SoFi Review

By Kevin Mercadante

SoFi ID Card

 Loan typesMulti purpose personal loans
 Loan amountUp to $100,000
 Repayment Terms   36-84 months
 Top ProFlexible loan amounts and terms
 Top ConMin. 660 credit score & proof of income needed to get approved
 Best forYoung professionals and recent graduates

Visit SoFi

SoFi at a Glance

SoFi offers a fresh and innovative approach to lending that differentiates its services from traditional brick and mortar lenders. The company was founded by four graduate students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2011. The group wanted to make a commitment to offering a service that could help graduates pay back their student loans while bypassing traditional lending institutions. From there, the concept expanded to accommodate a wider variety of borrowing needs. In the time since, SoFi has worked hard to make good on their commitment, becoming one of the fastest growing alternative lenders in the industry after extending over $7 billion in loans to date. SoFi offers a variety of technology driven financial lending and money management solutions including wealth management, loans, and even life insurance. Additionally, SoFi works with customers to help them achieve stability, plan for their future, and reach their personal finance goals.

Best for Whom?

For customers who are looking for an alternative to the traditional lending system, SoFi presents an ideal lending solution. The company’s marketplace lending model allows users to connect to the best borrowing opportunity without dealing with intermediaries such as banks or other bureaucratic roadblocks. If you need to restructure or deal with student loans, or are simply looking for a wealth management service, SoFi provides an innovative solution aimed directly at meeting consumer finance needs. Additionally, the company’s services are geared towards customers who are looking to gain financial stability and autonomy while benefiting from the outstanding customer service SoFi provides. If you prefer a lending solution that not only seeks to work with you, but also helps with planning for the future, building your credit, or simply shape a better understanding of your financial reality, SoFi stands out as an excellent option.

Loan Features

One of the best characteristics we discovered during our research of SoFi’s services is the fact that the company does more than simply offer personal loans. The company presents borrowers with several options, including student loan refinancing, mortgages and mortgage refinancing, as well as personal loans and parent loans. Additionally, SoFi is committed to helping loan seekers develop skills to instill a sense of more responsible financial decision-making. The company offers wealth management solutions, private placements, and even provides market commentary and investment resources to help you understand the process and make better investing choices. We were very happy to see that SoFi makes a serious effort to educate customers, providing a wide variety of resources designed to bolster your understanding of personal loans, personal finances, and different types of loan options. The company even offers rankings for MBA programs and salary calculators by degree type. 

  • Variety of personal loan types including student loan refinancing and consolidation
  • Mortgage and mortgage refinancing offered for new homeowners
  • Unemployment protection in cases of job loss
  • Wealth management service designed to help with financial planning
  • Strong educational resources to better understand loans, finances, and investing
  • Parent loans to help those parents looking to support their children’s education
  • Technology-driven approach to lending
  • Community events for entrepreneur networking

The Application Process

​Applying for a loan with SoFi is not a complicated process, and though approval can take slightly longer than with some competitors, some of it has to do with the company’s pledge to ensure responsible lending and transparency. We were very happy with SoFi’s loan amounts, which range from $5,000 to $100,000, although the higher amounts are reserved for applicants that have good-to-great credit scores. The approval process for SoFi is not long, but can be expedited if you prequalify. To apply, you are required to fill out an online application, after which the company will do a soft credit pull—with no impact on your credit—and if you are approved, you will move on to a more rigorous qualification process. The online segment can be completed in a few minutes, although the full process can take slightly longer depending on your specific qualifications and credit score. 

Loan Terms: The Bare Basics 

Due to their more involved qualification process, SoFi’s loan application takes a little longer than other personal loan providers in the industry. However, this comes with some benefits and advantages that make SoFi such a great choice relative to peers. In order to apply for a personal loan, SoFi requires the following:

  • You must be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Be at least over the legal age in your state
  • You must be employed, have sufficient income, or have an offer to start a new job within 90 days of your application.
  • A minimum credit score of 660

Additionally, eligibility depends on other factors including your financial history, expenses, income, and career experience. One thing we were very pleased with was the company’s willingness to work with customers who have newly established credit, as they have no requirements on years of credit history. Moreover, the company does not have any restrictions on maximum debt-to-income ratios.

Even before filling out an application, it was nice to see that SoFi helps you make the best decision possible.  By providing a variety of resources that include an excellent personal loan calculator, SoFi lets you see how different loan amounts and terms affect your rates and repayment. 

In order to apply, you simply need to create an account with SoFi. The initial application process takes about 10 minutes, and once you’ve been approved, the qualification process will take a little longer depending on your personal information.

When you apply, you should have the following ready:

  • Proof of income such as paystubs
  • A valid ID
  • Information on any existing loans
  • Employment information
  • Diploma or transcript in order to verify your graduation

Once you have completed the application, you will learn if you have been approved, and if so, you will be contacted by SoFi to establish the terms of your loan. After that, your loan will be transferred into your account.

