What Is a Gold IRA? How Do You Invest in One?

While it’s common for people to use their IRA to invest in stocks, bonds, and other securities, it’s also possible to set up a self-directed IRA to invest in physical gold bars, coins, or bullion.

Although the assets within a self-directed IRA are considered alternative investments, these accounts still follow the standard IRS rules regarding tax advantages, annual contribution limits, and so forth.

That said, not all brokers offer self-directed IRAs. And investing in gold within an IRA may be more expensive owing to the cost of storing a physical commodity like gold.

Establishing a Gold IRA Account

It’s important to understand that there isn’t a dedicated “gold IRA” that’s geared toward investing in gold alone (or any other type of precious metal). Rather, investors interested in investing in gold or other types of alternative investments can set up what’s known as a self-directed IRA (or SIDRA) in order to choose investments that aren’t normally available through a traditional IRA account.

While alternative investments can be illiquid, volatile, or subject to other risk factors, investors interested in alts may be curious about the potential for greater diversification since these assets typically don’t move in tandem with conventional markets. In the case of precious metals, they can be an inflation hedge.

Understanding Self-Directed IRAs

Typically, most IRA providers only allow you to invest in securities like stocks, bonds, ETFs or mutual funds. If you want to invest in gold by buying shares in an ETF focusing on gold, or by purchasing stock in a gold mining company, then a traditional IRA custodian is fine.

But if you want to hold physical gold in your IRA, you’ll need to find a broker that will allow you to set up a self-directed IRA.

Self-directed IRAs and self-directed Roth IRAs allow account holders to buy and sell a wider variety of investments than regular traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs.

While a custodian or a trustee administers the SDIRA, the account holder typically manages the portfolio of assets themselves. These accounts may also come with higher fees than regular IRAs owing to the higher cost of storing physical assets like gold.

That said, a self-directed IRA follows the same general rules as ordinary IRAs in terms of tax rules, withdrawal restrictions, income caps, and annual contribution limits (see details below). A self-directed IRA can be set up as a traditional, tax-deferred account, or a self-directed Roth IRA.

Setting Up a Gold IRA Account

Once you’ve found an IRA custodian or brokerage that allows you to open a self-directed IRA and purchase physical gold, you can fund your account. Be sure you’re working with a reputable, experienced precious metals IRA custodian, and that the company is registered with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and with FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).

The two most common ways to fund a gold IRA are by contributing cash or transferring money from an existing IRA or 401(k) account.

After you’ve funded your account, your broker will purchase the physical gold and store it for you. These same steps will hold true if you want to invest in other precious metals, including silver or platinum.

Alternative investments,
now for the rest of us.

Start trading funds that include commodities, private credit, real estate, venture capital, and more.


Gold Standards for IRAs

Just as with a silver IRA, there are restrictions on the physical gold you are allowed to hold in an IRA. Any gold that is held in an IRA must be at least 99.5% pure.

Some common types of gold coins that are allowed to be held in a gold IRA include American Eagle bullion or coins, Canadian Maple Leaf coins and Australian Koala bullion coins.

Managing a Gold IRA Portfolio

The process for managing an IRA invested in gold is similar to managing an IRA that holds any commodity or security.

When you open a gold IRA, you will issue instructions to your broker to buy and sell physical gold, just as you would if you were buying stocks in a more traditional IRA. The value of your gold IRA portfolio fluctuates with the value of the physical gold that you hold.

You are not allowed to hold the gold yourself while it is part of your IRA. If you want to take possession of the physical gold bullion in your gold IRA, you will need to make a withdrawal from your IRA — which is subject to standard IRS rules governing IRA withdrawals.

An early withdrawal before age 59 ½ may result in taxes and/or penalties, so make sure you understand the terms before you take a withdrawal from a self-directed IRA.

Recommended: Portfolio Diversification: What It Is and Why It’s Important

Tax Advantages and Drawbacks of Gold IRAs

Remember that an IRA invested in gold still follows the basic structure and tax rules of traditional and Roth IRAs. The annual contribution limit for a regular, Roth, or self-directed IRA is $7,000 for tax year 2024, or $8,000 for those 50 and older.

