Financial Planning Tips for Young Adults in Their 20s

The 20’s can be a really busy, really exciting time, whether you’re finishing school, building a career, getting married, or starting a family (or some combination thereof). Add to that things like traveling, hanging out with friends, and discovering your passions in life, and it can be hard to prioritize financial planning.

But it’s important not to miss out on this important decade when major financial progress can be made. Establishing good money habits doesn’t have to be hard. Plus, skills like managing debt well and saving methodically for the future can set you up for a lifetime of financial wellness. Here’s how to start on that path.

10 Financial Tips for Your 20s

Here are some of the most important components of good money management and building wealth. The following advice can help you enjoy financial stability in your 20s and beyond.

In Your 20s

1. Open Your Own Bank Account

If you’re a 20-something who doesn’t already have a bank account, you’ll want to open one. It can be the hub of your daily financial life. With a checking account, you can direct-deposit your paychecks, easily pay bills electronically, and have a debit card for daily spending.

You’ll also probably benefit from a savings account, so you have a safe place to store your money while earning interest. Having FDIC-insured bank accounts means your money is secure, and it’s easier to stay organized and work toward financial goals.

💡 Quick Tip: An online bank account with SoFi can help your money earn more — up to 4.60% APY, with no minimum balance required.

2. Budget Wisely

If you’re like many young adults, you may earn a limited income while building your career. Creating and sticking to a budget can be a very helpful move. Alongside budgeting for your basic living expenses, you can also accommodate the “wants” in life (fun spending, such as dining out, travel, and concert tickets) and savings goals into your budget. Financial planning in your 20s can be hard to accomplish without a strong budget in place.

There are various ways to learn how to budget as a beginner, like the envelope system or the 50/30/20 rule. It may take a bit of experimentation to find a method that suits you. Another option: There are many apps that will help with this task, including those offered by your bank. Checking your account balances is another good step, as it helps you stay in touch with your money and course-correct if you are out of sync with your budget.

3. Don’t Overspend While Having Fun

Of course, you want to enjoy your 20s. Hanging out with friends, going to concerts, and decorating your first home are all worthy pursuits. However, being a financially responsible adult involves slowly chipping away at savings goals like retirement (more on that in a minute) or a down payment for a home. It can be helpful to set aside 10% to 15% of your earnings each month for your savings goals to make sure they aren’t ignored.

Also be smart about your spending. According to the 50/30/20 budget rule mentioned above, 30% of your take-home pay should go toward “wants” vs. 50% for “musts” and 20% toward savings and additional debt repayment.

There is plenty of advice available about cutting costs on groceries, streaming platforms, subscriptions, and travel. It’s wise to balance “in the moment” fun with working your way toward long-term aspirations, like your own home.

4. Avoid Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt comes with pricey interest charges and fees which can make it hard to pay it down. As of this writing, the average credit card interest rate on new offers was almost 25%. Think about it: Purchases cost a lot more than they seem to in the moment when you consider that interest getting tacked onto the purchase price. Plus, those high rates can mean that paying only the minimum amount due on your balance will take quite a while to pay off.

Whenever possible, it’s best to avoid taking on credit card debt. Otherwise, the interest charges will just mount. If you do have credit card debt, explore offers for balance transfer cards that give you no or super low interest rates for a period of time so you can hopefully get out of debt. Or consider a lower interest personal loan or talking to a debt counselor at a nonprofit like NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling).

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


5. Be Smart About Student Loans

If you’re out of school and are paying back student loans, that can certainly take a bite out of your disposable income. Whether you have a federal or private student loan, you can benefit by regularly making extra payments, whenever possible, so you can pay down your debt faster and spend less on interest. If the amount you owe seems overwhelming, you might look into options for switching repayment plans or consolidating your loans.

6. Earn Interest on Your Money

As noted briefly earlier, it’s possible to earn interest on savings by keeping it in a savings account. To earn even more, 20-somethings can turn to high-yield savings accounts that tend to earn more interest than traditional savings accounts do, which is of course a good thing. These accounts also keep your cash liquid, meaning your funds are very accessible. You’ll often find the best rates at online-only banks.

If you have additional funds available and are comfortable with taking on more risk, you can look into investing in your 20s. You might seek professional guidance on managing your money, though there’s likely a cost for working with a financial advisor.

7. Prioritize Goals

If you can buckle down and focus on the money goals that matter now, your long-term financial fitness can benefit greatly. You can develop a financial strategy for achieving the following, as they apply:

•   Buying a home

•   Child rearing expenses

•   A child’s college education

You can create a savings account (preferably a high-yield savings account) for whichever ones may apply. A way to make saving seamless is to automate your savings. That means setting up recurring transfers from your checking account, usually just after payday. That way, you don’t have to remember to build these accounts.

