SoFi Review

SoFi Review: My Experience as a Real Bank Member

This SoFi review from a real bank member will share the pros and cons to banking with SoFi.

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This SoFi review will be nothing like the Nerdwallet SoFi review

I may be a bit brazen in doing this, but I wanted to write from an actual bank member’s perspective. 

It most likely won’t show up in the top 10 search results for ‘SoFi Google reviews’, but it’s my way of getting real SoFi reviews out there.

You’ll learn about SoFi’s banking features as well as read about my personal experience with SoFi.

So if you’re someone considering a SoFi Checking and Savings account, then I’m happy to share my honest review with you.

Quick Summary

SoFi Bank provides above average high yield savings account rates, excellent customer service, and a user friendly mobile banking app experience. Downsides to SoFi checking include fees on cash deposits, in-network partner ATMs occasionally being out-of-service, and criteria necessary to qualify for highest savings rate APY.

SoFi Bank Review

SoFi is not just an online banking app. It's a real bank registered under the name SoFi Bank, National Association. 

As a chartered bank with federal regulatory oversight and FDIC insured accounts, SoFi is a safe and secure bank option to consider.

I’ve been a SoFi account holder since February 2022 and have benefited from many member perks. I’ve also experienced some of the downsides to SoFi. 

In this SoFi review, I’ll go over the SoFi checking and savings combined account, SoFi pros and cons, $2 million extended FDIC insured program and special perks to being a SoFi member.

SoFi Review: $275 Checking Account Bonus

One of the big perks to joining SoFi is for the upwards of $275 Welcome Bonus you can earn for opening a new account. These financial incentive bonuses are a common practice among banks that help them draw in new customers.

The way it works is you first use a SoFi referral bonus link to apply for a new SoFi Checking and Savings account. 

Then deposit at least $100 within 14 days to receive a $25 account opening bonus (funds must settle during this time frame).  

SoFi Checking Account Bonus

You’ll receive an additional checking account bonus of up to $250 based on your total direct deposit amount. 

The higher the cumulative deposits during the evaluation period, the bigger your sign-up bonus reward.

Read more details about the SoFi Checking Account Promotion.

SoFi Bank Card

SoFi Checking and Savings are a combined account. When you apply and get approved, you’ll be issued a SoFi World Debit Mastercard® that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. 

Purchases made using your debit card will be deducted from your SoFi checking account balance. 

You can also use your card abroad.

SoFi Bank does not charge foreign transaction fees when you use your SoFi debit card abroad. However, Mastercard may assess a 0.20% foreign exchange fee which SoFi does not reimburse.

Still, I would not recommend SoFi being your main bank card when traveling overseas. Recently, I traveled to Colombia and had my SoFi card declined on more than one occasion.

Instead, I switched over to using my Revolut card, which is specifically designed for those traveling abroad. The card also offers no foreign transaction fees, and ultimately I had better luck with Revolut vs SoFi.

Can I Use My SoFi Debit Card Before It Arrives?

Yes, you can use your SoFi virtual card while you wait for your physical debit card to arrive in the mail. Once you’re approved for an account, simply go into your SoFi banking app and locate your virtual card details. 

Then add your card to your Apple Wallet or any other digital wallet you use. 

Funds transferred to your SoFi account from another banking institution typically arrive in two or three business days.

SoFi Virtual Bank Card
SoFi Apply Pay

SoFi Checking and Savings

SoFi offers a free checking account with no minimum balance requirements. All members earn 0.50% APY on checking balances, although interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time.

Along with your SoFi checking account, you’ll also get a free savings account with one of the nation’s best bank account rates. It’s one of the benefits that initially attracted me to SoFi.

SoFi Savings Account

Members receiving qualifying direct deposits can earn up to 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults). There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates.

Members without direct deposit will earn 0.50% APY on savings balances including vaults. 

If you want your savings to accrue more money, then set up direct deposit to earn a higher rate. That way, your account balance will increase faster without you having to do anything extra!

