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SoFi vs. Chime: Which bank is right for you?

Chime is better for credit-building, while SoFi is better for earning stronger savings rewards.

Both SoFi and Chime offer free mobile banking options, including checking and savings, with no monthly fees or opening deposit requirements. Chime is better suited if you want credit-building opportunities, overdraft features or a second-chance checking account, as it’s one of the few financial institutions that doesn’t review your banking history when you apply for an account. However, SoFi offers a wider range of products, higher APYs, various lending options and an investing platform.

SoFi vs. Chime: A quick comparison

Feature or productSofiChime
Sofi logo
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Chime logo
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Bonus
  • $300 by meeting direct deposit requirements upon opening SoFi Checking and Savings
  • $50 bonus for SoFi Invest referral
  • $1,000 bonus for student loan refinance referral
  • $300 bonus for personal loan referral
  • $500 bonus for private student loan referral
  • $100 bonus for SoFi Checking and Savings referral
$100 referral bonus for Chime checking account
SavingsUp to 4.6% APYUp to 2% APY
Checking
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Up to 0.5% APY
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum deposit: $0
CDsN/AN/A
ATMs
  • 55,000 Allpoint ATMs
  • Out-of-network ATM fee: $0.
  • 60,000 Allpoint and retail ATMs
  • Out-of-network ATM fee: $2.50
BranchesOnline onlyOnline only

SoFi vs. Chime: Product offerings

Chime and SoFi are both top banking options and often win a spot in our best checking account picks.

SoFi has significantly more products and services available than Chime. SoFi offers a hybrid checking and savings account, tons of loan options and an investing platform. In contrast, Chime offers a credit-building card and separate checking and savings accounts but no investing platform or loans options.

Banking

SoFi and Chime both offer free checking and savings options, but they lack variety compared to other major institutions, like Chase or Wells Fargo, which have multiple bank account offerings.

SoFi accepts joint ownership of its SoFi Checking and Savings account, whereas Chime doesn’t on either of its account offerings.

SoFi offers:

  • SoFi Checking and Savings is an all-in-one online checking and savings account with no monthly fees or opening deposit requirements.
    • Checking features: Earns 0.5% APY with no balance requirements and limited-time cashback rewards offers, which you can view and activate in the SoFi mobile app.
    • Savings features: Set up direct deposit or deposit at least $5,000 per month to earn 4.6% APY on your savings balance. If you don’t meet the deposit requirements, your APY drops to 1.2%. The account also comes with up to 20 “vaults,” so you can separate your savings goals.

Chime offers:

  • Chime Checking has no monthly fees or opening deposit requirements. Chime won’t review your ChexSystems report, making it a solid second-chance banking option. Unlike SoFi, Chime’s checking account isn’t interest-bearing. But it does come with Chime SpotMe, an overdraft service, when you meet deposit requirements.
  • Chime Savings offers up to 2% APY with no monthly fees or opening deposit requirements. You can set up automatic deposits and use savings round-ups. Plus, there’s no maximum interest you can earn. However, you must have a Chime Checking account to open the savings account.

Borrowing

Chime offers a credit-building card that’s best for those looking for an accessible credit option with no interest charges, while SoFi is best for those looking for a comprehensive suite of lending options like credit cards, personal loans and refinancing.

SoFi offers:

  • Personal loans for debt consolidation, weddings, home improvement and more. Rates start at 8.99% APR with no prepayment penalties or late fees. However, you may need a credit score of at least 680.
  • Refinancing options such as auto loans, student loans, medical resident, medical professional, law and MBA and parent PLUS.
  • Student loans for undergraduate, graduate, MBA and more.
  • Home loans such as FHA, VA, cash-out refinance, mortgage refinancing and home equity loans.
  • Small business loans through its marketplace, which is designed as a way for business owners to compare several financing options across top lenders
  • SoFi Credit Card. Earn unlimited 2% cash back with this card that has no annual fee. You can also earn up to 3% cash back on SoFi Travel purchases.

Chime offers:

Investing

Chime lacks an investing platform, whereas SoFi offers SoFi Invest, an investing platform that lets you invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds and alternative asset funds. SoFi also offers retirement accounts such as traditional, ROTH or SEP IRAs.

