Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser disclosure

SoFi® vs. Discover: Which bank is right for you?

Both SoFi and Discover® Bank are rewarding and free, but SoFi lets you invest online.

SoFi has quickly become a top online banking option. Its hybrid account is free to open and maintain, it offers a competitive APY and comes with a fully-loaded mobile app. But Discover has an expansive credit card library, high-APY savings and no-fee cashback checking. They’re both strong banks, but Discover’s lack of requirements to earn the best savings APY and generous cashback rewards make it a slightly better choice for everyday banking, whereas SoFi is the bank for investing opportunities.

SoFi vs. Discover: A quick comparison

Feature or productSofiDiscover
Sofi logo
Go to site
Discover logo
Go to site
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
Cashback match for first year for new cardholders on select credit cards
SavingsUp to 4.6% APY on SoFi savings balance by meeting deposit requirementsUp to 4.25% APY with no requirements
Checking
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Up to 0.5% APY
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Up to 1% cash back
CDsN/A
  • 3- to 120-month terms
  • $2,500 opening deposit
  • Up to 4.70% on a 12-month term
ATMs
  • 55,000 Allpoint ATMs
  • Out-of-network ATM fee: $0.
  • 60,000 ATMs
  • Out-of-network ATM fee: $0
BranchesOnline onlyOne in Delaware

SoFi vs. Discover: Product offerings

SoFi is a bonafide, FDIC-insured online bank. It offers one personal bank account, a full suite of lending options, investing and a mobile app with tons of features. It uses the large Allpoint network of over 55,000 ATMs nationwide, and it accepts cash deposits at Green Dot locations for a $4.95 fee.

Discover is a mostly online bank with only one branch in Delaware. It has free checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CD), a high-yield money market account and many lending products. Discover’s credit card offerings are top-tier, offering travel, student and even secured credit cards. It also has more ATMs than SoFi, with a large network of 60,000 ATMs. Discover also offers cash deposits at Walmart and 7-Eleven locations with the Add Cash app for free.

Banking

SoFi’s main checking and savings bank account functions as a hybrid. There are no opening deposit requirements and no monthly or overdraft fees. Savings balances offer up to a 4.6% APY with requirements, and checking balances earn 0.5% APY with no requirements. There are also debit card cashback rewards, but you must activate them in the app, and they’re limited.

Discover’s checking account is called Discover® Cashback Debit Account. It earns 1% cash back on debit card purchases up to $3,000 per month, has no monthly fees and offers checks. You can also link the account to your Discover® Online Savings Account for overdraft protection, which earns 4.25% APY with no monthly fees or balance requirements.

Both SoFi and Discover offer free checking and savings, but SoFi’s account is an all-in-one account. Discover also has a money market account and CDs — two products SoFi doesn’t offer.

SoFi offers a high 4.6% APY on its savings, but you’ll need to set up direct deposit or deposit at least $5,000 per month — if you don’t, your APY drops to 1.2%. Discover’s savings account has a 4.25% APY, but has no direct deposit or balance requirements at all to earn its best rate.

Borrowing

Discover and SoFi both offer personal loans with no prepayment penalties. You can use these loans for things like home improvement or debt consolidation.

SoFi also offers vehicle financing and refinancing, student loans and a single credit card with 2% to 3% cashback rewards and no annual fee. Discover doesn’t offer student or car loans.

Discover’s credit cards are much more vast than SoFi, offering seven different options, most of which earn cash back. A top option is the Cash Back Credit Card, with 5% cash back in multiple categories and 0% APR for 15 months. There’s also the Discover it® card line with unsecured and secured options with no annual fee, 5% cash back in multiple categories, unlimited 1% cash back and unlimited cashback match for your first year.

Investing

SoFi offers traditional, Roth, rollover and SEP IRAs with no monthly fees, commission fees or minimum contributions. SoFi Invest lets you trade stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), talk to financial planners for free, auto-invest based on your risk tolerance and invest in alternative investments like commodities.

Discover offers IRA CDs high APYs, all around the 4% range. It has Roth and traditional IRAs with no monthly fees. However, it doesn’t offer an online investing platform like SoFi, and its IRA and regular CDs require a large $2,500 opening deposit.

Apps, features and more

As online banks, Discover and SoFi need solid apps with a lot of functionality. Discover’s app receives higher marks than SoFi, holding a stellar 4.9-star rating on Apple and 4.5 stars on Google Play. SoFi has a 4.8-star rating on Apple and a 3.9-star rating on Google Play.