One other very important account to begin building is an emergency fund. This should hold three to six months’ worth of living expenses. It’s a great cushion to have if you are hit with a major unexpected expense or get laid off. Even contributing $20 or so per pay period is a good start. The critical thing is to begin earmarking funds in this way.

8. Invest Early for Retirement

It takes decades to save for retirement, so the younger you can start saving, the more time your savings have to grow. Once you enter the working world, if your employer offers a 401(k) plan or a different retirement account type, you may want to participate. You can really benefit from this kind of tax-advantaged saving. If your employer matches some of your contributions, that’s even better. It’s akin to free money that helps you grow your savings for the future.

Need more incentive to get a head start on saving for retirement? Consider this:

•   Say you start saving at age 25 and put away $10,000 a year for 15 years at a 6% return, and then stop saving. If that money just sits there, earning interest, you’ll have $1,058,912 at age 65.

•   Now, say you have a friend who starts saving $10,000 a year at age 35, does so for 30 years, and earns the same 6% return. Your pal will have $838,019 at age 65.

They saved twice as long as you did, but wound up with less money. That’s the beauty of compounding interest in action. And it can serve as an important incentive to start saving ASAP.

9. Pay Your Bills on Time

It may seem like a no-brainer that it’s important to pay bills on time. But doing so isn’t just about the joys of punctuality; it’s also a great way to build your credit score. Paying bills on time is one of the largest components of your credit score, and a solid credit score can help you borrow money in the future (say, when you take out a mortgage) at the best possible rates.

Not sure where your credit score stands? You can pull a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the big three credit reporting agencies to see how you’re doing and correct any errors you might find.

10. Build Your Credit

Speaking of credit scores, it takes time to build a credit history, and you need to take out credit to do so. A credit card is a great place to start. If you can apply for a credit card in your 20s and make payments on it month after month, this can positively impact your credit score. Just be sure not to charge more than you can afford to pay off.

Another tip is to keep your credit utilization ratio low; under 30% is good, and under 10% is even better. Here’s an example of how this plays out: If your credit limit is $10,000, a wise move is to avoid carrying a balance of $3,000 (30%) or more on it. Ideally, you should keep that number at $1,000 (10%) or lower.

The Takeaway

The basics for smart money management in your 20s is a combination of getting financially savvy, starting to save, and avoiding pitfalls like too much debt. Taking proactive steps today will keep your money in good shape and prepare you to navigate and enjoy the years ahead.

Having the right banking partner is also an important facet of money management at every age.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Should a 20-year-old have a financial advisor?

While hiring a financial advisor isn’t necessary, some 20-year-olds may find it valuable. This is especially true if you’re earning a high income and aren’t sure how to best save and invest your money.

How can I be financially stable at 20?

Financial stability at age 20 can involve several factors, such as spending within your means, managing debt well, and starting to save for an emergency fund and long-term goals.

What is the best financial advice for a young person?

There are several important pieces of financial advice for a young person. Finding a budget that works for you and sticking with it is valuable, as is making sure you are earning a competitive rate of interest on your emergency fund and other savings. Allocating any extra money to pay down debt, such as high-interest credit card debt, is also a wise move.


Photo credit: iStock/Wiphop Sathawirawong

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

SOBK-Q224-1920462-V1

Read more
Guide to Shared Branch Credit Unions

Guide to Shared Branch Credit Unions

Shared branch credit unions allow members to access banking products and services at other credit union branches that belong to a wider network. Joining a shared branch credit union can make managing your financial accounts more convenient if you live, work, or study in an area where your home credit union doesn’t have branches.

The types of transactions that can be carried out via shared branching are typically the same as those allowed by the home branch. There are, however, a few things you may not be able to do, so here’s a closer look.

What Is Shared Branching?

Shared branching is the practice of allowing members of one credit union to carry out financial activities at branches of other credit unions that are all located within the same branch network.

Here’s one example: The Co-Op Shared Branch managed by Co-Op Solutions, for example, offers access to more than 5,600 shared branches in the U.S. and over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs. This can be very convenient in terms of being able to bank at a variety of locations.

As long as your home credit union, meaning the credit union where you maintain your accounts, is part of a shared branching network, then you can access your accounts at other credit unions within the network. You don’t need to be a member of multiple credit unions to benefit from this sharing system.

Shared branching is a significant departure from traditional banking. If you have checking and savings accounts at Chase Bank, for example, you likely wouldn’t be able to walk into a Bank of America and conduct business.

💡 Quick Tip: Make money easy. Enjoy the convenience of managing bills, deposits, and transfers from one online bank account with SoFi.

