SoFi Money is a cash management account that allows you to get some of the benefits of both a checking and a savings account. What’s more, new customers can currently earn two sign-up bonuses worth a total of $175, even if you just want to take SoFi Money for a “test drive.”
Secure application on issuer’s website.
Bonus: Up to $175
Monthly Fees: None
Minimum Opening Balance: None
Earn 0.25% APY with monthly deposits of $500 or more
No minimum monthly balance
No maintenance fees, non-sufficient fund fees or overdraft fees
Access to 55,000 ATMs worldwide through the Allpoint Network
Here’s how the sign-up bonuses work. Slickdeals users who open and fund a new SoFi Money account with $125 or more are eligible for an exclusive $75 bonus. Additionally, when you move your direct deposit from your current bank to your new SoFi account, you can earn an additional $100 bonus (for a total of $175). We dive into the eligibility details of both of these bonuses later in this SoFi review.
Beyond the sign-up bonuses, though, SoFi Money has a lot to offer. While it’s not technically a checking or savings account, your money is still protected. Plus you’ll get a few other big perks including rewards and a better-than-average interest rate when you meet direct deposit requirements.
If you’re considering an account with SoFi Money, here’s everything you need to know.
SoFi Money Bonus: $175
It’s pretty common nowadays for banks and brokers to offer a welcome bonus when you sign up and meet certain requirements, and the SoFi Money account is no different. New customers can currently earn a one-time bonus of $175 when you stack two bonus offers: a Slickdeals exclusive $75 and a direct deposit bonus of $100.
Slickdeals Exclusive $75 Bonus
Slickdeals is offering a $75 bonus to people who open and fund a new SoFi Money account with $125 or more. However, there are a couple of additional hoops to jump through to be eligible for this offer.
- Install the free Slickdeals Shopping Assistant Browser Extension.
- Enroll in Slickdeals Rewards, which is also free.
- Open and fund a new SoFi Money account with $125 or more.
Your SoFi bonus will be sent to your Slickdeals Rewards account within 30 calendar days after meeting the above criteria. If you’re not familiar with Slickdeals Rewards, you can read about this free cash-back program. Essentially, your $75 bonus will post to your Slickdeals Rewards account where it can be transferred to a connected PayPal account.
Here are a few steps to assist you with qualifying for the exclusive Slickdeals bonus:
- Install the Slickdeals Shopping Assistant Browser Extension (if you don’t already have it installed) and follow the SD Rewards prompts (PC or laptop only).
- Follow the additional prompts in the link above to ensure that you’re enrolled in SD Rewards, that your account is registered and that you are signed-in. You need to have an account to track and redeem your bonus.
- Once logged into your Slickdeals account, click through any of the SoFi Money links on this page to open and fund your new SoFi Money account. You must apply through a link on this page in order to receive the $75 bonus.
- Do not close the SoFi Money window prior to confirming and funding your new account. Closing the window may make you ineligible for the $75 bonus.
- Once you open and fund your new SoFi Money account, you will be able to track your order here. You should expect to receive your $75 bonus via Slickdeals Rewards Points within 30 calendar days of funding your account
Beware of AdBlockers
It’s never a good idea to have AdBlock active when you are applying for a credit card or bank account. This offer is no different. Be sure to disable any extensions that are blocking advertisements or, alternatively, whitelist the Slickdeals website. Furthermore, make sure cookies are enabled in your browser as well.
The $75 bonus offer is provided solely by Slickdeals and is unrelated to any benefits or offers provide by SoFi. SoFi is not responsible for the $75 bonus. Slickdeals is pleased to make this offer available to you. Please follow the instructions carefully to help avoid any processing issues. For questions related to this bonus offer, please submit a support request.
Direct Deposit $100 Bonus
In addition to the exclusive Slickdeals bonus, you can earn $100 when you open a new SoFi Money account and move $1,000 or more in total qualifying direct deposits into your new account within a 30-day period.
In fact, all new and existing SoFi Members without a prior history of direct deposit transactions are eligible for this $100 SoFi promo. Once you meet the direct deposit requirement, you’ll receive your welcome bonus money within two weeks.
SoFi defines qualifying direct deposits as transactions made from an enrolled member’s employer, payroll or benefits provider via ACH deposit. After you meet the bonus eligibility requirements, you can either move your direct deposit or keep it with SoFi to unlock even more benefits, like a 0.25% APY on your account balance.
SoFi Direct Deposit Bonus Fine Print
To be eligible for the SoFi Money bonus, you’ll need to open an account by September 30th, 2021 (11:59 p.m. ET). Furthermore, an enrolled member must have $1,000 or more in total qualifying direct deposit transactions within a 30-day period. New SoFi members have 60 days after enrollment in order to qualify for the $100 bonus.