Besides the qualification process, we were very happy with the company’s interest offerings. SoFi offers two options when you are selecting a loan: fixed or variable interest rates. For its fixed rate loans, the company offers interest rates that range from 5.49% to 14.49%. Variable rate loans start at 5.17% and can reach as high as 11.57%. SoFi’s rates can change somewhat depending on how you choose to pay your loans. If you opt for automatic payments, the company can offer better interest rates. The best part is that they don’t charge any origination fees or hidden fees, outside of penalties for late payment.

SoFi loans are primarily aimed at young professionals and recent graduates. The company’s goal of helping people deal with student loans while instilling a sense of responsible decision-making makes it a top choice if you are a recent graduate and looking to establish your credit history, refinance your student loans, or simply learn to handle finances better. SoFi’s products are generally designed for customers that have better credit scores.  Part of the reason why they can offer such competitive interest rates is their focus on customers with more proven financial track records. Furthermore, you can still apply for a loan from SoFi even if you were not recently a college student. 

Repayment Terms

​During our research, we were impressed by the flexibility and variety of repayment terms offered by SoFi. All the company’s loan amounts are available with three different repayment terms of 3, 5, or 7 years. Unlike some personal loan providers that only issue fixed loan amounts for predetermined terms, SoFi allows you to choose your amount and your term. The only factor that is impacted by choosing a different repayment term is the interest rate, which will generally start at the low end of the range for shorter terms.  The lowest available rates are 5.49% for fixed rate loans and 5.17% for variable rate loans, with APR’s as high as 14.49% for fixed rate loans and 11.57% for variable rate loans that are issued for a longer borrowing term.

How Safe Is It?

​If you have security concerns, SoFi works very hard to address these apprehensions. The company places a premium on its customers’ personal information security, and works hard to avoid any data breaches. The company’s site features robust 256-bit Secure Sockets Layer technology that encrypts transferred data and includes military-grade protection. When it comes to entering personal information, SoFi asks for pertinent data only when necessary. While you are required to enter some personal information when first applying including details such as name and address as well as employment and education history, you only need to provide more specifics once you have been initially approved for your loan.  

Customer Service

Strong support and education is one of SoFi’s most valuable assets and one of the areas we were most impressed during our evaluation. As part of it’s customer service, the company features a standard FAQ section to help answer common questions and queries while also providing an excellent suite of resources that are designed to help people better understand loans and personal finances. SoFi offers a variety of calculators to help you get a better grasp on student loan and personal loan rates, as well as sections regarding applying for an MBA and finding jobs based on your career. Moreover, they offer community events and assistance programs for entrepreneurs to network. If you have questions, you can reach SoFi via e-mail or call their customer support weekdays during normal business hours.

Deep Dive into Pros & Cons

While SoFi is an excellent choice for many borrowers, it does have a few downsides that might make it less appealing.

  • For one, the company tends to work with borrowers that have good-to-great credit, with a minimum credit score of 660 required to apply.
  • The approval process and application might take a little longer compared to competitors, which means that it is not the best source for accessing emergency funds.
  • Finally, the $5,000 minimum on loans is slightly higher than some competitors, meaning that borrowers seeking to plug short-term holes in their finances might not find the right solution with SoFi.

However, despite some minor drawbacks, SoFi offers excellent benefits that are ideal for certain borrowers.

  • The company is interested in helping people achieve financial stability, and as such, is willing to work with people who have more limited credit histories while ignoring things such as debt-to-income ratios.
  • While they do focus on credit scores, SoFi also looks at broader metrics of financial health because they understand that credit scores are not the only way to assess a person’s creditworthiness.
  • One of the best things about SoFi is their unemployment protection which will freeze loan payments if you lose your job.  Taking their services one step further, they will even help you find a new job.

All told, SoFi presents an excellent solution if you are looking to borrow responsibly without emergency needs.

Summary

Overall, we were incredibly pleased with SoFi’s service. The company has worked hard to set itself apart in a crowded industry by providing a transparent offering with a customer-first approach. Despite some small downsides such as high minimum amounts and a slightly longer approval process, the company’s low interest rates and dedication to customer education make them a top choice when it comes to getting a personal loan.   Furthermore, their efforts to teach better personal finance skills and professional development resources make them an excellent partner in furthering your financial ambitions. Excellent value-added services such as unemployment protection and job-search assistance also put them at the top of the class amongst its industry peers. All in all, we found that SoFi was an excellent alternative for young professionals who are looking to build their credit through responsible borrowing, as well as aspiring homeowners or those seeking to refinance loans with unfavorable terms. SoFi presents an outstanding choice for borrowers with strong credit scores thanks to its dedication to financial education, overall lending transparency, and strong customer-facing solutions.

Visit SoFi

Physical Address

One Letterman Drive

Building A, Suite 4700

San Francisco, CA 94129

USA

 

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lender Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

Fixed rates from 5.49% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.17% APR to 11.32% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of July 1, 2017 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 4.99% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.22% plus 3.95% margin minus 0.25% autopay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

 
 

 

Last updated: July 12, 2017

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