How Can I Use a Shared Branch?

To use a shared branch credit union, you first have to determine whether your home credit union belongs to a sharing network. Co-Op Solutions, for instance, simplifies this process. It offers a shared branch and ATM locator tool that you can use to find shared credit union branches near you.

Once you find a shared branch, you can visit in-person to manage your accounts. You’ll need to bring a form of photo identification to verify your identity. You may also need to provide your phone number and the last four digits of your Social Security number. And of course, you’ll need the name and account number for your home credit union.

Generally, you can use a shared branch credit union much the same as your home credit union. That means you can use the ATM to make withdrawals or check account balances. If you need to make a deposit or complete other transactions, you can do those through a teller either inside the branch or at the drive-thru.

What Can Members Do at a Shared Branch?

For the most part, shared branch credit unions allow you to carry out the same range of transactions as you would at your home branch. If you’re not sure what a particular shared branch credit union allows, you may be able to find a list of services on the credit union’s website.

Here are some of the most important transactions you can complete via shared branching.

Deposits and Withdrawals

Credit union members can deposit funds to their accounts and make withdrawals through a shared branch credit union. That’s convenient if you need to deposit cash or withdraw money from your accounts. You may also choose to make deposits in-person if you’re concerned about mobile deposit processing times. (And if you’re wondering about whether mobile deposits are safe, the answer is typically yes.)

Transfer Money Between Accounts

Shared branching also allows members to move money between accounts. For example, you may want to shift some of your savings to checking or to a money market account at your credit union.

Can you move money from one bank to another via shared branching? Yes, if you have accounts at more than one credit union. If you need to transfer money from your credit union to a financial institution that’s not part of a shared branch network, then you’ll need to link the external account to schedule an ACH transfer or wire transfer.

If you need to send funds overseas, keep in mind that not all credit unions participate in the SWIFT banking system, which is used to facilitate international wire transfers.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Make Loan Payments

Credit union members can make payments to auto loans, personal loans, mortgages, and other loans through shared branches. You’ll need the loan number to make your payment. Being able to pay through a shared branch credit union could help you to avoid missed due dates.

What Can Members Not Do at a Shared Branch?

While shared branch credit unions allow for flexibility, there are some things members cannot do. If you belong to a shared branch credit union network, here are some of the things that are typically prohibited.

Open a Bank Account

If you’re visiting a co-op shared branch credit union, you can’t open a new account with your home credit union. Instead, you’d need to go to one of your home credit union’s branches or visit the credit union’s website to open the accounts. Of course, you could ask how to open a business bank account or personal bank account options at the shared branch if you’re interested in being a member of that credit union.

Access Deposited Funds Immediately

Just like banks, credit unions process transactions according to a set schedule. When you deposit money at a shared branch credit union, you can’t expect to be able to withdraw it right away. The deposit hold time or processing time can vary by the credit union. You may be able to expedite processing if the credit union allows it, but you may pay a fee for that.

Withdraw an Unlimited Amount of Money

Shared branch credit unions can impose limits on the amount of money members can withdraw each day. For example, members of the Co-Op Solutions Shared Branch Network are typically limited to no more than $620 per day in withdrawals from their ATM network. That limit may be higher or lower than the limit imposed by your home credit union.

Open an Individual Retirement Account

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) offer a tax-advantaged way to save money for retirement. Credit unions can offer IRAs to savers, though you typically cannot open one through a shared branch. Instead, you’ll need to go to your home credit union to open an IRA either in-person or online.

Benefits of Shared Branching

If you prefer credit unions to traditional banks, then belonging to a shared branch credit union can offer some advantages. Remember, you don’t have to do anything special to enjoy the benefits of shared branching, other than belonging to a credit union that’s part of a sharing network. You don’t have to open multiple bank accounts to have privileges at more locations.

Convenience

Shared branch credit unions make it convenient to access your money wherever you are, as long as there’s a shared branch location nearby. So whether you’re traveling for business, taking a family vacation, or planning a move, you don’t have to worry about leaving your credit union accounts behind.

Flexibility

Doing business at a shared branch credit union allows for flexibility since you can do most of the things you’d be able to do at your home branch. Again, the main things you wouldn’t be able to do include opening new checking or savings accounts, opening an IRA, or applying for a loan. You’d only be able to do those things if you also choose to become a member of the shared branch credit union.

Avoid Fees

Banks make revenue by charging fees for the services they provide. Being part of a shared credit union may help you avoid some fees. If you use a shared-branch credit-union ATM network while you’re traveling, you may be able to avoid out-of-network ATM surcharges. While shared branch credit unions may charge fees for certain services, others may be provided free of charge.

