SoFi Money Review
Founded in 2011, SoFi is a San Francisco-based non-bank financial service provider that is popular for student loan refinances. In 2019, SoFi introduced SoFi Money, an online cash management service that offers a hybrid checking and savings account with no monthly fees or overdraft fees.
When you sign up for SoFi Money, you also get a Visa debit card that you can use at any Allpoint Network ATM for free. The ATM transaction fees incurred are reimbursed to your account. The debit card gives you instant access to your funds instead of transferring your funds from the online account to a standard account and waiting for the funds to clear.
When you add funds to your SoFi Money account, these funds are swept into SoFi partner banks for safe-keeping. Customer deposit are FDIC-insured up to $1.5 million, which is six times the standard FDIC deposit insurance limit. Each of the six SoFi partner banks is FDIC-insured up to $250,000, and this brings the total insurance protection to $1.5million.
SoFi Money is a good choice for someone looking for a hybrid account with both savings and checking in one account. You can withdraw cash or pay for goods and services without incurring an extra cost. You also earn a 0.25% APY on your account balance for recurring deposits of at least $500 or more into your SoFi account. This APY is variable, and it is subject to change.
On SoFi Secure Website
Here are the top features you will find:
- No monthly fees
SoFi does not charge monthly account charges, maintenance fees, minimum balance fees, or overdraft fees. Other services that are not charged include stop payments, first replacement card, and replacement card rush delivery.
- $0 ATM Fees
When you use your SoFi Money Visa card to withdraw funds from an Allpoint Network ATM, you do are not charged any fees. If you signed up for SoFi Money before 8th June 2020, you also get reimbursement on third-party ATM fees. However, users who joined on or after this date are limited to the Allpoint Network and do not get reimbursement for third-party ATM fees.
- Spending tool
With SoFi Money, you have access to the spending tracker tool known as SoFi relay. Just link your other accounts, including bank accounts with other financial institutions, to know where your finances stand. You can also set spending targets, know your top spending categories.
- Monitor credit score
Through SoFi Money’s partnership with TransUnion, you can monitor your VantageScore 3.0 credit score and stay up to date with any changes in your credit score.
- No Minimum Account Balance
There is no minimum opening balance requirement on SoFi Money. To get started, just sign up and link your bank account. You can start using the account with as little as $1, and add funds to your account every month.
- Cash Back Rewards
When using SoFi Money to shop, you may qualify to get up to 15% cash back on different purchases. The eligible categories keep on changing, and you should monitor your account to see the eligible categories and stores. For example, in 2020, SoFi Money users were eligible to get a 10% cash back on streaming services and groceries, and up to 15% cash back at eligible retailers and restaurants.
- Use of Vaults
SoFi Money allows users to separate savings from spending. You can create up to 20 vaults in your SoFi Money account for each goal you want to accomplish. You don't have to create a different account when creating a vault; vaults are extensions of your account. You can use vaults as an emergency fund or for other goals, and set up recurring transfers from the SoFi Money account balance to the vault. The funds you add to the vaults are FDIC-insured.
- Automatic Savings Roundups
When paying for goods and services, the payment is automatically rounded up to the next whole number. This amount is automatically transferred to the specific vault you choose to fund. For example, if you make a purchase worth $3.60, this amount is rounded up to $4.00, and $0.40 transferred from the spending balance to the selected vault.
- Free paper checks
If a creditor or landlord does not accept online payments, you can get unlimited free checks at any time for free. Use the paper checks to pay rent, buy furniture, or other bill payments.
- Interest on Savings
When you save money on SoFi Money, you can earn 0.25% APY on your balance if you add a recurring $500 or more every month. If your account balance falls below this threshold, you will earn 0.01% APY. Older accounts that were opened before June 8, 2020, still get the 0.25% APY regardless of their account balance.
One of the attractive features of SoFi Money is its zero account fees. Most of the services are free, and you won’t be charged monthly fees, maintenance fees, or minimum balance fees, inactive account fees, overdraft fees, ATM fees, or bill pay fees. When you use SoFi Money to pay for foreign purchases, SoFi does not charge an extra fee.
Even though most of the services are fee-free, there are certain fees that you might incur over time. For example, there is a $20 replacement debit card fee in case your first card is lost. Also, if you end up with a negative balance after an overdraft, you will not be charged an overdraft fee. However, the outstanding negative balance will be charged an interest at the bank’s lending rate. SoFi Money clarifies that the current fee-free structure is not permanent, and is subject to change in the future.
SoFi Mobile App
The SoFi Mobile app is available for both iOS and android. You can use the SoFi Mobile app on a smartphone or tablet. This app allows users to monitor their account activity and manage their finances.
New users can sign for SoFi Money on the mobile app and access all digital tools offered by SoFi, including the free budgeting tool, spending tracker, and vaults. Here are the services you get on the mobile app:
- Deposit funds through mobile check deposit
- Check transaction history
- Check account balance
- Free bill pay for online bill payments
- Peer-to-peer payment transfers
- Monitor your TransUnion VantageScore 3.0.
