Loans > SoFi Lending Review

SoFi Lending Review

Need a student or personal loan? SoFi is more than just an investment platform – it’s also one of the best lending institutions in the business. 

All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Neither our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on TheTokenist.io. Our company, Tokenist Media LLC, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. Click here for a full list of our partners and an in-depth explanation on how we get paid.

Finding a loan is tough. Finding a great loan with good rates and flexible terms? Almost impossible. And that was the truth before COVID-19 decided to throw the economy for a loop.

Now it’s doubly hard to find great personal or student loans, particularly since many borrowers still haven’t recovered from their COVID-19-related worries or financial concerns. But let’s be honest – even before the coronavirus, it was tough to know which lending institutions were actually worth your time (and the dip to your credit score).

Interestingly, SoFi Lending – the original focus of the now-greater SoFi financial company – is still going strong, and presenting great loan options for individuals and, importantly, students. To get a better look at what SoFi offers these days, let’s take a deep dive into SoFi Lending’s loans, rates, perks, and membership benefits.

Come with us and maybe you’ll find a lender worth checking out, too!

SoFi Lending is one of the most popular lending institutions on the market. They provide various loan opportunities for those with decent credit and moderate-to-high annual incomes, plus extra benefits thanks to its well-developed membership program.

Fast Facts

  • Fees: SoFi never charges any fees for any reason
  • Loan Amount: $5,000/$10,000 to $100,000
  • Highlight: Best lender for student loans
  • Best for: Students and debt consolidation/home improvement borrowing

Rating

  • Loan Rates/Terms: 9/10
  • Loan Diversity:8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Loan Requirements: 8/10
  • Fees and Costs:10/10
  • Educational Resources:8/10
  • Overall:8/10
Visit SoFi Lending on SoFi Lending’s website

What is SoFi Lending?

SoFi Lending is the original arm of the now-multiservice financial institution. SoFi was founded with the intent to provide affordable student loans, though these days SoFi Lending also offers a variety of personal loans plus mortgage or mortgage refinancing loans.

SoFi Lending’s loans are characterized by generally low interest rates, provided you can get approved for a loan in the first place. They aren’t the most discerning lending institution, though they do generally require a decent credit score and a significant cash flow for loan approval.

They’re a modern lending company with a user-friendly mobile app and an easy application process that takes place largely online. Furthermore, SoFi Lending automatically grants approved borrowers access to the wider SoFi Membership network, providing extra perks and benefits if you’re ever interested in SoFi’s investing platform.

Overview and Summary

SoFi Lending has lots of attributes that make it worth a look. Here are five main points that summarize its value.

  1. SoFi never charges fees for any of its services – not even late fees. This makes it convenient and financially viable to pay down your loan early if possible.
  2. SoFi’s student loans have some of the best interest rates and terms in the business.
  3. SoFi provides tons of membership benefits as soon as you get approved for a loan – it almost feels like joining a nice, exclusive club
  4. Beyond student loans, SoFi’s personal loans come with good rates and terms
  5. SoFi provides unemployment protection, allowing you to shift your loan into forbearance in the event of unexpected career troubles

Who Owns SoFi Lending?

SoFi originally began in 2011 was founded by four Stanford business students: Mike Cagney, Dan Macklin, James Finnegan, and Ian Brady. All four students pooled their resources and created SoFi to provide a more affordable lending institution for students like themselves. These days, SoFi focuses on providing accessible loans to most folks with decent incomes and credit scores.

They have since expanded, both in acquiring other fintech companies and into other markets like investing and banking (though the latter has yet to materialize. Time will tell whether SoFi continues to grow or reaches its peak.

Pros

  • No fees whatsoever
  • Generally low APR for loans, starting at 5.9% for personal loans
  • Preapproval possible with a soft credit check
  • Membership comes with excellent benefits
  • All loans come with unemployment protection
  • Mobile app is pretty good

Cons

  • Credit score of around 680 or higher is usually required 
  • Funding usually takes a few business days

What Loans Do SoFi Lending Offer?

SoFi Lending offers four main types of lending assistance: private student loans, student loan refinancing, personal loans, and home/mortgage loans.

Private Student Loans

This first loan type is available for both undergraduate and graduate students. SoFi’s private student loans are pretty competitive compared to other private lending institutions on the market.

