When you shop for loans, you always need to compare your options. No two lenders are the same, and you should know what each one offers before closing on a loan.
Social Finance, or SoFi for short, is a financial institution that offers more than just personal loans at great rates. They offer a series of member-only benefits that can help you improve your overall financial wellbeing.
For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on their personal loan product in particular.
Keep reading to learn more about SoFi personal loans and how they can help you meet your financial goals this year.
Table of Contents:
What is SoFi?
SoFi is a lender that is known for having zero fees and tons of benefits for its members.
It was founded in 2011 by a Stanford alumnus who wanted to help recent graduates refinance their student loans. Since then, the company has opened itself up to offering a variety of financial products.
SoFi offers lending, investment, banking, and insurance products. You can get approved for a personal loan, open up a basic checking or savings account, or invest in stocks and ETFs. They even help with investments in cryptocurrency.
Known as a bit of a country club lender, SoFi is best for people with high credit and high income. They offer low APRs compared to other lenders to their highly selective application process.
Sofi typically does not accept borrowers that have a credit score lower than 680 and an income of less than $50,000. In fact, the average household income of a SoFi borrower is over $100,000.
How Does SoFi Work?
Most personal loan lenders allow the funds to be used for basically everything. SoFi limits their personal loan uses to individual, family, or household uses. This includes things like moving, debt consolidation, medical expenses, and home improvements.
You cannot use SoFi personal loans to fund businesses, investments, postsecondary education, or real estate.
When applying for a loan through SoFi, you will need to provide a series of personal information. This is so that SoFi can see if you are eligible to borrow based on their underwriting guidelines.
If SoFi decides that you are an eligible borrower and you close on a loan, you become a member of SoFi. This is unique to other lending companies. SoFi members get to enjoy exclusive perks and attend member-only events, such as happy hours and local networking events.
When it comes to getting a loan, most people are focused on achieving the lowest rates. SoFi’s exclusivity allows them to offer some of the lowest rates out there to high-quality borrowers. The difference at this level often comes down to the additional benefits of being a SoFi member.
SoFi Personal Loan Rates
SoFi allows borrowers to borrow large amounts for low interest rates. Borrowers can borrow any amount from $5,000 to $100,000. This is a relatively high minimum compared to other lending companies, which usually allow minimums of $1,000.
In addition, minimum loan amounts through SoFi can vary by state. Residents of Arizona, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire have a loan minimum of $10,001, and residents of Kentucky have a loan minimum of $15,001. SoFi personal loans are not available in Mississippi.
Repayment terms range from two to seven years. This is pretty standard compared to other loan companies.
SoFi is slower than most loan companies to distribute funds. Most lenders offer same-day or next-day funding, but SoFi takes a few days to put the funds into your account.
Unlike many online lenders, SoFi offers both fixed and variable-rate personal loans. They will also offer you a lower APR if you set up automatic payments. This will lower your APR by about 0.25%. Variable rates typically run 6.99% to 14.95% with autopay, and fixed rates run anywhere from 5.99% to 21.11% with autopay.
One of the biggest selling points for SoFi is that they do not charge any fees or penalties. This means no origination fees, no prepayment penalties, and no late fees. No fee guarantees typically mean that you will pay more in APR, so be sure to compare all your options before you close on a loan.
Lastly, SoFi offers unemployment protection in case you unexpectedly lose your job. If you lose your job for something that is not your fault (company-wide layoffs, budget cuts, etc.) SoFi will allow you to apply for loan forbearance. This means that you can postpone making payments on your loan for up to twelve months. Interest will continue to accrue on your loan, but this can help you if you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place.
SoFi has an entirely online process, which makes signing up and applying for a loan relatively straightforward.
In order to qualify for a SoFi personal loan, you must be a US citizen or permanent resident, at least 18 years old, and have some form of regular income. Ideally, they would like you to be employed or have proof that you will be beginning a job in 90 days. As stated before, the minimum income is around $50,000.
