A commission-free platform with active and automated investment accounts.
finder.com’s rating: 4.3 / 5.0
SoFi is an online personal finance company that offers multiple financial products from, banking to investing. It sets itself apart with its no-fee robo-advisor and free account transfers. But its limited securities offerings, and lackluster research tools may force some investors to look elsewhere.
- Consider SoFi if you want to swap commission-free stocks or access a no-fee robo-advisor.
- Look elsewhere if you’re an experienced trader seeking bonds, mutual funds, futures or forex trading.
Stock trade fee
Minimum deposit to open
|Intro or bonus offer||For a limited time, get one free stock worth up to $1,000 when you open a SoFi Invest Active Investing brokerage account.|
|Stock trade fee||$0|
|Option trade fee||N/A|
|Asset types||Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency|
|Account types||Brokerage, Retirement, Robo-Advisor|
|Minimum deposit to open||$1|
|Commission-free trades, free account transfers and free portfolio management help SoFi stand apart from competitors.|
|It only offers access to stocks, ETFs and cryptocurrencies.|
|Support can quickly be reached in three ways.|
|Both Apple and Google users give its mobile app high marks.|
|Research and tools|
|You’ll get the basics, like watchlists and company fundamentals, but charting tools are limited.|
|No major outages have been reported.|
To learn how our star ratings are calculated, read the methodology at the bottom of the page.
WATCH: How to use Sofi Invest
What's in this guide?
What we think of SoFi
SoFi is a solid option for new traders. Both its robo-advisor and self-directed accounts are free to use, with no commissions or management fees to speak of outside a 1.25% fee for swapping crypto. SoFi also has financial advisers on staff to help talk you through trading strategies and financial goals — for free. Plus, there’s no minimum to open an account.
Oh, and I have to call out its IPO investing feature. This is something brokers have tossed around for some time, but SoFi is the first to take the plunge. Through its IPO investing feature, traders can buy pre-IPO shares ahead of their market debut. For retail investors, this is huge — this type of investing is typically reserved for big banks and hedge funds. Through IPO investing, SoFi is opening up the floor to everyday traders and it’s a big deal.
But here’s the thing: SoFi only offers access to stocks, ETFs and crypto. And its charting tools are nothing to write home about — you’ll find better-equipped research offerings with a broker like Interactive Brokers or TD Ameritrade. For newbies, a lack of sophisticated charting tools likely won’t matter. But for advanced traders, this could be a dealbreaker.
What investments does SoFi offer?
SoFi offers access to the following securities:
- Stocks and ETFs. Buy and sell stocks, ETFs and fractional shares with no commission fees.
- Cryptocurrency. Swap cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum 24 hours a day.
Choose from a self-directed brokerage account, automated investing or an individual retirement account (IRA) to start investing. SoFi also offers a cash management account that earns 0.25% APY if you have recurring monthly deposits of at least $500.
Who is SoFi best for?
With its pairing of brokerage accounts and robo-advising, SoFi Invest may be best for:
- New investors. A low $1 minimum deposit and educational resources make SoFi active investing a good option for those just starting out.
- Active traders. With commission-free trades on its brokerage account, active traders don’t have to worry about fees eating into their returns.
- Cryptocurrency investors. Many trading platforms don’t offer cryptocurrency trading, but SoFi offers 24/7 access to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum Classic.
- Hands-off investors. Investors who don’t want to manage a portfolio can take advantage of SoFi’s robo-advisor.
SoFi’s dual trading services allow it to appeal to both passive and active investors with commission-free, self-directed trades and free robo-advising. Active traders gain access to stocks, ETFs, fractional shares and cryptocurrency, while passive traders can choose from 401(k), Traditional, Roth or SEP IRAs.
Fees and costs
SoFi is among the most competitively priced investment platforms on the market. It charges no commissions for self-directed share trading and no management fees for automated investing. While a number of its competitors have dropped their commissions, including Robinhood, Ally Invest and Webull, few platforms offer free portfolio management.
Most charge an annual or advisory fee — typically 0.25% to 0.35% of the account balance. It’s also rare to find an investment platform that offers free account transfers — most charge between $25 to $75 to move funds to a new investment account.
SoFi active investing
|Minimum deposit to open||$0|
$10 for crypto
|Stock trading fee||$0|
|Cryptocurrency trading fee||1.25%|
|Account transfer fee||$0|
SoFi automated investing
|Minimum deposit to open||$0|
|Account transfer fee||$0|
How do I sign up?
Whether you want to open an active or automated investing account, the SoFi signup process begins with creating an account:
- Go to the official SoFi website, hover over the Products tab and click SoFi Invest. Then, click Invest now.
- Enter your full name, state, email address and password and agree to the terms and conditions.
- Click Register.
From your SoFi account dashboard, click Start investing and select the type of account you’d like to open.
To open a SoFi active investing account
- Select Active Investing.
- Choose whether you’re opening a new account or rolling over an existing 401(k) or IRA and click Next.
- Select your primary reason for investing, enter your date of birth and click Next.
- Select whether you’re opening a taxable investment account or an IRA and click Next.
- Enter your personal information, including your address, employer, citizenship status, net worth, investment experience, and Social Security number. Click Next.
- Follow the prompts to verify your identity and fund your account.
To open a SoFi automated investing account
- Select Automated Investing.
- Enter your birthdate.
- Select from SoFi’s five investment strategies: Conservative, Moderately Conservative, Moderate, Moderately Aggressive or Aggressive.
- Select the type of taxable account you’d like to open and click Next.
- Enter your full name, phone number, residential address, employment information and Social Security number. Click Next.