SoFI Private Student Loans

More importantly, you can find also parent-specific loans if a student’s private loan doesn’t cover the full college bill – this is something many other lenders skip.

All told, SoFi provides plenty of excellent points that make their student loans worthwhile. Students are able (though not guaranteed) to borrow up to 100% of the total cost for college attendance.

Loan minimums are $5000 for most places or $10,000 in California, and they don’t come with any fees, be they late, origination, or penalties for insufficient funds. Terms are also fairly reasonable at 5, 10, and 15 year periods.

Your interest rate will depend on whether you choose a fixed or variable rate loan. For undergrads, the former can come with an APR between 4.11% to 11.3%, while a variable rate loan might come with an APR between 1.70% to 11.73%.

Graduate loan rates are pretty comparable, too, at 4.13% to 11.83% for fixed-rate APRs and 1.8% to 11.73% APRs for variable-rate loans.

The private loan program also comes with four flexible repayment options:

  • Immediate payment, which will have you pay the immediate principal and interest payments. This is costlier in the short term but cheaper in the long term
  • Partial, which has you pay $25 a month while you’re in school, then switch to a more standard repayment plan after graduation
  • Interest-only, which has you pay only the interest payments while you’re in school, then swap to full payments after graduating
  • Deferred, which allows you to pay $0 while you’re in school and begin full payments six months after graduating – it’s very similar to most federal loans

One last note is that SoFi’s private student loans come with a cosigner option but don’t require one, making them fairly accessible for many.

Student Loan Refinancing

SoFi Lending is also well-known for its student loan refinancing options. They’re willing to take a good hard look at your credit history and overall cash flow when deciding whether to help you refinance your loan for better terms or rates and may consider multiple factors instead of, say, just your credit score.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance

However, SoFi is fairly strict with who they accept for a refinancing agreement. You still (generally) need a pretty good credit score around 700 or so to qualify, plus decent cash flow, along with a manageable amount of debt.

Another (obvious) restriction is that you need to actually have a degree from a four-year university and be a citizen or permanent resident of the US. You can’t use this loan to get you through undergrad.

If you do qualify for one of these refinancing loans, you’ll benefit from flexible borrowing terms between 5 and 20 years, with plenty of middle ground in between (terms like 7 or 10 years are common). Loans come in fixed and variable options, and there’s a minimum loan amount of $5000, or $10,000 in California.

Your fixed refinanced loan rate will hover between 3.2% to 6.44% APR, while a variable refinanced loan will have an APR between 2.99% and 6.44%. These rates are quite good, so the real hurdle here is getting approved for a refinancing loan in the first place.

As with any refinancing lender, be aware that you lose federal student loan protections once you agree to the deal. As an example, refinancing with SoFi Lending need you won’t be able to use an income-based repayment program.

Fortunately, SoFi provides an Unemployment Protection program that’s offered for 3 months at a time or 12 months total over the loan’s entire repayment lifespan. This forbearance program gives you some wiggle room if you encounter a temporary rough spot in your career.

Furthermore, SoFi also provides loan deferment if you decide to return the graduate school, serve in the military on active duty, or have to undergo disability rehabilitation. If you or your family is a part of the broader SoFi Investing/Financial network, you can also join the entrepreneurship program they offer and get a six-month deferment.

All in all, there are plenty of protections and benefits in place to make things a little safer and adaptable as your educational and career plans shift. The loans themselves are good options to get better rates on your student loans.

Personal Loans

SoFi’s personal loans are similar to those offered by other high-quality lending institutions.

SoFi Personal Loans Page

They’re are available for all kinds of uses, ranging from credit card debt consolidation, to medical costs, to moving costs, to home improvements and more. However, they do prevent you from using their personal loans for several things, including:

  • Investing
  • Buying securities
  • Funding college (that’s what their student loans are for)
  • Business needs
  • Real estate (basically investing)
  • Short term financing

They offer personal loans between $5000 and $100,000 – this maximum limit is fairly generous compared to other lenders on the market. They also offer fairly competitive APR ranges for qualified applicants, with fixed rates hovering between 5.99% and 16.19%. Loan repayment terms can be anywhere between 2 and 7 years: about typical compared to other lenders.

But what about credit score? Here, SoFi usually requires a reasonable credit score of 680 or so to qualify for one of their personal loans. Note that you may not get the absolute best APR with this credit score, but at least you’ll have some options.

