SoFi (Social Financing) started as a small company with just one product, student loan refinancing. Today, the company offers a variety of products, but student loan refinancing is still its signature product.
Over the years, it has grown into the largest and most well known student loan refinancing lender. I personally attribute them to making student loan refinancing as mainstream as it is today. However, SoFi is not without it's growing pains, and it's hard to know if they are still the best with all the other competitors out there.
The answer is yes - and that's why SoFi always makes it into our list of the Best Places To Refinance Your Student Loans.
Even if you're leaning towards SoFi, you need to shop around for your student loan lender. We recommend doing this through Credible, a marketplace for student loan refinancing where you can receive and compare offers from multiple student loan refinancing lenders. Don't forget to take advantage of the $200 bonus if you refinance with Credible.
This article explains what to expect if you refinance your student loans with SoFi.
- One Of The Most Popular Student Loan Refinancing Companies
- Great Perks To Customers
- $100 Bonus For Refinancing Your Loan
Who Qualifies To Refinance With SoFi?
The number one criteria that SoFi considers when underwriting its loans is cash flow. If you have a high income, and relatively few debts, you’ll probably qualify to refinance with SoFi. In addition to considering cash flow, SoFi considers your credit history, and your current debt load. SoFi doesn’t use traditional credit scoring algorithms, but generally finds that people with FICO credit scores in the 700 range or above tend to qualify.
We've found that SoFi was once one of the toughest places to qualify for refinancing, but over the last few years, they have loosened their lending standards a bit. However, if you have a low credit score, you might be better off going with a company like Earnest.
In addition to meeting underwriting criteria, you must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States with a degree from a four year university.
SoFi’s Student Loan Refinancing Rates and Terms
SoFi offers borrowing terms of 5,7, or 10 years, and it offers fixed and variable rate loans. The minimum amount you can refinance is $5,000.
Currently fixed rate loans range from 3.999% to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay), and variable interest rate loans range from 2.48% to 7.774% APR (with AutoPay). Maximum interest rates on variable rate loans are 8.95-9.95% depending on the term length. These rates are current as of August 4, 2018.
Remember, these rates do change, so please check their website for the latest rates.
SoFi consistently offers rates that are among the lowest in the country. Other than competitive interest rates, SoFi’s loan offerings aren’t particularly exceptional.
The only lender we've seen consistently better rates at is Splash Financial.
Any Concerning Fine Print?
When you refinance with any lender, you lose the protections offered by Federal student loans. For example, people who refinance with SoFi cannot opt for an income based repayment program. SoFi does have a forbearance program if you’ve become unemployed. The Unemployment Protection is offered in three month increments, and is capped at 12 months over the life of the loan. While generous, other lenders offer better forbearance programs.
SoFi also offer loan deferment for borrowers who return to graduate school, undergo disability rehabilitation, or serve on active military duty. It also offers a six month deferment to people who are in SoFi’s entrepreneurship program. During either deferment or forbearance interest continues to accrue on the loan.
Another drawback of SoFi is that their loans are not discharged in the event of death or permanent disability of the borrower or the student on whose behalf the loan is taken out. Federal loans do offer this protection, and many private loans have started to as well. If you borrow with SoFi, consider a low cost life insurance policy.
One unique aspect of borrowing with SoFi is its emphasis on career growth. As a borrower, you will qualify for free career coaching and local networking events. These personalized services can help push you towards a higher income and faster debt repayment.
Unique SoFi Repayment Programs
SoFi does offer some unique repayment programs that could benefit some. For example, they have a program for medical and dental residency candidates that offer $100/mo payments while in residency (for up to 4 years).
This can be a life saver to doctors and dentists who are still in training, and only earning $50,000 per year, but have $200,000+ in student loan debt.
The only similar program we've seen is offered by Splash Financial, where you can make $1 per month payments in residency.
Also, SoFi does allow for borrowers to refinance Parent PLUS Loans. Parent PLUS Loans are some of the most difficult Federal student loans to deal with, and refinancing is typically the best option if possible.
SoFi's Mortgage And Personal Loans
SoFi also offers mortgages and personal loans as complimentary products to it's student loan refinancing program.
We've tried to use SoFi Mortgage, and we have a full SoFi Mortgage review here.
For personal loans, you should compare SoFi to other lenders just like you would with student loan refinancing. Check out Credible's Personal Loan Tool and see how SoFi compares for what you need.
SoFi offers decent interest rates on shorter term loans (up to ten years). If you’ve got a great income, and a decent credit history, you’ll likely qualify for a loan from SoFi.
You can get a free rate estimate from SoFi (they won’t pull your credit until underwriting), so take a few minutes to get your rate. Then compare that rate with other lenders before deciding where to refinance.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing
SoFi offers student loan refinancing and more, but their standards are pretty strict.