- Complete the application process by funding your account.
In order to sign up for a SoFi account, you’ll need to meet a few eligibility requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a valid Social Security number or tax ID number
- Have a valid US address
When you sign up for an account with SoFi, you’ll need the following information:
- Name, date of birth and address
- Contact information
- Social Security number
- Current savings and income information
- Investment preferences and goals
The SoFi platform offers basic research, but its charting tools are limited. You’ll get:
- Watchlists to browse popular stocks
- Access to the platform’s Investing 101 Center filled with tips for beginners, need-to-know terminology and more
- Real-time investing news and data
Technical day traders looking for in-depth stock research and advanced charting tools may want to look elsewhere.
How does SoFi’s IPO Investing feature work?
SoFi’s IPO Investing feature allows investors to buy pre-IPO shares ahead of their market debut. To be eligible for pre-IPO investing, you’ll need to hold a SoFi Active Invest account with at least $3,000 invested across all SoFi Invest accounts.
Here’s how the investment process plays out:
- Explore upcoming IPOs. Browse upcoming IPOs in the IPO Investing tab on SoFi’s mobile app. You’ll see how many shares you can request, the price and the estimated cost.
- Submit Indication of Interest (IOI). Indicate your interest in an IPO by submitting the number of shares you’d like to purchase. An IOI isn’t a purchase order but serves as a placeholder. You can’t modify your IOI after it’s been submitted but you can alter your order on pricing day. The minimum amount for an IOI is $40.
- Confirm your buying power. Ensure you have enough money in your account to cover the cost of the order.
- Submit your order. SoFi will send you an alert to let you know when it’s time to confirm your order on pricing day. Review your IOI and make any necessary changes. Complete the transaction by submitting your order.
It’s possible that you won’t receive the number of shares you request when submitting your order as a result of availability constraints.
Pros and cons
Here’s why investors enjoy SoFi:
- Low minimum investment amount. You only need $1 to start investing with a Sofi active or automated investment account.
- Fee transparency. There are no trading, transfer, custodian or commission fees, so you can hold on to more of your money.
- Free personalized help. SoFi financial advisors can help you adjust your goals, portfolio and strategy to align with your financial situation.
- Membership perks. Get access to local meetups, career coaches, unemployment protection and more when you open a SoFi account.
- IPO investing. SoFi offers access to pre-market IPO shares before they’re released on a public exchange.
Consider the following SoFi drawbacks before signing up:
- No tax optimization. Unlike other services, SoFi cannot help you optimize your tax losses.
- Limited account options. If you’re looking to get a head start on saving for your kids’ education with a 529 account or set up a trust, SoFi won’t be able to help.
- Limited securities. SoFi doesn’t offer bonds, mutual funds, futures, forex or orders.
- Limited support. Customer support representatives are only available on weekdays.
Is SoFi legit?
Yes, SoFi is a legit broker founded in 2011 by Stanford business school students. Your accounts are secured up to $500,000, including a $250,000 limit for cash claims, by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). SoFi is also a Registered Investment Advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
How SoFi makes money
If SoFi offers commission-free trades and doesn’t charge for automated investing, how does it stay in business? Well, like many brokers that offer commission-free trades, SoFi profits from Payment for Order Flow (PFOF).
This process involves using middlemen called market markets to fill trades. Brokers like SoFi send trade orders to market makers to be executed. Market makers then fill the order at a slightly better price than the trader was willing to pay and pockets the difference. Brokers are then compensated by the market maker for the order. In a nutshell, that’s payment for order flow.
Payment for Order Flow is somewhat controversial. Following Robinhood’s lockup of GameStop stock, PFOF was one of the broker’s practices that came under fire from Congress. It’s been argued that brokers profiting from Payment for Order Flow often fail to disclose this to traders. And brokers that engage in PFOF may opt to route investor orders to market makers paying the most for the order as opposed to the market maker that will provide the best, most efficient, most competitive order execution.
SoFi reviews and complaints
Overall, feedback on SoFi’s investing platform is fairly positive, as is the company’s reputation as a whole. SoFi earns an A rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) but is not a BBB-accredited business. As of March 2021, it has a TrustScore of 3.4 out of 5 stars based on over 2,488 reviews.
Most of the feedback we unearthed targeted SoFi’s banking products. And a majority of its 121 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaints were about SoFi’s student loans.
Reddit investors have no major concerns about SoFi’s automated investing, with numerous reports of satisfactory returns. For self-directed trades, Reddit users report that share trades are filled and confirmed in seconds — a hefty perk for a trading platform.
Federal Trade Commission alert
SoFi has an active alert on its BBB page. In October 2018, the Federal Trade Commission accused SoFi of making false statements to its customers about how much money they would save using its loan financing programs. In February 2019, a final Consent Order was approved that prohibits SoFi from misrepresenting potential savings to its customers without reliable evidence.
How do I contact SoFi support?
There are a few ways you can get in touch with a SoFi representative:
- Email. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Phone. Call 855-525-7634 Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.
- Live chat. Chat with a member of the SoFi team, Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.
Compare with other stock trading platforms
*Signup bonus information updated weekly.
SoFi’s commission-free trades and no-fee robo-advising are solid options for those new to trading. You can get started with an investment minimum as low as $1, and the platform offers plenty of educational resources for newbies. Plus, human advisers stand at the ready to assist with portfolio management for automated investment account holders.
The biggest drawback? Limited securities and account options. SoFi doesn’t offer access to mutual funds, bonds, options, futures or forex. And if you want to open a trust or 529, you’ll have to look elsewhere.