SoFi Lending’s personal loans are also attractive since they don’t charge any fees – no need to worry about prepayment, origination, late fees, or the like.

But the big downside for these loans is that you’ll likely have to wait several days before getting any money you’re approved for. Still, given that these loans are explicitly not to be used for short-term debt settling or bridge costs, it’s not that surprising.

As with their student loans, SoFi provides unemployment protection, allowing you to put your loan into forbearance for up to 12 months in 3-month increments.

One other thing of note is SoFi’s joint application system. You and another person can apply as a couple or as neutral cosigners if you want to get a better rate for a personal loan. Just be aware that these applications usually take another few weeks to process.

SoFI Personal Loans Comparison Chart

We also like that SoFi lets you check the rates and terms you might qualify for with their personal loans through a soft credit check that doesn’t affect your score. However, you will have to take a hard credit check if you decide to apply.

Home Loans

SoFi Lending has only recently branched out and offering mortgage loans. These come as both standard mortgage loans or as refinancing loans depending on your needs. Despite the recency, SoFi constitutes one of the top mortgage lenders you’ll find.

Sofi Lending Home Loan

Rates are between 15 and 30 years and are typically fixed (though this isn’t an ironclad rule). Filling out an application for one of these loans is as quick and easy as the others, and handled entirely online. Furthermore, SoFi makes it easy to know if you prequalify for one of their mortgage loans so you don’t waste time if your credit score and other financial factors aren’t good enough.

Perhaps most important, if you have no borrower private mortgage insurance, SoFi often provides mortgage agreements with an option for a 10% down payment. This could be excellent for new homebuyers that don’t want to spend all their cash up front. 

If you happen to be a SoFi member already, you’ll benefit from saving $500 on your mortgage loan or refinancing loan fees by default. All in all, getting a mortgage or refinancing loan for your home from SoFi is often a great deal.

We’re not sure if they’re the best if you’re not a member already, though – it can take several days to get your preapproval from SoFi, and this time crunch can make things tight when you’re looking to make an offer on a popular property.

SoFi Lending Compared

General
Estimated APR

5.99 - 16.19%

Varies (but known to be low)

Minimum credit score

680

660

Loan term

2 - 7 years

Varies

Loan amount

$5,000 - $100,000

$5,000 - $100,000

Best for

Students and debt consolidation/home improvement borrowing

Borrowers with good to excellent credit

General
Estimated APR

Varies (but known to be low)

  • Term Loans: 7 - 30%
  • Startup Loans: 7.9 - 19.9%
Minimum credit score

660

550

Loan term

Varies

1 - 5 years

Loan amount

$5,000 - $100,000

$5,000 - $500,000

Best for

Borrowers with good to excellent credit

Small business loans

General

Estimated APR

5.99 - 16.19%

Varies (but known to be low)

  • Term Loans: 7 - 30%
  • Startup Loans: 7.9 - 19.9%

Minimum credit score

680

660

550

Loan term

2 - 7 years

Varies

1 - 5 years

Loan amount

$5,000 - $100,000

$5,000 - $100,000

$5,000 - $500,000

Best for

Students and debt consolidation/home improvement borrowing

Borrowers with good to excellent credit

Small business loans

SoFi Lending’s Application Process

Applying for any of the SoFi loans described above is fairly quick and easy. Everything takes place online and without any human to human contact (except for mortgage preapproval). Here’s the basic process:

  • Start by filling out your initial information on SoFi’s loan pages. This includes standard stuff like your name, email address, state, and so on. You’ll also need to make a password and sign several consent forms
  • You’ll next describe how much money you want to borrow. Remember that the minimum is $5000 by default or $10,000 in California for student and personal loans. The maximum is $100,000 for personal loans
  • You can select how you plan to use the funds, including paying off your credit cards, debt consolidation, tuition and so on
  • Then you can choose how much you want to pay every month. SoFi will automatically recommend different minimum and maximum payment options based on your borrowing amount
  • You’ll enter your citizenship status and date of birth, then your home address. This allows them to match your personal information with one of the big credit reporting agencies
  • You have to tell SoFi your annual income before taxes
  • Then you’ll provide a few last details, like whether you’re filling out a joint or individual application. Depending on how easy your credit information is defined, you may need to give SoFi your Social Security number so they can do a soft credit check

If all goes well, you can review the terms of the loan and proceed with an official application.

