SoFi Personal Loans Pros and Cons
- Offers joint and co-applicant loans
- Loans available up to $100,000
- No prepayment, late payment, or origination fees
- Low APR
- Unemployment protection program
- $500 sign-up bonus
- Requires a credit score of at least 680
- It can take as long as 15 days to get approval
- Does not allow for traditional co-signers
What Is SoFi?
SoFi is a personal loan company that offers loans to individuals with good to excellent credit. They provide loans worth as much as $100,000, with a minimum interest rate of only 4.99%.
Moreover, they charge no fees, and the online application process is as easy as pie. You can even apply on your phone through their mobile app.
These loans are designed primarily for debt consolidation. You can take out one large, low-interest loan and use the money to pay off credit cards or other high-interest debt. That said, they can be used for many purposes, such as home renovation.
How Do SoFi Personal Loans Work?
SoFi loans are available in any quantity, from $5,000 to $100,000 in most states. There are a handful of exceptions, though.
Arizona, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire borrowers will have a minimum of $10,001, and Kentucky borrowers will have a minimum of $15,001.
Loans are available for a term of two to seven years, with an APR of between 4.99% and 19.69%. Again, there are several exceptions; twelve states have a lower maximum interest rate.
Most personal loans charge certain fees, including late fees and origination fees. SoFi charges none, although they will raise your interest rate if you’re late on your payments. There’s also no penalty for paying off your loan early.
One thing we should point out is that SoFi sometimes takes a while to release your funds. While many lenders will get you your money in a couple of days, SoFi can take as long as two weeks. This can be problematic if you need your money in a hurry.
What Personal Loans Does SoFi Offer?
SoFi offers three different types of loans: individual, joint, and co-applicant. An individual loan is self-explanatory, while a joint loan is taken out by two people, typically two spouses.
A co-applicant is similar to a traditional co-signer; they share responsibility for the debt. However, unlike a co-signer, a co-applicant must share the same address as the borrower.
One thing SoFi won’t do is allow you to refinance an existing loan. The only way to “refinance” is to apply for a second loan at a lower rate. If you qualify, you can use the new funds to pay off the old, higher-interest loan.
What Can You Use a SoFi Personal Loan For?
SoFi personal loans are highly flexible. You can use them for several purposes, such as home improvement, buying a new car, or paying off high-interest credit card debt.
In fact, you’re allowed to do whatever you want with the money, so long as you don’t use it for any restricted reasons.
What are restricted reasons, you may ask? Here’s the complete list:
- Business expenses
- Real estate
- Stocks and other financial investments
- Post-secondary education
- Short-term bridge financing
That’s it! You can use the money from your loan for literally everything else.
SoFi Personal Loans Features and Benefits
Fixed Interest Rates
Some loans have variable rates, which float based on various factors, some of which aren’t under your control.
In other words, even if you make your payments on time, your interest rate could go up over time.
SoFi loans come with fixed rates. The rate you see on your loan document is the rate you pay for the life of the loan.
Earn a $500 Bonus
If you borrow a minimum of $15,000 and make your first three payments on time, SoFi will deposit $500 in cash into your SoFi Money account.
Simple Online Application
The online application is straightforward and takes only minutes to complete. You fill in some basic details, they perform a soft credit check, and you find out if you’re approved. The rest of the process is so simple it’s almost automatic.
SoFi provides unemployment protection for borrowers who lose their jobs. This is a forbearance program, not debt forgiveness. To qualify, you must be receiving unemployment benefits.
You must also work with the SoFi career strategy service, which helps you find jobs in your field. If you meet these requirements, you can stop your loan payments in three-month increments, up to a maximum of 12 months. Interest will continue to accrue during this time.
Rock Bottom Low Rates
The APR on SoFi’s loans can be as low as 5.99%, which is one of the lowest on the market. Even the maximum of 18.85% is low compared to the maximum for many other loans.
Joint and Co-Applicant Loans
In addition to applying for a loan for yourself, you can also apply with a spouse or a partner. If your credit is marginal, you can also apply with a co-applicant.
This will improve your odds of getting a better rate or getting approved for a higher amount. A co-applicant must share your address, so this is most commonly done with family members.
No Origination Fee
Many personal loans come with an origination fee. This fee can be as high as five percent or more and comes in addition to the APR and any other fees. SoFi charges no origination fee (or any other fees).
Awesome Mobile App
SoFi’s mobile app is free on both Apple and Android devices. The app can be used for every phase of account management, from your initial application through to your final payment.
Along with the money you borrow, you’ll get a free SoFi membership for the life of your loan. This service provides career advice, financial planning assistance, and even local networking events.