Apps, features and more

SoFi also offers these perks:

  • Savings vaults and round-ups. Separate your savings goals with the envelope budgeting method using SoFi’s vaults. Its savings round-up feature also rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the difference to your savings account.
  • High FDIC insurance. SoFi offers an optional Insured Deposit Program that offers up to $2 million in FDIC insurance, whereas most institutions only insure accounts up to $250,000.

Chime’s overdraft protection service is a standout feature:

  • Chime SpotMe. This service allows you to overdraft your checking account up to $200 when you make a purchase or withdrawal from an ATM. There are no fees for this service, but you must make direct deposits of at least $200 in a 34-period to qualify for it.
  • Savings features. There are no deposit requirements with Chime’s savings account, and there’s no maximum interest you can earn. Similar to SoFi, Chime also has a round-up feature to stack your savings quickly
  • .

How SoFi’s and Chime’s fees compare

SoFi and Chime are neck-in-neck when it comes to fees. Both of their banking options lack monthly fees and opening deposit requirements. They both use the Allpoint ATM network, giving you access to thousands of ATMs across the country with no fees. Chime has a few more ATMs because you can visit retail locations, such as 7-Eleven, CVS and Circle K, to deposit or withdraw cash.

However, SoFi charges a small 0.2% foreign exchange Mastercard fee, while Chime doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee at all. However, Chime does charge a $2.50 fee for withdrawing cash out with ATMs out of its network.

What customers say about Chime and SoFi

SoFi holds the highest Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of A+, and Chime holds a slightly lower A rating. These BBB ratings are based on a company’s ability to respond and resolve customer complaints, so they’re both solid in that area.

However, Chime has thousands more customer complaints than SoFi, with the majority claiming that their accounts were closed without notice, which has been attributed to Chime’s fraudulent alert system that was incorrectly flagging accounts and closing them.

SoFi customers on Reddit are mostly happy. Many say they chose SoFi for its competitive APYs and mention that they haven’t had many issues managing the account and that the vault feature lets them organize their savings.

For Chime, Redditors largely discuss the Credit Builder card and say they’ve seen major improvements to their credit scores, and many also mention the usefulness of the Chime SpotMe feature. However, there’s a trend from Chime customers claiming they’ve had issues with deposits.

Final verdict: SoFi wins

Directly compared to Chime, SoFi is better. SoFi offers more account options than Chime, and its hybrid account is full of features.

SoFi’s checking balance earns interest with no balance requirements, and you can earn cashback offers. On top of that, SoFi’s savings balance earns up to 4.6% APY when you meet deposit requirements, whereas Chime’s savings only earns 2% APY.

However, if you need a credit-building card or a second-chance bank account, Chime is worth considering. Chime doesn’t use ChexSystems to view your banking history, so if you have a rough bank account track record, it won’t factor into your eligibility for its checking account. Chime’s accounts are also free to open and maintain, so while SoFi might beat out Chime head-to-head, it’s still a solid online banking option.

SoFi at a glance

SoFi is best for more account options and stronger rewards.

Pros
  • $0 monthly fees on checking or savings
  • High APYs and cash back
  • Joint accounts
  • Up to $2 million in FDIC insurance
  • Various lending options
  • Investing platform
  • Stronger signup bonuses
Cons
  • $4.95 cash deposit fee
  • No international wires
  • 0.2% foreign exchange Mastercard fee
  • No CDs

Chime at a glance

Chime is best for credit-building or if you have a poor banking history.

Pros
  • $0 monthly fees on checking or savings
  • Chime SpotMe overdraft protection
  • Credit Builder card
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Doesn’t use ChexSystems
Cons
  • No joint accounts
  • No wire transfers
  • Complaints about account closures
  • No lending or investing
  • No CDs

Alternatives to SoFi and Chime

Neither SoFi nor Chime offer physical branches, and you’ll have to pay a fee to deposit cash. They also both offer certificates of deposit (CDs). If you need a bank with branch access and more traditional offerings, you’ve got options.

  • Chase Bank. One of the Big Four banks, Chase offers a variety of personal and business banking options, including checking, savings, kids banking, CDs, credit cards and lending.
  • Upgrade. Similar to SoFi and Chime, Upgrade is an online bank offering no monthly fees and cashback rewards through its Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus account.
  • Current. Similar to Chime, Current is a fintech company. It offers savings pods, savings rewards, cashback rewards, paycheck advances and a credit-building card called Current Build with no APR.

See how even more bank accounts stack up:

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