Drawbacks of Shared Branching

While shared branching does have some advantages, there are some potential downsides to consider. Here are some of the main cons of using shared branch credit unions.

Availability

Credit unions are not obligated to join a shared branch network. If your home credit union isn’t part of a sharing network, then you’ll be limited to using only that credit union’s branches. That could make managing your accounts more challenging if you regularly travel for business, school, or pleasure.

(However, many people today are used to banking without brick-and-mortar locations, which is a key difference between online banking versus traditional banking. This availability issue may not be a big concern to some who do their money management online or via an app.)

Withdrawal Limits

As mentioned, credit unions that are part of the Co-Op Solutions network can limit your withdrawals. If you need to withdraw a larger amount in cash than is permitted, you’d need to find a branch of your credit union to do so, assuming your credit union has a higher daily cash withdrawal limit.

Use Limitations

Shared branch credit unions can be used to do quite a few things, but they’re not all-encompassing. There are some transactions that you’ll only be able to do at your credit union’s branch or via the credit union’s website or mobile app.

The Takeaway

Deciding where to keep your money matters. Shared branch credit unions can make banking easier. With shared branches, you don’t have to be limited to a certain geographic area when managing bank accounts in person or via ATM. You can avoid fees by being part of a large network of connected credit unions. While there are some drawbacks, the benefits of convenience and cheaper banking costs can be very appealing to some consumers.

Of course, there’s a lot to be said for online banking and its associated benefits.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Should I join a credit union or a bank branch?

It depends on your needs. Joining a credit union could make sense if you’re looking for lower interest rates on loans and fewer fees, provided you meet the credit union’s requirements to join. If you do choose to join a credit union for those benefits, you can still open an account at a traditional or online bank and enjoy the benefits those offer.

Is it good to be part of a credit union?

Credit union membership can offer certain perks that you may not always get at a bank. For example, credit unions may charge lower interest rates for loans while offering higher interest rates on deposit accounts. You may also be able to get access to discount programs and other special incentives for being a member.

Can I withdraw money from any bank branch?

You can withdraw money from any branch of your bank, either by seeing a teller or using the ATM to access your accounts. However, you wouldn’t be able to walk into a branch of Bank A to withdraw cash from accounts held at Bank B.


Photo credit: iStock/Marco VDM

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

SOBK-Q224-1931154-V1

Read more
Business Check vs. Personal Check: What's The Difference?

Guide to Business Checks vs Personal Checks

While business checks and personal checks may seem like the same thing, there are actually some important differences. Sure, all checks can be used to pay bills or cover other expenses using funds in a linked checking account. But the main difference between a personal check and a business check is the source of funds. Personal checks are drawn on personal accounts; business checks are drawn on business checking accounts.

Learn more about how these checks work and how they differ.

What Is a Business Check?

A business check is a check that’s written from a business checking account. Banks and credit unions can offer business checking accounts to sole proprietors, limited liability companies (LLCs), and other kinds of businesses that need a safe, secure place to keep their money. Business checks are often one of the features included with these accounts.

Business bank accounts can also offer a debit card for making purchases or cash withdrawals. They typically allow for ACH transfers of funds to pay bills or vendors. But there are some instances where it could make sense — or even be necessary — to use business checks instead. For example, you may need to write or print paper checks to cover payroll for employees.

💡 Quick Tip: Don’t think too hard about your money. Automate your budgeting, saving, and spending with SoFi’s seamless and secure mobile banking app.

How Does a Business Check Work?

When someone opens a business bank account, the bank may give them a set of business checks and a checkbook. If you are wondering what a checkbook is, they are simply a small folder or book that contains your checks and a check register, which is where you’ll write down deposits and credits for your account. Check registers can help you balance your checkbook.

To use a business check, you’d simply make the check out to the payee, then fill in the required information. That includes the date and amount of the check, as well as a signature. Business checks typically have a memo line where you can record what the check is being used for.

The payee can then take that business check to their bank to deposit it or cash it. The amount written on the check is then deducted from the business checking account on which the check is drawn. When the check is deposited, it typically takes two days to clear (or for the funds to become available).

What Does a Business Check Look Like?

Business checks look much like personal checks, in terms of the type of information they include. On the front of a business check, you should see the following:

•  Business name and address

•  Check number (in the upper right hand corner)

•  Payee name (where it says Pay to the Order of)

•  Date

•  Dollar amount, in numbers

•  Dollar amount, in words

•  Payer’s signature

•  Memo line

•  The bank’s routing number

•  The account number

•  Bank’s name and address

Business checks may also include room to include the business logo or a watermark.

There may be an attached transaction stub on the left hand side of the check. You can use this stub to record the details of the transaction, including the date the check was written, the amount, and to whom it was paid.

