SoFi personal loan review 2021
Young professionals benefit the most from this no-fee loan.
finder.com’s rating: 4.35 / 5.0
Bottom line: Low rates, no fees and benefits designed to get borrowers on the path to financial freedom set SoFi apart. But it’s not ideal if you’re building your credit or want quick funding. Read our full review or get our 30-second take.
This article was reviewed by Doug Noll, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and award-winning lawyer, mediator and author with over 40 years of experience in the legal field.
- No fees, including late fees
- Low interest rates starting at 4.99%
- Member benefits, like financial planning
- Large loans of up to $100,000
- Nonresidents can qualify with eligible visa
- High minimum loan amount of $5,000
- Doesn’t send funds to creditors for debt consolidation
- Coapplicants must be members of the same household
- Turnaround time is up to 30 days after approval
SoFi offers $500 cash bonus to new borrowers
SoFi is running a promotion that offers $500 to individuals who take out a personal loan for the first time by September 30, 2021. To qualify, you must already have a SoFi money account or be willing to open one within 60 days of applying and not be a resident of Ohio. But you can't combine this bonus with other discounts, like the 0.25% interest rate discount for autopay. Use our calculator to see if a 0.25% lower rate will help you save more than $500 before you sign up — even if you use that $500 to pay down your principal.
Our take on SoFi personal loans
SoFi offers personal loans with low interest rates and no fees for borrowers with good to excellent credit. Its goal is to help its customers reach financial freedom by offering a suite of member benefits and other financial products and services, including student loans and credit cards.
Borrowers who are a few years into their career and want to build their wealth can benefit the most. SoFi members get access to perks like free career coaching, financial planning and discounts on products from SoFi and its partners. And if you lose your job, SoFi offers unemployment protection that puts your personal loan into forbearance and pauses your monthly payments.
These loans are particularly good for large expenses like home improvements — the average SoFi personal loan was around $32,000 in 2020. But you might not qualify if you’re fresh out of school or have a credit score under 680. And in some cases, it can take as long as 30 days to get funded.
SoFi is best for:
- Borrowers with a 680 credit score or higher.
- Large expenses that cost at least $5,000, like home improvements.
- Young professionals who have established their career and want help growing their wealth.
- Those who prefer the ease of borrowing online and the high standards of a bank.
SoFi is currently not a bank, but is in the process of applying for a bank charter. The FDIC gave SoFi's charter application conditional approval in October 2020.
SoFi offers low rates, no fees and long terms
SoFi offers one of the least-expensive unsecured personal loans out there.
- Fixed interest rates range from 4.99% to 19.63%, after a 0.25% autopay discount. The typical maximum rate for an online loans is at least 20% APR.
- There are no fees — no origination fees, late fees or prepayment penalties. Most lenders charge late fees, at a minimum.
- SoFi has a uniquely wide range of repayment terms, from 24 to 84 months. Most lenders only offer terms from 36 to 60 months.
Since there are no fees, your interest rate and APR are the same. Your rate is based on your credit score and other financial factors. Borrowers with good credit may see slightly higher rates than borrowers with excellent credit.
Your loan term can also affect your interest rate. Generally, longer terms come with higher interest rates.
Get an estimate of your monthly cost using our personal loan calculator. Enter the loan amount, interest rate and loan term you think you might qualify for.
SoFi monthly payment calculator
Calculate the cost of a SoFi personal loan
|Loan terms (in years)|
How SoFi compares to LightStream and Marcus
SoFi personal loans are highly competitive when it comes to costs. But other providers might be better for credit card debt consolidation or for borrowers who want to borrow a smaller loan amount.
- LightStream is one of the few lenders that could offer even lower rates than SoFi to some borrowers. But you can't check your rate without affecting your credit.
- Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers slightly higher rates and more limited terms than SoFi. But it's a good choice if you need less than $5,000. And you can receive your funds faster — the turnaround is typically within one to four business days.
Compare even more personal loans
4 main eligibility requirements
Make sure you meet these minimum requirements to qualify for a SoFi personal loan:
- Credit score of 680 or higher
- Currently employed or pending employment in the next 90 days
- US citizen, permanent resident or in the US on an eligible visa
- Age of majority in your state
Generally, your personal finances need to be in good shape to qualify and score the lowest interest rates.
SoFi CEO Anthony Noto tells Finder, “SoFi continues to focus on lending to prime and super prime borrowers. In addition to credit score and credit history, we continue to weigh factors such as monthly income versus expenses, assets, employment status and professional experience.”
Qualify for a SoFi personal loan without a coborrower if you're a permanent resident or in the US on one of the following visas or immigration statuses.
- DACA recipients
Borrower perks set SoFi apart
SoFi offers low rates and no fees, But the perks are what really sets it apart from other providers. As a borrower, you become a member of SoFi with access to a full suite of perks beyond its personal loans.
- Career coaching
- Unemployment protection
- Financial planning from accredited advisors
- Personalized action plan to ask for a raise
- Active and robo investing with no commission or management fees
- Up to $10,000 in referral bonuses
- Rate discount of 0.125% on future SoFi loans
- SAT and ACT Test prep discounts
- College financial aid assistance
- Discounts at partner companies
- Estate planning
- Networking experiences and events
- Access to SoFi’s online community
- Member lounge access at the SoFi Stadium
It’s also one of the few lenders that allows borrowers in the US on certain visas to apply without requiring a coborrower. But you still need good credit or excellent credit to qualify. This might be difficult to meet if you’re new to the US and don’t have sufficient credit history.
SoFi reviews are a mixed bag
|BBB customer reviews||1.24 out of 5 stars, based on 71 customer reviews|
|BBB customer complaints||158|
|Trustpilot score||3.1 out of 5 stars, based on 2,507 customer reviews|
|Customer reviews verified as of||31 August 2021|
SoFi customers give it mixed customer reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot
- Positive reviews comment on the fast and simple application process and quality of customer service.
- Negative reviews focused on the application rejections, unexpectedly high rates and glitches that customer service was unable to resolve.
- Customers also gave its COVID-19 response mixed reviews.
SoFi came in fourth place in the 2020 J.D. Power Consumer Lending Customer Satisfaction Survey. But it didn't make the cut in 2021.
How the application works in 3 steps
Apply for a loan online or by using the SoFi app, available in the App Store and Google Play. Here's how the process generally breaks down:
- Prequalify for a personal loan by answering basic questions about loan amounts and terms you’re looking for. This only takes a few minutes.
- Follow SoFi's instructions to complete the application and submit documents, once you're preapproved. You'll also have access to a member of the customer support team to help you along.
- Review the loan amount repayment terms and interest rates you qualify for before signing your closing documents. If you agree to the loan, SoFi will pull your credit report.
You can apply on your own, or bring on a coapplicant to help you qualify for lower rates and higher loan amounts. But that coapplicant must share the same address as you.
After you sign and submit your loan documents, it typically takes a few days to send the funds to your bank account. However, the turnaround can take as long as 30 days — not the best news for anyone looking to get their loan approved and funded quickly.
Manage payments using the SoFi mobile app
You can log in to your SoFi account on a computer to manage your loan. But using the mobile app could be a better option:
- It's easier to navigate than the online portal — and easier to log on to once your account is set up.
- It's more secure than the online portal, thanks to two-factor authentication.
- Push notifications can help you avoid missing payments.
In addition to making payments, you can use the app to take advantage of unemployment protection or change your payment due date once every 12 months.
SoFi is a legitimate lender — but has brushed up against regulators
SoFi's lending model is a departure from the traditional. But it's a legitimate personal loan provider.
- SoFi is authorized to offer an array of online financial services, including credit cards, checking accounts and investments.
- The FDIC gave SoFi conditional approval for a bank charter in October 2020, which would mean it has to meet the same standards as any other bank.
- SoFi acquired community bank Golden Pacific Bank in June 2021. This could fast-track its bank charter application.
However, SoFi has run into some trouble in the past. In 2019 SoFi entered a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC had accused SoFi of inflating the potential savings and misrepresented the monthly cost of its student loan refinancing product. As part of the settlement, it’s agreed to only make savings claims backed by concrete evidence.
See how SoFi stacks up to other lenders
- FTC Approves Final Order with SoFi, Federal Trade Commission, 25 February 2019, https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2019/02/ftc-approves-final-order-sofi
JD Power 2020 US Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study, JD Power, 28 May 2020, https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2020-us-consumer-lending-satisfaction-study
JD Power 2021 US Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study, JD Power, 26 May 2021
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