The deposit must come from your employer, payroll or benefits provider — such as a paycheck or government-issued benefits check. Transfers from Venmo, PayPal and similar peer-to-peer payment services don’t count, and neither do ACH transfers from other bank accounts that don’t belong to your employer.
Additionally, one important thing to keep in mind with this welcome bonus is that it’s considered miscellaneous income for tax purposes. This means you may receive a form 1099-MISC (or Form 1042-S, if applicable) in the mail at the start of tax season, and you’ll need to claim that income on your tax return. However, this is a common occurrence with bank account and broker bonuses, and the value of the bonus far outweighs the tax bill.
SoFi Money Referral Bonus
Once you become a SoFi member, you can send referral links to friends and family members to also open an account. If they use your unique referral link to open an account, fund it with $500 or more within 14 days and keep it there for at least 30 days, both you and the person you referred will receive a referral bonus of $50.
SoFi encourages members to send referral links to friends, colleagues, family members and anyone else you think may be interested in opening a cash management account.
Here’s how to get credit for your referral links and earn a referral bonus. Log into your account to access your own unique referral link and then do the following:
- Look for the “Invite friends” button (or tile) on your SoFi Money home screen.
- Click on the button to generate referral links for friends via a pre-populated SMS, email or social media.
You can earn up to $10,000 per calendar year in referral bonuses with these referral links.
What Is SoFi?
The first thing you need to know about SoFi Money is that it’s not a bank account. Rather, it’s a cash management account for SoFi Invest, the financial institution’s brokerage service. This doesn’t mean you need to invest anything in your SoFi Money account or open a SoFi Invest account, but it does mean there are a few differences to keep in mind.
For example, you won’t have an FDIC-insured account. The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) insures your money instead of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The SIPC insures up to $500,000 worth of securities and cash (though there is a $250,000 limit on cash) for each brokerage account you have in a separate capacity.
Also, it’s not possible to deposit cash into your SoFi account. If you receive some cash and don’t want to carry it around with you or leave it lying around your house, you’d need to deposit it with a brick-and-mortar bank or credit union, then transfer it to SoFi Money.
Finally, there are some banking products that are missing from SoFi Money that you may be able to get from a traditional bank or credit union, such as certificates of deposit and more.
SoFi Money Rewards
Following the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve capped debit card interchange fees at the behest of Congress, and debit cards with rewards became a dying breed. But recently, they’ve started making a comeback, especially as online banks and brokers have grown with their lower overhead costs.
SoFi Money offers one of those accounts, with the only catch being that you need to have a direct deposit of at least $500 per month on your account.
SoFi Money’s debit card doesn’t offer a flat rewards rate on all of your spending. But when you check your SoFi Money app, you’ll be able to view various offers for 10% back from popular retailers.
You can also earn up to 15% cash back when you spend money at select local restaurants and retailers — again, you can view the eligible locations in your SoFi account app.
Finally, SoFi has regularly rotating limited-time offers that you can take advantage of. Past offers have included Nike, Warby Parker and more.
Depending on how you spend your money, you may not be able to take advantage of all of these rewards offers. But if your alternative is a checking account with no rewards at all, it’s easy to see that SoFi has an advantage.
SoFi Money isn’t a high-yield savings account, but it offers a much higher annual percentage yield (APY) on your deposits than the vast majority of checking and also many savings accounts on the market. If you have $500 in monthly direct deposits, you’ll earn 0.25% APY on your balance in the account. According to the FDIC, the average interest rate on an interest-bearing checking account is 0.04%.
If you don’t meet the direct deposit requirements, though, your APY will be a measly 0.01% interest rate, which is just as good as zero. But if SoFi is your primary account and you can easily meet the direct deposit requirement, you won’t have any issues.
Cash-back reward offers, a relatively high APY and referral bonuses may be enough for a lot of people to pick SoFi over other banking alternatives. But if you want more, the account provides more. Here are some of the other features you can look forward to with this hybrid checking-savings account:
- Vaults: SoFi Money Vaults are extensions of your account, where you can earmark funds for certain goals. You can create up to 20 Vaults, and there are no fees or minimum balance requirements.
- Roundups: While this feature isn’t yet available, it is coming soon, according to SoFi. With the Roundups feature, every purchase you make with your debit card will be rounded up to the nearest whole dollar. Then the difference will be automatically transferred to one of your Vaults, which you can dedicate for that savings. Saving a few cents every time you swipe your card may not sound like a lot, but it can add up over time.
