Financial services company SoFi, well known for refinancing student loans, now offers an online money management account called SoFi Money. SoFi sweeps client monies into partner banks, where they are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), as is standard practice for cash accounts. The cash account from SoFi boasts an above-average interest rate and no monthly or overdraft fees if you deposit at least $500 each month.
SoFi Money/Checking and Savings Features
1. SoFi Checking and Savings Account Upgrade
First, let's take a look at the current features of SoFi Checking and Savings and see how it varies from its predecessor, SoFi Money. SoFi Money was a hybrid account, but SoFi Checking and Savings now have distinct checking and savings accounts, as you'd expect.
SoFi Bank now offers average FDIC insurance coverage of up to $250,000 for each depositor, an additional charge. Previously, the FDIC insurance limit was much more significant since SoFi's partner bank swept deposits into any accounts. However, I doubt this adjustment will affect too many consumers.
2. No Monthly or Upkeep Expenses
SoFi Checking and Savings, like many online bank accounts, emphasizes that they don't levy the types of fees that have tarnished the reputation of brick-and-mortar banks.
Monthly payments, minimum balance fees, overdraft fees, and returned item costs are exempt from charging with SoFi. You may see all of them here, as well.
3. Free ATM Use
Over 550,000 fee-free ATMs are available to clients of SoFi Checking and Savings (and SoFi Money). The Allpoint ATM network is to thank you for this. SoFi app users may press "More" while on the banking page and pick "Find an ATM" to locate one of these fee-free ATMs. SoFi will not charge you a fee if you use an ATM not part of its network, but the machine's operator may.
4. No Foreign Transaction Fees
SoFi also allows you to make international purchases using your debit card. Furthermore, SoFi doesn't charge a conversion fee, unlike certain banks, which may charge as much as 3%. They highlight that a 2% MasterCard international conversion fee may apply but that it is already included in your total. In other words, you pay whatever the current currency rate is.
5. Bill Pay
I discovered that my SoFi Money account included a bill pay option as I was preparing for my first review. Alternatively, you can have a physical check mailed on your behalf to pay your credit cards or other expenses. It's there if you need it, but I don't see the point in using it myself.
SoFi's Credit Card
SoFi has also recently launched a cashback credit card, which I'd like to note. SoFi Money (and now SoFi Checking and Savings) clients will benefit from the new card's features, which I discuss in this post.
With your SoFi Credit Card, you'll get 2 points for each dollar spent. These points are usually worth 0.5 cents apiece. When you redeem your points for SoFi Banking cashback deposits, each is worth one cent. Therefore, you may get 2% back on all your purchases by using the card and redeeming your points for SoFi Money deposits.
Benefits and Drawbacks of SoFi Money/SoFi Checking
· All-Encompassing App
First, a pro and a con — skewed heavily toward the latter. Discover Bank's combination of its banking and credit card applications was lauded in my review. SoFi is a different storey, though.
Investing, loans, and the SoFi Relay account aggregator are just a few of the features available in the SoFi app's many pages. While the app's primary focus may be on financial transactions, it's also cluttered with features you're unlikely to use.
· Clear Transfer Dates
It's not uncommon for me to make frequent funds transfers between my several savings accounts. When these transfers take an unexpectedly long time or appear to be trapped in limbo without any updates, I find it rather annoying—if not worrying.
· No Check-in Cashback
Consumers who want to earn cashback through their debit card may have better choices than SoFi's strategy of giving high cashback amounts on specific transactions.
Discover's debit card, for example, pays you 1% back on all purchases. Because I preferred credit cards over debit cards, this isn't a significant concern.
Those who favour the latter, on the other hand, may find it more convenient to get a fixed payment instead of being subjected to promotions at random.
· Good Exchange Rates
When I initially started using SoFi Money, one of my favorite features was the ability to book a vacation. I tried my card at an ATM in Paris and could withdraw the same amount with another bank card seconds later. I was surprised that SoFi's exchange rate for a 20€ transaction was four cheaper than the other bank. Even while this isn't much, it was nonetheless intriguing.