Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
I took the bait – so there’s my Sofi Money review. Everyone’s abuzz about SoFi’s cash management account, SoFi Money, because you get:
- Unlimited, instant ATM reimbursements worldwide allowing you to use any ATM that accepts Visa – an amazing perk for travelers
- 1.6% APY on your balance – comparable to many high-interest savings accounts
- No fees, no minimums
- Sub-accounts to save for your goals, and joint accounts for your S.O.
- Blazing fast sign-up – I had an account open in 2 to 3 minutes
- $50 bonus when you open an account with $100+ – and it posts within a day or two
Plus, when you refer someone who uses your sign-up link, you get $100 – and can earn up to $10,000 per year (!!!). Get on the gravy train (and thank you for using my link to join)!
Because of these features, I’m considering making SoFi Money my everyday checking account, even though it’s online-only. For over a decade, I’ve banked with Chase and can’t remember the last time I visited a branch.
My Chase account and SoFi Money are both free to have (I have an old Chase account that’s no longer offered), so I’ll switch everything over to SoFi Money for a while and see how it goes. Nothing to lose and free ATMs + 1.6% APY + an easy-to-use site and app to gain.
While Fidelity, Schwab, and Aspiration all have no-fee accounts with free ATM withdrawals (I compared them here), none of them have an APY on the balance you carry or immediate ATM reimbursements (Fidelity refunds you within a few days, the others can take up to a month).
And while I’m wont to offer yet another bank account option, scoring $50 for a couple of minutes of work is nothing to turn down.
SoFi Money review – the ultimate bank account, especially for travelers
I have a lot of checking accounts. They’re all free, and I got most of them because of a sign-up bonus. So my online banking presence is a scattered sea of orphaned debit cards from various plunderings.
Because of this, I’m resistant to opening yet another account. But this one is different – I might actually use it as my go-to checking account. Plus there is no hard pull to open, and initial funding is super simple – you can link your existing bank as part of the sign-up. As long as you put in $100 or more, your $50 bonus should post within a couple of days at most.
In fact, I had the account open and ready to use within a couple of minutes. Account number, funding, username, the whole works. From a product standpoint, I admire the quick onboarding. 🤩
I’ve been reading up about the account, and there’s really a lot to like. When I get the debit card next week, I’ll switch my direct deposit over and see how long things take to move in and out of the account.
From what I’ve heard, it’s top-notch, so I’m expecting a good experience. If all goes well, this might just become my new everyday checking account. I’ve been looking for a reason to dump Chase, and the extra interest and ability to use any ATM for free puts it over the edge for me.
Not that I expect to earn much interest. I keep my checking account funds low because I treat it as a clearing house. Money arrives, then I set about distributing it to various places – IRA, savings accounts, and paying off my credit cards in full.
Though you could use SoFi Money as a savings account. The APY is decent. But I like having my savings completely separate, and I earn slightly more with my current savings account (Citi Accelerate). The functionality exists (they call them “Vaults” – think of them as separate envelopes), so that’s super handy.
Even still, I believe every dollar should have a job, and even if I only earn a few cents of interest on my balance, I won’t say no to it.
Are there downsides?
There are some things to be aware of.
First, SoFi Money isn’t FDIC insured. Instead, they sweep your money to partner banks where it IS FDIC insured. But because of that, you get a much higher limit (insurance on up to $1.5M vs $250,000 with most banks).
As I said earlier, I use my checking accounts as clearing houses and keep my balances low. I keep maybe $100 in there at any given time. So this isn’t an issue for me. But something to keep in mind.
Next, there are no physical branches. To get money into your account, you can do direct deposit, transfer from another account, or deposit checks through your phone. There’s no way to deposit cash.
Again, not an issue for most – I don’t even carry cash these daze – but something to know.
Finally, there are no wire transfers. So if you save up for say, a down payment on a home, and the mortgage officer tells you to wire your funds before closing… you’d have to transfer to another account, then wire it from there. But, wire transfers are on the roadmap for Q4 2019, so hopefully this becomes a moot point pretty fast.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the 1% forex fee on purchases, including ATM withdrawals. As far as I know, there’s no way around this for any checking account because the fee is from Visa. That said, paying $1 per $100 you withdraw is a small price to pay – and I only withdraw a couple hundred dollars at a time at most. So again, this isn’t a dealbreaker in any way.
Sofi money review bottom line
There are a lot of checking accounts out there. But SoFi Money might be the very best, especially for travelers and those who don’t care about physical branches. When you sign-up and fund an account with $100, you’ll get a $50 bonus – and the account only takes a few minutes to set up.
That’s super cool, but the other features make the account worth keeping and using, including 1.6% APY on your balance, free ATM withdrawals, and no fees or minimums to think about. Add to that a slick app and UX, and you’ve got yourself a mighty fine checking account.
For me, this is straw that’s breaking Chase’s back (assuming Chase is a camel). I’m gonna use this account as my go-to checking account and see how it goes. Then I’ll add to this Sofi Money review.
Don’t forget you get $100 when you refer your account – and you can get up to $10,000 per calendar year. No idea how long this promotion will stick around, so sign-up while you can. Seriously, it’s super fast and you’ll have your $50 bonus in a day or two. And you can start referring to your posse.
For those that have this account already, how’s your experience been? And is there anything else you want to see in your ideal cash management account?* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!
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- Track your net worth with Personal Capital
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- Open a SoFi Money account to distribute your funds - it's the best checking account out there right now (here's my review)
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