Choosing the right financial institution for you can make all the difference when it comes to personal finance.
Whether it’s a credit union, a bank, or anything in between, making the right choice starts with understanding what you want and need and what financial institutions offer.
As technology continues to advance, the lines keep getting blurred. SoFi is one of those financial institutions that blur the lines between what a bank is and isn’t.
While it’s technically not a bank, what it offers through SoFi money comes pretty close. At times it even manages to provide what most banks cannot.
In this SoFi Money review, we will be looking at everything this account has to offer. We’ll cover its pros, cons, fees, security, support, and everything else there is to know.
What is SoFi Money?
The technical term for this account is a brokerage account, offered as a CMA – Cash Management Account.
SoFi Securities LLC offers the SoFi Money CMA account. It’s important to note that SoFi is not a bank and the account on offer is not a bank account (even though it very much functions like one).
If you’re wondering whether the account is FDIC insured, the short answer is yes – and then some. We will cover this in more depth later on in the article.
SoFi, which is short for Social Finance, was founded in August of 2011 by students from Stanford business school.
Since then, it has accumulated over two million members and funded loans worth over $50 billion.
Aside from SoFi Money, SoFi also offers several other products and services.
These include a credit card, personal loans, student loans, refinance options including student loan refinancing, and credit score and budgeting.
SoFi Money Features
SoFi Money comes with many features. Having a clear understanding of these features can help you decide if this account is the right choice for you.
As mentioned earlier, SoFi is not a bank, and SoFi Money (the cash management account offered by SoFi) is not a bank account. What SoFi does, however, is partner with several banks.
As such, any money deposited in a SoFi Money account will ultimately rest in a bank account.
The banks that SoFi works with are FDIC-insured, which means that your money is FDIC insured. Since SoFi works with more than one bank, it can deposit your money in several bank accounts – a transparent process to you.
What this means is that you will see your money as if it’s sitting in one account – your SoFi Money account when in reality, it is sitting in accounts of partner banks.
Current Partner Banks Include:
- Wells Fargo Bank
- HSBC Bank USA
- TriState Bank Capital Bank
- East-West Bank
- Bank United
As SoFi Money is an online account, it is managed directly from the accompanying mobile app. The app has high ratings on both Apple App Store as Google Play Store, with current ratings sitting as 4.8/5 and 4.⅘, respectively.
The app is called SoFi: Invest & Trading App or SoFi – Invest & Trade, depending on whether you download it from the App Store or Google Play.
Aside from SoFi Money, it also gives you access to SoFi Invest, SoFi Relay, and Loans. One important thing to note here is that any investments done through the app are not covered by FDIC insurance and may reduce value.
The SoFi app also has several valuable features, including mobile check deposits, bill pay, and many others.
Being a SoFi member comes with several additional benefits that are unique. One such benefit is career services.
Here, you get access to free one-on-one advice on transitioning your career and finding a new job.
Another such benefit is community experiences which promise access to experiences that help you build your network and community. Members also get a discount of 0.125% on SoFi loans.
SoFi Money Products
SoFi Money is a financial product itself, so there is only one product here – SoFi Money.
As mentioned earlier, this is not a bank account but rather a brokerage product in the form of a cash management account.
This hybrid account is a single account, but you can convert it to a joint account from within the app.
SoFi Money comes with many features and perks, including a welcome bonus, discussed further in the article.
SoFi Money comes with a Mastercard debit card which you can use to make payments and withdraw money.
Withdrawals can be made from over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs – without incurring any charges or fees.
Early direct deposits
The account offers early direct deposits, which can hit your account up to 2 days earlier than anticipated.
Here, it’s important to note that several factors can come into play, including when the payment instructions are sent.
Using SoFi Money, you can also automate the payment of bills, helping you make sure that you don’t miss a bill payment.
P2P payments, which allow you to transfer money to other SoFi users, are free of charge. If you’re sending cash to someone who isn’t a SoFi Money member, they will get it within 2-3 business days after claiming the P2P payment.
The account also comes with optional paper checks. These can be ordered for free from the app and take about 14 days to arrive.
If you’d like to improve your money management skills and start saving, you’ll be glad to know that you can also set savings goals then use RoundUps and Vaults to help you get there faster.
Using SoFi Money to pay for purchases can also earn you up to 15% in cashback. Other account features include free overdraft coverage and interest on your balance. However, you’ll need to qualify to get these perks.
SoFi reiterates throughout the bank’s site (sofi.com) how hard they work to offer an account with as few account fees as possible. Following this, they also tell us that the fee structure is subject to change at any time.
While not paying fees is a great thing, this stark reminder should come as a wake-up call that such perks can always change.
There is no reason why anyone shouldn’t take advantage of low fees while they last.
- Monthly Fees: At the moment, SoFi Money does not charge any monthly maintenance fees, and there are no minimum balance fees or overdraft fees either. As such, you get to keep more of your money, which you’ll want since this account offers interest. Do bear in mind that there’s a $20 stop payment fee that’ll apply if you wish to stop payment on a check.
