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SoFi

2022 review

SoFi offers student loans, personal loans, mortgages and more. Perks include a unique members’ reward system, free spending and budgeting tools, and financial monitoring.

9.6 / 10
Editorial Score
Andrew Koopman
Andrew Koopman
Finance Writer
January 20, 2022

Overview

SoFi is designed to be a one-stop-shop for your finance needs. Using the site and associated smartphone app, you can keep track of your bank accounts, credit card balances, investments, student loans, credit score, and more, all in one place.

While SoFi is known for its student loans and refinancing, it has expanded its business model to include other types of financing as well. As a direct lender, SoFi offers personal loans, private student loans, student loan refinancing, mortgages, mortgage refinancing, auto loan refinancing, and more.

In this in-depth review, I’ll cover everything from the different loan types you can apply for and the rates and terms you can expect, to the quality of the customer service and how long it will take to get your funds.

Best Choice 2022
9.6 / 10
Editorial Score
SoFi
Quick view:
Editorial Score
9.6 / 10
Online Services
Applications, Quote management, etc.
6.0 / 10
Customer Service
7.0 / 10
Available in all states
9.8 / 10
Available loan types
9.4 / 10
Products
7.0 / 10

*Personal loans are not available in MS, but other loan types are

Products & Services

Personal Loans

If you need a personal loan, SoFi can be a great option, depending on your current financial situation and how big of a loan you need. But before you sign the dotted line for a personal loan, you’ll want to check your rate. The rates on personal loans range from 4.99% to 19.63% depending on your own finances and credit score.

To get started and see what you qualify for, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Date of birth
  • Home address
  • How much you’re looking to borrow
  • The reason you need a personal loan
  • The monthly payment you can afford
  • Citizenship status
  • If you rent or own your home
  • Annual income
  • If you want a co-borrower

For personal loans, you can borrow between $5,000 and $100,000 and you need a minimum credit score of 680 to qualify. You can get a 0.25% discount if you sign up for AutoPay, where SoFi will be able to automatically draft the payment from your account every month. The upside, you’ll never miss a payment. The downside, you’re giving a lender access to your personal bank account – but it might be worth it.

Another great thing about SoFi is that there are no fees for origination or prepayment, so you don’t have to worry about hidden costs. SoFi also offers unemployment assistance, enabling you to defer payments for 12 months if you lose your job.

The last thing to keep in mind is that SoFi does not offer personal loans to people in U.S. territories or Mississippi.

Private Student Loans

SoFi offers private student loans with flexible repayment options and will work with you to find the student loan that best fits your budget. Once you take out a loan, you’ll get access to some extra free perks, including writing tools and financial courses through Evernote, Grammarly, and Coursera.

You can borrow as much as you need to cover 100% of the cost of attending school. This includes costs like tuition, living expenses, food, books, supplies, and more. The minimum amount that you can borrow is $5,000 and the maximum amount is however much the school-certified cost is.

One of the main draws of using SoFi for your private student loans is that there are no fees: no origination fees, no application fees, no late fees, no missed payment fees, no insufficient fund fees. Still, you should still try to avoid missing payments, as that will lead to paying more interest and could end up negatively affecting your credit.

Sofi also offers undergraduate loans, graduate loans, MBA & Law School loans, and parent loans. All private student loans have payback terms of 5 to 15 years, and the rates range from 0.99% to 11.33% depending on the type of loan and the terms. These rates include a 0.25% discount for using AutoPay to make your monthly payment.

One thing to remember with private student loans is that they’re typically inferior to federal options. Even SoFi itself recommends that you exhaust all federal grant and loan options before pursuing private student loans. This is because federal loans have extra benefits such as hardship deferment, extra repayment plans, loan forgiveness, and more.

Student Loan Refinancing

Refinancing student loans was how SoFi started, and what helped make the company one of the best-known online lenders out there. Although the company has branched out to offer many other products, it still has student loan refinancing options to help you get better terms on your student loans.

Like with SoFi’s other products, it only takes a few minutes to check your rates for student loan refinancing options. You’ll need to provide much of the same information listed above. In addition, you’ll need to include some information on your existing student loans, such as the current balance and who the lender is.

You’ll need to have a minimum of $5,000 worth of student loans to be able to qualify for refinancing. However, there’s no maximum on the amount you can refinance. You can apply for the total amount of your qualified student loan(s).

