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SoFi Personal Loan Review: Get a Loan and Get $100 Cash

The SoFi personal loan application process offers some of the lowest rates around with a maximum rate that is half that at other lenders.

SoFi (formerly called Social Finance Inc.) is one of the leaders in peer lending with more than $5 billion in loans issued and one of the few to offer mortgage and education loans. Founded in 2011, the company is backed by the some of the same people that invested PayPal and Facebook.

SoFi is currently running a limited time promotion for its SoFi personal loan program. Borrowers and referrers both get $100 on funded loans. Click through to start the SoFi personal loan application process and you’ll get $100 back on your first loan.

Despite its long history as a p2p lending site, SoFi is one of the less well-known social lenders compared to bigger peer loan sites like Lending Club.

SoFi Personal Loans Program

Borrowers to the SoFi Personal Loan program can borrow between $5,000 and $100,000 at fixed rates from 5.5% to 10%, which is about the lowest rate you’ll find in peer lending. Variable rates are also available at rates between 4% and 8% with direct withdrawal.

The SoFi personal loan application process sets your rate just as any other lender by checking your credit history, employment and other financial details. SoFi has also built other factors into its rate system that help to lower rates for qualified borrowers. If you agree to direct withdrawal for monthly payments, you’ll get a 0.25% cut on your interest rate.

SoFi personal loans are a good alternative to short-term business loans because there are no prepayment penalties. Instead of paying double- or triple-digit annualized rates on short-term loans, take out a personal loan at single-digit rates for a three-year term and pay it off early. SoFi personal loans also include no origination fees, compared to other peer lenders that charge upwards of 5% to underwrite your loan.

That no origination fee is a big advantage among p2p loans, especially compared to other social lending sites that charge up to 6% as a fee on top of your loan. That means you save as much as $600 on a $10,000 loan by not paying an origination fee.

SoFi is the only lender I’ve seen to offer Unemployment Protection, available to people that lose their job through no fault of their own. Under the program, SoFi will suspend your monthly payments and help with job placement assistance for up to 12 months. Interest continues to accrue on the loan but you’ll avoid the hit to your credit from a defaulted loan.

SoFi personal loan rates

SoFi personal loan rates

All of this sounds really good, especially compared to other p2p lending sites I’ve reviewed. Of course, there’s a catch…there always is.

The one criticism I have heard about the SoFi personal loan application process is the strict requirements they use to qualify borrowers. Anyone can apply for a SoFi personal loan but the site targets people with higher income and a proven credit history. SoFi doesn’t share the minimum credit score needed for loans but it seems higher than other peer loan sites.

The upside is that if you’re looking for a personal loan, the SoFi personal loan application process won’t affect your credit score. The personal loan application process starts with a ‘soft-pull’ of your credit so it doesn’t go on your report. It takes less than five minutes to get qualified and you might get a better rate than on other peer to peer options.

How to Get a SoFi Personal Loan

The SoFi personal loan application process is similar to that of a traditional p2p loan. Basic requirements include:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • At least 18 years old and employed

Click through to begin the personal loan process and get $100 back

The first page you’ll come to in the loan application process is a basic name, email and password creation page.

sofi personal loan application process start

The application process will then split to different pages according to what type of loan you’re requesting. SoFi is one of the very few peer lending sites I’ve seen to offer student loans, personal loans and mortgage loans though I haven’t talked to anyone that used the website for a mortgage loan.

I cover the SoFi student loan application process lower in this post. Rates on p2p student loans are comparable with what you will find at private refinancing companies, maybe even a little lower if you agree to the direct deposit payment option.

sofi personal loan application process site

Once you’ve selected the type of SoFi loan you want, you will enter personal information to get your rate. This is all pretty basic stuff including address, contact information, education and employment info. You don’t need a college degree to get a SoFi personal loan but it may help you get a better rate.

Again, SoFi doesn’t say much about their peer loan requirements or about what affects the rate they give you on a loan. We can assume it is mostly tied to your credit score so anything you can do to boost your score, i.e. pay off credit cards, before the loan can’t hurt.

sofi personal loan application process requirements

 

Once you fill out the SoFi personal loan application, the site will offer a preliminary rate. Checking your rate for a SoFi personal loan won’t affect your credit score because it is based on a soft pull of your credit.

SoFi personal loans are not available to residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, and Tennessee but are available in every other state. If you meet basic criteria, SoFi will run a check of your credit report for your FICO score as well as determine your ability to pay the loan from current income.

