SoFi Checking and Savings review: High APYs with direct deposit

A man sitting under a tree in a park uses his mobile phone to review his Sofi checking account.Image: A man sitting under a tree in a park uses his mobile phone to review his Sofi checking account.
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SoFi Checking and Savings accounts at a glance

Physical locations None
Getting started Easy to open an account — no minimum balance required to open or maintain the account
Monthly service fee None
Overdraft fees If you use direct deposit and put in at least $1,000 a month, you can overdraw your account by as much as $50 and get coverage without a fee. Any debit card purchase over that amount will be denied.
Other fees You are responsible for ATM fees incurred at out-of-network ATMs.
How to deposit Cash deposits through Green Dot at participating businesses (fee applies), mobile check deposit, direct deposit, transfers between accounts, P2P transfers
How to withdraw Automatic bill pay, debit card, P2P transfers, paper checks
Notable feature Roundups allow you to round up purchases made with your SoFi debit card to the next whole dollar. That amount will be automatically transferred to the SoFi account of your choice.

SoFi Checking and Savings isn’t a bank account — it’s a brokerage account. But your deposited funds are FDIC insured once it reaches SoFi’s program bank.

The financial tech company also offers a number of other financial products, including investment accounts, student loans, personal loans and mortgages. It’s known for its member perks, which include career coaching, exclusive events and discounts on estate planning.

5 things to know about SoFi Checking and Savings accounts

1. No stand-alone savings or checking accounts

SoFi offers a combined checking and savings account — previously known as SoFi Money. Signing up is straightforward, but keep in mind that SoFi isn’t a traditional bank since it doesn’t have brick-and-mortar locations.

If you want just a savings account or just a checking account, you’ll have to look elsewhere. SoFi doesn’t have physical locations.

2. High APYs

Not all checking accounts pay interest, and even the ones that do typically have very low annual percentage yields, or APYs. But SoFi’s Checking and Savings accounts offer APYs that are much higher than average.

Just keep in mind that you’ll need to set up direct deposit to get SoFi’s highest rate.

3. You might face fees

While SoFi advertises “no account fees,” you still may face some other fees for using your SoFi Checking and Savings account. If you use an ATM that’s not within a network of more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs, you won’t be reimbursed for your fees. But you won’t be charged if you use an in-network ATM.

For every cash deposit you make to your SoFi Checking and Savings account through Green Dot at participating business, you’ll have to pay a fee of up to $4.95. Locations include 7-Eleven, Walgreens and Walmart. You’ll want to check online to find a location near you.

4. Overdraft coverage is limited

If you make at least $1,000 in qualifying direct deposits to your SoFi Checking and Savings account each month, SoFi will provide overdraft coverage up to $50 with no fees. That means that if you have $25 in your account and you try to take out $75, SoFi will let you do so without charging you any penalty.

But if you don’t replenish your account within 30 days, you’ll lose access to this coverage.

5. Access to financial insights

SoFi Relay helps you track your money and gives you financial insights by connecting your accounts in a dashboard format. You can track financial progress and spending, as well as set goals.

You can also monitor your credit score from TransUnion.

How do I open a SoFi Checking and Savings account?

You can open a SoFi Checking and Savings account online by providing some basic info such as your name, date of birth, address, phone number and Social Security number.

SoFi will allow you to open either a single or joint account.

Is an online bank right for me?

An online bank can be a good choice for people who don’t need to go in and talk with a banker face to face. As with many other online banks, this isn’t an option with SoFi. You also have to be comfortable with cashing checks by scanning them with an app or using direct deposit.

Not sure if SoFi is right for you? Consider these alternatives

  • Current: This online account also offers a combined checking and savings account, and you can set up Savings Pods that position you to earn a higher APY.   
  • Ally checking: This online bank may be a good choice if you want some of your out-of-network ATM fees reimbursed.

About the author: Adam Carpenter is a financial and tech solutions writer with a keen interest in cutting-edge insurance products. His work has been featured in Forbes and in the ebooks and websites of many tech, financial, and insuran… Read more.