2024 SoFi Checking and Savings Review

2024 SoFi Checking and Savings Review

Ever since I started taking an interest in the FinTech sector, one company whose name I’ve seen pop up over and over again is SoFi. Lately it seems as though that theme has been sent into overdrive as the company has not only become a household name thanks to its stadium naming rights deal but also because of the company’s continued product expansions. The most interesting development in my mind is SoFi’s acquisition of Golden Pacific Bancorp, resulting in SoFi Bank and SoFi Checking and Savings.

I actually first learned about the then-named SoFi Money while writing about different FinTech debit card options on the market. What got my attention was the account’s high-yield savings element coupled with things like free ATM access and very few fees. Before I even hit “publish” on that post, I had already signed up for an account.

Now, as we’ve settled into the SoFi Checking and Savings era a bit more, I figured it was time to take an updated look at what the account has to offer, what I like about SoFi Banking overall, and where I think they can improve.

Editor’s note: this article was last updated in January 2024 with the latest APY information and changes.

SoFi Checking and Savings
SoFi logo
SoFi Checking and Savings: A FinTech Bank Account That’s Solid But No Longer Spectacular
4
Monthly fees
None
Unlocking SoFi Plus
Use direct deposit or add $5,000 every 30 days
Bonus
Get up to $325: $25 for opening a SoFi Checking and Savings account + up to $300 with qualifying direct deposit ($50 for direct deposit $1,000-$4,999 or $300 for $5,000+)
SoFi Bank’s Checking and Savings accounts include a number of features, such as mobile check deposit, fee-free ATM access, and more. Additionally, customers can not only earn up to 4.6% APY on savings but also 0.5% APY on checking. However, that enhanced savings APY is only available to those who utilize direct deposit. Additionally, SoFi’s current offerings have the misfortune of being compared negatively to the FinTech’s previous SoFi Money offering. Despite this, those looking to combine the peace of mind offered by an FDIC-insured bank with the savvy of a FinTech may appreciate SoFi’s current account options – especially with the current bonus offer worth up to $325.
Pros
  • New customers can currently get a bonus of up to $325
  • Up to 4.6% APY on savings
  • APY on checking
Cons
  • Direct deposit required for higher APY
  • Uncompetitive APY without direct deposit

Features of SoFi Checking and Savings

No monthly or maintenance fees

Like many online bank accounts, SoFi Checking and Savings’ biggest pitch to consumers is that they won’t charge the kinds of fees that have given brick-and-mortar banks a bad reputation. Among the fees that SoFi doesn’t charge are monthly fees, minimum balance fees, overdraft fees, and returned items fees. There are others as well; you can view them all here.

Free ATM access

With SoFi Checking and Savings (as well as SoFi Money), customers have access to more than 55,000 fee-free ATMs. This is thanks to the Allpoint ATM network. To locate one of these fee-free ATMs, users can use the SoFi app, tap “More” when in the banking tab, and select “Find an ATM.” By the way, if you encounter an out of network ATM, SoFi won’t charge you a fee to use it, but the operator of the machine might.

No foreign transaction fees

Another nice perk of SoFi is that they also permit you to use your debit card for foreign transactions. What’s more, unlike some banks that may tack on as much as 3% as a conversion fee, SoFi does it for free. Essentially whatever the current exchange rate is will be what you pay — although they note that a .2% MasterCard foreign conversion fee may apply, but is baked into your total. 

APY

One of the selling points for SoFi Checking and Savings is its high APYs.Currently (as of January 2024), customers can earn up to 4.60% APY with the Checking and Savings account. Actually, funds in your Checking will currently earn 0.5% APY while funds in your Savings will earn the stated rate.

Also, in order to unlock that 4.60% rate, customers must set up direct deposit. Alternatively, you can also earn the enhanced rate by depositing at least $5,000 every 30 days. Meanwhile, those without direct deposit currently earn 1.20% APY — which is still better than the national average.

Bonus offers

Speaking of direct deposit, to attract new customers and get them set up with SoFi Checking and Savings, the company has regularly run special bonus offers. For example, currently (as of the publication date in January 2024), customers can earn up to a $300 bonus. Specifically, those who receive at least $1,000 in direct deposits within 25 days will earn a $50 bonus while those whose direct deposits total at least $5,000 will earn the full $300.

Actually, when you sign up for SoFi Checking and Savings using our referral link, you’ll get $25 just for opening the account and then an additional $50 to $300 bonus for setting up direct deposit! 

While it’s hard to say exactly what kind of bonus SoFi might be offering at the time you decide to open an account, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for good deals.