Once you determine if you qualify, you need to create an account. This will require a username, email, and password.
You can browse prequalification rates and begin a personal loan application after you create your SoFi account. For this, SoFi requires the following information:
- Social Security number
- Annual income before taxes
- Employer information
- Borrow amount
- Desired repayment term
SoFi allows co-applicants, but they do not allow any form of co-signer or co-borrower.
If you decide to move forward with your loan based on qualification rates, SoFi will perform a hard credit check. They will decide based on this check if you qualify for a loan, and will then give you a final rate.
If SoFi rejects your loan application, ask for clarification. It may have been the result of a processing mistake, but they may also point out a legitimate reason for rejecting your loan. This will allow you to check on any marks on your credit history and improve them.
Is SoFi Safe?
When it comes to disclosing sensitive personal information, it is important to know that you are protected. Fortunately, SoFi has security measures in place to prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands.
All information that you give to SoFi is stored on servers and in facilities that can only be accessed by SoFi personnel.
They also encrypt all of their data using Transport Layer Security (TSL) to prevent any hackers from having access to your information. Overall, SoFi maintains industry standards when it comes to cyber and data security.
SoFi Customer Support
Like most, if not all, lenders, SoFi has a customer support team that can assist you if you have any questions throughout the loan process. They can be contacted at (855) 456-7634 at the following times:
- Monday through Thursday 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. PST
- Friday through Sunday 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST
SoFi has more than just a customer support team, though. They also have a team of specialists that can assist you with planning for your future.
SoFi has career coaches that will go over your resume and LinkedIn profile with you to help maximize your professional skills. They will also work with you on networking skills.
They also have financial advisors that will assist you with loans, investments, and your overall financial future.
Pros and Cons of a SoFi Personal Loan
SoFi may sound like a dream, but there are drawbacks that prevent them from being the right choice for everyone.
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of taking out a personal loan through SoFi.
- No fees: SoFi does not charge origination fees, prepayment fees, or late fees on any of their personal loans. This is a huge bonus because it frees up money for you to invest or put towards your repayments.
- Completely online experience: Back in the day, you would have to visit individual banks and financial institutions to apply for a loan in person. SoFi lets you complete the entire process on your computer. You can apply for a loan, close on a loan, check your balance, and make payments online. This is extremely convenient for people who don’t feel like running all over town to apply for a loan.
- Excellent support: SoFi offers incredible resources to its members that go beyond customer service representatives. SoFi financial advisors can help you with your overall finances, and their career coaches can guide you to greener pastures in your career. Other loan companies are unlikely to provide such benefits to borrowers.
- Does not offer direct payment to creditors: One of the most common reasons people take out a personal loan is to consolidate debt. Often times, lenders will offer to pay creditors directly to eliminate the debt and help their customer. Unfortunately, SoFi chooses not to do this, so you will need to settle up with your creditors on your own.
- High minimum loan requirements: Most loan companies set a minimum requirement at $1,000. SoFi sets their bare minimum at $5,000, but you may have a much higher minimum loan requirement based on what state you live in. This can be a pain if you are looking for a small personal loan.
- Excellent credit needed: If you have poor credit, SoFi is not the lender for you. They require that all borrowers have a minimum credit score of 680. This rigid underwriting requirement is what keeps their APRs so low, but it also prevents a large pool of potential borrowers from qualifying for loans.
Is SoFi Legit?
The people who qualify for a SoFi loan probably wouldn’t have a hard time securing a loan with other lenders. Therefore, the main draw is the additional benefits that come with being a SoFi member.
In general, SoFi personal loans are ideal for people with excellent credit (680 or above), people with excellent spending habits, and people who want an entirely online experience.
If your credit is less than ideal, there are other lenders out there that are better suited for your needs. Companies like Avant or OneMain Financial accommodate for low credit scores and can help you secure a loan.
Overall, SoFi is an excellent lender if you qualify for their services.