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SoFi personal loans require a high credit score, but come with unusual perks like unemployment protection

SoFi Review 4x3
SoFi; Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

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  • A high minimum credit score requirement makes a SoFi Personal Loan harder to qualify for than the typical personal loan
  • However, these loans come with unique features like unemployment protection, which is available if you lose work due to circumstances beyond your control. 
  • SoFi has a low maximum interest rate compared to the competition, but it aren't the lowest available. People with good credit will want to shop around.
  • Quick funding and an easy-to-use online interface with the option of pre-approval makes it a strong option for anyone with good credit who is looking for a personal loan. 
  • See Business Insider's picks for the best personal loans of 2020 »

For borrowers with a strong but not-yet-perfect credit score, SoFi is a good option to consider while shopping for a personal loan

Aa high minimum credit score requirement means not everyone will qualify with SoFi. Those who do will get access to unique perks not generally available through other lenders, including unemployment protection, no late fees on payments, and access to large loan amounts up to $100,000. 

Should you get a SoFi personal loan?

SoFi has a minimum credit score requirement of 680, which is higher than competing lenders like LightStream and Discover, both of which require a credit score of 660. 

That said, there are two types of borrowers who should consider a personal loan from SoFi:

  • People who need to borrow $50,000 and $100,000, a high amount some other lenders don't offer 
  • People with high credit scores who are willing to shop around

SoFi's interest rates aren't the lowest available, even though its credit score requirement is high. Interest rates range from5.99% to 18.85% (with AutoPay), and you could qualify for a better rate from another lender. If you're considering this lender, shopping around is important. 

The pros of a SoFi personal loan

Generous loan limits

A generous maximum loan limit of $100,000 could be helpful for borrowers who need a large loan. Some competing lenders won't lend nearly as much..

Unemployment protection offers forbearance and employment help to borrowers

SoFi offers forbearance for any personal loan borrower who loses their job during their loan repayment. This unique feature allows borrowers to apply for a three-month forbearance, up to a total of 12 months. Only borrowers who have lost work involuntarily, and have applied for unemployment, are eligible. SoFi states that borrowers will have to work with its careers group to actively look for employment to qualify. This is separate from any assistance the lender is offering during the coronavirus pandemic. 

No origination or late payment fees

SoFi doesn't charge an origination fee at the start of the loan, which could save borrowers up to 8%. Competitor Upstart charges one-time fees of up to 8%, and LendingClub charges between 2% and 6%.

SoFi also doesn't charge a fee on late payments. However, interest will still accumulate, and a late payment could still be reflected on your credit report

Fully online application

SoFi personal loan applications can be completed entirely online, so there's no need to visit a bank in person. Pre-approval is also available on SoFi's website to check your interest rates before completing the full application. 

Learn more about SoFi personal loans »

The cons of a SoFi personal loan

High minimum credit score requirement

The minimum credit score required for approval is 680. Many other personal loan lenders, including LightStream and Discover, only require a credit score of 660. Check your credit score for free online before applying to make sure that SoFi will be an option for you.

There could be lower interest rates available elsewhere

SoFi's personal loan interest rates range from 5.99% to 18.85% (with AutoPay), and the minimum credit score required to apply is 680. For people with good or excellent credit,  LightStream and Upstart both offer lower interest rates. If you qualify for the lowest rate available with SoFi, you may be able to get a better rate elsewhere.

High minimum loan amount 

The lowest amount you can borrow with SoFi is $5,000. People who need less than $5,000 should will need to consider a different lender. The minimum loan amount may be higher in some states, too. 

No in-person support

If you like having the option of talking to a banker in person about your loan, or make a payment in person, this isn't the lender for you. SoFi is only a good choice if you're open to an entirely online loan.

Learn more about SoFi personal loans »

SoFi personal loan features

SoFi's online experience is easy to use and makes the process quick. This lender allows potential borrowers to check interest rates with a soft inquiry on your credit report, which won't impact your credit score. Personal loans are available in all US states, except Mississippi.

Once you've been pre-approved, you can fill out the full application for a personal loan. Funding can be quick with SoFi — loans can be disbursed by an ACH transfer to your bank during the next business day after approval.

SoFi offers an interest rate discount of .25% if you set up automatic payments from any bank. This lender doesn't have any prepayment penalties, so you can pay off your personal loan without a fee if you choose. 

How does SoFi compare to similar personal loan lenders?


SoFi Personal Loan 

LightStreamDiscover personal loansUpstart Personal Loans
Interest rate range5.99% to 18.85% (with AutoPay)2.49% to 19.99% APR with AutoPay (Rates as of 03/01/2021. Rates vary by loan purpose.)6.99% to 24.99% APR8.27% - 35.99%APR
Minimum credit score requirement
Origination/administrative fee?nonenonenone0% to 8%
Loan terms available24 to 84 months24-144 months36, 48, 60, 72, 84 monthsThree or five years
Loan amounts available$5,000 to $100,000$5,000 to $100,000$2,500 to $35,000$1,000 to $50,000

SoFi vs LightStream personal loans

SoFi and LightStream both cater to borrowers with good or better credit, but LightStream could have an advantage for borrowers who don't meet SoFi's relatively high credit requirements. On the other hand, SoFi has an advantage for people who want to see their potential rates and borrowing before they do the full application. 

SoFi borrowers need a credit score of 680 to qualify, while LightStream will accept borrowers with a minimum credit score of 660. LightStream's interest rates start much lower than SoFi's rates do, but LightStream's maximum interest rates are higher. It could depend on which side of the good credit spectrum your score falls on as to which lender will offer you the best interest rate.

While comparing pre-approvals would be the best way to find out, LightStream doesn't offer pre-approval. To compare offers, you would have to submit an application and agree to a hard credit pull. SoFi offers pre-approvals easily online.

SoFi vs Discover personal loans

SoFi's interest rates start about 1% lower than Discover's personal loan interest rates, which could make SoFi a better deal for borrowers with high credit scores. Borrowers on the lower end of the credit score spectrum that qualify for a loan with SoFi could get a better rate from SoFi than with Discover — SoFi's maximum interest rate is about 8% lower than Discover's. 

If you need a large loan, SoFi has another advantage over Discover. While SoFi will lend up to $100,000, Discover will only lend up to $35,000. 

SoFi vs Upstart personal loans

Unlike many other competing lenders, Upstart does have an origination fee of up to 8% on its personal loans. Upstart has a much wider range of interest rates than SoFi with interest rates ranging from 8.27% - 35.99% APR. SoFi's interest rates stop much lower than Upstart's interest rates.  

However, Upstart only requires a 620 minimum credit score to apply, much lower than SoFi's 680. Both Upstart and SoFi allow you to check your rate without affecting your credit score before applying. 

Learn more about SoFi personal loans »

SoFi Personal Loans Disclaimer: Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 25.05% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of December 18, 2020 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. 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. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, 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 pull.

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