFi Protect is the insurance service provided by SoFi. There are four different products under this category:

Renters insurance:

  • AI-powered processing engine
  • 90 second processing time
  • Personal and property insurance
  • Lemonade, the insurance provider takes a flat fee and donates the remaining amount to a charity of your choice

Homeowners insurance:

  • AI-powered processing engine
  • Paperless
  • Personal, family, and property insurance

Auto insurance:

  • Based on the root app, rates are therefore data-driven and depend on the driving style.
  • Applicants can get better rates if they practice safe driving – rates can be reduced by as much as 52%

Life insurance:

  • Coverage limit: $100K to $8 million
  • Period: 10 to 30 years
  • Free will drafting
  • No medical tests for eligible applicants

SoFi Spend

SoFi Spend has two services on offer:

SoFi Money:

This is a cash management service that allows users to earn cash back rewards every time they spend on affiliated brands. Users can also earn interest on $500 in recurring monthly deposits.

SoFi Relay:

This is a credit score monitoring and money tracking service. SoFi Relay can do what most budgeting apps do in terms of tracking and monitoring expenditure as well as making sure you stay within the budgeted limits.

Small Business Financing

SoFi has set up Lantern as a marketplace for financial products aimed at small businesses. Small businesses can enter their data and Lantern helps find loans they are eligible for. Some of the options available on Lantern are:

  • SBA disaster relief
  • Traditional SBA 7(a)
  • SBA 504
  • SBA express

Applicants can get prequalified rates within a few minutes with a soft credit check that won’t affect their credit score.

SoFi at Work

This is a unique service for business organizations that want to contribute towards the financial wellness of their employees. SoFi at Work is basically an employment benefit scheme but with a different twist.

  • Student loan refinance benefit: Allows employees to save money on their student loans.
  • Student loan contribution benefit: Allows employers to contribute directly to their employees’ student loans to help pay down the loans.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a SoFi loan, you must be at least 18 years of age and be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or immigration visa holder. If you’re a permanent resident of a visa holder, you must have at least two years remaining before your status runs out or have applied for a renewal. Additionally, unlike many other lending platforms, you must have a credit score of 680 or higher to qualify for a SoFi loan as well.

Student Loan Refinancing Eligibility

Age Limit:

  • Age of majority

Nationality:

  • U.S resident
  • Permanent resident or Visa holder
  • Non-residents can apply with a creditworthy co-signer who is a US resident

Employment:

  • Employed
  • Have sufficient income from other sources
  • Must have an offer for employment in 90 days

Education:

  • Associate degree or higher from a Title IV school

For Medical Residents:

  • Medical resident or fellow with up to 4 years left
  • Over $10,000 left in private and federal debt

Private Student Loans Eligibility

Undergraduate/Graduate/Parent Student Loans

Age Limit:

  • Age of majority or must have an age of majority cosigner

Nationality:

  • U.S resident
  • Permanent resident or Visa holder
  • Non-residents can apply with a creditworthy co-signer who is a US resident

Employment:

  • Employed
  • Have sufficient income from other sources
  • Must have an offer for employment in 90 days

Loan Usage:

  • Must only be used for qualified higher education expenses at an eligible institution

Enrollment Status:

  • Must be enrolled at last for half time at an eligible institution

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP):

  • SAP must be certified by the school

Home Loan – Mortgage Eligibility

Age limit:

  • Age of majority

Nationality:

  • U.S resident
  • Permanent resident or Visa holder
  • Non-residents can apply with a creditworthy co-signer who is a US resident

Employment:

  • Employed
  • Have sufficient income from other sources
  • Must have an offer for employment in 90 days

Purpose:

  • To use as a primary or secondary residence for 12 months at least
  • Not to be used as an investment property

Home loans are not issued in certain states.

Personal Loan Eligibility

Age Limit:

  • Age of majority and ability to enter into a binding contract

Nationality:

  • U.S resident
  • Permanent resident or Visa holder
  • Non-residents can apply with a creditworthy co-signer who is a US resident

Employment:

  • Employed
  • Have sufficient income from other sources
  • Must have an offer for employment in 90 days

SoFi does not disclose the credit score requirement but it is generally understood that the minimum credit score accepted by SoFi is 680. In general, SoFi looks for financially stable applicants with good financial fundamentals. 