If for some reason you don’t want to switch your payroll direct deposit to SoFi, then check out DCU for their 6.17% APY on savings balances (on up to $1,000). DCU doesn’t require you to complete a direct deposit to earn this rate. 

You can also earn a $20 DCU sign up bonus to get you started on your savings journey! 

Member Benefits

There are plenty of benefits to opening a SoFi Checking and Savings account, not to mention plenty of fun perks! 

For instance, football fans and concert goers attending events at SoFi Stadium in LA get exclusive member perks when using their SoFi debit card. 

SoFi Stadium perks include: 25% cash back on all purchases of food, beverage and merchandise while you are inside the stadium, Express Entry through the SoFi Member express line, Bag Check reimbursement and SoFi Member Lounge access! 

(A maximum of 12,500 rewards points, corresponding to a maximum spend of $500, can be earned from the SoFi Stadium Cash Back Promotion Program.)

Below are other valuable cardholder benefits.

No Monthly Account FeesReceive Paychecks up to 2 Days Early
Up to $2 Million in FDIC InsuranceOver 55,000 Fee-Free ATMs
No overdraft fees (up to $50 w/qualifying direct deposit). Complimentary Credit Score Tracking
Career Coaching Earn 4.60% APY on Savings Account and Vaults w/direct deposit

Earn More as a SoFi Plus Member

You’ll unlock even more member rewards and increase your earning potential when you become a SoFi Plus member. 

To gain access to SoFi Plus, you only need to set up and maintain a qualifying monthly direct deposit to SoFi Checking and Savings. Once you do this, you’ll see a SoFi Plus Badge next to your name in the SoFi app.

SoFi Plus Member

I do this by completing monthly direct deposits of my Amazon Influencer gig paychecks to SoFi.

So even if you don’t want to change your work direct deposit, you can still consider linking a recurring side hustle paycheck to qualify for Plus membership.

SoFi Plus Premium Benefits

BenefitsSoFi PlusSoFi
Banking BalancesUp to 4.60% APY0.50% APY
Cash back on credit card purchases3% cash back2% cash back
Rewards PointsEarn 2x points on qualifying activitiesEarn point on qualifying activities
No-Fee Overdraft Coverage*YesNo
Up to 2-Day Early PaycheckYesNo
Personal Loan Rate DiscountsAdditional 0.25% rate discountDiscounts available for auto-pay, direct pay and more
Opportunity to Receive Preferred IPO AllocationsYes No

If you enjoy earning on everyday purchases by leveraging cash back apps and rewards programs, SoFi Plus offers great perks to earn more and save more! 

*Overdraft Protection: Customers with direct deposits totally $1,000 or more per month can opt-in to overdraft protection. SoFi will transfer funds from your general savings account to cover your checking account balance when it is low.

Overdraft Coverage: SoFi will spot you up to $50 to cover a debit card transaction for eligible members.

SoFi Vaults

SoFi Vaults are an extension of your SoFi Savings account and are most similar to Ally Buckets. You can create separate vaults for individual financial goals such as saving for travel, tax payments, wedding expenditures, and more.

SoFi Vaults

SoFi account holders can also opt-in to spare change Roundups to have leftover cash from each purchase automatically deposited into a savings Vault. 

SoFi Plus members have the added benefit of accruing the highest bank interest rates on their savings Vaults.

Apply to get your SoFi account opening bonus of up to $275.

SoFi Insights 

SoFi Insights is a complimentary feature that enable members get better insight into their overall financial health. At its core it serves as your online budget planner and money tracker all in one place. 

At your fingertips, you’ll have access to credit score monitoring powered by TransUnion®, view spending breakdowns, create budgets, ability to connect other financial accounts and more. 

SoFi Rewards Points

Continuing with the SoFi review, let’s take a look at SoFi Member Reward Points. This is by far one of the major reasons I love banking with SoFi!

SoFi Rewards is a loyalty program that rewards members in SoFi Points for completing eligible account actions. 