Business checks can be hand-written like personal checks, or they can be filled digitally and printed out.

What Is a Personal Check?

A personal check, on the other hand, is a check that’s drawn against a personal checking account. Most but not all checking accounts offer checks and check-writing; some even offer free starter checks to new customers.

Personal checks are paid using personal funds. So you might write a personal check to repay a friend you borrowed money from, for example, or to pay your rent. Likewise, you could receive a personal check made out to you that you could deposit into your bank account or cash it. In terms of where to cash personal checks without a bank account, the options include check cashing services, supermarkets, and convenience stores.

Personal checks are not the same as other types of checks, including certified checks and traveler’s checks. (If you’re unfamiliar with how to use traveler’s checks, these are paper certificates that can help you pay for things overseas without having to exchange hard currencies.)

How Do Personal Checks Work?

Personal checks work by allowing individuals to pay bills or make other payments to individuals, businesses, and other organizations. When you open a checking account, the bank may give you paper checks with your name and account number printed on them. You can then use these checks to make payments.

When someone receives a personal check and deposits it in their account, their bank requests the transfer of funds from the bank on which the check was drawn. These transfers are processed electronically. Processing times can vary, though it typically takes a couple of business days for a check to clear.

If someone writes a personal check and doesn’t have sufficient funds in their account to cover it, that check will bounce. When a check you write bounces, it may be returned unpaid or your bank may cover the amount for you but they can charge overdraft or non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees for that convenience.

Bounced checks typically don’t show up on consumer credit reports or affect credit scores, though banks may report them to ChexSystems. A consumer credit reporting agency, ChexSystems collects information about closed checking and savings accounts.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Can I Use a Personal Check for a Business Account?

Personal accounts and business accounts are separate banking products. That being said, you could use personal checks to pay for business expenses. For example, you could write out a personal check to pay a business lease or make payments to a business loan. And you could use funds in a business account to pay for personal expenses.

If you feel you must use personal checks for a business account or business checks for personal expenses, proceed with caution. Many personal checking account agreements specifically prohibit using this kind of account for business purposes. Familiarize yourself with your account guidelines. This should only happen in very limited circumstances and not as a regular practice.

What’s more, mixing your accounts this way can complicate matters when it comes time to pay your taxes and figure out personal vs. business deductions. If you ever need to review your business or personal account (say, for legal reasons or an audit), it can be hard to remember which funds were used where.

Using Business Checks vs. Personal Checks

When you need to write a business check vs. personal check can depend on the circumstances. For instance, some of the most common uses for business checks include:

•  Employee payroll

•  Federal and state tax payments

•  Making payments to vendors

•  Paying operating costs, such as rent or utilities

•  Repaying a business loan

•  Making any large purchases that are necessary for the business.

Personal checks can be used to meet a different set of needs. Examples of when you might write a personal check include:

•  Paying utility bills, rent, or the mortgage

•  Buying groceries

•  Repaying personal debts

•  Making payments to loans

•  Covering school-related expenses if you have kids (like lunch money or PTA fundraisers)

•  Paying college tuition

•  Covering doctor bills.

Whether you need business checks or personal checks, it helps to know where to order checks safely. You can get checks online from check-printing companies or order them through your bank.

Recommended: How Do I Sign Over a Check to Someone?

Differences Between a Business and Personal Check

Whether you’re using business checks or personal checks, one thing is true: They can be a dependable, convenient way to move money. They provide an alternative to using a debit card, credit card, ACH transfer, or wire transfer. But if you’re still wondering how business checks are different from personal checks, here are a few other noteworthy distinctions.

Size of the Check

Personal checks are usually somewhere around 6″ x 2″ x 3″ in size. Business checks, on the other hand, might or might not be larger in size. For example, they may be 8″ x 2″ x 3″ instead. The larger size allows for easier printing and more room for writing out checks by hand.

Security of the Check

Check fraud can threaten a business’s bottom line. For that reason, many check printers include built-in security measures to minimize the chances of a business check being stolen or otherwise used fraudulently. Those measures can include holographic features, thermochromatic ink, and chemically sensitive paper. These features all help to verify a check’s authenticity.

How Much Each Check Costs

As mentioned, banks can sometimes offer starter checks for free when you open a new checking account. This benefit may not be included with business checking accounts, which means you might need to buy checks yourself. The amount you pay can depend on the type of check, any added features you choose to include, and the number of checks printed. You might pay three cents per check or a quarter or more per personal check, depending on where you order from, the features you want, and how quickly you want them printed and delivered.

Business checks range in cost, but many online retailers charge 20 to 30 cents each.

