SoFi SoFi
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SoFi Review

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Rating:
Bottom Line:
Personal loans with both fixed and variable rate options allow borrowers flexibility; education and work history considered alongside credit information; excellent customer service; includes unemployment protection

Full Review:
Not to be named a one-trick pony, SoFi Lending Corp. — better known as SoFi — has made its goal "reinventing consumer finance for the better." It offers student and parent loans, student loan refinancing and mortgages in addition to personal loans. Its personal loans are available with both fixed and variable rates and SoFi goes above and beyond with its unemployment protection and career services.


Types of Loans Available

SoFi offers unsecured loans in amounts from $5,000 to $100,000. Suggested uses for a personal loan from SoFi range from paying off credit card debt or consolidating high-interest loans to paying for your wedding or making home improvements. The loan must be used for personal, family or household purposes and cannot be used to cover educational expenses — although it's worth noting that SoFi does also offer student and parent loans for that purpose.


Rates for loans from SoFi vary depending on whether you choose a fixed rate or a variable rate loan. Using AutoPay, fixed rate loan APRs range from 5.49% to 14.24%, while variable rate loan APRs range from 5.17% to 11.32%. Without using AutoPay, fixed rate loan APRs range from 5.74% to 14.49% and variable rate loan APRs range from 5.42% to 11.57%. Since the latter rates are variable, there's a chance that the maximum rate could change during the life of your loan, but SoFi caps all of its variable APRs at 11.57%.

Its variable loan rates are set according to LIBOR, which is the interest rate at which banks lend to each other. If you choose a variable rate, you might pay less interest, but if you're looking to make a steady number of payments that remain the same for the life of your loan, a fixed rate might be a better option. SoFi is the only service we've reviewed that lets borrowers choose between a variable or fixed rate; most offer only fixed rates.


Qualifying

In order to qualify for a personal loan from SoFi, you must be at least 18 years old and either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. SoFi can make loans to people in 47 U.S. states as well as D.C., but those living in Mississippi or Nevada are not eligible at this time. Additionally, applicants must be employed or have an existing job offer with a start date within 90 days of their application plus a strong monthly cash flow.

Criteria SoFi looks at when evaluating loan applicants includes income, work experience and credit information. Those with better credit, as usual, will have access to the best rates. SoFi does not provide information on its minimum credit rating requirement, but it's safe to assume the better your credit, the better the chance you have of being approved for a loan and offered a good rate. Keep in mind, it doesn't hurt your credit to check your rate, so if you're considering SoFi, you can get a rate to compare against other services without risking anything.


Application Process

The online application process is quick and simple. After creating an account with SoFi, you can begin your application by providing some personal information — such as your name, birth date, address, college education history and employment data. If you are qualified, SoFi will present some possible rates and terms. After choosing the one that is right for you, the service will ask for some additional information for verification purposes and perform a full credit inquiry.


If you are approved for a loan, SoFi will send you a loan agreement to sign electronically. Once it is signed, the funds will be deposited into your bank account within a few business days.


Repayment and Fees

Repayment periods for SoFi personal loans are in increments of 36, 60 or 84 months (or three, five or seven years). The service urges its borrowers to make payments online via ACH, and it even has an AutoPay feature that will get you a discount on your APR. You can also pay by automatic transfer from your bank as well as mailed checks. There are no added fees for making alternate types of payments, which is different from most personal loan services we've reviewed.

SoFi does not charge an origination fee or penalize borrowers from paying off their loans early. It does have a late fee of either 4% of the total payment due or $5, whichever is less, for payments made later than 15 days after their due date.

Something SoFi offers that elevates it above its competition when it comes to customer service is unemployment protection. Essentially, if you lose your job, SoFi will temporarily pause payments and help you find a new one. These benefits are offered in three-month increments for a maximum of 12 months throughout the life of your loan. Interest will still accrue and be added to your total amount due during this time period, and in order to qualify for unemployment protection you must be able to provide proof that you have applied and are eligible for unemployment. Additionally, you are required to actively work with the SoFi career services department to look for a new job.

The ability to forebear your loans isn't a revelation in the loan industry, but the fact that SoFi employs people to help down-on-their-luck borrowers find work is certainly unusual and goes a long way toward making the service seem like it genuinely cares about its customers as people over its bottom line.


Customer Service and Trustworthiness

SoFi provides customer service via telephone and email, seven days per week. Phone representatives can be reached Monday through Thursday from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. PT, and Friday through Sunday from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. Email support is offered during these hours as well, though you can send an email at any time. Live chat is also available when you are logged into your SoFi account. We found SoFi's representatives to be friendly, courteous and informative.

Additionally, SoFi's website features a FAQ section with answers to some of the most common questions and a blog related to its services that contains a good amount of information for customers to peruse.

SoFi is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, but it does hold an A+ rating with the organization with few complaints lodged against it. SoFi generates its loans itself, and the money is sourced through private industrial and individual investors.


Conclusion

SoFi offers its borrowers a bit more than what we've seen from other personal loan services, especially when it comes to its career services feature and the ability to choose between fixed and variable rates. Its rates are fairly low, and the application process is streamlined and feels personal considering the information it takes into account. Combined with excellent customer service seven days per week, SoFi is a great option for someone looking for a personal loan with a community feel.

Apply for SoFi | Compare to other Personal Loan Services

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Service Details

Minimum/Maximum Loan Amount:$5,000 - $100,000
APR:With AutoPay: 5.49% - 14.24% APR (fixed); 5.19% - 11.34% APR (variable)

Without AutoPay: 5.74% - 14.49% APR (fixed); 5.44% - 11.59% APR (variable)
Terms Available:36, 60 or 84 months
Required Credit Rating:N/A
Secured/Unsecured:Unsecured
Local Branches:No

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