- Talk to customer support via live chat
- Connect accounts from other financial institutions for easier tracking of savings and spending.
- Free and unfreeze the debit card
- Change pin
- Set up two-factor authentication and fingerprint recognition
Let’s take a look at the benefits of the SoFi money and see if it’s the right one for your wallet or not.
With SoFi Money, you won't be charged any account fees such as overdraft fees, account inactivity fees, foreign transaction fees, or ATM fees. Simply open an account and add funds to your account without getting charged any fees in the process.
You get free access to over 55,000 ATMs that spread around the world. All withdrawals on the Allpoint Network ATMs are free.
When using a SoFi Money debit card, you may qualify to get cash backs on different spending categories. Check your SoFi Account for the current spending offers at any given time.
Any deposit you make to your account is FDIC-insured up to $1.5 million. SoFi sweeps all deposits into six partner banks, with each bank insuring up to $250,000.
SoFi Money pays a 0.25% APY for accounts with recurring monthly deposits of $500. If you don’t meet this deposit requirement, you will still earn a 0.01% APY on your account balance.
When you sign up for SoFi Money, you can earn a sign-up bonus of $100 if you meet certain deposit requirements. This bonus is available to new clients or existing clients who have not made direct deposits into their accounts.
SoFi Money has a spending tracker known as Relay, which lets you monitor your spending habits on your SoFi Money account and other accounts with other financial institutions. Link your accounts and monitor your spending.
Here are the most important cons you should consider before apply:
Unlike in traditional banks, you can’t deposit actual cash into SoFi Money. You must deposit the cash in another bank account, and then transfer the funds electronically into SoFi Money.
SoFi Money has a withdrawal limit of $1000 for ATMs, $150 for over-the-counter withdrawals, and $6000 for point of sale purchases. Also, you are limited to 12 POS transactions per day.
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature card introductory rate only applies to balance transfers and not purchases. If you are looking for a long introductory rate for a major purchase, this may not be the card for you.
If you want a physical banking experience, you won’t find that in SoFi Money. As an online-only bank, you only access banking services via the web platform or mobile app.
If you are a new SoFi Money user, you won’t get reimbursed for out-of-network ATM withdrawals. Only transactions on Allpoint Network ATMs are fee-free.
SoFi Money currently allows one account per user. However, you are allowed to create multiple vaults within your account for each goal you want to achieve.
SoFi Money has a simple sign-up process that takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete. To get started, go to the SoFi Money page and click “Get SoFi Money”. Follow these steps to open a SoFi Money management account:
- Provide basic account information
On the sign-up page, provide your personal information such as first and last name, the state where you live, email, and password.
- Pick account type
Depending on whether you want to go it alone, or sign up with your business partner, you can choose between the individual and joint account.
- Provide physical address
Next, provide your physical address, city and, state. This is the address where SoFi Money will send your debit card.
- Phone number
SoFi will require you to provide your phone number for verification. The app will send you a code, which you must enter to proceed with the application. This number will also be used for two-factor authentication.
- Confirm Social Security and Date of Birth
You will be required to confirm your Social Security and date of birth. SoFi uses this information to check your credit score. This is a soft pull, and it won’t affect your credit score.
- Confirm Citizenship
SoFi will require you to confirm your citizenship. Confirm whether you are a permanent US citizen, a non-permanent resident alien, or a green card holder.
- Accept Agreement
The final step is to answer certain questions (in case they apply to you). These questions relate to your role in a brokerage firm or security exchange, your directorship or role in a publicly-traded company, or if you need to add a trusted person to help you manage the account.
Once you’ve answered these questions and accepted the agreement, your account is ready, and you can link up your bank account to add funds to your SoFi Money account.
Is SoFi Money FDIC Insured?
When you add funds to your SoFi Money account, SoFi transfers these funds to one or more of its partner banks. Since these banks are FDIC-insured, the funds transferred to these banks also get the FDIC insurance coverage. Technically, these funds are FDIC-insured only when they are transferred to one of the partner banks. Before these funds are swept to the partner banks, they are covered by SIPC insurance.
Since each partner bank has a $250,000 FDIC insurance, it means that the funds deposited in the account are insured up to $1,500,000. Although the actual cash deposits are held in external banks, SoFi Money customers can still manage their funds via the account dashboard, and make withdrawals using the debit card.
If you are looking for a hybrid online-only checking account and saving account, SoFi Money is a good pick. You can access your SoFi Money management account via the web platform or mobile application, and you get access to a dozen digital tools to help manage your spending and savings.
One of the attractive perks of SoFi Money is that it is a fee-free account, and you won’t be charged minimum balance fees, overdraft fees, maintenance fees, or ATM fees. Also, there is no minimum balance requirement, and you can start with as little as $1, and deposit recurring funds every month. You will earn an attractive 0.25% interest rate if you deposit at least $500 every month into your SoFi Money account.
On the downside, as an online-only bank, you will not get the benefit of a traditional checking account where you can deposit cash. SoFi Money does not support cash deposits but you can make electronic transfers from other bank accounts to your SoFi Money account. Plus, you don’t get face-to-face interactions.