- Interest: SoFi Money accounts receive an APY (Annual Percentage Yield) interest rate of 0.25%. To qualify for this rate, you’ll need to get a direct deposit of at least $500 each month. With no deposits, your money will earn a much lower APY rate of 0.01%.
- Overdraft: SoFi Money also comes with free overdraft coverage. To qualify, you need to receive qualifying direct deposits of $1,000 each month. If you have a history of not replaying outstanding account balances, you may not qualify. The feature is turned on automatically by SoFi, and any negative balances will be automatically paid off with the next deposit. The maximum coverage available currently stands at $50.
- ATM fees: SoFi Money offers free ATM withdrawals from all ATMs in Allpoint Network. There are currently over 55,000 ATMs available. There is also a hard limit on ATM cash withdrawals which presently stands at $1,000 per day. Withdrawing from an ATM that’s outside Allpoint’s network will incur ATM fees. There is no reimbursement of such fees.
Signing up and getting started with SoFi Money is easy, with the entire process taking about one minute to complete.
US citizens who are either lawful permanent residents or non-residents are eligible for a SoFi Money account. Applicants need to be at least 18 years of age, have a physical address in the United States, and have a valid SSN (Social Security Number).
By law, SoFi might also request some additional information, including a copy of a photo ID such as your driver’s license to open your account.
Here are some of the best SoFi promotions going on right now:
1. SoFi Checking and Savings - up to $300 bonus
Expires: May 31, 2022
Recently announced, SoFi is offering new and existing SoFi Checking & Savings (formerly SoFi Money) customers up to a $300 bonus. You'll need to set up direct deposit, but you'll have until the promo ends to complete one. This is now setup as a tiered bonus, the more you direct deposit, the more you'll earn.
This offer is also available for Samsung Money by SoFi accountholders as well.
How to earn the bonus
The SoFi Checking and Savings sign up offer requires you to set up direct deposits in order to earn the $300 bonus. Full requirements to receive this bonus are:
- Open a new SoFi Checking and Savings account using the link below.
- Complete at least 1 direct deposit during the promotion period.
- During the next 30 days, complete direct deposits to reach your desired tier as follows: $1,000 - $1,999, earn $50; $2,000 - $4,999, earn $100; $5,000+, earn $300.
- Bonus will be credited within 14 days of the end of the Evaluation Period.
2. Sofi Invest - up to $100 bonus
Expires: June 30, 2022
Available nationwide, SoFi is offering up to a $100 welcome bonus when you open a new SoFi Crypto account and buy at least $50 in cryptocurrency. This is a tiered bonus, the bonus payout is determined by the amount of your first purchase of Crypto.
The tiers are as follows:
- Tier 1 | Balance Maintained: $50 - $99.99: $10 in BTC
- Tier 2 | Balance Maintained: $100 - $499.99: $15 in BTC
- Tier 3 | Balance Maintained: $500 - $4,999.99: $50 in BTC
- Tier 4 | Balance Maintained: $5,000+: $100 in BTC
How to earn the bonus
The Sofi Invest sign up offer requires you to deposit and maintain a minimum balance in order to earn the $100 bonus. Full requirements to receive this bonus are:
- Download the app using the link below.
- Open a new SoFi Invest Crypto account.
- Within 7 days, buy at least $50 in cryptocurrencies.
- Bonus will be received as Bitcoin credited to your account within 7 days of completing the requirements.
3. Sofi Invest - up to $5000 bonus
Expires: Limited Time
SoFi is offering customers a cash bonus to move your portfolio over to SoFi. The bonus is tiered, and you'll need to transfer $2 million in assets to earn the full $5,000 (steep!), but the bonus starts at $50 for transferring $5,000.
Keep in mind that although SoFi will pay out the bonus within 14 business days of the end of the promo period, they'll claw it back if you withdraw those funds within 180 days. They'll even refund up to $75 in ACAT fees from your other brokerage!
How to earn the bonus
The Sofi Invest sign up offer requires you to deposit and maintain a minimum balance in order to earn the $5000 bonus. Full requirements to receive this bonus are:
- Open a new SoFi Invest account using the link below (or be an existing user).
- Before the promotion's expiration date, transfer investments from another brokerage firm: $5,000 to earn $50, $20,000 to earn $125, $100,000 to earn $250, $250,000 to earn $500, $500,000 to earn $1,000, $1,000,000 to earn $2,500, or $2,000,000 to earn $5,000.
- Bonuses will be paid within 14 days of the last day of the month in which the transferred assets settled in your SoFi Invest account.
SoFi is very serious about security. Several controls are in place that ensures checks and balances are in place to protect you and your account. Some of these controls fall within your remit; others are taken care of by SoFi.
