SoFi Money Review 2021


SoFi is the brainchild of a few Stanford University business students who initially wanted to tackle the student loan debt issue in this country by making it easier for borrowers to refinance student loans.

Eventually, they expanded the company’s focus to include several financial products and services, including online banking through SoFi Money. Today, SoFi offers a lot of banking services with some great benefits. This SoFi Money review gives you everything you need to know about those banking options.

Our review of SoFi Money will look at the product’s cash management features, and how SoFi Money compares with other online banking accounts to help you determine whether it’s right for you.

SoFI Checking Account Features

SoFi Money isn’t a traditional checking account. It’s an FDIC-insured cash management account that combines your checking and savings into one. Here’s a look at its “checking” style features.

SoFi Money Account for Checking

Best for SoFi Loan or Invest Customers

Key Features

  • Get paid up to two days early
  • No-fee overdraft protection up to $50
  • No monthly maintenance fee

SoFi Money covers just about everything you need in an online cash management account, with no monthly maintenance fees, a network of fee-free Allpoint ATMs, no-fee overdraft protection and an early payday with direct deposit. It connects with other SoFi products, so you can use it to automate investments or make loan or mortgage payments. The drawback? It comes with unusual daily transaction limi

SoFi Money Account for Checking

Monthly fees

None

ATM access

Fee free at 55,000 Allpoint ATMs

Customer service

Email, Twitter or by phone with limited hours

Prime perk

Early payday with direct deposit

More About Account for Checking

SoFi Money has a lot of attractive features as a cash management account. It might be most appealing to SoFi customers who use its other products, like automated investing and student loan refinancing.

Unlike most checking accounts, SoFi Money accounts come with these transaction limits that could make it tough to use as your primary spending account:

  • Withdrawal limits: $1,000 per day total, $150 over-the-counter cash withdrawal.
  • Peer-to-peer transfers: $3,000 per month.
  • Point-of-sale (cash register) transactions: 12 per day.
  • Point-of-sale spend limit: $6,000 per day.

Still, your cash management account gives you access to a debit card and gives you the option to order checks. Individual and joint accounts are available, which is rare among online banking accounts.

SoFi Money offers fee-free overdraft protection up to $50 as long as you receive at least $1,000 in direct deposits.

To Open a SoFi Money Account

  1. Become a SoFi member by creating an account online or through the app with your email address.
  2. Open a Money account through your dashboard. You’ll need to enter your mailing address, phone number, birth date and Social Security number.
  3. You can open an account with no minimum opening deposit and pay no account maintenance fees.
  4. Set up direct deposit or a recurring transfer of at least $1,000 to qualify for overdraft protection.

SoFi Savings Account Features

You can use a SoFi Money account as both your checking and savings account. Here’s an overview of its savings features.

SoFi Money Account for Savings

Best for Accessible Savings

Key Features

  • 0.25% APY
  • No fees
  • No monthly withdrawal limits

SoFi doesn’t offer a standalone savings account or certificates of deposit (CDs), but the SoFi Money cash management account you use for checking offers perks similar to traditional savings accounts. You’ll earn 0.25% APY on your balance for any month you add at least $500 through direct deposit or transfer into the account.

SoFi Money Account for Savings

Fees

None

Balances

No minimum or maximum

Monthly withdrawal limits

None

Prime perk

Open checking and get savings automatically

More About Account for Savings

You only have to open one account with SoFi Money to get the benefits of both checking and savings, so you don’t have to worry about which bucket your money is in.

The downside to having your checking and savings in one account is that your savings are easily accessible, which can make it easy to dip into that account instead of letting it sit and grow. Instead of the monthly withdrawal limits of a typical savings account, SoFi Money comes with the daily transaction and withdrawal limits mentioned above to curb your spending.

With the combined checking and savings features, SoFi Money acts best as a short-term savings account, rather than a primary saving or spending vehicle. Move money into the account for short-term goals, such as:

  • Building an emergency fund
  • Vacation savings
  • Buying a car
  • A home down payment
  • Large investments
  • Tax payments

The checking account features make your money more accessible through SoFi Money than in a traditional savings account, so you can build your savings knowing you can get to the money anytime if you need it.