In addition to this, SoFi generally prefers well-qualified applicants with a strong educational background. It has been noticed that applicants with good qualifications have been able to secure higher loan amounts. 

SoFi Rates and Terms

Private Student Loan Terms

Borrowing Limit:

  • $5000 – $100,000

Term Limit:

  • 2 – 7 years

APR Undergraduate Loans:

  • Fixed rate: 4.23% – 11.76% (with Autopay)
  • Variable rate: 1.90% – 11.66%

Graduate Loans:

  • Fixed rate: 4.13% – 11.83% (with Autopay)
  • Variable rate: 1.80% – 11.73%

Parent Loans:

  • Fixed rate: 4.23% – 11.26% (with Autopay)
  • Variable rate: 1.90% – 11.16%

Law and MBA:

  • Fixed rate: 4.11% – 11.81% (with Autopay)
  • Variable rate: 1.78% – 11.72%

Origination Fees:

  • No

Late Fees:

  • No

Prepayment Penalty:

  • No

Unemployment Protection:

  • Yes

Student Loan Refinancing Terms

SoFi will consolidate all qualified education loans. The terms presented below apply only to medical resident refinancing – terms and rates for other programs are not available on the site. Applicants can get customized terms by filling out the application form on the SoFi website.

i-Medical Resident Refinancing Terms

  • Minimum Payment During Residency. $100 for up to 54 months or end of the residency, whichever is earlier. After this, the loan will re-amortized and payment amounts will increase.
  • Term Limit. 5 to 20 years.
  • APR. Fixed-Rate: 3.45% – 6.94%. Variable Rate: 3.24% – 6.94%.
  • Origination Fees. No.
  • Late Fees. No.
  • Prepayment Penalty. No.
  • Unemployment Protection. Yes.

Home Loan – Mortgage Terms

  • Term Limit. 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 30 years.
  • Down Payment. 10%.

SoFi does not disclose the terms and rates for their mortgages. Applicants will need to apply to get prequalified rates, which will not affect their credit score. 

i-Mortgage Refinance Terms

There are three mortgage refinancing options:

Mortgage Refinance:

  • 90% LTV minimum
  • Market competitive rates

Cash-Out Refinance:

  • 80% LTV minimum
  • Market competitive rates
  • Turn home equity into cash for high-interest debt consolidation
  • Processing time 2-4 weeks

Student Loan Cash-Out Refinance:

  • Leverage home equity to pay off student debt.

Personal Loan Terms

  • Borrowing Limit. $5000 – $100,000.
  • Term limit. 2 – 7 years.
  • APR Range. Fixed-Rate: 5.99% – 16.19% (with Autopay)
  • Origination Fees. No.
  • Unemployment Protection. Yes.
  • Processing Time. 7 days.
  • Prepayment Penalty. No.

SoFi does not charge any fees whatsoever. This means there are no origination fees, no early payment penalty, and no late fees. So, even though the rates offered by SoFi are competitive, the absence of fees makes SoFi cheaper than most lenders. 

Another feature of SoFi is that it offers unemployment protection. This means that if the borrower becomes unemployed through no fault of their own, SoFi can suspend the loan repayments, with a forbearance period of up to 3 months. 

SoFi Application Process

The SoFi application process is a little different from most of the other lenders because it can be quite slow. So, if you are looking for a same-day transfer of funds then SoFi is not going to be of much help as it takes them a few days to get your money to you.

The application process is completely online, and applicants are required to complete an application form requesting basic data such as name, and address. Once this data is received, SoFi will create an account for the applicant on the website and ask for further information, such as:

  • Tentative borrowing limit – this will help SoFi determine your borrowing needs 
  • Tentative monthly payment limit – this will help SoFi determine your monthly payment once the loan is finalized.
  • Date of birth
  • Citizenship status
  • Permanent address
  • Annual income
  • Social security number
  • Co-signer details (optional)

Once these details have been submitted, SoFi may carry out a soft check which will not affect the credit score of the applicant.