•   With a self-directed traditional IRA, you save money that’s considered pre-tax (just as in a traditional IRA account). The value of the assets within the account may grow over time, but taxes are deferred. This means you will owe tax on the money when you withdraw it, which you can do without penalty starting at age 59 ½.

•   With a self-directed Roth IRA you make after-tax contributions, just as you would with a regular Roth IRA. Here the money grows tax free over time. In the case of a Roth account, qualified withdrawals are tax free starting at age 59 ½, as long as you have had the account for at least five years, according to the five-year rule.

In addition, investors who want to set up a Roth SIDRA must meet certain income requirements (the same income caps as for a regular Roth IRA). For single and joint tax filers: in order to contribute the full amount to a Roth IRA you must earn less than $146,000 (for single filers) or $230,000 (if you’re married, filing jointly), respectively. See IRS.gov for additional details, or consider consulting a tax professional.

One of the biggest drawbacks of a gold IRA is that the money in your IRA is generally intended for retirement. That means that if you withdraw the money in any IRA before you reach 59 ½, you may have to pay additional taxes and/or a 10% penalty. Another drawback is that you are limited by how much you can contribute to a gold IRA each year.

The Takeaway

There isn’t a specific type of IRA called a gold IRA — this is just a common way to refer to a self-directed IRA that is used to invest in physical gold. A gold IRA might be a traditional or a Roth IRA, which each come with certain tax advantages. Any gold that you hold in a self-directed IRA must be at least 99.5% pure. Additionally, not all brokers allow you to self-direct your investments and hold gold in your IRA.

Ready to expand your portfolio's growth potential? Alternative investments, traditionally available to high-net-worth individuals, are accessible to everyday investors on SoFi's easy-to-use platform. Investments in commodities, real estate, venture capital, and more are now within reach. Alternative investments can be high risk, so it's important to consider your portfolio goals and risk tolerance to determine if they're right for you.

Invest in alts to take your portfolio beyond stocks and bonds.

FAQ

What types of gold investments can be held in a gold IRA?

Like other commodities including silver or platinum, there are specific rules about what kinds of gold investments can be held in a gold IRA. Gold must be at least 99.5% pure to be eligible to be held in an IRA. This includes coins like the Australian Koala, Canadian Maple Leaf, or American Eagle.

How do you set up and fund a gold IRA account?

The most important step to setting up and funding a gold IRA is to find a custodian that will allow you to open a self-directed IRA and invest in precious metals. Once you have found a custodian that will, simply follow their account setup instructions. Then you can fund your gold IRA, by either making a new contribution, or transferring money from a 401(k) account or an existing IRA.

What are the tax benefits and restrictions associated with a gold IRA?

The tax benefits and restrictions of a self-directed gold IRA are the same as any other IRA. With a traditional gold IRA, you may be eligible for a tax deduction in the year that you make a contribution, but you’ll owe taxes on withdrawals. With a Roth gold IRA, you don’t get a tax deduction when you make your contribution — instead, your withdrawals are tax free. In most circumstances, you will have to pay taxes and/or penalties if you make a withdrawal before age 59 ½.


Photo credit: iStock/JohnnyGreig

SoFi Invest®

INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE

SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): Investors should carefully consider the information contained in the prospectus, which contains the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other relevant information. You may obtain a prospectus from the Fund company’s website or by email customer service at [email protected]. Please read the prospectus carefully prior to investing.
Shares of ETFs must be bought and sold at market price, which can vary significantly from the Fund’s net asset value (NAV). Investment returns are subject to market volatility and shares may be worth more or less their original value when redeemed. The diversification of an ETF will not protect against loss. An ETF may not achieve its stated investment objective. Rebalancing and other activities within the fund may be subject to tax consequences.


Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.