There can be other charges associated with checks. For example, you may also pay separate fees when purchasing cashier’s checks for a business or personal account. Cashier’s checks are drawn against the bank’s account, not yours, though a cashier’s check looks very much like a personal or business check.

Check Conversion Protection

Check conversion is a process in which paper checks are converted to electronic ACH debits. Both consumer and business checks can be converted in this way. Converted checks usually clear faster, but it’s possible that you may not want this for checks written from a business account. In that case, you could order business checks that include an optional Auxiliary On-Us field to exclude them from conversion.

Why to Consider Having Separate Checks

Using one bank account for business and personal expenses might seem simpler and less stressful, since you’re moving money in and out of the same place. However, as noted above, which kind of check to use is not typically a matter of personal choice. Personal checking accounts usually have restrictions against use for business purposes.

What’s more, establishing a business account has other benefits:

•  Writing checks with your business name can add credibility to your venture, since it looks more professional.

•  A business account helps you keep track of business finances and expense reporting for tax purposes.

•  Establishing a business checking account could make it easier to get approved for business loans or lines of credit if you have a good banking history.

•  Having separate business and personal checking accounts can provide an added protection against creditor lawsuits. Depending on how your business is structured, money in a personal checking account may be safe from collection efforts if you’re sued by a creditor.

The Takeaway

Business checks and personal checks serve similar functions; they both transfer funds from one account to another. However, they do have some important differences, and you typically cannot use a personal check for business purposes.

For your personal bank accounts, see what SoFi offers.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

Can you cash a business check?

You can cash a business check if your bank allows it. You’ll need to endorse the check properly and show proof of identification to cash it, the same as you would with any other type of check.

What should be on a business check?

A business check should include the business name and address, the payee’s name, the amount of the check, the date, and the payer’s signature. The check will likely be pre-printed with the bank’s name and address, a routing number and account number, as well as a check number. A business check may also include a memo line to record the purpose of the check.

Do checks need to say LLC?

Checks do not need to say LLC unless your business is structured as an LLC. If your business operates as a sole proprietor, partnership, S corporation, or anything other than an LLC, then you wouldn’t need to include that designation.


Photo credit: iStock/fizkes
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

SOBK-Q224-1929832-V1

Read more
What is the Average Grocery Bill for 1 Person Per Month?

What Is the Average Monthly Grocery Bill for One Person?

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the average single person can spend between $238.46 and $434.33 per month on groceries. Many factors will impact a given individual’s expenses, such as location and eating style.

Nevertheless, looking at averages across the country can help one figure out if they are within the range of other people in their region, age bracket, and household size. Learn more here, including advice on trimming your grocery budget.

Grocery Bills and Inflation

Inflation can have a big effect on the price of groceries, making it harder to stay within your budget and reduce one’s bill. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, food prices rose 3.4% between April of 2023 and 2024.

That’s not a negligible number, but compared to the 10.8% increase in food prices between April of 2021 and 2022, it’s somewhat less challenging. That staggering increase was partly due to inflation and partly due to food shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Average Monthly Grocery Budget Bill for One Person or More

There are several factors that determine how much a person might spend on groceries each month. These include age, gender, how many people live in the household, and monthly budget. Another major factor is the region one lives in. Some areas have much more expensive food than others.

The most expensive city for groceries is Honolulu, Hawaii, where the monthly average grocery bill was $556.76 in one recent year. The least expensive city is Manchester, New Hampshire with an average of $183.00, according to Zippia. As you see, cost of living can really make a difference. Other expensive states include Florida, Nevada, and Washington, while less expensive states include Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

In addition to groceries, one’s overall monthly bill for food can include any snacks and meals eaten out. The averages below are based on an individual or family cooking all their meals and snacks at home, they don’t include meals eaten out. Averages look at foods many people commonly purchase, such as eggs, dairy, meat, bread, and produce items.

Here are some numbers from a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report:

Family Size

Average Grocery Bill

1 For a single person, the average grocery bill can range, depending on age and gender, between $238.46 to $434.33.
2 For a household with two people, the average grocery bill is $5,635 per year, or $469.58 per month.
3 For a household of three people, the average grocery bill is $6,862 a year, or 571.83 per month.
4 For a household of four people, the average grocery bill is $8,012, or $667.67 per month.

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*


Buying Groceries vs Dining Out

It’s up to each individual and family to decide how often to eat out or get takeout food and how much of their money to spend on dining at restaurants. In general, eating out tends to cost more than cooking at home, and it’s a good idea to keep track of and budget for or it can add up quickly.

Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data suggests the average American spends as much as $300 a month on food outside the home, which is a significant number when budgeting. That doesn’t mean it’s the right number; just an average.