Points earned can be redeemed for cash into your SoFi account, be converted into fractional shares with SoFi investing, be used towards payment on SoFi loans, or credit on your credit card statement.

100 Points are worth about $1.00 in value. To-date I’ve earned 22,680 SoFi points or $226.80, which is essentially free money!

SoFi Points
SoFi Member Points

There are plenty of legitimate SoFi point hacks that will enable you to stretch your rewards to earn more points. 

To give you a quick idea of how you can earn SoFi points, I’ve listed some examples below. Please note, reward points change frequently so they may be different by the time you read this.

  • 10 Points for Logging into the SoFi app 7 Days in a Row
  • 100 Points for Activating Debit Card
  • 100 Points for Adding Debit Card to Mobile Wallet
  • 100 Points to Set Up Bill Pay
  • 100 Points to Opt-in to Credit Score Monitoring

These points can add up to significant money. Cash them out to your SoFi Savings account to accrue even more money at 4.60% interest rates! 

SoFi $2 Million FDIC Insured

SoFi Checking and Savings account deposits are insured up to $250,000, and double that amount on joint accounts.

However, high net worth members can also opt-in to SoFi’s $2 million Insured Deposit Program

It’s free to enroll and funds participating in the program are deposited into deposit accounts at SoFi partnered banks, which are also FDIC insured. So, your money is safe and secure.

SoFi App

Most days I love the SoFi app. On other occasions, not so much.

Although, I will say that 85% of the time I’m satisfied with the way the SoFi app works.

SoFi uses two-factor authentication to protect your account and to make sure it’s really you logging into your SoFi banking app. It’s an industry standard practice and I can appreciate the added security.

Everything is well organized within the app where you can see all your financial accounts and assets including: SoFi Banking, SoFi Credit Card, Invest, and Personal loans.

Then there are those rare occasions when the SoFi app gets buggy and doesn’t work as intended. 

Over the last couple of years, there have been two instances where I simply couldn’t log into my SoFi account. My bank card worked just fine despite this and the problem was resolved within a few hours.

I always recommend spreading your cash reserves across multiple banks. This way, you'll better safeguard your money against unexpected bank failures, such as the one we saw recently with the Silicon Valley Bank collapse.

Just recently, there was also an issue with SoFi members not being able to access their SoFi Invest account. 

SoFi Invest Complaint

The issue I can imagine caused many active traders to issue SoFi complaints to the point that SoFi emailed members apologizing for the mishap.

I have yet to use the SoFi invest feature since I have my investing funds with Fidelity, Robinhood and Webull. I have no reason to use SoFi Invest at the moment. So, I’ll be staying away from this feature for now. 

SoFi Review: Pros and Cons

PROSCONS
4.60% APY on Savings Account w/ Direct Deposit Need to complete monthly direct deposits of $1,000 / month or more to unlock all perks
$2 Million FDIC Insured Extended CoverageApp doesn't work properly at times
Customer Service is greatFees on cash deposits
Competitive Member Rewards and Perks ProgramIn-network Allpoint ATMs are sometimes out-of-order

Is SoFi Checking and Savings Worth It?

The SoFi online-only bank is best suited for customers who do not need to visit a physical branch or make cash deposits. If you prefer to do most of your banking online with a trusted institution, then I would recommend a SoFi Checking and Savings account.

I’ve benefited greatly from SoFi member rewards to the tune of $226.80 in free money. Additionally, I’ve been able to easily use my SoFi bank card in places I normally shop both in and out of state.

My main reason for not giving this SoFi review a full 5 out of 5 stars is mainly due to in-network ATMs being out-of-service on the few occasions I’ve wanted to withdraw cash.

My experience with having my SoFi bank card declined overseas while in Colombia also drew points off from this SoFi review.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed my banking experience with SoFi and continue to keep SoFi in my wallet for simple banking purposes!

If you’re considering SoFi products, then read more about current SoFi promotions to find the best offer for you!

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