Earlier this year the financial technology (fintech) company SoFi Technologies (SoFi) acquired a bank charter, SoFi Bank, N.A. Before the bank charter, SoFi had been offering a checking-like account called SoFi Money via its partner bank, The Bancorp Bank. SoFi Money has been discontinued, and now SoFi Bank, N.A. is offering a product called “SoFi Checking and Savings.” This new account combo has two appealing features for savers:
- 1.25% APY on all balances (with direct deposit) 0.70% APY on all balances (without direct deposit)
- Direct deposit bonus of up to $300 (scheduled to expire 5/31/2022).
The main issue with this account and the SoFi Bank is that they’re new. You may want to view them as a work in progress. Those with large balances who are used to the well-established online banks like Ally, American Express and Marcus, may be disappointed. Unfortunately, that is often the price we pay for higher deposit rates. Currently, SoFi Bank is way ahead as the rate leader for liquid accounts without balance limitations. The combination of this and the bonus offer may be worth the hassles of dealing with a new online bank.
The first issue I experienced with SoFi Bank is their customer service. Their contact page provides two options to reach customer service for Checking and Savings. The first option is an online chat service, but when you click the link, you’re taken to a page that requires you to log in. The second option is to call. However, when you call the number, I was unable to reach a human. They just give you the option to have them text you a link for help. That link is useful, but it doesn’t make up for the lack of an actual customer service representative.
Due to the lack of customer service, the following account information is only based on SoFi’s online documentation and DA readers.
SoFi Checking and Savings Overview
This SoFi FAQ provides a good overview of the account features:
- 1.25% APY with direct deposit (no minimum direct deposit amount required)
- No account fees
- Enjoy unlimited free ATM withdrawals at over 55,000 AllPoint In-Network ATMs
- The SoFi Debit Card can be used worldwide
- Automated bill pay
- Easy P2P payments at no cost
- Freeze debit card on-the-go in app
- Versatile money management with SoFi Savings and Vaults
- Mobile check deposits
- Overdraft Coverage
- Cash Deposits through Greendot
NOTE: Members without direct deposit will earn 0.70% APY on Checking and Savings deposits.
Qualifying Direct Deposit
Savers who don’t have an employer direct deposit or don’t want to change their direct deposit, may ask about SoFi’s definition of a qualifying direct deposit. The following SoFi FAQ answers this:
Direct deposits must be from an employer (including pension plans) or other government entity (like Social Security). ACH transfers from other institutions are not qualifying direct deposits. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required.
For some reason, many fintech banks choose not to offer joint accounts. I’m happy to see from this FAQ that SoFi Bank is not one of them:
Do you offer joint accounts with SoFi Checking and Savings?
Yes! You can invite your partner by navigating to the 'More' tab and clicking 'Joint account holder.'
There’s one SoFI FAQ regarding the question of adding a beneficiary to an account, but it’s a two-year old FAQ that refers to the old SoFi Money account. According to the FAQ, “you cannot add a beneficiary.” If you have a more up-to-date answer to this question, please leave a comment, and I will make an update.
Bank-to-Bank ACH Transfers
Online banks often don’t provide details about their ACH transfer capabilities and limits, and that is the case for SoFi Bank. These are important details for savers who want to transfer large amounts into the account to take advantage of the high rate. Often, online banks have small limits on transfers that are initiated from their platform. That appears to be the case for SoFi Bank. I was not able to find the details on these limits from their website. DA reader, unmesh, provided the following information in the DA forum:
- ACH transfers originated on their platform have a daily limit of 5K and a monthly limit of 10K; transfers initiated elsewhere have no limit
Sometimes a bank will offer different transfer limits to different customers. If you have different limits at SoFi Bank, please leave a comment.
Fortunately, customers can use the ACH transfer systems of another bank to transfer larger amounts in and out of their SoFi Bank account. This requires that you provide the other bank your SoFi Bank’s routing and account numbers. SoFi provides this FAQ on finding your routing and account number. According to this FAQ, the “routing number for SoFi Bank, N.A. is 031101334 - this is the same routing number you have today in SoFi Money.” Oddly, this routing number is one of three routing numbers that are listed for The Bancorp Bank.
Bonus Offer Review
In addition to the high rate, another benefit of the SoFi Checking and Savings account is a direct deposit bonus of up to $300. The current bonus offer is scheduled to last through May 31, 2022. This should be considered a direct deposit bonus rather than a new-account bonus since existing SoFi Checking and Savings customers qualify as long as they “have not previously set up Direct Deposit transactions (“Direct Deposit”) into their SoFi Checking and Savings account as of the beginning of the Promotion Period.”