If you accept the rate for your SoFi personal loan, you will be directed to verify your information and set up to receive your money. The entire SoFi personal loan application process can be completed in a couple of days.

Once you’re pre-approved for a SoFi personal loan, you will be given the option to select different plans and rates available. Loans are available from three to seven years and on fixed or variable rates. I have always liked fixed rates, even though variable terms offer lower rates, because payments are certain through the life of the loan.

SoFi personal loans offer rates that are pretty unbeatable compared to most other peer lending options so they can afford to be selective for loan applicants. The best part is though that it doesn’t hurt your credit score to apply for a loan. The company performs what is called a soft inquiry on your credit first to see if you qualify for the loan. This type of inquiry, unlike a hard inquiry that gets listed on the report, is not listed and does not hurt your score.

The entire SoFi personal loan application process can be summed up pretty easily in five steps.

SoFi personal loan application process

SoFi personal loan application process

Once you’re pre-approved for a personal loan, you will be given the option to select different plans and rates available. Loans are available from three to seven years and on fixed or variable rates. I have always liked fixed rates, even though variable terms offer lower rates, because payments are certain through the life of the loan.

After you choose a loan, you will electronically upload documents to verify your identity and current loans you hold. Finally, you sign the loan packet and set up your payment method. The whole process can take less than 15 minutes.

Click to Get a personal loan up to $100,000 from SoFi

SoFi Personal Loan Documents Required

SoFi requires some documents for a personal loan while others it may request if it needs more information. The time spent getting loan documents together for verification is the single biggest delay in personal loans. Getting your required personal loan documents together ahead of time can mean the difference in getting your money in a few days or waiting a week.

SoFi Personal Loan Documents Required:

  • P2P lenders usually require at least one identity document like a driver’s license, passport or something else issued by the government.
  • Bank account number and routing number
  • Bank statements, usually one or two months
  • Pay slips from work, usually one month

SoFi Personal Loan Documents that May be Required:

  • Tax returns if you are self-employed
  • Utility bills
  • Estimate of current income and expenses

SoFi may or may not ask for some of the required documents above but it’s a good idea to have them ready anyway. They usually don’t ask for the other personal loan documents but may if they need more information for your loan.

SoFi Personal Loan Approval Process

The SoFi personal loan approval process is like any peer to peer loan and there are some things you can do to get your money faster. First, it helps to get all the required loan documents together ahead of time to speed up the process. SoFi may not ask for all these documents required for getting a personal loan but you’ll be ready if they do.

The other way to help improve your chances of getting a SoFi personal loan is just to try increasing your credit score before the application. This might not be possible if you need money right now but if you can wait a few months, you might have a better chance at being approved for a loan. I share the 21 steps I used to boost my FICO credit score by 140 points in another post but here are a few quick fixes that can help.

  • Try paying off your credit cards. Even if you have to borrow a short-term loan from family, just a few thousand of credit card debt paid off can be a big boost to your credit. Credit bureaus hate card debt and really ding your score if you have too much.
  • Getting your credit limit increased on a couple of cards can also boost your score. It sounds crazy but it’s because the credit bureaus look at how much debt you have and how much is available. Having more credit available looks like you’re not scrambling for money. Just don’t spend the higher limit!
  • Try contesting a few of the bad marks on your credit report by writing to the credit bureaus. It might not always work but get just one missed payment taken off and you could see much better rates on your peer to peer loan.

SoFi Personal Loan Review and the Student Loan Crisis

I first found out about the company through the SoFi personal loan application process but the lender is best known for its student loan refinancing. SoFi was the first company to refinance both federal and private student loans and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Federal Reserve reports that student loans outstanding reached $1.3 trillion in September and growing by about $38 billion a year!

sofi personal loan review student loans

Borrowers defaulting on their student loans are increasing along with the trend above. Defaults rose this year to 11.5% and may be much higher since half of student loans are in deferral while the borrower is still in school. Student loans only account for about 10% of all personal loans but as much as 30% of past-due consumer debt payments.

To October 2016, SoFi has completed more than $2 billion in student loan securitizations, helping students to consolidate and refinance their debt to avoid a default. With the massive wave of student loan trouble coming, I would expect other companies to jump into refinancing but SoFi has a strong advantage in size and its first-mover status.

The SoFi student loan application process is very similar to the process for personal loans. After you fill out your name and create an account, select Student Loan Refi to get started with rates starting at 3.5%

SoFi Personal Loan Review

SoFi personal loans was founded in 2011 at the Stanford Business School and launched offering in-school loans for Stanford graduates. Alumni of the school funded the company with more than $2 million and SoFi now offers student loan refinancing at more than 2,200 four-year universities. The company is headquartered in San Francisco with four offices around the country.

