All lenders offer upfront cash in exchange for your monthly payments over time, but this doesn’t mean all lenders are the same.
The right lender can save you money in interest and fees and help build your credit as you make the loan payments.
Social Finance, or SoFi for short, offers personal loans, mortgages, student loan refinance loans, and even banking and investing services.
Is a SoFi personal loan right for you? This post will explore SoFi’s personal loan products to help you find out for sure.
Table of Contents:
- About SoFi
- How SoFi Works
- SoFi Personal Loan Details
- Getting Started
- Is SoFi Safe?
- Customer Support
- Pros and Cons
What is SoFi?
SoFi is a lender that is known for having no fees and tons of benefits for its members.
A Stanford alumnus started SoFi back in 2011 to help young grads refinance student loan debt. Since then, this company has expanded to offer a variety of financial products.
SoFi offers lending, investments, 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.
SoFi works best for people with high credit and high income. Because of its highly selective application process, SoFi can offer lower interest rates to borrowers who do qualify.
Sofi typically does not accept borrowers that have a credit score lower than 680 and an annual income less than $50,000. In fact, the average household income of a SoFi borrower is over $100,000.
SoFi Personal Loans At a Glance
- Loan Amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
- Availability: 49 states (not Mississippi)
- Loan Terms: 2 years to 7 years
- Credit Score: 680 or above
- Income Requirement: $50,000 per year; borrowers average $100,000 a year
- Co-Signer? Not allowed; co-applicant is OK
- Interest Rates: 5.99% – 25.05% APR (with autopay, as of 12/31/20)
- Discounts: 0.25% off the interest rate for autopay
Compare Rates with SoFi
How Does SoFi Work?
Most personal loan lenders let you borrow money for just about any purpose — from paying for a root canal to restoring a vintage car.
SoFi is more selective. It limits personal loan uses to individual, family, or household needs. You could borrow to pay for a move, debt consolidation, medical expenses, or home improvements.
But you couldn’t use SoFi personal loans to finance a business, to generate cash for investing, to pay for post-secondary education, or to buy real estate.
SoFi is more selective about its borrowers, too, compared to most personal loan providers.
When applying for a loan through SoFi, you will need to provide a good bit of personal information. This date helps SoFi determine your eligibility to borrow based on its underwriting guidelines.
If SoFi decides you are an eligible borrower and you close on a loan, you become a member of SoFi. This is unique among personal loan providers.
As a SoFi member, you’d get exclusive perks and be invited to member-only events, such as happy hours and local networking events designed to build connections — hence the name Social Finance.
SoFi Personal Loan Details
SoFi borrowers become SoFi members. Is this extra hurdle worth it? It can be — if this lender’s rates and terms match your needs.
How Much Will SoFi Lend?
SoFi allows borrowers to access large amounts of cash at low-interest rates. Borrowers can apply for any amount from $5,000 to $100,000.
This minimum of $5,000 (and the maximum of $100,000) is on the higher side for personal loans.
Minimum loan amounts through SoFi can vary by state but across the board they tend to be higher than other lenders who offer $1,000 or $2,000 loans.
SoFi Personal Loan Terms
Repayment terms range from two to seven years with a SoFi personal loan. This is pretty standard compared to other loan companies.
SoFi tends to be slow about distributing funds. More and more lenders offer same-day or next-day loan funding, but SoFi still needs a few days to transfer the loan amount into your account.
SoFi Personal Loan Rates
SoFi offers fixed-rate personal loans. You’ll get a lower APR if you set up automatic payments which are becoming more and more common in the industry.
SoFi typically lowers your rate by 0.25% if you enroll in autopay.
Fixed rates run anywhere from 5.99% to 18.28% with autopay.
*Rates current as of 11/2/2020*
SoFi Personal Loan Fees
One of the biggest selling points for SoFi is its lack of fees or penalties. This means no origination fees, no-prepayment penalties, and no late fees.
SoFi offers unemployment protection in case you unexpectedly lose your job.
If you lost your job because of company-wide layoffs, budget cuts, or something else that wasn’t your fault, SoFi will allow you to apply for loan forbearance.
This means you can postpone monthly payments on your loan for up to 12 months.
Interest will continue to accrue on your loan, but this feature could help you maintain good credit while you recover from the sudden change in your personal finances.
SoFi lends money online which makes signing up and applying for a loan relatively simple.
To qualify for a SoFi personal loan, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, at least 18 years old, and have some form of regular income.
Ideally, SoFi 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 prove your eligibility, you’ll 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
- Amount borrowed
- Desired repayment terms
To see whether you pre-qualify, SoFi will do a soft credit check which won’t affect your credit score.