Cash in SoFi Money is FDIC insured up to $1.5 million through a program of partner banks. FDIC insurance depends on the number of partner banks available (but hasn’t strayed from the $1.5 million mark according to any sources we’ve found).

Other SoFi Products

The biggest benefit to signing up for SoFi banking is becoming a member and gaining access to SoFi’s suite of products and services.

SoFi members (anyone who uses a SoFi product, like Money), get exclusive benefits like member-only events and member rate discounts on SoFi loans.

  • Personal Loans: Apply for a personal loan for things like student loan refinancing, credit card consolidation or home improvement. Interest rates range from 4.99% APR to 19.53%  fixed APR when you sign up for auto-pay (as low as 2.49% for student loan refinancing). You can check rates you’d qualify for by creating a SoFi account and entering the amount you want to borrow. Checking your rate with SoFi won’t affect your credit score.
  • Mortgages: Take out a home loan or refinance an existing mortgage through SoFi with as little as 5% down. You’ll save $500 on mortgage processing fees for being a SoFi member. SoFi also facilitates home equity lines of credit through home equity lender SpringEQ.
  • Investing: SoFi Invest is a brokerage account that lets you invest in stocks, ETFs and cryptocurrency right through the app. You can set up automated investing and let SoFi experts choose your portfolio for you, or choose yourself what to invest in. SoFi also offers Roth and traditional IRAs to help you save for retirement. You can fund your SoFi investment account using a SoFi Money account or external checking or savings account.
  • Credit Card: The SoFi World Elite Mastercard is designed to help you achieve financial goals along with other SoFi products and accounts. You’ll earn 2% cash back if you redeem it to save into a SoFi Money account, invest through SoFi Invest or pay down a SoFi loan or mortgage. Or earn 1% cash back if you redeem the reward as a statement credit.
  • Insurance: Through SoFi Protect, the company has teamed up with insurance providers to match you with affordable life, auto, homeowners and renters insurance. In most cases, you can apply and sign up online without speaking to an agent or facing a medical exam.
  • Career Services: SoFi members get to work one-on-one with a career coach to pave a path toward career and financial success. Career coaches provide guidance on things like career transitions, networking, building your resume and LinkedIn profile, negotiating, personal branding and your personal questions.
  • Financial Planning Resources: Members can make an appointment with SoFi financial planners for free to get professional financial advice on anything from basic money management to retirement planning. SoFi also provides resources to educate you on debt, lending, money management, investing and more, plus calculators to help you plan for borrowing and repaying debt.

SoFi Money Fees

SoFi boasts no fees, and it’s serious about that.

  • No third-party ATM fees
  • No monthly fees, like an account maintenance fees or minimum balance fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No fee for a replacement card
  • No bill pay fees
  • SoFi covers any foreign conversion charged

Fee structures are subject to change and have over the years, but you can take some comfort knowing the lack of fees is one of the most attractive features of online-only banking.

SoFi Customer Experience

SoFi offers online-only services, so you won’t find a brick-and-mortar SoFi branch or even any SoFi ATMs.

Cash Management

Customers do all their cash management through the app or website, plus nationwide ATMs. SoFi Money account holders have access to these basic checking account features:

  • Deposits: Set up direct deposit from your paycheck or recurring transfers from another bank account to automate your savings and build the account balance. You can’t make cash deposits.
  • Mobile check deposit: Still get a paper paycheck (or a birthday check from your aunt)? Deposit it from anywhere using the SoFi app on your smartphone or tablet with a camera.
  • Cash withdrawal: Use any ATM to take out cash when you need it with your SoFi debit card. You’ll pay no fees at Allpoint ATMs nationwide, and SoFi reimburses out-of-network ATM fees.
  • Digital payments: Link your SoFi Money account to PayPal or Venmo to receive payments.
  • Bill pay: Pay bills up to $10,000 per transaction directly from your SoFi Money account.

Mobile App

As an online-only institution, SoFi’s suite of digital tools is optimized for user ease and stacked with features like easy account transfers, bill pay and even budgeting tools.

