When this website first reviewed SoFi in 2014, readers wanted to know if SoFi was legit and how the student loan refinancing process works.
Refinancing has become far more common over the years, and SoFi has grown to become one of the biggest names in student loans and finance in general.
Despite all these changes, the basic questions remain open. Is SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Good Business? What should consumers expect?
Meet SoFi in 2021
SoFi started out as a student loan refinancing company but has expanded significantly.
SoFi has grown into a massive company offering many different services, but SoFi continues to be a great option for student loan refinancing.
SoFi now offers mortgage, personal loan and investment services. Gone are the days when SoFi was the brave outsider.
For borrowers who are focused on getting a lower interest rate on their student loans, this development has several advantages.
In order for SoFi to grow, they had to go from being a lender focused only on high earners to a lender willing to accept a wide range of borrowers. The good news for borrowers is that many of the benefits that SoFi used to appeal to doctors and lawyers around the world still exist. These rewards include low interest rates, job placement resources, and $ 150 for new customers who sign up.
SoFi approved many borrowers with less than perfect credit to expand. We also saw borrowers with excellent credit business to compare interest rates and determine that SoFi was the best option. Due to SoFi’s ability to offer the best interest rate to a wide variety of borrowers, SoFi checks in at number 5 on our ranking of student loan refinancing lenders.
SoFi refinancing rates and options
SoFi offers a wide range of student loan refinancing options as shown below:
|Loan terms||5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 years|
|Variable rate loans||2.25% – 6.88%|
|Fixed Rate Loans||2.99% – 7.33%|
|Minimum refinancing amount||$ 5,000|
|New borrower bonus||$ 150|
Borrowers can refinance federal student loans, private student loans, and Parent PLUS loans. SoFi, like most legitimate lenders, does not charge an application fee, origination fee, or prepayment penalty.
When considering all the possible SoFi interest rates and options, borrowers should be careful to optimize the length of the loan repayment to find the sweet spot between the lowest interest rate and the best monthly payment.
For example, one strange aspect of the current SoFi options is the closing prices that are offered for longer-term loans. The interest rate on a 10 year loan can be only a fraction of a percentage lower than the interest rate on a 15 or 20 year loan. Opting for a longer loan can result in only a slightly higher interest rate, but it does give the borrower a great deal of flexibility.
Note: A 20 year loan does not mean that it will take 20 years for a borrower to repay it. Opting for a longer term loan gives the borrower the flexibility of lower minimum payments. However, the loan can still be aggressively repaid through additional or larger payments.
The SoFi advantages
SoFi offers some of the lowest interest rates on the market and flexible repayment terms, but the benefits of SoFi go beyond the numbers.
Perhaps the biggest benefit is a job placement program. SoFi has set up a career services department for borrowers. They seem to think that they will make more money investing in borrowers who are losing their jobs rather than spending the money on collections.
SoFi also operates its customer support through a Californian call center. The customer support team here in the US doesn’t necessarily guarantee better service. However, we want them to spend the extra cash to make sure customers get the best treatment possible.
Borrowers Beware – The Risk of Federal Student Loan Refinancing
If you have the creditworthiness and income to qualify for SoFi, this is a great option, but there is one warning that all borrowers must consider carefully …
SoFi, like most other refinance lenders, is willing to consolidate federal loans with personal loans. While combining federal loans with personal loans is a mistake for some, it is a good idea for others. The classic example would be high-income employees with high job security.
It is important for borrowers to recognize that federal loan repayment plans and lending programs are eliminated when consolidating personal loans. Since there is no way to reverse a consolidation or refinance, it is important to make a wise decision when weighing federal perks against the lower interest rate in the private market.
Aside from the traditional student loan refinancing concerns, we don’t see any additional concerns with SoFi.
How does SoFi work?
First of all, the borrowers indicate the loans they want to refinance. SoFi creates a new loan and uses the funds from that loan to repay the old loan. The borrower then pays off their debt to SoFi according to the terms of the new loan.
Borrowers typically refinance to achieve one of two goals:
- Lower payments – Choosing a longer loan or getting a lower interest rate means a lower monthly bill.
- Reduce interest – Some borrowers choose a short loan with an extremely low interest rate. Going this route will eliminate the credits as quickly as possible and minimize the overall expenses.
SoFi’s appears to be aiming to become the finance company for millennials, which is evident in their aggressive expansion into areas like banking and life insurance.
Helping people pay back their student loans seems like SoFi’s way of attracting long-term clients who will continue doing business in more profitable areas like wealth management.
From a student loan borrower’s perspective, this is likely a small perk as SoFi has an incentive to keep customers happy even after their loans have been refinanced. Those long-term goals would also explain why SoFi is able to keep its interest rates lower than most other lenders in the market.
SoFi refinancing ratings from actual customers
When this article was originally published, we could only base our opinion on the black and white terms of SoFi loans. Since then, dozens of customers and prospects have taken the time to leave their thoughts in the comment section.
What we learned is that SoFi customer satisfaction apparently revolves around whether or not the application has been approved. Due to the originally strict signing criteria, many people have stopped by to share their disappointment with their rejection. One user summarized: “People with high FICOs and high incomes sail through while people with more moderate FICOs and incomes don’t seem to have the same experience.”
SoFi complaints and reviews from BBB, Reddit, and others
Most SoFi reviews by other experts have come to similar conclusions. NerdWallet announces that SoFi shines for its low interest rates and recruitment services. You are questioning the fact that SoFi loans come with a year-long forbearance only if you lose your job.
The Better Business Bureau gave SoFi an A rating, but there have been several user complaints about SoFi. Some of the complaints related to SoFi’s mortgage and personal finance loans. Most of the complaints about student loan consolidation were from consumers who were dissatisfied with a rejection. However, we were able to find an appraiser who had a problem with unemployment. Obviously, SoFi requires borrowers to register with their career services before approving unemployment.
Reddit users generally have positive things to say about SoFi. However, when doing direct interest rate reviews with other lenders, SoFi did not offer the best rates at times.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s complaint database contains approximately 50 complaints related to SoFi student loans. The problems varied in the complaints. In terms of the volume of borrower issuance, SoFi is on par with other lenders, perhaps slightly better than average.
In short, the SoFi reviews are largely positive, but like any financial company, they are not without warts.
SoFi compared to other lenders
Should I apply for a SoFi loan?
SoFi is an excellent option for student loan refinancing, but SoFi is nowhere near the only option.
Borrowers looking for the best deal should check their interest rate with SoFi. However, checking the interest rate with other lenders is also important as many companies offer interest rates as low or lower than SoFi. Because each lender uses different underwriting criteria, it is impossible to tell which of the leading student loan refinancing companies actually offers the best interest rate.
Check prices with SoFi Explore Other Lenders