The biggest reason that many consider refinancing their student loans is to get a better rate or better terms. With SoFi, you’ll find fixed rates ranging from 2.49% to 6.94% and variable rates ranging from 1.99% to 6.59% (with AutoPay discount). The company offers a rate guarantee on refinancing: if you find a better rate elsewhere, you can get $100.

Mortgages and Mortgage Refinancing

Whether you’re in the market for a total home loan or you’re looking to refinance your current mortgage, SoFi has options for you. The entire application process is done online, and you can check your rate within minutes once you have all the necessary information ready to go.

Since a mortgage is a bit more involved than some other types of financing, you’ll need to offer a bit more information before SoFi will show you what you potentially qualify for. Everything listed above still rings true, but you’ll also need to have a good credit score (SoFi recommends 620+) and a low debt-to-income ratio (SoFi recommends 43% or lower but you can qualify up to 50%).

SoFi will perform a soft inquiry on your credit to check your score. A soft inquiry will not affect your credit. You’ll also need to provide proof of income as well as all debts and monthly expenses so that your debt to income ratio can be assessed.

For mortgages and mortgage refinancing, you’ll find loans with terms of 10 to 30 years and rates ranging from 2.125% to 3.049%. SoFi updates the interest rates every day, but they will typically fall within this range, depending on the loan amount and terms desired

Auto Loan Refinancing

When you click on the auto loan refinancing tab on SoFi’s website, you’ll be redirected to Lantern Credit, which is a subsidiary of SoFi.

SoFi itself does not offer auto loan refinancing directly, but rather works with a network of lenders through its Lantern Credit subsidiary to offer you multiple refinance options. While this might be a little different than the way SoFi works with its other products, it shouldn’t really change much on your end and you can potentially get even better rates.

Using Lantern Credit, you can prequalify for a new auto loan in minutes, providing the typical information listed above for personal loans. You’ll also need to provide information regarding the existing car note, such as the balance, terms, and who the current lender is. Once you give all the information needed, you’ll see various loan options that you can then choose from.

Through its network of lenders, Lantern Credit (SoFi) will present you with loan options that include terms ranging from 2 to 7 years and rates from 2.59% to 10.00%. You can borrow up to the total amount of the current balance you have on the existing car loan, but it needs to be at least $5,000.

Rates and Terms

The rates and terms you can get from SoFi will depend on the type of loan or service you’re applying for and your personal finances.

To give you an idea of what you can expect, here’s a quick breakdown of each type of loan discussed above:

Product Rates (APR) Terms
Personal Loans 4.99% – 19.63% 2 to 7 years
Private Student Loans 0.99% – 11.33% 5 to 15 years
Student Loan Refinancing 1.99% – 6.94% 5 to 15 years
Mortgages and Refinancing 2.125% – 3.049% 10 to 30 years
Auto Loan Refinancing 2.59% – 10.00% 2 to 7 years

You won’t have to pay any sort of application fees, origination fees, late or missed payment fees, prepayment fees, or any other types of fees. Once you agree to the rates and terms, you’re all set and what you agree to is what you pay.

Application Process and Qualifications

To get an idea of what’s involved in the application process, I ran through it myself as if I was going to apply for a personal loan to help me consolidate some credit card debt. I found the process to be pretty straightforward, and I was able to see my rate and what I qualified for within 10 minutes of arriving on the SoFi homepage.

The entire process (from application to approval) is done online. I used a computer for my tests, but there’s also an excellent mobile app.

To see your rates for a loan, you’ll begin by providing the following information:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, etc.)
  • Proof of identity (driver’s license, state or government-issued ID)
  • Proof of income (W-2, pay stubs, 1099, etc.)
  • Employment status
  • Loan amount needed
  • Social Security number

In addition, you’ll also have to agree to a few terms and conditions before you can see your rates. This will include giving SoFi permission to perform a soft credit inquiry to check your financial status. This inquiry will not affect your credit score.

If you decide to move forward with SoFi based on the rates and terms that you see, you’ll then continue through the rest of the application process. No matter the type of loan you’re looking for, SoFi will perform a hard credit inquiry before officially approving any loans. This will show up on your credit report and will cause a slight temporary drop in your credit score.

Approval Time

According to SoFi, the review and approval process can take anywhere from 3 to 10 calendar days depending on the type of loan and complexity of the information you provide. The company states that it will begin reviewing applications within one business day of being submitted and provide email updates to you throughout the process.

Once you are approved for the loan, SoFi will send you an electronic Loan Agreement that requires your signature. After sending the signed document back, a representative from SoFi will call you to let you know that they’ve received the necessary paperwork and that your funds are being disbursed. Depending on the type of loan, you should have access to your funds within a few days of being approved.