Fund Fees
If you invest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) through SoFi Invest (either by buying them yourself or via investing in SoFi Invest’s automated investments, formerly SoFi Wealth), these funds will have their own management fees. These fees are not paid directly by you, but rather by the fund itself. these fees do reduce the fund’s returns. Check out each fund’s prospectus for details. SoFi Invest does not receive sales commissions, 12b-1 fees, or other fees from ETFs for investing such funds on behalf of advisory clients, though if SoFi Invest creates its own funds, it could earn management fees there.
SoFi Invest may waive all, or part of any of these fees, permanently or for a period of time, at its sole discretion for any reason. Fees are subject to change at any time. The current fee schedule will always be available in your Account Documents section of SoFi Invest.


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.

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: The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results.
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.

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The Mortgage Underwriting Process: How Long Does it Take?

Underwriters are a bit like jurors: They soberly weigh the evidence and render a verdict. Unlike jurors, underwriters sometimes reach out to those they are, well, judging to obtain additional information, clarify a matter, or otherwise help the case for mortgage approval.

If the underwriter finds that you’re fiscally fit enough to take on a mortgage and that the amount you want to borrow is a manageable size, you’re on your way to a home purchase. So you want to put your best foot forward where the underwriter is concerned. By learning about underwriting, you’ll be prepared for the document-gathering and hurdles ahead.

What Is Mortgage Underwriting?

Underwriters protect a bank, credit union, or mortgage company by making sure that they only give loan approval to aspiring homeowners who have a good chance of paying the lender back.

If you’re wondering what is the underwriting process, here are some of their tasks:

•   Verify documents and financial information and make sure that enough savings exist to supplement income or contribute toward the down payment.

•   Check an applicant’s credit score and history and note any bankruptcies, late payments, significant debts, or other red flags.

•   Calculate the debt-to-income ratio by adding up monthly debt payments and dividing that number by monthly pretax income.

•   Request additional documents and ask questions if necessary. For example, if a homebuyer has had more than one job over the past year and their income is not consistent, an underwriter may want to see more assets.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


5 Steps of the Mortgage Underwriting Process

The mortgage-seeking journey is a winding path that eventually arrives at the underwriter. Automated underwriting may approve your loan application, though a human underwriter will verify your application and documentation. If the software refers your application to manual underwriting, that’s usually a slower process.

Here are common steps leading to underwriting:

1. Explore Your Budget

Prequalifying for a mortgage is a quick move that will provide a ballpark budget for your home purchase, based on self-reported financial info. And you can employ a home affordability calculator to get a feel for your top price.

Think, too, about lending questions you’ll have during the mortgage process.

2. Get Preapproved for a Loan

Shop around for the best deal, and best-fitting loan, with a mortgage broker or direct lender. This is the time to submit documentation of your income, employment, assets, and debts and allow a hard pull of your credit score. What credit score is needed to buy a house? Much depends on whether you plan to use a conventional or government-backed mortgage loan (an FHA loan is more lenient).

A mortgage preapproval letter, often good for 30 to 90 days, indicates the lender’s willingness to lend you a particular amount at a tentative or locked interest rate. A preapproval letter also allows a buyer to act quickly in a seller’s market.

3. Find Your Home

Once you find a home that meets your needs, you’ll need to agree on a price. Ideally it is within the amount you’ve budgeted and been preapproved for.

4. Apply for the Loan

You may choose one of the lenders you gained preapproval from, or another lender, to apply for the mortgage. You’ll receive a loan estimate within three business days from each lender you apply with.

If you go with one of the former, you submitted documents in order to get preapproved. Still, the lender will likely ask for further documentation now that you’re ready to act on a purchase, and will take another look at your credit.

5. Wait for the Underwriting Verdict

A loan processor will confirm your information, and then it’s time for the underwriter to review your credit scores and history, employment history, income, debts, assets, and requested mortgage amount.

The underwriter will order an appraisal of the chosen property and get a copy of the title insurance, which shows that there are no liens or judgments. Finally, the underwriter will consider your down payment.