After this, SoFi will use the information to send offers that match the data provided. If the applicant finds the offer and the accompanying terms and rates agreeable, they can accept the offer. A hard check will be carried out once the offer is accepted. Hard credit checks do affect credit scores.

The applicant will be required to sign the loan documents electronically and from this point, it may take several days for the funds to be transferred into the borrower’s account.

So, as you can see, the application process itself is simple and similar to other lenders but the time that it takes for the funds to be transferred is longer than SoFi competitors. 

The process of applying for the loan automatically makes one a member of SoFi and therefore makes them eligible for discounted rates and offers such as: 

  • Career counseling
  • Referral program
  • Cost comparison between different colleges
  • Personalized financial and estate planning advice
  • Access to exclusive member lounges

How it Works

SoFi has an intuitively simple website, and it is easy to navigate through its loan application process. You simply find the loan you want to qualify for, answer a few simple online prompts and within two to three minutes you can pre-qualify for your loan. Once you pre-qualify, you work with one of SoFi’s loan experts to finish a more in-depth loan qualification packet. You submit the packet and, if approved, the loan is normally deposited within the account of your choice within a matter of days. 

SoFi charges borrowers APRs ranging from 5.99 percent to 18.7 percent, on loan amounts ranging between $5,000 and $100,000. Loan periods can range from 24 to 84 months on the platform. SoFi also has relatively liberal policies regarding repayment problems. It does not charge late fees, offers some unemployment protections, and is flexible with rescheduling your payment due dates as well.

SoFi Customer Service 

Customers who want to contact SoFi can do so via the following options:

  • Phone: (844) 763-4466 – hours are 6am-6pm  PT. Closed on Saturdays and Sundays
  • Email at customerservice@sofi.com
  • Social media platforms
  • Live chat

SoFi Reviews 

SoFi has a rating of 3.6 stars on Trustpilot, based on over 2,400 reviews, indicating an average overall review score.  Of those reviews, 80 percent of users gave SoFi an excellent rating, while 10 percent issued a “poor” or “bad rating.  Many of the poor ratings indicate customers’ frustration with poor customer service interactions and high-interest rates. The platform is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) but carries an “A” rating there.

SoFi Reviews

  • Complaints about excessive paperwork
  • Delayed transferring of funds
  • Technical glitches on the website
  • Customers happy with the rates
  • No additional charges or fees are welcomed

The information and data presented on the SoFi website is extensive and has almost everything applicants would need to know before receiving prequalified rates.

SoFi Review Pros and Cons

Pros

  • High Ceilings.  Borrowers can qualify for loans up to $100,000 on SoFi, a higher amount than many other online lending platforms.
  • Low Rates. SoFi’s APRs start at 5.99 percent. 
  • Flexible Payments. You can adjust your payment dates with SoFi, and the platform doesn’t charge borrowers any late fees.
  • No fees. No additional charges or fees.
  • Variety. A lot of options for borrowers.
  • Eligibility. Prequalification option available.
  • Credit score. Soft Check during the prequalification stage.
  • Services. Unemployment protection.

Cons

  • High Credit Rating Required. Borrowers must have a credit rating of 680 or higher in order to be eligible to use the SoFi platform, which can be a high bar for many people. 
  • Funds. Transfer of funds can take time.

SoFi Alternatives

Here are some of the top alternatives to SoFi: 

SoFi Lender Review: Parting Thoughts

SoFi is a complete package from lending to investing options. SoFi has market competitive rates and the absolute absence of fees means that the loans from SoFi can be cheaper than their competitors.

In addition to this, the forbearance period for unemployment protection is a great feature that not a lot of other lenders offer. In times like this when unemployment is rising due to the economic crisis induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, unemployment protection is a very attractive option that sets SoFi apart from the online lending industry. 

If you need a loan, then SoFi may be a great choice. The Platform is easy to use and has many built-in advantages to help people get the cash they need. So log on to Sofi today, and see if the platform is a good fit for your financial needs.

See How SoFi Can Help You

Pay off debt sooner, invest in your future, or refinance your mortgage—all in one app.

Thanks for reading our SoFi review.

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