Peer to peer payments

SoFi Checking and Savings also supports P2P payments.  To do this, you can enter a phone number or e-mail address for the recipient along with how much you want to send. Then those on the receiving end can claim the funds by entering some basic info as well as their bank routing and account numbers. Should your intended recipient fail to respond within a set period of time, your money will be returned to you. I did try out this feature and it seemed to work okay… but I’d just as soon stick with dedicated P2P apps like Cash App, Venmo, or PayPal instead.

Also, why fellow FinTech-turned-bank Varo recently added support for Zelle to its app, SoFi doesn’t yet directly offer Zelle payments via its app. However, SoFi’s FAQ notes that you can link a SoFi debit card for payments. Even with this option, there is a send limit of $500 per week.

Bill pay

One SoFi Checking and Savings option I’ve admittedly never used is Bill Pay. Here you can either arrange direct payments for credit cards or other bills or set up to have a paper check sent out on your behalf. Again, I have yet to try this for myself — but the feature has been around since the SoFi Money days, so I suspect someone has to be using it!

Check ordering

Something that I honestly appreciate about SoFi Checking and Savings is that they offer a complimentary checkbook. With just a couple of clicks, you can order free personal checks linked to your account. In the app, under the Banking tab, tap the More button and scroll down to Order Checks. From there, you can confirm your information (such as mailing address) and place your order.

One order includes 25 checks, although you can reorder as long as it’s been at least seven days. Considering I did need to write checks to pay rent each month, I love that SoFi still has this as an option and makes the process so simple. 

By the way, since SoFi users are able to retain the same routing and account numbers even after moving their accounts to the new program, older checks should still be valid.

Overdraft Coverage

One of SoFi’s newer features is called Overdraft Coverage. However, without Overdraft Coverage, customers who attempt to spend more than is available in their account will simply have their transaction declined. Meanwhile, those who have at least $1,000 a month directly deposited into their SoFi Checking and Savings account can qualify to overdraft their account by as much as $50 without incurring any fees. Then, when your next deposit arrives, the debt will be automatically repaid.

Obviously this is the kind of feature you hope to not have to use, but it’s nice to know it’s there — assuming that you qualify for it.

SoFi Credit Card

Something else I want to mention is that, in the past year, SoFi has introduced its own cashback credit card. The reason I bring this up in this particular article is that the new card includes perks for SoFi Checking and Savings customers.

Here’s how it works: when you make purchases with your SoFi Credit Card, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent. Typically, these points would be worth 0.5¢ each. However, when you redeem your points for cashback deposits to your SoFi Banking account, they’ll be worth 1¢ each. Therefore, by using the card and cashing in your points for SoFi Checking and Savings deposits, you can effectively earn 2% back on everything you buy. 

The SoFi Credit Card has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and other perks. So, if you’re looking for an easy cashback credit card setup, this could be a card worth considering.

Pros and Cons of SoFi Checking and Savings

One app to rule them all

First up is both a pro and a con of sorts — but mostly the latter. In my review of Discover Bank, I noted that the merger of their banking and credit card account apps was a good thing. However, I’m not sure that the same can be said when it comes to SoFi.

Within the SoFi app, you’ll not only have access to your Checking and Savings accounts but will also find tabs for investing, loans, their Relay account aggregator, and more. This is to say that only a small portion of the app is dedicated to banking functions and yet is bogged down in features that likely don’t apply to you. To be sure, this is far from an accident as SoFi wants you to take advantage of their other products but, for me, I’d definitely prefer a dedicated SoFi Banking application.

Clear transfer dates

Considering that I now have upwards of a dozen savings accounts alone, I end up transferring money with some frequency. Therefore I find it quite annoying — if not worrisome — when these transfers take an unexpectedly long time or are seemingly stuck in limbo without updates. That’s why I was impressed that, when I initiated a transfer from an external account to SoFi , it clearly states when the first portion of the funds would be available as well as when the full transfer would be complete. Of course it’s one thing to say what will happen, but thankfully SoFi stuck to their word. For that reason, I found the transfer process to be enjoyable and stress-free.

No flat cashback amount on checking

As much as I enjoy SoFi’s strategy (so far) of offering lucrative cashback amounts on select purchases, there may be better options out there for those looking to earn cashback from their debit card. 

For example, Discover’s debit gives you 1% back on everything you buy. Granted, this isn’t really a big deal for me either as I use credit cards far more than debit cards. But for those who do prefer the latter, they might also appreciate earning a flat amount back instead of dealing with random promotions.

Fairly favorable exchange rates

When I first joined SoFi, one of my favorite features involved travel. While in Paris I had the chance to try my card at an ATM, taking out the same amount using another bank card seconds later. Surprisingly I learned that SoFi’s exchange rate for the transaction came in 4¢ cheaper than the other bank on a 20€ transaction. Sure this isn’t much but it was interesting nonetheless.

