Student Loan Planner has partnerships with several different student loan refinancing companies. They have the potential to deliver the best interest rate to you as a borrower. Since we’ve asked for smaller payouts from these companies, they’ve all offered significant refinancing cash bonuses to readers.
Our current SoFi referral bonus (offered through Credible) is $100 to $750 depending on the amount refinanced. That $750 bonus is for loan amounts over $150,000, which makes this the highest refinancing bonus for Sofi loans anywhere.
3 benefits of refinancing with SoFi
SoFi was one of the original student loan refinancing companies and does good work getting people into lower interest rate loans. It’s saved hundreds of millions of dollars in interest for many student loan borrowers. That’s a praiseworthy accomplishment.
Here’s where the lender shines.
1. SoFi focuses on high-income borrowers
SoFi will make offers to consumers at a variety of income levels, but Student Loan Planner has seen a focus on borrowers at the highest income and debt levels.
In our experience, if you don’t have an awesome credit score or you don’t earn a six-figure income, SoFi probably won’t have the best rate.
2. SoFi offers great payment flexibility
One of the cons of refinancing federal student loans into private is that you lose all the accompanying federal student loan benefits, like income-driven repayment plans, forgiveness options, forbearance and deferment.
While SoFi doesn’t match all of these federal benefits, they do a better job than many lenders at offering payment flexibility to its borrowers. With SoFi, you can postpone payments for a variety of reasons:
- Military deferment. Payments can be postponed while the borrower is serving in active military duty.
- Academic deferment. Payments can be postponed while the borrower is in school.
- Disability deferment. Payments can be postponed while the borrower is rehabilitating for a disability.
- Forbearance. If you lose your job, payments can be postponed for three months at a time, for up to 12 months. To qualify, your loan will need to be in good standing. You must also have lost your job through no fault of your own.
- Smaller payments for medical and dental professionals in residency. Medical professionals can pay $100 per month while they are in residency for up to 54 months.
These are great options, and it’s fantastic that SoFi offers them. However, SoFi still can’t match federal loans when it comes to income-driven repayment (IDR) plans or student loan forgiveness options like Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
For these reasons, Student Loan Planner’s general advice about refinancing still holds true for SoFi – you should only consider refinancing if you owe less than 1.5 times your current income.
When you owe more than that, IDR plans that offer forgiveness after a certain number of years of on-time payments tend to become the better deal. And of course, if have a chance to qualify for PSLF by working at an eligible school, hospital or other nonprofit, you definitely should not refinance through SoFi or any other lender.
If you want to get a better idea of which refinancing strategy would save you the most money, check out Student Loan Planner’s amazing student loan calculator.
3. SoFi offers career development opportunities
On its website, SoFi works hard to convince potential customers that when you refinance with them, you get more than just a new loan servicer. They want you to know you’ll also be getting access to an awesome community and exclusive opportunities for advancing your career.
SoFi offers free one-on-one career coaching to SoFi members. Among other things, SoFi career coaches will help you:
- Choose your industry and identify career path goals.
- Design your resume and LinkedIn profile.
- Create your personal brand.
SoFi realizes getting a good job is critical for its borrowers to be able to pay off all their loans, so helping them succeed in their career is a win-win proposition.
SoFi holds events all around the country, called Member Experiences, where they offer free career training and a chance for SoFi members to network with other professionals.
One of these Member Experiences are “SoFi Pay-Off Events” where everyone cheers on borrowers who have just paid off their loans. A lender that throws a party when loans are paid off? That’s definitely unusual. And unusual things like that have helped SoFi develop a lot of brand loyalty from its members.
However, while it’s nice that SoFi offers these services, the truth of the matter is there are plenty of other ways to get career coaching and networking.
As cool as those things may sound on a webpage, you shouldn’t pick your lender because of its ability to help you design your LinkedIn profile or because they’re throwing a hot party in your local community. You really need to focus on the interest rate, payment terms and flexibility options.
If SoFi is the best option using those criteria, then feel free to go with them. All of the other perks will be icing on the cake.
SoFi’s ever-expanding product line
While they started out as strictly a student loan refinancing company, SoFi has consistently added services to its product line over the past few years.
They are trying to leverage technology to remove pain points from new finance products in similar ways to how they improved the student loan refinance experience.
SoFi’s mortgage product makes it possible for borrowers to qualify for more than traditional lenders by only requiring a 10% down payment for well-qualified applicants. And just like with its student loan refinancing product, mortgages with SoFi can be handled completely online.
SoFi’s wealth management platform is called SoFi Wealth and offers no-fee investing to its members. Members are also given access to both robo advisors and human advisors.
But wait — there’s more!
So far, we’ve covered SoFi’s student loan refinancing, mortgage and wealth management products. Think that’s a lot? Oh, there’s more.
SoFi now also offers insurance through its SoFi Protect program and high-interest checking accounts through SoFi Money. Oh, and it has its own budgeting tool now called SoFi Relay.
Clearly, SoFi is trying to be the “everything” shop of finance in the same way Amazon dominates retail. I completely understand why SoFi would want to expand its services. And honestly, most of its products seem like they do solve real pain points for customers.
However, having to market, manage and grow so many services could hurt SoFi’s student loan refinancing product as it progressively loses its undivided attention. That hopefully won’t be the case, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
Below are answers to several questions borrowers frequently ask when they’re considering a student loan refinancing company.
|Is there a |
|Does SoFi |
to have a
|Yes, an |
Title IV school
|Can I negotiate |
a cosigner release?
|What repayment |
|5 years, 7 years, |
10 years, 15 years
and 20 years
|Does SoFi charge |
an application fee?
|Does SoFi charge |
an origination fee?
|Does SoFi charge |
a prepayment fee?
|Are SoFi loans |
variable or fixed?
|Will checking my |
rate with SoFi
|No, your credit |
won’t be pulled
|Does SoFi |
|Are there any |
|Yes. When you |
refer a friend who
refinances, they can
receive a $100
bonus, and you
can receive $300.
You can contact SoFi via phone at (855) 456-SOFI (ext. 7634) or email at [email protected]
Feel free to check SoFi — but check other places too
The financial industry has been painfully stuck in the 20th century. Most millennials don’t want to go to a brick and mortar bank or wait in line at the teller drive-thru.
Innovative companies have a great opportunity to step up and fill that void. SoFi was one of the first companies to do so. And they’re worth a look if you need to refinance your student loans.