Founded in 2011, SoFi was one of the first lenders to put a heavy focus on student loan refinancing. Since then, the company’s been a leader in the industry. Throughout its history, SoFi has refinanced over $18 billion in student loans for over 250,000 members.
SoFi has a streamlined application process and its loans come with attractive terms. If you’re considering refinancing your student loans with SoFi, here’s what you need to know.
More than just a lender
Yes, SoFi is a bank. But it wants to be so much more than that. The company puts a big emphasis on creating deep relationships with borrowers (which it prefers to call “members”). In particular, SoFi want to help members grow their careers and meet their financial goals.
One of the ways SoFi tries to accomplish this is by offering free career coaching to each of its members. SoFi career coaches will help you identify career goals, build your brand, and search for jobs. SoFi also holds free “member experiences” around the country where members can network with other professionals and get financial advice.
Payment flexibility when you need it
If you have federal student loans, there are several situations where you can qualify for forbearance or deferment. But private lenders aren’t required to offer these benefits to their borrowers.
With SoFi, however, there are several situations where it will allow borrowers to delay or suspend payments.
- When you return to graduate school on a half- or full-time basis
- When you undergo disability rehabilitation
- When you serve active military duty
- When you lose your job through no fault of your own (capped at 12 months)
And if you’re a medical or dental resident, you may qualify for reduced payments starting at $100 a month.
Many of the top student loan refinancing lenders today have eliminated junk fees. And SoFi deserves a lot of credit for pushing the lending space in that direction. It was one of the first student loan refinancing banks to cut out fees in earnest. It charges no application or origination fee, and has no prepayment penalties either.
SoFi offers competitive interest rates as well. Its variable-rate loans start at 2.14% and fixed-rate loans start at 3.49% as of September 2019. Depending on your credit score and income, you may qualify for a low rate with SoFi. But make sure to compare quotes from multiple lenders.
A growing suite of financial tools and products
SoFi has become a dominant player in the student loan industry by leveraging technology and putting customers first. Now, it’s trying to apply that winning combination to other financial products.
Today, SoFi also offers private student loans, mortgages, personal loans, and home loans. Plus, it now has a robo-advisor service called SoFi Invest, and offer high-yield cash accounts and insurance products, too.
As SoFi continues to grow and expand, it’s becoming a one-stop-shop for everything personal finance. And that could benefit you. For instance, if you’re already a SoFi member by virtue of your student loans, it may be easier for you to qualify for a SoFi mortgage vs. a mortgage from another lender.
Top-notch customer service
SoFi uses MOHELA (the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority) to service its student loans. But it does have an in-house customer service team. You can contact SoFi Customer Support by phone, email, or even by tweet @SoFiSupport.
Based on what SoFi members have to say, you can expect to be well taken care of. In a recent survey of members, 98% said they’d recommend SoFi to a friend. And the company does have an excellent 4.4-star rating on Trustpilot.
Is SoFi right for you?
There’s no doubt that SoFi is one of the best places to refinance student loans. But that doesn’t mean it’ll be a perfect fit for everyone. First, if you have federal student loans, you’ll want to be careful about refinancing. After refinancing federal loans, you’ll no longer be able to use federal income-driven repayment plans or pursue federal student loan forgiveness programs.
Second, you’ll probably need a healthy income and a good credit score to qualify for SoFi’s best rates. If you have a score in the 700s, refinancing with SoFi could be a good move. If not, you may want to wait to apply until you’ve improved your score.
You’ll also need to have at least an associate’s degree from a Title IV school in order to qualify for a SoFi refinance. And SoFi has a minimum loan amount of $5,000.
But if you meet those requirements, a SoFi student loan refinance could be a great decision. And it could save you a ton of money. Just make sure to shop around and get quotes from competitors like Earnest, CommonBond, and other top lenders.
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