Another suggestion by many financial experts is that food costs (meaning groceries and food outside the home) account for no more than 10% to 15% of one’s take-home pay, regardless of which type of budget method you use.

Recommended: Does Net Worth Include Home Equity?

9 Tips for Reducing Your Grocery Bill

In looking at the average grocery bills above, one might start to think that they are spending too much on groceries, if they didn’t already feel that way before. Here are a few tips for lowering one’s monthly grocery bill.

1. Make a Budget and Plan Ahead

Allocating funds for groceries in a monthly budget planner then making a plan for what to buy can help reduce one’s grocery bill. Meal planning and shopping lists can help you stick with your budget.

2. Look for Discounts and Sales

There are many discount apps and coupons available for those who are grocery shopping on a budget. They are free and can help with reducing one’s grocery bill. However, some coupons can be tricky and actually cause additional spending, if they ask one to purchase two or more of an item to get the discount or they result in buying an item that wouldn’t have been purchased otherwise. Some stores also have sale days, especially after a big holiday, so those can be good days to go shopping.

3. Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach

Avoiding impulse buying is another way to reduce one’s grocery bill. Studies have shown that shopping on an empty stomach leads shoppers to spend more and to buy high calorie foods that may be less healthy.

4. Consider Meal Kits

Although meal kit services may appear expensive, and some are, if they reduce the amount that one eats out at restaurants or the amount spent on groceries, that is a plus. Meal kits provide pre-portioned meals, so they prevent buying extra ingredients that go to waste.

5. Pay Attention to Delivery Fees

Having groceries delivered can be a great way to save time, and since it can help with sticking to a plan and grocery list, it can also help prevent impulse buys. However, delivery fees and tips can add up, so it’s important to factor those into monthly budgeting.

6. Shop at a Different Store

It can be easy to fall into a pattern of shopping at a certain grocery store due to convenience or their offering of foods one likes. But if that store has higher prices, it may be worth considering going to a different store for some or all of one’s groceries.

7. Create a Routine

Another way to stay on top of grocery budgeting is to create routines. This can help with sticking to a shopping list and making sure extra food doesn’t get purchased. Habits like these can help you avoid impulse buying or purchasing food that winds up going to waste.

8. Buy Generic Brands instead of Name Brands

Many stores carry their own brands of food that are cheaper than big name brands. These items are very similar in taste and quality but have a lower price point. This can hold true at wholesale clubs, too, further increasing how much you can save.

9. Shop More Often

It may seem surprising, but going to the grocery store more often can help people spend less money than if they go on mega runs. The reason is that it avoids food waste because it’s easier to think about what will be eaten within the next few days than the next couple weeks.

Recommended: Building a Line Item Budget

The Takeaway

Since there is more flexibility in buying groceries than other expenses such as rent and other bills, cutting back on grocery spending can be a great way to save. If you’re looking to start making a budget, setting savings goals, or paying off debts, you might benefit from a money tracker tool.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

How much should you be spending on groceries a week?

According to the USDA’s food plans, a couple could spend between $92 to $183 per month, depending on which food plan they follow, ranging from Thrifty to Liberal.

What is the average cost of groceries per month?

One recent study put the average cost of groceries per month at $475.25, put of course much will depend on household size, age of household members, location, and eating style.

What are examples of popular discount grocery stores?

Popular discount grocery stores include Walmart, Aldi, Sam’s Club, and Trader Joe’s.


Photo credit: iStock/andresr

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

SORL-Q224-1911179-V1

Read more
Guide to Tiered-Rate Savings Accounts

Guide to Tiered-Rate Savings Accounts

Putting cash into a savings account can be one way to help your money grow, not only by stashing it away so you don’t spend it, but also by potentially earning interest as it sits in the account. One type of interest-earning savings account you might want to0 consider is a tiered-rate savings account.

The interest rate that a tiered-rate savings account earns typically increases as the amount of your savings increases — which can make saving cash even more motivating.

What Is a Tiered-Rate Savings Account?

A tiered-rate savings account is a savings account that has multiple interest rates that can be applied, depending on the amount of money in the account.

The way tiered-rate savings accounts generally work is that as the account holder’s savings grow, their interest rate on the savings account also rises. Interest rates for these accounts are offered on a tiered scale with the largest balances getting the highest interest rates.

A tiered savings account might encourage customers to save more money as they work towards earning the highest possible interest rate. It may also keep account holders loyal to their current bank with a long-term account.

How Do Tiered-Rate Savings Accounts Work?

If you open a bank account that’s a tiered-rate account, the higher your balance is, the higher your interest rate is likely to be. That means as your balance grows, your interest rate has the potential to rise, and your savings may grow more quickly.