- Money transfers: The app allows you to transfer money to anyone you want, similar to Venmo or Cash App. If they’re a SoFi member, they’ll receive the funds instantly. If not, they’ll receive the cash within two to three business days after they submit their bank account information to get the funds.
- Mobile deposit: While you can’t deposit cash into a SoFi account, you can deposit checks via the mobile app.
- No ATM fees: Withdrawing cash is fee-free. No ATM fees if you use one of the more than 55,000 ATMs worldwide in the Allpoint network.
- No monthly fees: SoFi does not charge members many of your usual banking fees. Therefore, there are no account fees or monthly fees.
Another benefit of having a SoFi Money account is that you don’t have to worry about account fees, which are what banks and credit unions may choose to charge on all accounts to maintain them. This primarily includes a monthly servicing fee. There are also no ATM fees if you use one of the more than 55,000 ATMs worldwide in the Allpoint network.
That doesn’t mean SoFi Money is fee-free, though. If you use an out-of-network ATM, for instance, you’ll be charged a fee by the ATM owner, and SoFi won’t reimburse that fee like some other online banks do. There’s also a foreign currency conversion fee of 0.2%, which you’ll be charged if you use your debit card to make a purchase or ATM withdrawal in a foreign currency.
Other fees include a $15 outgoing wire transfer fee, a $15 returned ACH or insufficient funds fee and a $5 paper statement fee — these are all associated with the SoFi Invest platform.
How to Maximize the SoFi Money Account
SoFi Money offers a lot of features that you can’t get with a traditional checking or savings account. And because it’s a cash management account, it makes it easier to fund a SoFi Invest account, if that’s something you want to do. Read our full SoFi Invest review to learn more.
To maximize the value you can get from SoFi Money, here are some things you can do:
- Read the fine print on the sign-up bonus to make sure you receive the full amount.
- Meet the monthly $500 direct deposit requirement to qualify for the higher APY and cash-back rewards.
- Check your mobile app regularly for the latest limited-time cash-back offers.
- Take advantage of your Vaults to establish and track different savings goals.
- When it’s available, turn on the Roundup feature, so you can save every time you use your debit card.
With the cash-back offers, it’s also important to know when not to take advantage of an offer. In general, if you would’ve spent the money with or without the rewards, activate the offer and get your rewards. But if you’re spending money you wouldn’t normally spend just to earn 10% or 15% back, you’re losing more than you’re gaining.
SoFi Credit Card
SoFi also offers a credit card that pairs well with its Money account. The SoFi credit card offers flat-rate 2% unlimited cash back for everyday spending. The credit card awards 1% cash back on all eligible purchases — and when you redeem rewards to pay down eligible debt, transfer to your SoFi Money or SoFi Invest account, it awards an extra 1%, for a total of 2%.
Furthermore, when you make 12 on-time payments, the APR on any remaining credit card balance is lowered by 1%. This is a lot of value for a credit card with no annual fee.
The one drawback is that the SoFi credit card does not offer a new cardholder bonus, and it’s currently only available to active SoFi members.
SoFi Invest provides a lot of different options for investors, including active investing, an automated robo-advisor, retirement accounts, cryptocurrency and even fractional shares. This account occasionally features a bonus for new members or a promotion to win free stock.
SoFi’s Active Investing platform helps you make that happen. You can buy stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). There’s no account minimum, which means you can start with as little as $1, making it perfect for brand-new investors without high net worths.
Unlike many robo-advisors that charge am annual fee to manage your investment account, SoFi’s Automated Investing plan charges no account management fees at all. That’s right, you can opt to have your investments managed for you and pay no annual fee.
As crypto becomes more popular as an investment security, it’s become more of a mainstay with major brokerage firms. SoFi Invest is one of the latest brokers to offer cryptocurrency trading. What’s more, you can trade crypto directly in the SoFi app, which means you don’t have to keep track of complicated cryptocurrency wallet passwords.
SoFi Loans offers a variety of personal loans for home improvement, credit card consolidation, medical procedures and relocation assistance. It also offers loans for home owners including mortgages and mortgage refinancing.
Student Loan Refinancing
In addition to private student loans undergraduate and graduate student loans and parent student loans, you can also refinance your student loans. Refinancing is a great solution for working graduates who have high-interest, unsubsidized Direct Loans, Graduate PLUS loans and/or private loans. Federal loans do carry some special benefits like public service forgiveness and economic hardship programs, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance.
Opening a SoFi Account
SoFi isn’t right for everyone. If you like in-person service or deal with a lot of cash, using the cash management account may be more trouble than it’s worth. But if you don’t use cash regularly and prefer an online banking setup, it’s one of the better banking options out there. Plus, the bonus for new account holders gives you a great excuse to test drive membership.