How to Qualify for a SoFi Personal Loan
It’s tough to say for sure what the requirements are for a SoFi personal loan. They don’t make credit score requirements public.
Their official customer service response is that prospective customers should have at least good credit.
As best we can determine, you’ll need a score of at least 680, and your odds will go up considerably with a score of 700 or more.
SoFi will state publicly that you must be an adult, US citizen, permanent resident, or long-term visa holder. You must also be employed or be starting your next job within 90 days.
How to Apply for a SoFi Personal Loan
To begin with, you’ll need to get prequalified. You can do this through the app, or through their website, in just a few minutes.
The nice thing about the prequalification is that it only requires a soft credit pull. Your score won’t be impacted if you’re just comparing rates or if you don’t qualify.
Assuming you prequalify, you’ll need to complete the online application. This will require you to answer a few more questions, as well as a hard credit pull.
At that point, you’ll have to wait for final approval, which can take as long as two weeks. At that point, you’ll sign the loan agreement, and the funds will be direct deposited into your bank account.
After that, you’ll just need to pay your monthly bill. You can pay via the app, via online bill pay, or with a paper check.
How Does SoFi Compare to Other Lenders?
#1. SoFi vs. Upstart
Upstart is a better alternative for individuals with little credit – or even with no credit at all. They’re able to do this because they use manual underwriting.
Instead of an algorithm, a real person will review your case and decide whether to make the loan.
If you have good to excellent credit, SoFi will be a better deal. You’ll most likely get a lower interest rate, and you can be approved for higher amounts.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a long credit history, Upstart might be your only choice.
>> More: Upstart Personal Loans Review
#2. Upgrade vs. SoFi Personal Loans
Upgrade is a personal loan company that specializes in people with poor credit. This comes with a major downside; the maximum APR is considerably higher.
As a result, you’ll generally be better off with SoFi if your credit rating is good enough. That said, every case is different, and it never hurts to apply and compare your rates.
>> More: Upgrade Personal Loans Review
#3. Payoff vs. SoFi Loans
Payoff is geared primarily towards individuals who want to pay off their existing credit card debt. As a result, there’s some significant overlap between what Payoff offers and what SoFi offers.
However, Payoff is also part of a larger ecosystem called Happy Money. This is a financial wellness system that uses psychology to manage all your finances.
It’s worth checking out both Payoff and SoFi to see which one gives you the best deal.
>> More: Payoff Personal Loans Review
#4. SoFi Personal Loans vs. Avant Personal Loans
Avant is a good choice if you don’t quite qualify for SoFi, but still don’t want to pay a high APR. In fact, you can qualify with a credit score of as little as 600, and the APR can be as little as 9.95%.
On the other hand, the maximum APR is a whopping 35.99%, which is nearly twice as much as SoFi’s top rate.
Another downside is that Avant’s maximum loan is only $35,000. This is a limiting factor if you were hoping to borrow a larger amount.
>> More: Avant Personal Loans Review
Frequently Asked Questions
Is SoFi a Legitimate Lender?
Yes, SoFi is a legitimate lender. As a relatively new company, they have not yet been accredited by the Better Business Bureau. That said, they have a solid A- BBB rating.
Since its founding, SoFi has been the subject of 40 complaints to the CFPB. A number of these complaints were from people who were denied loans.
All complaints were resolved, and SoFi’s response in every instance was recorded as “timely.”
Is It Hard to Get a Personal Loan with SoFi?
How hard it is to get a loan with SoFi mostly depends on your credit history. If you have good or excellent credit, you shouldn’t have any issues.
That said, if you have poor credit or delinquencies, it will be difficult or impossible to get approval. The only way to find out for sure is to apply for yourself.
What Credit Score Does SoFi require for a Personal Loan?
SoFi does not publish any kind of official credit rating requirement for their personal loans. That said, the vast majority of successful applicants have a score of at least 700. Anecdotal evidence indicates that there’s a hard limit of 680.
Bottom Line: SoFi Personal Loans Review
SoFi personal loans are a great idea for people with good to excellent credit. They offer one of the lowest APRs on the market, so you pay as little as possible for your debt.
They also offer generous benefits, including unemployment protection and a $500 sign-up bonus.
Of course, these loans aren’t for everybody. If you’ve got poor credit, you’ll have trouble getting approved. And if your credit score is through the roof, you might want a loan with even more benefits.
That said, SoFi is an excellent value for the majority of borrowers. At the very least, there’s little risk. The online pre-approval is quick, painless, and won’t impact your credit if you get denied.