SoFi personal loan and student loan refinancing has jumped this year to $4 billion as of November, more than double the amount funded in 2014. Besides being the first company to offer federal and private student loan refinancing, SoFi was the first peer lending company to offer mortgages and the first to receive an AAA credit rating from a major rating agency.

sofi personal loan application process review
Besides loans, SoFi also offers career services assistance and a SoFi Entrepreneur Program that can help get borrowers a six-month deferral on their loans. Unlike other personal loan lenders, the SoFi personal loan application process takes into account your employment history and other factors to better qualify a borrower.

If you can get qualified through the SoFi personal loan application process, it’s usually the best way to go for the lowest rate. It doesn’t affect your credit score to check your rate and get pre-qualified so you might want to check a few different lending sites for your best option. For borrowers unable to qualify for a SoFi personal loan, check out my personalloans.com review for loans to borrowers with lower credit scores.

I’ve included a table of some of the best peer to peer lending sites, the most recommended on rates and ease of getting a personal loan. Looking through some of the peer loan requirements, you’ll see that maybe no single site is the best but may be the best for a type of borrower.

Peer to Peer Lending SiteP2P Borrower FeesMinimum Credit ScoreLoan RatesNotes 
Lending Club
1% to 6%6405.3% to 31.0%Lowest rates for good credit peer loans.Click to Apply for a Loan up to $35,000
SoFi LoansNo FeesN/A but probably around 680 FICO5.95% to 14.2% but rates vary on special discountsLow student loan refinancing rates and $100 cash back offer.Click for Student Loans and Home Loans
Upstart1% to 6%6206.25% to 30.0%Best for graduates and no credit peer loans.Click for Student Loan Refinancing
Personal Loans5%5809.95% to 36.0%Three options including P2P Loans, Bank Loans and Personal Loans.Click for Personal Loans Rates
Avant Credit0.95% to 3.75%5809.95% to 36.0%Best for bad credit borrowers and low origination fee.Click to Check Your Rate Today

SoFi is a great p2p lending site if you have decent credit with no origination fee and low rates. Lending Club is also a good choice for peer loans on good credit though charges a higher fee. Personal Loans is the preferred peer lender for borrowers with bad credit since its credit score minimum is so much lower.

SoFi Personal Loans Reviews from other Sites

The other SoFi Personal Loans Reviews are generally good on other websites. My experience with the peer lender was good but I just wanted to get a few other opinions for this review.

sofi personal loan application process pageOther SoFi reviews generally point out the lower rates and options for fixed- or variable-rate payments. It’s something you don’t get with other peer to peer lending sites so it’s a big advantage of SoFi. The seven-year payment plan is also longer than most other sites.

You have to go to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to find any SoFi complaints. Most of these are the same kind you find against every other p2p website like people being turned down for a loan or problems with the application process. SoFi has a good history of addressing each complaint, something you’ll see on the BBB website.

A few SoFi complaints had to do with the online verification system. SoFi pulls personal information from your credit report to verify your identity, questions like past addresses and where you worked. This is pretty common but can be a frustrating system if you can’t remember the answers. It’s best to pull your credit report before applying for a loan so you can check the information on it ahead of time.

If you can’t remember the answers to the verification questions, you will need the SoFi personal loan documents required for identity verification.

Check to see if you qualify for a personal loan – Click here for rate quote and $100 cash back

SoFi Personal Loan Summary

SoFi is one of the best peer loan choices available if you qualify for a loan. That might not include everyone but the personal loan application process is pretty quick and it doesn’t affect your credit to see if you qualify. The peer lending site has several advantages like no loan fee, lower rates and discounts for variable rate p2p loans…and the $100 cash back bonus is pretty nice too.

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Joseph Hogue, CFAAbout Joseph Hogue

An investment analyst by profession, I run two blogs (Crowd101 and PeerFinance101) in personal finance, peer lending and crowdfunding. I've been on both sides of the table as a lender and a borrower and am excited to be a part of the peer movement. With the power of the internet, people are helping other people manage debt and raise money in ways never before possible.

A veteran and Iowa-native, I now live in Colombia with my wife and son. Like so many people, I was once trapped into the money myth and what it means to be successful. After taking control of my finances and learning how to make money in a job I love, I found a level of financial freedom that just has to be shared.

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