SoFi Personal Loans Review: 2019

SoFi is an online lender that focuses on providing borrowers with low-cost loans. Their underwriting process evaluates the projected cash flows, careers, and education levels of borrowers to offer competitive interest rates. 

SoFi is the largest provider of student loan refinancing and provides a variety of options for personal loans. In their own words, SoFi “helps people achieve financial independence to realize their ambitions.”

About the Company

Founded in 2011, SoFi was funded as a pilot program by students and alumni of Stanford University. They’ve since gone on to have significant fundraising success, and in 2016 became the first online lending startup to receive a triple-A rating from Moody’s. 

SoFi is well-known for their federal and private student loan refinancing options. They also service mortgages, home loans, and personal loans. As of 2015, they’ve issued over $6 billion in funded loans.

While SoFi is not a bank, it is FDIC insured up to $1.5 million. They partner with WSFS Bank (member FDIC) to offer payment processing and debit card access for their cash management accounts.

Here you’ll learn about:

What types of loans does SoFi offer?

SoFi designs their personal loans to get you the money you need when you need it. They offer six types of personal loans to meet the financial needs of borrowers. In some cases, loans can be as large as $100,000.

1. Home Improvement Projects

Home improvement projects aren’t cheap. A kitchen remodel on its own can cost from $12,500 to $33,000 or more. Since most people don’t have that kind of cash on hand, applying for a personal loan with SoFi can help.

Other home improvement projects you can use a SoFi personal loan for include:

  • Bathroom remodeling
  • Garage door replacement
  • Attic bedroom conversion
  • Basement remodeling
  • Second-story addition
  • Window replacement
  • Siding upgrade
  • Wood deck addition
  • Steel entry door replacement

2. Credit Card Debt Consolidation

Credit card debt consolidation lets you combine multiple credit card balances into one new loan. Refinancing your credit card debt with SoFi can help you get a lower interest rate. This will save you money each month and help you pay off your debt faster. 

Once SoFi approves your application, you can use loan funds to pay off your old balances. Your new payment will be made to SoFi under the terms of your loan.

3. Relocation Assistance

Moving, whether it’s for school, work, or family, can be expensive. A relocation assistance loan from SoFi is a great way to gain access to the funds you need.

A few moving expenses you’ll want to consider when applying for your loan include:

  • Transportation 
  • Packing and unpacking services
  • House-hunting trips in the new location
  • Temporary housing
  • Miscellaneous charges such as cleaning fees, rent deposits, or pet boarding

No matter what your particular relocation needs are, SoFi can provide competitive rates and repayment terms to help you through the process.

4. Medical Procedures

A SoFi personal loan can help cover the cost of medical expenses, even if they aren’t expected. Whether you’re looking into fertility treatments, prescriptions, surgeries, or something else, a medical loan can give you quick access to capital for your healthcare costs. 

Interest rates of SoFi loans are often lower those you’d pay if you were to use a credit card, saving you a significant amount in interest fees over the life of the loan.

5. Vacation

A vacation loan from SoFi can be a great option if you’re planning to travel, but don’t have enough money saved up. 

After SoFi approves your application, you can use the funds however you choose. If you put the funds toward a vacation, you’ll have quick access to cash, allowing you to take advantage of an excellent deal on airfare or a low rate on a hotel stay.

4. Engagement Rings and Wedding Expenses

A one-carat engagement ring can cost $5,500 and the average cost of a wedding is $33,931, according to The Knot’s 2018 Real Weddings Study. While you shouldn’t feel pressured to buy more than you can afford, a loan from SoFi can help you cover engagement costs and wedding expenses.

SoFi Personal Loans: Rates and Terms

Terms

The terms for personal loans vary according to the preferences and qualifications of the borrower. With SoFi, you can choose from terms that range from two to seven years.

Choosing a shorter-term loan can cause a higher monthly payment. However, you’ll save a considerable amount of money on interest because you’ll be paying the loan off faster. 

For example, if you’re borrowing $10,000 for two years at a 5.99% APR, you’ll pay:

  • $443.16 each month for 24 months
  • $635.87 in total interest payments

If you borrow $10,000 for five years at the same interest rate of 5.99% APR, you’ll pay:

  • $193.28 each month for 60 months
  • $1,596.89 in total interest payments

Opting for the two-year term will save you $961.02 in interest fees compared to the five-year term.

Refinancing

SoFi can help you merge school loans, credit card bills, medical bills, and other personal debt into a single monthly payment. Borrowers wishing to refinance their existing debt can do so with a personal loan. 