With student loans, SoFi is right around the industry average in terms of the timeframe for fund disbursement, including the mandatory 3-day holding period. That said, some other online lenders (such as Upstart) can approve personal loans a bit faster than SoFi can, and you can potentially have money deposited into your bank account within just one business day.

Customer Service

To test the quality of SoFi’s customer service, I decided to act as if I was looking for a personal loan to take care of some credit card debt that I was looking to consolidate. Unfortunately, SoFi does not have an online chat feature, nor does it offer email customer support for personal loans.

With no chat or email support, I do have to ding the customer service score a bit, since calling is not my favorite way to contact customer support. That said, SoFi does have phone numbers for each specific loan type that you’re looking for, so you’ll presumably be talking with a specialist with that particular type of loan when you call.

When I called looking for a personal loan, I purposely called a different number and was promptly (and politely!) redirected by the representative to the personal loan team. This was a promising sign as it indicates that the team really is divided based on expertise. Once I was on the phone with support, I asked about applying for a personal loan for $15,000 to cover my credit card debt.

The representative was polite from the start and asked for my name and where I lived. Mississippi residents (myself included) are unable to get personal loans from SoFi, so I mentioned a different state.

The representative told me that the $15,000 loan was certainly doable and informed me that my credit score would need to be at least 680 to qualify, which I said was no problem. She informed me that the application process was done entirely online and gave me a list of some of the documents I might need to upload in order to be approved.

To end the call, she asked if I needed help with anything else and made sure that I understood how to move forward with applying. Overall, I was pleased with the customer service that I got, but again I’d prefer to have chat logs or emails that I could go back to for reference.

Depending on the type of loan you’re calling about, customer service hours are typically 8am – 10pm EST Monday through Sunday. Some departments are closed an hour earlier, and some are closed on weekends (or at least Sunday). Be sure to check the contact page on the site before trying to contact customer support.

Summary

Overall, SoFi can be a great option if you’re looking for a financing solution such as a personal loan, student loan, mortgage, or auto loan refinancing. As an online lender, SoFi has streamlined the application and approval process and can act as a one-stop-shop for all of your finances.

Although SoFi might be just a tad bit slower than some other lenders at getting the money to you, you’ll find some of the best rates, terms, and other benefits that any lender has to offer. So no matter which type of loan you’re looking for – except business loans – SoFi should be one of the top lenders you have in mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is SoFi a legit lender?

While SoFi does not operate in the same ways that a traditional bank does, it’s absolutely a legitimate lender. Since being founded in 2011, SoFi has provided over $59 billion in loans to more than 2 million members.

What credit score does SoFi require?

This depends on the type of loan that you’re looking for. For personal loans, SoFi requires a minimum credit score of at least 680. For mortgages and mortgage refinancing, you’ll need a credit score of 620 for most loan types or at least 580 for FHA loans.

Is it hard to get a personal loan with SoFi?

The application process itself is pretty straightforward for getting a personal loan. But SoFi does have one of the highest credit score requirements in the industry, requiring you to have a credit score of at least 680. You also have to plan to borrow at least $5,000 to qualify for a personal loan.

Is SoFi private or federal?

SoFi offers private student loans and loan refinancing. The company is not associated with the government in any way. This means that any student loans from SoFi will lose the protections of federal student loans such as hardship deferment, additional repayment options, and more.

Andrew Koopman
Written by
Andrew Koopman

Andrew Koopman is a freelance finance writer. He's written hundreds of articles over the years, specializing in topics such as improving credit, paying off debt, and applying for loans. Andrew graduated from Miami University with a Master's degree in mechanical engineering. He loves watching sports and enjoying the great outdoors with his friends and family.

Pros:
  • Quick and easy online application process
  • No fees of any kind on any type of loan
  • Best rate guarantee on student loan refinancing
Cons:
  • Personal loans require a credit score of at least 680
  • Minimum of $5,000 on any loan type
  • Slower fund disbursement than industry average
Bottom Line

SoFi is one of the biggest names in student loan refinancing, but these days, it has many more loan types to offer. With ten years of service and nearly $60 billion worth of lending under its belt, SoFi is completely trustworthy, and it’s a good option if you have good credit.

SoFi does not currently offer any sort of business loans. It doesn’t offer specifically designated debt consolidation loans, but you can use its personal loans for credit card consolidation.