How Long Does SoFi Take to Approve?

SoFi Lending typically takes less than 24 hours to approve loan applications, provided they can check your credit properly. 

Loan Qualifications

As with virtually every lending institution, SoFi Lending doesn’t have hard rules that they use to apply for every loan application they get. They do have general loan requirements and approval trends.

For instance, SoFi tends to focus on cash flow above any other metric, including credit score. However, this isn’t to say that credit score isn’t important. It does mean that, if you’re in the process of rebuilding your credit score, having low debt and decent provable cash flow will go a long way toward securing a personal loan.

How much cash flow are we talking about? In general, SoFi wants a minimum annual income of $45,000 for any type of personal loan. But keep in mind that many of their borrowers have incomes of over $100,000 per year, which may skew their acceptance rates.

This can be particularly advantageous if you want a debt consolidation loan from this lender. In addition to the other aspects, SoFi looks at your current debt load, though what part this plays in whether your loan is accepted depends on the loan itself.

What Credit Score Do You Need for a SoFi Loan?

Most SoFi Lending users report being approved for student or personal loans around the 680 mark for their credit score. However, getting your credit score above 700 will make it much more likely that you’ll both get approved for a loan and get one of the better APRs described earlier.

All in all, SoFi generally wants:

  • A reasonably high credit score at 680+
  • Good, consistent, provable cash flow
  • Low or manageable debt loads
  • Good debt repayment history

Keep in mind that you can sometimes secure a loan through SoFi even without these things if you apply for one of their joint or cosigner loan options.

What Are the Interest Rates for SoFi?

One of SoFi Lending’s biggest draws is its range of competitive APRs. They offer:

  • interest rates between 4% and 12% for student loans
  • rates between 3% and 6% for refinanced student loans
  • rates as low as 5.99% for personal loans

As with virtually every other lending institution, those with better credit scores and payment histories are more likely to get excellent interest rates.

What Are SoFi’s Fees for Loans and Applications?

SoFi Lending doesn’t charge any fees whatsoever at any point in the process of applying for a loan or paying that loan off over time. Yes, this includes prepayment fees: one of the worst types of financial mischief ever.

This makes them a quality lending institution outright, as you never have to worry about late fees, origination fees, or paying extra money just because you want to get your debts cleared ahead of schedule.

Funds Dispersal Timeline

Perhaps the biggest downside to using SoFi Lending is that it’s not the fastest loan disperser in the business. Expect to wait between 2 and 4 business days regardless of the loan you’re approved for, as it normally takes about this much time for funds to show up in your bank account.

It’s a little odd considering how up-to-date SoFi is with the rest of its process – applying takes place entirely online and they even offer an excellent mobile app.

Payment Terms

SoFi offers a pretty flexible range of payment terms. Personal loans come with terms of between 2 and 7 years: about average for loans of that type. Student loans are much more varied and flexible to reflect the unique requirements that every individual borrower might have.

Private student loans come with terms of 5, 10, or 15 years.

Refinanced student loans come with terms of 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years.

SoFi Lending Benefits

SoFi’s most recent gift to its borrowers is COVID-19 forbearance. If you have a personal loan through this institution, you can apply for payment deferral. SoFi Lending has also reached out to state that those borrowers still experiencing financial hardship might be able to refinance their loan again. All in all, it’s clear that SoFi is willing to work with people during these difficult economic times.

SoFi membership is another big but often under-considered plus. Whenever you get a loan approved (it doesn’t matter which type), you automatically become a member of the SoFi network. This, in turn, grant you several advantages and privileges like:

  • SoFi’s career services – a particularly good benefit for students or young professionals
  • Free financial planning help, which can help you get your debts or investments back on track
  • Access to member events, which may be useful for networking

One last thing to note is the SoFi mobile app. This is available for both Apple and Android devices and allows you to review your loan balances, make payments, and otherwise keep track of your SoFi-related finances on the go. It’s a pretty convenient tool that’s also fairly user-friendly.

FAQs

Is SoFi legit?

SoFi provides a plethora of financial services and products, ranging from loans to investing, and so on. They’re well-run and their recent market expansion suggests that they’ve seen quite a bit of success – not surprising given the plethora of benefits described above and all the features that make their lending services worthwhile.