If you decide to move forward with your loan based on qualification rates, SoFi will perform a hard credit check which sets your final interest rate.
If SoFi rejects your loan application, ask for clarification. The lender could have made a processing mistake. If not, you should get a copy of your credit report to see what, if any, negative marks are pulling down your score.
SoFi allows co-applicants on personal loans, but it does not allow co-signers or co-borrowers. What’s the difference? A co-applicant benefits from the loan proceeds; a co-signer does not.
Compare Rates with SoFi
Is SoFi Safe?
SoFi has top-notch security measures in place to prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands.
All information you submit to SoFi is stored on servers and in facilities that can be accessed only by SoFi personnel.
This lending club also encrypts all of its data using Transport Layer Security (TSL) to deter hackers.
No lender can guarantee 100 percent data security, but SoFi maintains industry standards when it comes to cyber and data security.
SoFi Customer Support
SoFi has a solid customer support team if you have questions about applying for a loan or repaying your loan. You can contact customer support at (855) 456-7634 during the following hours:
- Monday through Thursday, 4 am to 9 pm Pacific (7 am to 6 pm Eastern)
- Friday through Sunday, 4 am to 5 pm Pacific (7 am to 8 pm Eastern)
SoFi customer support team does more than solve technical glitches or recover lost passwords. This team of specialists can help plan your financial future.
SoFi also has career coaches to help with your resume and LinkedIn profile so you can maximize your professional skills. The team can also help with your networking skills.
Pros and Cons of a SoFi Personal Loan
With no fees, low rates, and a holistic approach to customer service, SoFi may sound like a dream come true. But SoFi has drawbacks that prevent this lender from being a good fit for everyone.
Here is a summary of the lender’s advantages and disadvantages:
- 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 back on your loan’s principal.
- Completely online experience: SoFi lets you complete the entire borrowing process on your computer or smartphone. You can apply for a loan, close on a loan, check your balance, and make payments online.
- Excellent support: SoFi offers its members incredible resources that go way beyond the traditional role of customer service reps. SoFi financial advisors can help you with your overall finances, and the career coaches can help show you a path to more financial freedom. Traditional lenders don’t offer such benefits to personal loan borrowers.
- Flexible repayment options: Even though you don’t get charged for late payments, you may still want to change your loan’s due date from time to time. SoFi offers this option once a year on its fixed loans.
- Unemployment protection: I mentioned this above. A 12-month forbearance could be super helpful if you lost your job — especially if you’d borrowed a large amount on a short loan term.
- No direct payment to creditors: If you’re borrowing to consolidate debt, know that SoFi won’t pay off your other creditors directly. Instead, you’ll need to receive the loan funds and then pay off your old credit cards or other debts separately.
- High minimum loan: If you just need $1,000 or $2,000, SoFi isn’t for you. SoFi’s minimum is $5,000 in most states and even higher in some states.
- Excellent credit required: Creditworthiness is key with SoFi. You’ll need 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?
Yes, with a responsible financial history that spans almost a decade, SoFi is definitely legit and here to stay.
Every year the lender offers more loan options; well-qualified buyers can access loan offers with the lowest rates on the market for unsecured personal loans.
People who qualify with SoFi have the credit history and household income to borrow from just about anyone. SoFi knows this, so its methodology stresses the benefits of SoFi membership.
As a SoFi member you’ll get access to lower interest rates on a variety of loan products such as student loan refinancing, mortgage financing, and even investment and bank accounts.
But you’d also get access to financial planning, networking opportunities, and other social gatherings with people you may have things in common with.
Who Shouldn’t Apply for SoFi Personal Loans?
If you don’t have excellent credit — a FICO of at least 680 and preferably in the 700s — you won’t get approved for a SoFi personal loan.
If you earn less than $50,000 a year, you probably won’t be eligible either.
If you live in Mississippi, SoFi doesn’t lend money to your state.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t find a quality loan elsewhere. Whether you’re trying to reduce your credit card debt or pay for home improvements, personal loans can provide the money you need.
Some personal loan lenders consider a variety of factors that opens the door to borrowers with FICO scores in the 600s or possibly as low as 580.
To protect your credit history from further damage, be sure you pre-qualify with a soft credit check before a hard check reveals your actual rate — especially as you compare rates from a variety of different lenders.
Companies like Avant or OneMain Financial can accommodate lower credit scores and can help you secure a loan.
Full disclosure: Your borrowing rates will be higher, but by sticking to the loan terms you can improve your credit history which can open new doors in the future.