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SoFi – About The Lender
SoFi (Social Finance) was founded in 2011 by a group of students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in the hope of creating more funding and affordable options for education. The group of students had around 100 alumni invest in the business to cover the initial start-up costs.
The original idea of SoFi was to have school alumni invest funds in refinancing recently-graduated students’ debt. SoFi has moved away from that business model and moved to a “non-traditional underwriting approach focused on lending to financially responsible individuals. SoFi uses an underwriting model that examines free cash flow, professional history and education in addition to a history of responsible bill payment to evaluate its borrowers.”
They have expanded its product offerings beyond student loans to mortgages, parent loans, insurance, wealth management, checking, and personal loans. Their personal loan options are what we will cover here.
- Loan amount range$5,000 – $100,000
- Interest rate rage Fixed, 6.99%-14.99% with auto pay
- Terms24-60 months
- Origination feeNone
- Late payment feeNone
- Returned payment feeNone
- Check Processing feeNone
- Prepayment feeNone
- Minimum credit score680
- Funding Up to 7 days
- Personal Information (including address, phone number, email, and SSN)
- Pay Stubs
- Bank Statements
Joint Borrowers – SoFi allows for joint borrowers on their personal loans as of April 2018. Many loan providers do not allow for this.
Soft Pull Inquiry – SoFi does an initial soft pull inquiry so the borrower can get an idea of the options for which they may qualify.
Competitive Interest Rates – SoFi has very competitive rates for strong borrowers.
Referral Program – SoFi has a referral program that allows borrowers to earn $300 per referral. Your referral will also get a $100 welcome bonus.
More than One Loan – The borrower can get two loans at the same time from SoFI.
Unemployment Protection – Borrowers that lose their jobs through no fault of their own can apply for SoFi’s Unemployment Protection Program in which the borrower can have their loan put in forbearance and suspend the monthly payment. Interest will still accrue
Flexible Payments – SoFi gives borrowers flexibility in payments. They allow you to change payment due dates and do not charge late fees.
High Maximum Loan Amount – SoFi’s highest maximum loan amount is $100,000 for personal loans.
Variable Rates – SoFi offers variable rates on their personal loans. This can be a good choice for shorter loan terms or in a declining interest rate environment. It can be a lower interest rate. (Variable rates may not be a good choice in an increasing interest rate environment.) At the time of this review (Dec 2018), rates have increased over the past two years and are expected to continue increasing. You can check the prime rate here.
Autopay Discount – SoFi allows for a .25% discount if you sign up for auto pay.
Career Coaching – SoFi members can receive career coaching
Member Events – SoFi hosts a number of networking events across the U.S. to help members improve their careers.
Slower Turnaround Times –It can take many days to fund your loan and then a few days longer to send your money. If you need money more quickly, there are other providers that can turn around your application much faster.
Limited Uses –SoFi has more restrictions regarding how their personal loans can be used.
Only Available to the Strongest Borrowers –If you do not have the best credit history, you may not be able to get a loan through SoFi. They cater to those with very good to excellent credit histories and very strong cash flows.
Higher Minimum Amount –The lowest personal loan amount you can get with SoFi is $5,000.
Not Available in All States –SoFi does not operate in Mississippi.
What Can a SoFi Personal Loan Be Used For?
SoFi offers personal loans for many different reasons including debt consolidation, home improvements, relocation, medical expenses, and auto refinancing. SoFi has many restrictions on what their personal loans can be used for.
For example, you cannot use their personal loans for purchasing real estate, business purposes, investments or purchase securities, any postsecondary education or as short-term bridge financing.
SoFi debt consolidation is paying off one or more prior unsecured loans with the new SoFi loan. Instead of multiple payments to multiple lenders you can create one payment to one lender. The idea is that you can take a high revolving interest credit card and save money by replacing it with a low rate fixed installment.
SoFi offers variable rates as well, but still provides a term that clearly indicates when you will be out of debt. SoFi also has a debt consolidation calculator, so you can get an idea of how much you can save.
SoFi home improvement loans are for home repairs or renovations. The advantage of using a SoFi home improvement loan is that you do not have to use your home as collateral and you get funds much quicker with less documentation. Typically, it takes a month or more to get an equity line of credit on your home.
Moving can be expensive. There are many costs associated with moving and SoFi can help cover those moving costs.
SoFi loans for medical expenses help borrowers manage large, unexpected medical costs. This can include costs for drugs, selective surgery, and adoption.
SoFi personal loans can be used to buy a new or used car or for refinancing your current auto loan. If you have good credit history you may even get a better rate. One advantage is that you do not have to use your car as collateral and you may be able save some money since you won’t need gap insurance
SoFi Application Process
SoFi takes a broader look at its borrowers than just evaluating their credit scores. SoFi requires a better understanding of their borrowers’ ability to repay. Taking this into consideration, understand that SoFi will have more questions and require more documentation than some other personal loan providers.
The application process begins with you creating an account and answering a few questions. SoFi will do a soft pull on your credit. A soft pull does not affect your credit report. At this point, you could be declined. Otherwise, SoFi will give you a list of options for which you can apply. If you want to move forward, SoFi will do a hard credit check and you will then be asked to upload documents to verify information.
You may need to provide pay stubs, bank statements, W-2s, social security card, or state ID. You can sign loan documents online. SoFi also offers a .25% discount if you set up auto pay. SoFi will usually let you know whether you are approved within one day. Because SoFi checks your documentation, it usually takes up to 7 days for your loan to be funded. SoFi may also call you directly to verify some information.
SoFi Loan is Best for..
SoFi offers a great deal of benefits for those who qualify for a personal loan. They also have some of the highest credit and cash flow standards. SoFi is best for those who have a long, solid credit history. SoFi offers professionals many benefits and tools that can help them become more financially independent.