Sometimes, refinancing can qualify you for lower interest, which can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loans you’re refinancing.

Rates

SoFi offers fixed and variable annual percentage rates ranging from 5.99% to 17.665% APY.

Such a range is typical for personal loans from a national standpoint, but rates can fluctuate daily. Different rate quotes are sometimes given to borrowers in different states. Your individual rate will depend on your home state and credit history.

If you opt for a fixed-rate loan, your monthly payment will be the same amount every month until you pay off your loan balance. The advantage to this option is that your payments will be predictable. The interest on variable-rate loans can change. These loans can be advantageous if interest rates drop, but they can make it difficult for borrowers to budget for their payments, as unforeseen rate increases are also a possibility.

Fees

SoFi is a zero-fee lender. This means that they don’t charge origination fees, account maintenance fees, late fees, closing costs, or early payment fees. 

Loan Amounts

SoFi offers loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. Depending on your home state and your personal finances, your minimum or maximum loan amounts may vary.

Time to Funding  

SoFi’s online application provides streamlined access to your loan at every stage of the lending process. Completing the application only takes a few minutes. Once SoFi approves your application, you’ll receive a loan contract that you can sign and submit electronically.

Once your contract is signed and received, the lender will have your funds available within a few days.

SoFi Loan Requirements

To apply for a SoFi loan, you must be 18 years or older and a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or visa holder. Residents of Mississippi aren’t eligible for loans from SoFi.

Qualifying

Typical Credit Scores

The minimum credit score to qualify for a personal loan with SoFi is 680. The average SoFi borrower has a FICO credit score above 700.   

However, SoFi is known for looking beyond credit scores to qualify borrowers, so don’t be afraid to apply if you don’t have perfect credit. While your credit history affects the loan approval decision, SoFi also considers your financial history, career experience, and income.

Soft Credit Check: Pre-Application

Checking your loan options is easy with SoFi. To find out what you qualify for, you’ll need to provide your:

● Housing information (including housing costs)

● Type of income (full-time, self-employed, benefits, etc.) 

● Credit score

SoFi requires you to list the purpose of your loan, but there’s no need to go into great detail. A “soft” credit check will be performed to determine your rates as part of the application process. This credit check will not appear on your credit report, and will not affect your score.

Hard Credit Check: Formal Application

After viewing the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi will perform a hard credit check if you choose to go through with the loan. 

This hard credit check will pull your entire credit history and will also be listed on your credit report. This final credit inquiry could also affect your credit score.

Repayment 

SoFi’s focus on helping people achieve financial independence has led them to create a user-friendly payment process. If you lose your job, SoFi will temporarily pause your payments and help you find a new job.

Payment Due Dates

You may change your monthly payment due date according to your financial needs. You can select any date between the first and 25th of the month, and you can change this online through your account.

Accepted Methods of Payment

Autopay is SoFi’s preferred payment method. You may qualify for a reduced interest rate if you set up autopay, which makes it an attractive option for borrowers. Other forms of payment SoFi accepts include paper checks, cashier’s checks, money orders sent by mail, electronic payments made online or with their mobile app, or ACH payments deducted from your bank account.

Early and Additional Payments

SoFi’s terms and conditions state that late penalties are never charged. They also don’t charge for early or additional repayment. If you’re able to do so, making extra payments or paying off the loan early can save you from paying a significant amount in interest.

The SoFi Customer Experience

Customer Support

SoFi’s live customer support is available seven days a week. 

Hours

Monday–Thursday 4 am – 9 pm PT

Friday–Sunday 4 am-5 pm PT

Phone

(855) 456-SOFI (7634)

Email

customerservice@sofi.com

Twitter

@SoFiSupport

Customer Feedback and Reports

As of this writing, SoFi has an A- rating from the Better Business Bureau.

SoFi has received 4 out of 5 stars and an 84 percent “Excellent” rating on Trustpilot. The next most common rating is “Great” at 7 percent. 

Reviews of SoFi on Trustpilot say:

● Its communication is excellent and sincere

● Its process is user-friendly and efficient

● Customers receive their money in as little as 2 or 3 days

Summary 

Pros

  • High customer service ratings on reputable platforms
  • No late fees or prepayment penalties
  • Unemployment protections if you lose your job
  • Quick access to your funds

Cons

  • Borrowers with low credit scores may not qualify

SoFi is a lender focused on helping borrowers regain their financial footing and achieve financial independence. If you’re struggling with credit card debt, or need to borrow money for home improvement, a medical procedure, or another personal reason, SoFi has a loan option for you. The application process is straightforward, and access to customer service is easy if you need help along the way.

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