SoFi Review - Student Loan Refinance

Application & Approval Process
8.0/10
Rates & Fees
9.0/10
Payment Terms
8.0/10
Customer Support & Benefits
10.0/10

About SoFi

SoFi is a leader in the student loan refinance industry and has a strong base of more than 300,000 refinanced loans, amounting to more than $18 billion. The brand offers competitive rates for lenders with low debt to income ratios and a high credit score. Payment terms are moderate with limited flexibility on deferments, forbearance, etc. However, SoFi scores high on its support ecosystem and has creative programs to help students through the tough times. The platform is quite easy to navigate and transparent with its policies.

SoFi was launched in 2011 by four students from the Stanford Graduate School of Business as a pilot project to refinance loans for on-campus students. Over the years, the company expanded its outreach, forming tie-ups with numerous colleges, financial institutions, technology companies and global investment firms. It is a highly successful brand for student loans in the US and is the first online lender to receive a triple-A rating from the renowned investor service, Moody’s.

As of 2020, SoFi is backed by prominent brands like Barclays, Morgan Stanley, Qatar Investment Fund, Soft Bank, Silver Lake, and Third Point Management. In April 2019, SoFi expanded its business vertical to introduce private student loans for graduates. SoFi currently provides the full spectrum of financial services, including savings, investing, and personal lending products.

 

i

Very Good

8.6/10

Pros

  • Lowest APR for student refinancing
  • Deferment and forbearance terms
  • No maximum loan amount
  • Additional member benefits

Cons

  • No co-signer release option
  • High rejection rate

Key Highlights

SoFi mobile app is available for easy and fast banking.
Strong benefits culture providing career counseling, exclusive access to events, and more.
Competitive APR on full attendance costs of students/no max limits.
Diverse range of products including savings and investments options.
Strong community culture with regular events, online forums, network formation, and SoFi Learn.

Application & Approval Process

Initial Quotation

SoFi refinancing is an entirely digital process, meaning it is conducted simply and fast. Even though the company doesn’t guarantee any time limit for its approval process, refinancing can be as fast a 1 day for pre-approval and 3 days for funds transfer.

Here are some minimum requirements for applying for a SoFi refinance:

  • $5000 minimum loan requirement
  • Associate degree from a title IV school
  • High credit score (above 680)
  • Low debt to income ratio (preferably below 0.3)

All users need to open an account with SoFi to apply for a student loan refinance. You need a valid email ID to get started. Students can pre-approve their new loan on the same day with SoFi by answering some basic questions based on education, income, and personal KYC. While the process is quite self-explanatory, the brand’s customer support is extremely knowledgeable and can be of great help during the pre-approval stage.

Education Details

  • Institute Name
  • Educational Degree
  • Field of Study

Income Details of Borrower/Co-Signer

  • Number of Years at Present Job
  • Annual Income before Tax
  • Refinance Loan Amount
  • Active Loan Details
  • Estimated Monthly Expenses
  • Monthly House Rent
  • Financial Aid (scholarships/federal student aids)

Personal Details of Borrower/Co-Signer

  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Address

SoFi will conduct a soft check on your credit history which will not affect your credit score. Based on the inputs, you will get offers on different rates and repayment terms, any offer you select has a high chance of coming into fruition, provided that all the information you gave is correct.

Primarily, this is the verification stage of your documents and a hard credit check is conducted. SoFi requires the following documents for a refinance application:
Proof of ID i.e. social security card, driver’s license, US passport, or birth certificate
Last 3-month Income Proof
Last 3-month Loan Statement
Last 3-month Savings/Bank Statement
Proof of Address (min. 3-months)
Proof of Educational Qualification

Approval

SoFi does not share its loan evaluation methodology, but the approval process is based on several interlinked parameters like credit history, income and expenses, existing debt, and income stability. There is no official minimum credit score displayed on the website, but other sources claim that the company usually caters to borrowers with a credit score of 700 and above. The company uses FICO and Vantage scores to check the applicants’ credit score. Based on community feedback, SoFi also seems to have an undeclared criterion of a minimum annual income of $40,000 for loans above $100,000.

Agreement

Once the loan is finalized, you will be required to digitally sign the ESIGN act consent, privacy policy, terms of use, auto-debit form, and arbitration agreement. SoFi finances all its student loans from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA), which is the financing body that will underwrite your current loan directly with your lender.

