SoFi Review: No-Fee Checking and Savings With Perks

GOBankingRates Score

4.6
Quick Take: SoFi has expanded admirably from its focus on student loans, but it has more ground to cover and could be a safe choice as it competes on the basic banking account side of things.
  • Fees
    5.0
  • APYs
    4.5
  • Breadth of Products
    4.0
  • Account Minimums
    5.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Low-cost products across the board
  • High APY on SoFi Checking and Savings product with qualifying conditions
  • Offers loans, investments, and insurance
  • SoFi community benefits
  • Free automated investing

Cons

  • Limited investment options
  • No physical branches
  • Cash deposits incur a fee

About SoFi Bank

Until early 2022, SoFi was a digital personal finance company and not a bank. However, the company recently received regulatory approval and is now known as SoFi Bank, National Association. Nevertheless, SoFi is still built around the idea of community, and its objective is to help its members reach their financial goals. SoFi Bank offers products for borrowing, investing, spending, saving and protecting assets.

As a SoFi customer, you’ll also have access to career advisors and the collective wisdom of its member community. But that’s not all — find out what’s changed at the brand-new SoFi Bank. 

SoFi Banking Products

SoFi Bank doesn’t offer a wide array of basic banking products, but it does have a considerable number of financial solutions for customers.

Product Key Details
Checking and Savings Account: SoFi Checking and Savings -No-fee account
-Hybrid savings and checking account features
-Use of 55,000-plus ATMs
-Interest-bearing account
Credit Card: SoFi Credit Card -Get up to 3% cash back with direct deposit
-Redeem cash back straight into crypto
IRAs -No-fee Traditional and Roth IRAs
Investment Options -IPO investing
-Stock and ETF trading
-Crypto trading
-Stock Bits offer fractional share trading
-Robo-advisor and automated investing
Loans -Student loans
-Auto loan refinancing
-Home loans
-Personal loans
Asset Protection -Renters insurance
-Homeowners insurance
-Auto insurance
-Life insurance
-Estate planning

SoFi Savings and Checking Accounts

SoFi’s only banking account is its SoFi Checking and Savings. This new account has many of the same features as the SoFi Money account that many established members have, but it also has additional features, which is why SoFi is now only offering the SoFi Checking and Savings account to new members and inviting established members to upgrade. Plus, right now, when you sign up for the account, you can earn up to $300 for setting up direct deposit. 

Features

  • No overdraft fees or service charges
  • 2-Day Early Paycheck
  • 15% cash back at local establishments when you pay with debit card
  • Sign-up bonus of up to $300.

Pros

  • No account fees
  • No ATM fees
  • FDIC-insured account.

Cons

  • Digital-only experience; no branches or physical locations.

Banking Experience

As an online-only bank, the SoFi banking experience is tailored to a mobile and digital experience.

Physical Branch Locations

SoFi doesn’t have any physical branch locations. You must conduct all of your business through the website, app or ATM machines.

Mobile and Digital Experience

As an online-only financial institution, SoFi relies on the quality of its mobile and digital products to connect with its customers. On these fronts, it succeeds admirably. The website is clearly laid out in terms of what the institution offers, what it pays and its features. The mobile experience is also user friendly. Some of the functionality of the mobile app includes the following:

  • Access to account transactions
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Online bill pay
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Update information and passwords
  • Freeze debit card
  • Get support directly through the app.

Users view the SoFi mobile apps favorably, giving ratings of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Google Play and 4.8 stars on the App Store.

Accessibility of Funds

Being able to access your money promptly is important. Here’s how SoFi handles accessiblity of funds. 

If SoFi receives an ACH deposit before 6 p.m. EST on a business day (Monday – Friday) or a check deposit before 5 p.m. EST on a business day, it will consider that business day to be the day of deposit. For most deposits, a portion of the deposit will be available the following business day after the deposit. However, deposits up to $5,000 will be available no later than the third business day and deposits exceeding $5,000 will be available no later than the fifth business day. 

Note that the only way you can make a cash deposit to SoFi is to visit a Green Dot participating retailer and use your SoFi Money Mastercard debit card. Additionally, each time you make a cash deposit via Green Dot, you’ll pay a $4.95 fee. 