Tiered-rate accounts offer account holders different “tiered” interest rates that correspond with different account balances. For example, if a bank offers a tiered-rate savings account they may give a 0.05% interest rate for savings account amounts up to $25,000. For savings ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 they may raise that interest rate to 1.00%.

Tiered-rate savings accounts tend to have a minimum balance threshold needed to open an account for the first time. Typically, a minimum daily balance must also be maintained. In addition, these accounts may require that their holders make a minimum amount of monthly transactions, such as making deposits or transferring money to another account.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!


Characteristics of Tiered-Rate Accounts

The following features are typically associated with tiered-rate accounts:

•   Interest rates rise as account balances grow

•   Minimum initial deposit and ongoing balance requirements

•   Minimum monthly transaction requirements

Pros of Tiered-Rate Savings Accounts

These are some of the advantages to having a tiered-rate savings account:

Opportunity to Earn Higher Interest Rate on Savings

Tiered-rate savings accounts typically offer higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts do — especially for motivated savers who work to increase their account balances.

Potential for Money to Increase Quicker

Because interest rates can be higher with tiered-rate savings accounts, it’s possible for money held in these accounts to grow faster than it might in other types of savings account, as long as it remains in the account. Because of the effect of compound interest, your money could make more money.

Cons of Tiered-Rate Savings Accounts

There are also some disadvantages of tiered-rate savings accounts that are worth keeping in mind.

Putting Money Elsewhere May Be Better to Build Wealth

The interest rates offered by tiered-rate accounts tend to deliver a lower return when compared to some other investments over time, such as investing in the stock market. While investing in stocks is considered far riskier than earning interest in a savings account, investors could potentially see a higher return over the long term from stocks. This could be helpful when saving for long-term goals like retirement.

Need a Larger Account Balance for the Highest Rates

To secure the best interest rates through a tiered-rate savings account, account holders may need to keep a large sum of money in their savings account. If someone doesn’t have that amount of money, they may find that a standard savings account is better for them.

Here is a chart comparing the pros and cons of tiered-rate accounts:

Pros of Tiered-Rate Accounts

Cons of Tiered-Rate Accounts

Opportunity to earn higher interest rates on savingsPutting money elsewhere may be better for building wealth
Potential for money to increase more quicklyNeed a larger account balance for the highest rates

Alternatives to Tiered-Rate Savings Accounts

If you’re looking to earn money on your savings, there are a few different vehicles you can consider for earning competitive interest on your funds.

•   High-yield savings accounts: High-yield savings accounts are similar to standard savings accounts, but they earn much higher interest rates. High-yield savings accounts are often found at online banks. These financial institutions don’t have to finance bricks-and-mortar branch locations, so they may pass along the savings to their customers in the form of higher interest rates, lower fees, and/or special bonuses.

•   Money market accounts: Money market accounts are typically insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) like savings accounts. They tend to have higher annual percentage yields (APYs) than traditional savings accounts. There is, however, a potential downside: Money market accounts may have significantly higher minimum deposit and balance requirements, and they might also have withdrawal limits much like some savings accounts do.

•   Certificate of deposit (CD): Certificates of deposit vs. savings accounts can be a wise choice for some consumers. CDs are time or term deposits, meaning the money stays in the account for a specific period of time (typically six months to a few years, though longer and shorter terms are available). If you withdraw the funds before the maturity date, or the end of the term, you will likely pay a penalty fee. Because of the time commitment involved, CDs may offer higher interest rates than savings accounts and money market accounts.

The Takeaway

If an individual has a sizable amount of money to deposit, they may find that a tiered-rate savings account could be a good option. This type of account offers a way to earn a higher interest rate the more the account holder has in the account.

If, however, a person is just starting their savings journey, a traditional savings account may be a better fit. Either way, an aspiring savings account holder should evaluate such variables as interest rate, minimum deposit and balance requirements, and account fees. That can help them find the right savings account for their needs.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What is tiered APY?

Tiered-rate accounts offer account holders different tiered APY, or annual percentage yield, which is how much you will earn on your cash over the course of a year. The amount of money an account holder has on deposit will qualify them for a certain tier or level. Typically, the more money on deposit, the higher your APY.

What is tiering in banking?

Tiering in banking refers to tiered-savings accounts, which provide account holders with different interest rates based on the balance in their savings account. Usually, the higher someone’s account balance is, the higher their interest rate is.

Is a tiered interest rate good?

A tiered interest-rate structure tends to benefit savers who have high account balances because the more money you have on deposit, the higher your interest rate. If someone has a smaller amount of savings, a traditional or high-yield savings account with a single interest rate may be more advantageous to them.


Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.


4.60% APY
SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

SOBK-Q224-1927417-V1

Read more
TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender