SoFi personal loans review: Members-only perks and competitive rates

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In a Nutshell

SoFi personal loans have no origination fee, late fee or prepayment fee. You may be eligible for an interest-rate discount with automatic payments and unemployment protection. But qualifying for a SoFi personal loan may be difficult without strong credit and income.

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Pros Cons
Members-only perks like career coaching and events People with shakier credit may have a tough time qualifying
Interest-rate discount with automatic payments $5,000 minimum loan amount (may be higher in some states)
Unemployment protection  

What you need to know about a SoFi personal loan

SoFi — short for Social Finance, Inc. — started offering student loan refinancing for Stanford alumni in 2011. The company has since expanded nationally into personal loans, mortgages, mortgage refinancing, investing and more.

SoFi personal loans are marketed for people with a “responsible financial history” and “a strong monthly cash flow,” according to SoFi. Unsecured personal loan terms range from two to seven years for loan amounts ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. (You may see different terms if you apply through Credit Karma.)

Here’s a closer look at more SoFi personal loan features.

Large loan amounts

If you need a very large personal loan, SoFi may be a good option. Many lenders cap personal loans around $40,000 or less, but SoFi will lend up to $100,000 for people who qualify.

But if you’re looking for a small loan, SoFi might not be right for you.

Competitive interest rates and a discount for autopay

SoFi offers competitive interest rates, particularly for people with strong credit. You’ll also be eligible for a 0.25% rate discount if you make automatic payments. While that’s a nice perk, you’ll find other lenders that offer similar rate reductions.

You can choose from either a fixed-rate loan or a variable-rate loan.

Members-only perks

If you’re approved for a loan and become a SoFi member, you’ll get access to other perks, including a 0.125% interest-rate discount on other loans. You’ll also get access to career coaching and events like happy hours and dinners with other members.

Unemployment protection

If life throws you a curveball, SoFi’s unemployment protection may offer some peace of mind. If you’re laid off through no fault of your own, SoFi may allow you to pause payments (take note though that interest would still accrue in this situation). The company may also offer to help with job placement during this period.

High eligibility requirements

SoFi eligibility requirements aren’t specific, but the company states you may be a good candidate if you have a “responsible financial history” and “strong monthly cash flow.” The fine print indicates that healthy credit, years of professional experience and income are important, too.

No origination or late fees — and no prepayment penalty

SoFi says it’s committed to transparency, claiming a “no hidden fees” policy with no origination, closing or late payment fees. SoFi also won’t charge you a prepayment penalty if you decide to pay off your loan early. You’ll still be responsible for any interest that accrues on your loan, though.

A closer look at SoFi personal loans

Here are a few more details you should consider before you apply for a SoFi personal loan.

  • Co-applicants allowed — SoFi will let you apply with a co-applicant, which may improve your odds of being approved for a loan or getting better terms. But keep in mind that your co-applicant will have to live at the same address as you.
  • No next-day funding — If you’re in a rush to get your loan funds, be aware that SoFi doesn’t offer next-day financing. The lender says it’ll usually deposit your funds into your bank account within a few days of your loan application’s approval.
  • Mobile app — SoFi offers a mobile app where you can apply for a personal loan and manage your payments if you’re approved.
  • Change your due date — SoFi will let you change the date your monthly payment is due, as long as your account is in good standing. After your loan has been funded, you can log in to your account and change the due date to any date between the 1st and 25th of the month.

Who is a SoFi personal loan good for?

If you have good credit, you’ll probably have options if you want a personal loan, but SoFi is worth a look with its competitive interest rates and promise of no hidden fees.

On the other hand, if your income is inconsistent or your credit history isn’t top notch, you may want to look elsewhere.

You can use a SoFi personal loan for debt consolidation, home improvements, moving expenses, medical bills and major purchases. If you have high-interest credit card debt and qualify for a lower interest rate with a SoFi personal loan, it may help you pay off your credit card debt and save money.

How to apply for a SoFi personal loan

You can apply for a SoFi loan online or through its iOS or Android mobile app. You can start the application process by applying to prequalify — which usually only takes a few minutes. Just note that prequalification isn’t a guarantee of loan approval.

To apply, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old, be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or visa holder, and live in an eligible state.

To speed up the process, SoFi recommends having this information handy.

  • Social Security number
  • Proof of address and personal identification
  • Proof of income, including W-2s, tax returns, bank statements and pay stubs
  • Documentation of monthly debt
  • Employer contact information
  • Address and phone number
  • Whether you’re applying by yourself or with a co-applicant

SoFi may also ask about your career experience, as well as how much you want to borrow and how you plan to use the money.

The last step to apply for prequalification is agreeing to a soft credit inquiry — which won’t affect your credit scores — to get an idea of what rates you might qualify for. If you decide to move forward with your loan application, SoFi will ask you to upload more detailed information through its website and perform a hard inquiry to check your credit reports, which may lower your scores by a few points.

If you’re approved, SoFi will send over a loan agreement for electronic signature. If you accept the offer, you’ll get a phone call to confirm your address. You should receive the funds within a few days.

Not sure a SoFi personal loan is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

Even if you think SoFi is right for you, taking a few minutes to compare your other personal-loan choices is a smart move. Here are a couple of other lenders to consider.

  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs: Marcus may be a good option if you want to consolidate credit card debt.
  • Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo also offers large personal loan amounts, as well as a secured personal loan option.

About the author: Kate Dore is a Nashville-based personal finance writer and Candidate for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER<s… Read more.