SoFi’s mobile app has a lot of management controls and features. With its savings account, you can create up to 20 vaults to separate savings goals. It also has an emergency fund feature where you can create a vault and input your expenses to estimate how large an emergency fund you should save. And like most modern banking apps, you can manage your investments, apply for loans or other accounts, activate cashback rewards, use an ATM locator, set up recurring transfers, do mobile check deposit and set up savings round-ups. SoFi also offers 24/7 customer support over the phone.

Discover’s app supports Zelle, mobile check deposit, has an ATM locator, cashback management loan and card applications. You can also deposit your cashback earnings from the Discover checking account in your savings, but it doesn’t offer automatic savings round-ups like SoFi offers.

How SoFi’s and Discover’s fees compare

SoFi and Discover are both great banks if you want to avoid fees. Neither bank charges monthly fees on its checking or savings, they both feature a large free ATM network, and they don’t charge out-of-network ATM fees.

What customers say about SoFi and Discover

Discover and SoFi both have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and have great customer feedback. SoFi has a little over 1,700 complaints, and Discover has over 3,000. While a few thousand complaints are never ideal, it’s worth noting that SoFi and Discover have significantly fewer complaints than other online banking options.

Discover’s negative Trustpilot reviews and BBB complaints are typically around its credit cards, with customers expressing frustration in trying to get refunded for fraudulent charges or complaints of their accounts being closed. SoFi has a lot of unique complaints, such as customers saying they didn’t receive a signup bonus they earned, reports of fraudulent charges they want resolved, slow deposit times or frozen accounts. But overall, both banks have rather typical grievances.

On Reddit, SoFi gets decent feedback. Customers enjoy the hybrid checking and savings account, the high APY on savings and simple loan applications, and many report fast and responsive customer service.

Discover also receives high marks from Redditors. Users say that Discover’s US customer support team is fantastic, and they like getting free checks. Others mention they can earn cash back on their Discover debit and credit card, and the savings account has a high APY with no hoops to jump through.

Final verdict: Which one’s better?

It’s a close call between SoFi and Discover, and you really can’t go wrong with either. Discover squeaks by with the win for banking, and SoFi takes the trophy for investing.

Discover’s checking and savings is better. SoFi requires setting up direct deposit or depositing at least $5,000 per month to earn the 4.6% APY, whereas Discover’s savings account has no requirements to earn its 4.25% APY. Discover’s cashback checking offers 1% cash back with no messy categories or limited-time offers, up to $3,000 per month. With SoFi, you have to go into the app and redeem specific rewards, which can vary. Discover’s credit card offerings are also better, with multiple credit cards to choose from, with better earning potential than SoFi’s single card offering.

SoFi is better if you want to start investing. Its SoFi Invest platform lets you trade stocks and ETFs and check out alternative investments, and Discover doesn’t offer anything similar. And while Discover offers IRA CDs, you’ll need at least $2,500 to get started.

Both banks are also primarily online, and each offers 24/7 phone support. Discover customers repeatedly mention its fast, helpful and friendly customer support and its large ATM network. Discover also accepts cash deposits for free with its Add Cash app at select merchants, whereas SoFi uses Green Dot for cash deposits, which costs $4.95 per deposit.

Discover at a glance

Discover offers a high APY on its savings with no activity or balance requirements, a variety of credit cards, highly rated customer support, CDs, and no fees on everyday banking.

Pros
  • No monthly fees on banking
  • High APYs and cashback rewards
  • Multiple cashback credit cards
  • Free cash deposits with Add Cash
Cons
  • No student or car loans
  • $2,500 opening deposit on CDs
  • No investing platform

SoFi at a glance

SoFi’s hybrid account has no fees and offers high APYs, but you’ll have to meet activity requirements to get its best rates. It’s a better option for investing thanks to its online investing platform.

Pros
  • Online investing platform
  • No monthly fees
  • High 4.6% APY on savings
Cons
  • No physical branches
  • No CDs
  • Deposit requirements for best savings APY
  • $4.95 Green Dot cash deposit fee

Alternatives to SoFi and Discover

SoFi and Discover are top online banking options. But if you’d prefer branch access or something entirely different, you’ve got plenty of alternatives.

  • PNC Bank. This mid-size bank has a large branch network in the US. And like SoFi, PNC offers hybrid checking and savings accounts with its Virtual Wallet accounts.
  • Chase. Chase Bank’s credit card offerings are similar to Discover, offering many cashback and travel cards. It also features a variety of checking, savings and CD options.
  • Marcus. The Marcus Online Savings account offers a high 4.4% APY with no deposit or balance requirements. It’s a higher APY than Discover’s account, but unlike SoFi, you won’t need to do anything to earn that high rate. But there are no checking account options.

See how even more bank accounts stack up:

More guides on Finder

Ask a Question

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Go to site