SoFi banking happens primarily through the SoFi app, which is free to download for smartphones and tablets. Customers give the app 4.8 out of five stars in the Apple App Store and 4.4 out of five stars on Google Play.

The app lets you sign up for and access all SoFi products, including your cash management account, and free budgeting and money tracking tools.

Through the app, you can:

  • See your Money account balance and transaction history.
  • Deposit money with mobile check deposit.
  • Transfer funds to and from a linked financial institution.
  • Freeze and unfreeze your debit card.
  • Chat with customer support.
  • Monitor your TransUnion VantageScore credit score.
  • Connect other financial accounts to track your spending and savings in one place.
  • Access SoFi’s other financial products and services.

Customer Service

SoFi customer support is available through email, Twitter or by phone with limited hours.

  • Phone number: (855) 456-7634, available Monday through Thursday 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific.
  • Chat: Log into your account online or through the app.
  • Twitter: @SoFiSupport

Is SoFi Right for You?

SoFi Money might not be a perfect replacement for your primary checking or money market accounts, but it could be a good fit for short-term savings and managing money you want to invest through SoFi.

SoFi could be a fit for you if:

  • You’d benefit from access to other products, including loans, investing, career advice and free financial planning.
  • You have short-term savings goals, such as vacation savings, home down payment, buying a car or holiday shopping.
  • You receive a regular paycheck via direct deposit.
  • You prefer to do your banking online or through a mobile app.

SoFi might not be a fit for you if:

  • You prefer in-person service from local bank tellers or loan agents.
  • You’re frequently or primarily paid in cash.
  • You have no need for additional products and services like mortgages, debt consolidation, student loan refinancing or financial planning.
  • You have a high volume of daily transactions, like if you travel or shop a lot.
  • You need small business banking.
  • Your savings goals are mostly long term, like retirement or college savings.

Pros and Cons About Sofi Money

We’ve rounded up pros and cons about SoFi Money to help you decide if this is the personal finance company that’s right for you.


Pros

  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No maintenance fees
  • No overdraft fees
  • Free ATM access in-network
  • Slick app with a lot of features
  • High-yield savings accounts offering 0.25% APY


Cons

  • No cash deposits
  • Restricting transaction limitations
  • No business banking options

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About SoFi Money

Here are our answers to some common questions about using SoFi Money.

Social Finance, Inc. (SoFi for short) is based in San Francisco and has been operating in the personal finance space since 2011. It’s highly respected in the industry and loved by customers for its mobile-first and social approach to managing money.
The company maintains industry-standard security measures to protect users’ personal and financial information, including bank-level encryption and two-factor authentication.

Is SoFi Money FDIC Insured?

The money in your SoFi Money cash management account is FDIC insured up to $1.5 million through a network of partner banks.

Does SoFi Money Have Fees?

You’ll pay almost no fees with any SoFi products. SoFi takes its commitment to no fees seriously. With a SoFi Money account, you’ll pay no ATM fees, monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees or foreign transaction fees. You won’t even pay to replace a stolen or lost debit card or to pay bills through the app, and SoFi covers any foreign conversion you’re charged.

How Long Does SoFi Take to Deposit Money?

When you sign up for direct deposit into your SoFi Money account, you’ll have access to your money up to two days before your normal payday. SoFi releases the funds into your account as soon as the payer initiates the deposit, rather than waiting for the scheduled payday.

SoFi is not a bank — yet. Like other financial technology companies that provide banking services, the company works with a partner bank network that includes bank partners around the country. These companies hold and insure your funds, while the SoFi app helps you manage them all in one place.
However, SoFi is on its way to obtaining a national bank charter and becoming SoFi Bank, N.A., a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). In 2020, it received preliminary approval for a

Does SoFi Money Use Zelle?

SoFi Money is not compatible with Zelle. However, it offers its own peer-to-peer payments option that lets you send money to anyone in your address book. Recipients who also use SoFi Money will get the money instantly, and others will get it in one to two business days.

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) has been writing and editing since 2011, covering personal finance, careers and digital media.








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