As a customer, you can freeze your card at the touch of a button, right from your SoFi app. You can then give them a call, and they will help you resolve any issues – whether you lose your card or see suspicious activity on your account.
Signing into your account requires two-factor authentication. This technology requires app users to sign in twice – with a passcode and then a separate security code or even a fingerprint if your phone supports this.
Using this technology, even if someone finds out your passcode, they will not be able to log in to your account unless they also have your fingers – so make sure you don’t lose them.
SoFi also monitors for suspicious activity from their end. While you should always remain vigilant, they will always contact you if they detect any illicit activity. Your account will also be temporarily frozen until they resolve the issue.
As mentioned earlier, SoFi Money accounts are also covered by FDIC insurance with six different banks – for a total coverage of $1.5 million.
Getting in touch with SoFi customer support is relatively easy, with several options available at your disposal.
On their website, you’ll find a healthy selection of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) – answering some of the most fundamental questions across different areas. Should you not find the answer you’re looking for, you can always chat with their support team or give them a call.
Each department has different phone numbers and different hours of availability. The support team of SoFi Money, in particular, is available from 5:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday to Thursday and 5:00 AM to 5:00 PM Friday to Sunday.
SoFi also has offices in three locations, including San Francisco, Healdsburg, and New York City.
Pros & Cons
While SoFi Money is an excellent financial product, it is not going to be great for everyone. We all have different requirements and needs, and no account can cater to everyone’s needs.
Because of this, it’s essential to understand what SoFi Money’s pros and cons are so that you can be in a better position to make the right choice for you.
- Interest-Bearing Account: The account offers a relatively high interest rate that clocks in at 0.25%. While this might not match what a high-yield savings account offers, the account has virtually no withdrawal restrictions, making it a more versatile option. There is no minimum balance requirement to earn interest, but there is a deposit requirement that you need to meet.
- Welcome Bonus: The account currently features a welcome bonus that can see you earn an excellent $100. Like every other welcome bonus, there are qualifying criteria that you need to meet – which is perfectly acceptable.
- No Fees: This account is relatively cheap to own, with no maintenance fees, fee-free withdrawals, no overdraft fees, or foreign transaction fees. SoFi reminds us that this may change through a disclaimer. However, in reality, that’s always the case. Unfortunately, there is no ATM fee reimbursement option. Still, with access to Allpoint Network’s ATM network, avoiding fees should be easy enough.
- Cashback Rewards: Paying with SoFi Money can also earn you cashback rewards, up to 15%. We often don’t see this with accounts that work like a checking account, so it’s always great to have.
- No Branches: One of the most significant drawbacks that SoFi has is that it has no branches. While many are getting used to online banks and their favorable rates, face-to-face interactions remain essential to many. Visiting a local branch can be especially useful when we encounter issues. However, as the pandemic has shown us, it might very well be something we have to get used to not being able to do.
- Deposit Requirements: To earn interest, you need to receive direct deposits every month. As such, if you would like to get the APY on offer, you cannot simply leave this account on the side for your emergency fund cash.
Alternatives to SoFi Money
If you like SoFi, but you’re not too fond of the institution itself, you’ll be glad to know there are many alternatives to choose from for you.
Financial institutions such as Betterment, Robinhood, and Aspiration all offer Cash Management Account. Accounts offered by these companies have an APY that varies between 0.10% and 1.00%.
Many have a welcome bonus too, and all of them do not charge any monthly fees.
Of course, none of these companies have physical branches. If this is what you’re after, a more traditional bank might be better. You might also want to consider a credit union.
These tend to offer better rates than banks and still have physical branches. Keep in mind here – credit unions tend to be regional, so you will need to find one close to where you work or live.
SoFi Money FAQs
Is SoFi Money Good?
Yes, SoFi Money is a good account overall. Many beneficial perks and features are available with this account, including FDIC insurance, cashback, and early paychecks.
Money in the account also earns a healthy interest rate, helping you maximize how you use your money.
What Bank is SoFi Money?
SoFi Money is a Cash Management Account that SoFi offers. SoFi itself is not a bank either but a financial service provider.
Is SoFi Money FDIC insured?
Although SoFi is not a bank, their SoFi Money account is insured with six different FDIC member banks. As such, funds in your SoFi Money accounts are insured up to $1.5 million.
How Much Can I Withdraw From SoFi Money?
You can withdraw up to $1,000 per day from Allpoint ATMs or $6,000 through debit card use.
Is SoFi Money Best for You?
If you’re looking for an account offering higher insurance limits and additional perks, this account might very well be an excellent option for you.
As the number of Neo, challenger, and online banks continues to grow, we must rethink what a bank account means. These institutions are often more responsive to the market’s needs as it matures and develops.
SoFi Money also opens doors to other products offered by SoFi, including investment products and loans. SoFi manages to provide most if not all of the products and services that you would find at any high street bank, allowing you to build a stronger relationship with the institution – even if it’s virtual.