Later in the trip, one of my credit cards suddenly stopped working for a time (likely the result of several repetitive train ticket transactions I was making), leaving me without a foreign transaction fee-free credit card to use. Luckily I was able to use my SoFi debit card without issue. In each case, these purchases were assessed at a fair exchange rate and I appreciate that SoFi “shows their work,” displaying the original currency rate and conversion for each line. As you can imagine, this was a huge relief and I’ll certainly be taking my SoFi card with me for future travels.

My joint account attempt

The last time I wrote about SoFi, the joint account option was still in beta. At that time, it seemed like the company was still working out some of the kinks. On my end, I was able to invite my wife to join my account and she submitted her application. Alas, nothing ever came of that.

Honestly I haven’t bothered trying to re-add her but, since it’s been a while since that original attempt, I can only imagine that these requests are now being processed in a more timely manner.

Subject to change

One of the reasons that I frequently update my reviews is that a lot of products and services in the FinTech space tend to evolve. Sometimes these changes are good and other times… not so much. This is something I actually noted in a previous version of this review that now seems a bit prophetic. Sure enough, as we’ve recently seen, these accounts might not stay gold forever. So while I was personally spared from this last round of adjustments, I do worry about what the future will hold.

That said, now that SoFi is a bank and the Checking and Savings product has been around for a while, I don’t see too many major changes on the horizon (except for the intro bonus and APYs, which are also subject to change). Maybe that’s overly optimistic, but I feel like the account is pretty locked in for the time being.

Short track record

When I first wrote about SoFi I noted it was still a relatively new offering. On top of that, at the time, SoFi had been introducing so many new endeavors, leading me to worry that they were spreading themselves a bit thin. Well, that latter sentiment remains, but the company has proven successful with its many product rollouts since then. Plus, the good news is that funds are FDIC insured — and SoFi is now a bank, making that whole system a bit easier. This should hopefully give you at least some peace of mind if you’re on the fence about taking a chance with a startup.

Final Thoughts on SoFi Checking and Savings

With what was a sky-high APY, great perks for travelers, and an admittedly attractive debit card, SoFi was off to a pretty strong start in my book and was one of my favorite accounts. Although I mostly intended to use it as an auxiliary account, I also appreciated that it included many traditional banking features, such as check deposit, bill pay, and paper checks as well. 

Meanwhile my biggest complaint was that the app — cluttered by other products — was a bit lacking. All of those opinions mostly remain, although I can’t help but say I’m no longer as in love with this account as I once was. 

With that said, I still think SoFi Checking and Savings is a solid option and the fact that SoFi is now a full-fledged bank is pretty exciting. Also, unlike some other services I’ve reviewed, I find SoFi’s banking product to be very usable, offering much of what I think an online bank account should. If there’s anything I’d change about the current SoFi Checking and Savings account, I really wish they’d bring back the international ATM reimbursement policy… although I’m sure that ship has sailed. Also, in a perfect world, the 4.60% APY wouldn’t require any additional steps such as direct deposit.  Nevertheless, if you’re looking for digital banking that offers several perks with few fees, I believe that SoFi Checking and Savings might be worth exploring.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q:
What is SoFi Checking and Savings?
A:

SoFi Checking and Savings is a banking product that includes both a checking and savings account. Users can enjoy perks such as free ATM withdrawals from Allpoint Network ATMs and better-than-average APYs.

Q:
Is SoFi Checking and Savings legit?
A:

Yes. SoFi is a respected FinTech company founded in 2011 and became a licensed bank in 2020. Funds deposited to SoFi Checking and Savings are FDIC insured.

Q:
What is SoFi Savings interest rate?
A:

As of January 2024, customers can earn 4.60% APY with their SoFi Savings account if they sign-up for direct deposit or deposit at least $5,000 every 30 days. Those who don’t utilize direct deposit currently earn 1.20% APY.

Q:
Is SoFi Checking and Savings a checking account?
A:

There is a checking option with SoFi Checking and Savings, which includes a debit card and the ability to order paper checks for no cost.

Q:
Is SoFi FDIC insured?
A:

Yes. Funds are insured up to $250,000 during the transfer process and, once swept to partner banks, are insured up to $1.5 million.

Q:
Does SoFi Checking and Savings use Zelle?
A:

Currently SoFi Checking and Savings does not integrate with Zelle, although a SoFi debit card can be added to the Zelle app. The account offers its own peer to peer (P2P) payment options for sending funds.

Q:
What is the SoFi Checking and Savings bonus?
A:

SoFi occasionally offers referral bonuses when new users sign up using a link from an existing customer. A current SoFi Checking and Savings promotion is offering referred users $25 when they open an account and up to $300 when they set up direct deposit. However this requires that users sign up using one of the personalized links provided to current customers.

Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. (Note: advertising relationships do not have any influence on editorial content. Advertising compensation allows Fioney to provide quality content for free. All editorial opinions are those of the individual author and/or Fioney.)

Author

Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

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