Does taking out a loan with SoFi hurt my credit?

For your application to be approved by SoFi, it’ll have to endure a hard credit check. This does lower your score by a few points (usually less than 10), and the hard credit inquiry will stay on your credit report for about 24 months. However, this small point deduction will only last for about a year before your credit score is repaired.

Is SoFi a good pick for a debt consolidation loan?

It can be. Since SoFi offers personal loans of up to $100,000, this will likely be enough to cover debt consolidation for many folks. However, SoFi requires a decent credit score and good cash flow to qualify – if you needed a consolidation loan, you might not have the credit score necessary to get approved.

What are debt consolidation’s disadvantages?

Debt consolidation can be a bad choice if you continue to use credit before paying off all your consolidated debt. Furthermore, you have to be careful to get a good debt consolidation loan with a better interest rate than the rates you were paying for your assorted debts before consolidating.

How long will a debt consolidation loan stay on your credit report?

A debt consolidation loan affects your credit since you have to apply for the loan (requiring a hard credit check), sometimes open a new credit account, and perhaps other things. It’s likely that a debt consolidation loan will stay on your credit report for up to several years depending on the terms of the loan and how long it takes you to pay off your debts. 

Which is better: SoFi or LightStream?

SoFi and LightStream are fairly comparable across several aspects – they offer virtually identical personal loan minimums and maximums, similar loan terms, and similar minimum credit score requirements.

One big difference is that LightStream disperses money much more quickly: usually after a single day instead of after a few business days. But SoFi typically offers more flexible payment terms and offers prequalification – LightStream does not.

All in all, SoFi is a slightly better pick if you can get qualified and want the extra membership benefits. LightStream may be better if you need funding fast.

Does SoFi let you pay off loans early?

Yes. There are no prepayment fees, so throw money at your loan to clear it ASAP if you like.

Does SoFi charge origination fees of any kind?

No, there are no fees whatsoever with SoFi loans.

Can loans from SoFi be forgiven?

No. Unlike federal student loans (and the rumors that their associated debts might be forgiven), personal or student loans like the kind you get from SoFi cannot be forgiven except at the lender’s discretion.

Does it really save money to go with SoFi?

It certainly can! SoFi offers pretty good APR ranges, so those with good credit and excellent cash flow might find excellent personal loans that don’t cost an arm and a leg over the long-term.

Are SoFi’s loans’ interests tax deductible?

It depends on the loan. Personal loan interest is not tax-deductible. But student loan interest and property loan interest both are. For student loan interest, up to $2500 or the total amount you paid during the tax year is deductible. For home loans, you can deduct interest up to $750,000 if married filing jointly or up to $375,000 of qualified debt if you are single. 

How do I get the lowest possible rate from SoFi?

Keep your debts low and your credit score high. Working your way up to a higher cash flow will also do wonders for getting a better rate from SoFi. 

Does SoFi sell their loans?

Most of the time, yes. SoFi sells loans to investors for 105% of the price, which is the primary way in which they make money off the loans (in addition to interest).

Are SoFi loans government-based?

No. As a private borrower, SoFi’s loans are issued from a private organization and lenders.

Do all student loans disappear after 7 years?

Not in most cases. However, some private student loans have statutes of limitations, often between 3 and 10 years. If the statute of limitations is passed, you are no longer responsible for the student debt. Don’t count on this affecting things with federal student loans, though.

Is it a good idea to refinance with SoFi?

It may very well be if you qualify and want to take advantage of the lender’s excellent membership benefits. SoFi’s low rates and flexible payment terms make them a good choice for several reasons.

Conclusion

All in all, SoFi Lending provides lots of opportunities for students and regular folks looking for decent loans to handle home improvements, debt consolidation, or just to handle the honestly-exorbitant amount of student debt that comes with a college education these days.

Have you ever tried SoFi’s loans? Let us know your experiences below.

SoFi Lending and the Competition

See how SoFi Lending compares to the top lending platforms by reading one of the reviews below.

All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Neither our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on TheTokenist.io. Our company, Tokenist Media LLC, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. Click here for a full list of our partners and an in-depth explanation on how we get paid.

Cookies & Privacy

TheTokenist.io uses cookies to provide you with a great experience and enables you to enjoy all the functionality of the site.