You can withdraw cash at 55,000-plus Allpoint ATMs around the world without triggering an ATM fee. ATM withdrawals are limited to $1,000 daily, and debit card usage is restricted to $6,000 per day.

How To Open an Account

You can open a SoFi account either on the web page or via the mobile app. You’ll need to provide standard personal information to get started, including your name and address, date of birth and Social Security number. You’ll also need to link a bank account to fund your SoFi account. Once your account is established, you can manage it via either the website or the mobile app.

Customer Service

You can get help with most SoFi accounts via live chat or telephone at 855-456-7634. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST and Friday through Sunday from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

SoFi Fees

SoFi is one of the industry leaders when it comes to fees on its products. For its major investment products, including its stock trading platform, there are no fees or commissions at all. This extends to SoFi’s crypto account as well. Even its Stock Bits account is free. Here’s a look at services and transactions that often incur fees at other institutions but that are free at SoFi:

  • Account minimum fees: $0
  • Overdraft fees: $0
  • Stop payment fees: $0
  • Replacement cards: $0
  • Statement and research – legal processing: $0
  • Account opening: $0
  • Account monthly fees: $0
  • Inactive/dormant account: $0
  • P2P transfers: $0
  • Bill pay: $0
  • Return item: $0
  • Mobile deposit fee: $0
  • Point-of-sale transactions, domestic or international: $0
  • Allpoint ATM transactions, domestic or international: $0.

There are a few potential fees with SoFi, however, including the following:

  • Paper statement fee: $5
  • Wire transfer out fee: $25
  • ACAT transfers to another firm: $75.

There are also standard investment fees, such as annual expenses within ETFs and SEC regulatory trading fees.

SoFi vs. Competitors

SoFi doesn’t compete directly with traditional brick-and-mortar banks as much as it does with online institutions, especially those referred to as “fintechs.” Two of the major players in the online financial services industry are Ally Bank and Chime.

Bank Best For
SoFi  Combined checking and savings account
Ally Bank More traditional banking offerings
Chime  Higher APY

SoFi vs. Ally Bank

Ally Bank has a more traditional banking account.

Ally has a lineup that includes separate checking, savings, money market accounts and CDs, whereas SoFi is essentially limited to a checking and savings account on the banking side.

However, SoFi offers up to 1.80% APY on its SoFi Checking and Savings vs. Ally’s 0.25% APY on its Interest Checking. 

SoFi vs. Chime

Chime allows Chime Checking account holders with direct deposit to build credit with its Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa credit card, which requires no minimum security deposit. SoFi doesn’t offer such a benefit. 

However, SoFi offers fee-free access to 55,000-plus Allpoint ATMs, while Chime’s fee-free network is the 38,000-strong MoneyPass network.

Final Take

SoFi is a safe option for customers who are looking for low-fee financial products and are comfortable with a completely online banking experience. As SoFi doesn’t have any physical branches, customers must interact with the company exclusively through SoFi’s website and/or app. SoFi has broadened its portfolio to the point where many investors and savers can find products and services of interest. The sleek user interface, easy-to-understand products and customer-friendly approach of SoFi may be particularly appealing to those new to the world of saving and investing.

SoFi is great at what it does, but it might not be the best choice for users looking for a one-stop shop approach to finance. SoFi has yet to offer either a complete banking experience or a full line of investment options, making it more of a supplemental choice than a primary one, at least at present.

Editor’s Favorite

The APY you can earn for opening a SoFi Checking and Savings account and setting up direct deposit is much higher than what some of the bank’s other competitors offer. 

FAQ

Here are answers to some of SoFi's more commonly asked questions.
  • Is SoFi money legitimate?
    • Yes, SoFi money is legitimate. The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • Is SoFi FDIC insured?
    • Yes. Once you deposit funds, they are FDIC insured up to $250,000 per account holder, per ownership category.
  • Can I deposit cash into SoFi money?
    • Yes, cash deposits can be made through participating Green Dot retailers for a fee of $4.95.

Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of May 28, 2022.

This content is not provided by SoFi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by SoFi.

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About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.

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