SoFi Personal Loans Review: Is It Right for You?
Matt is a Certified Financial Planner® and investment advisor based in Columbia, South Carolina. He writes personal finance and investment advice, and in 2017 he received the SABEW Best in Business Award.
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The personal lending industry has grown tremendously in recent years, and SoFi has emerged as a leader thanks to its consumer-centric business model, no-fee loan products, and easy-to-use application process. Here’s a review of SoFi personal loans so you can determine whether they're the best choice for you.
Check rates without affecting your credit score -- You can see what your SoFi personal loan rates will be with a soft credit check that does not hurt your credit score. We recommend comparing multiple providers, and this feature makes the process easier.
No fees -- SoFi charges no fees whatsoever besides the interest on your loan. There is no origination fee and no late fees. SoFi does not charge a pre-payment penalty, which means you can pay off a SoFi loan early at no extra cost. So, even if a competitor offers you a slightly lower personal loan rate, SoFi may still be the more economical choice. For example, Lending Club charges origination fees of up to 6% of the loan amount.
Auto-pay discount -- You can secure a 0.25% rate discount for agreeing to set up automatic loan payments through your bank account.
Large loan amounts -- SoFi’s loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000. This is at least double the maximum loan amount most of SoFi’s competition.
Paused payments for unemployment -- SoFi offers unemployment protection of sorts in that you can pause your monthly payment if you lose your job. The benefit is capped in three-month increments for a total of 12 months over the life of your loan.
What could be improved
More diverse loan amounts -- SoFi could be a more versatile loan provider if it offered loans to borrowers looking for less than $5,000.
How to qualify for a SoFi personal loan
You'll generally need the following to qualify for a SoFi personal loan:
- Good credit, or a FICO Ⓡ Score of 690 or higher. The average SoFi borrower has a credit score of 730.
- An acceptable debt-to-income ratio.
- Higher education and a strong work record, which SoFi considers good predictors of borrowers’ future ability to pay.
- High income; the average SoFi customer has a six-figure annual income.
As you can see, SoFi’s loan approval isn’t just based on your current income and credit report. The company prides itself on its unique approach to underwriting and considers factors such as the borrower’s education, professional history, and more.
SoFi’s personal loan application process
SoFi’s application process is about as quick and easy as they come. As with many other personal lenders, you can pre-qualify for a SoFi loan and check your interest rates in just minutes with no impact on your credit score. The application form is pretty simple, and any documentation requests are made in a timely manner. In all, SoFi says your personal loan will be funded within a week of when you start the application.
Alternatives to consider
SoFi is an excellent choice for many consumers in need of personal loans, and as a SoFi personal loan customer, I can tell you that the process was relatively easy and painless. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for everyone.
In certain situations, one of SoFi’s competitors may be the best option for you. Here are just a few of the potential examples:
- If you have excellent credit, FreedomPlus does occasionally offer lower interest rates on personal loans.
- While SoFi doesn’t necessarily require an extensive credit history, Upstart prides itself on its unconventional approach for borrowers with little to no credit history. Plus, Upstart’s minimum loan amount is just $1,000.
- If you have damaged credit, Avant may be a good lender for you to check out. The company allows personal loans with credit scores as low as 580.
The bottom line is that while SoFi is an excellent personal loan provider for many customers, you should still shop around. Most personal lenders will let you pre-qualify and check your rate with just a soft credit pull (which won’t affect your credit score), and you might be surprised at the difference between the loan terms and costs that you're offered from different institutions.
SoFi is right for you if:
- You're seeking a no-fee personal loan.
- You have good credit, a high income, and a college degree.
- You need to borrow more than $50,000, in which case SoFi may be your only option.
If that doesn't sound like you, we'd suggest exploring your options among the best personal loans on the market now.