SoFi Rates & Fees**

The SoFi lending model is based on low rates for high-quality borrowers. The advertised minimum APR is 2.25% but it is rarely offered even to the best of borrowers. Being the industry leader in student loan refinancing in the US, the APR range of SoFi is quite competitive for its repayment terms. These interest rates include Autopay Discount of 0.25%.

Student Loan Refinance**

Fixed:

· 2.74% to 6.39% APR (with AutoPay)

Variable:

· 2.25% to 6.39% APR (with AutoPay)

SoFi is a pioneer of zero cost refinancing. It currently offers free of cost prepayment and no-late fees on its refinanced loans.

There are also some loan discounts available such as:

  • Auto-debit discount
  • SoFi membership discount
  • Special discounts for medical/dentist residents

Payment Terms

SoFi provides excellent flexibility when it comes to repayment terms. You can refinance your existing loans for 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years. Students are offered four repayment terms with options of deferments and forbearance. It also provides discounts on APR for members availing auto debit option. As a word of caution for students looking to refinance federal loans, SoFi will not be offering any income-based repayment terms or loan forgiveness programs.

There are four repayment options which are as follows:

Deferred – A moratorium of 6 months is applied after graduation on loan repayments.
Immediate – Full payment of principal and interest from the start of the loan.
Partial – Pay a fixed amount towards servicing the interest on your refinance loans.
Interest Only – Pay the interest while in school to avoid paying interest on interest afterward.

SoFi allows deferments of repayments in certain circumstances. During the period, no payment is needed from the borrower and no interest is charged on the loan account. These are the events in which students can request for a deferment in their loan:

  • In-School
  • Disability Rehabilitation Training
  • Economic Hardship
  • Military

SoFi also allows forbearance, this is where the loan is restructured with new terms so that you can avoid temporary payments for a few months. Remember that interest is still charged on your loan while in forbearance.

  • Unemployment
  • Economic Hardship
  • Military Mobilization
  • Natural Disaster/State Emergency

SoFi is above its competition when it comes to providing a supportive ecosystem for students. One prime example is the SoFi Unemployment Protection Program, which allows students a maximum 12-months moratorium in 3-months forbearance periods in case of job-loss for no fault of the borrower. This moratorium will not attract extra charges nor affect the borrower’s credit score. However, this is subject to the condition that the student visits regular career counseling organized by SoFi.

Customer Support & Benefits

The customer support team is one of the best in the industry and available from 7 AM to 9 PM from Monday to Thursday, and 7 AM to 5 PM (CT) on Fridays. All members and non-members can contact customer support through email or phone. There is also a detailed F&Q section for self-education.

SoFi Learn is an excellent initiative by the platform to educate members on refinancing. It features a blog that is rich in informative content across various refinance topics. You can also avail consultations with experts on the subject. As part of community-building efforts, the company also organizes various meets and events for its members.

SoFi’s approach to student loan refinancing is unique and holistic. It recently tied up with KornFerry Advance to provide career consultancy services to its members. It is considerate of various problems that students face while refinancing and provides extra support in the form of career coaching, job hunting, entrepreneurs meets, resume building, and financial goals programs. Anyone who avails any product/services of SoFi can become a member. All members are entitled to the following range of benefits:

  • Personalized Career Counselling – one-to-one career counseling for members in need.
  • Financial Goals Consultations – financial planning classes and personal sessions through video calls to its members on financial planning, savings, and investments.
  • SoFi Stadium – Lounge access and exclusive invitations to the new SoFi Stadium which is being built in LA, California.
  • Community Events
  • Referral Bonuses – a one-time cash bonus to members who bring in their friends/relatives to the platform.
  • Member Rate Discounts – generous discounts to their products and services to existing SoFi members.
  • Edmit Plus – A data-driven college financial planning aid to know the true worth of college degrees.

i

Very Good

8.6/10

Contact Details

Phone (Tollfree): 855-456-7634 or 877-292-74070
Email: [email protected]

**Student Loan Refinance Disclaimer

  1. Fixed rates from 2.74% APR to 6.39% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.39% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan.See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.12% plus 2.38% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. See eligibility details. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the interest savings are applied to the principal loan balance, which may help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

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Very Good

8.6/10

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