The amount of the bonus depends on the total amount of the Qualifying Direct Deposits:
- $50 for $1,000 to $1,999
- $100 for $2,000 to $4,999
- $300 for $5,000 or more
The definition of the Qualifying Direct Deposit is similar to the definition used to qualify for the APY. However, qualifying for the APY doesn’t have a minimum amount required for the direct deposits. Here’s the excerpt from the bonus offer small print on Qualifying Direct Deposits:
Qualifying Direct Deposits are defined as deposits from enrolled member’s employer, payroll, or benefits provider via ACH deposit. Deposits that are not from an employer (such as check deposits; P2P transfers such as from PayPal or Venmo, etc.; merchant transactions such as from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.; and bank ACH transfers not from employers) do not qualify for this promotion.
The other important detail is the timing of the direct deposits. Your first direct deposit must be received by SoFi before the bonus offer expires. This is defined as the Promotion Period, and it’s defined as follows:
In order to qualify for eligibility for a bonus, SoFi must receive at least one Qualifying Direct Deposit from an Eligible Participant during the Promotion Period.
Promotion Period: The Program will be available from 4/5/22 12:01AM ET to 5/31/22 11:59PM ET.
If your first qualifying direct deposit is unable to reach $5k, you still have time to reach the $5k threshold with additional direct deposits. This period is called the “Evaluation Period,” and it’s defined as follows:
The bonus amount will vary based on the total amount of Qualifying Direct Deposits received during the Evaluation Period. The Evaluation Period is defined as 30 days from the date your first Qualifying Direct Deposit is received.
If your Qualifying Direct Deposit(s) reaches the thresholds within the Evaluation Period, the bonus payment is scheduled to be pretty fast. According to the bonus offer small print, “SoFi will credit members who meet qualification criteria within 14 days of the end of the Evaluation Period.”
The SoFi Checking and Savings account is available to any U.S. Citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or non-resident, 18 years or older with a physical US address (in the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia), and a valid Social Security Number. The “Sign Up” button at the upper right of the SoFi banking page will begin the application process.
Only individual and joint SoFi Checking and Savings accounts are available. Currently, trust and business accounts are not available.
According to this FAQ, only a soft pull is done when you apply for SoFi Checking and Savings. They do not require a hard credit pull. So there should be no ding to your credit score. As DA reader unmesh warned in his DA Forum post, “you have to thaw any credit freeze you may have put in with Experian.”
In January, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve approved SoFi to become a Bank Holding Company and operate its bank subsidiary as SoFi Bank, National Association. This required the acquisition of the Bank Holding Company, Golden Pacific Bancorp, and its bank subsidiary, Golden Pacific Bank. The acquisition was completed in February.
SoFi has become a large and well-known fintech company. This Financial Brand article on the bank charter has a good overview of its history:
SoFi Technologies was initially created as a student loan refinancing business in 2011. Over the past ten years, it has become one of the top fintech players, offering a comprehensive array of digital financial services, including the ability to spend, save, invest and borrow money on its mobile banking platform. Unlike the majority of fintech players, the company has reported positive adjusted earnings (EBITDA) for the past five consecutive quarters.
The current financial numbers of SoFi Bank are based on Golden Pacific Bank that was acquired in February. SoFi Bank, N.A. has an overall health rating of "A+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 2.34% (excellent), based on December 31, 2021 data. SoFi Bank has an excellent capitalization level (11.18% APY), the result of holding $174.7 million in assets with $19.5 million in equity. Please refer to our financial overview of SoFi Bank, N.A. (FDIC Certificate # 26881) for more details.
Golden Pacific Bank was small with assets of only $174.7 million and deposits of $155.6 million. Now that it is operating as SoFi Bank with national exposure, asset and deposit growth should be substantial in 2022.
How the SoFi Checking and Savings Compares
When compared to nationally available Savings Accounts, Money Market Accounts and Checking Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com, that are are not limited by a small balance cap, the SoFi Checking and Savings account’s APY ranks first.
|APY||Account Name||Credit Union/Bank|
|1.25%||SoFi Checking and Savings w/dd (no min/no max)||SoFi Bank, N.A.|
|1.00%||M1 Spend Plus Checking (no min/no max)||M1 Finance|
|1.00%||Checking Account (no min/no max)||T-Mobile MONEY|
|1.00%||MAX-Yield MMA Special ($5k min/$250k max)||Sun East FCU|
|0.85%||Money Market Account ($1 min/no max)||mph.bank via SaveBetter|
|0.80%||Bo Savings (no min/no max)||Bank Onward|
|0.80%||Bask Interest Savings (no min/no max)||Bask Bank|
|0.70%||SoFi Checking and Savings w/o dd (no min/no max)||SoFi Bank, N.A.|
The above information and rates are accurate as of 4/30/2022.