Then comes the decision on your mortgage application: approved, suspended (more documentation is needed), or denied. How long does underwriting take? The verdict could come in as little as a few days.

Required Information for Underwriting

Lenders are going to request a lot of documents from mortgage loan applicants.

Income verification. The lender will want to see W-2s from the past two years, your two most recent bank statements, and two most recent pay stubs. Those who are self-employed will need to document stable work and payments and ideally have a business website. Applicants will typically need to show evidence of at least two years of self-employment income in the same field.

Any additional income. Pension, Social Security, alimony, dividends, and the like all count.

Proof of assets. This can include checking and savings accounts, real estate you own, retirement savings, and personal property. A lender might want to see that a down payment and closing costs have been in an applicant’s account for a while.

Debts. Your debt-to-income ratio matters greatly, so list all monthly debt payments, each creditor’s name and address, account numbers, loan balances, and minimum payment amounts.

Gift letter. If you’ve received money from a family member or another person to put toward your home purchase, the lender will request a gift letter for the mortgage and proof of that funding in your account.

Rent payments. Renters will likely need to show evidence of payments for the past 12 months and give contact information for landlords for two years.

How Long Does Underwriting Take?

Underwriting may take a couple of days to more than a week. It all depends on how complicated someone’s finances are and how busy an underwriter is. Thankfully, underwriters typically do everything online these days, so an applicant can upload documents to a website or simply email them.

Can You Speed Up the Mortgage Underwriting Process?

Most of the methods used to speed up the underwriting process are not in the hands of the borrower but rather methods lenders can use to accelerate their review. An applicant can help ensure an efficient underwriting process by making sure they submit all the requested information and documents the first time around, thereby lessening the likelihood an underwriter will have questions.

How You Can Improve Your Chance of Being Approved

Before applicants try to get a mortgage, they can take a number of steps to improve their chances of getting approved.

Lighten the debt load. It’s critical to pay off as much debt as possible and to try to keep your credit utilization ratio below 30%, though some lenders like to see a ratio below 25%.

Applicants can pay off debt faster by making a budget (and sticking to it), using cash instead of credit cards to make purchases, and negotiating interest rates with creditors.

Look at credit reports. Applicants should also scour their credit reports and fix any mistakes so that their score is as high as possible. Federal law guarantees the right to access credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus annually for free.

The reports show only credit history, not credit scores. There are ways to monitor your credit scores and track your money at no cost.

Attempt to boost income. Applicants may want to apply for higher-paying jobs or get to know the benefits of a side hustle so they can save more money.

Ask for a gift or loan partner. You could also ask a family member for a gift to put toward the down payment, or you could ask a relative with a stable credit history and income if they would apply for the loan as a co-borrower or cosigner.

With an underwriter extending a hand, a solution may be found that leads to approval.

The Takeaway

Ready to apply for a mortgage? Prepare for a probing look at your private life — the financial one — by an underwriter, who is gauging the risk of lending you a bundle of money. The underwriter looks at a homebuyer’s finances and history, the loan amount, and the chosen property and renders a verdict.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

How long does it take for the mortgage underwriter to make a decision?

Underwriting can take anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks, depending in part on the complexity of a mortgage applicant’s financial situation and how thorough applicants are in submitting requested documents.

Is underwriting the last step before closing?

Not quite. After the underwriter signs off on the loan, it’s likely that your lender will want to do a final verification of your employment status, credit score, income, or all of the above. You’ll then be sent closing documents to review, and you’ll need to arrange payment of the closing costs, usually via a cashier’s check or bank transfer. At that point, you should be headed to a closing.

How often do underwriters deny loans?

About one in 10 loan applications are denied, according to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Denials are less common for conventional loan applicants than for those applying for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans. Denial rates tend to be higher for refinance applicants than for home purchasers.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

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.

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Shares vs Stocks: What’s the Difference?

The difference between the terms stock and shares is a simple one. An investor buys shares of stock in a company. The stock represents the company, and is sold in units called shares.

Thus, an investor can own a certain number of shares of a company’s stock: e.g., they might own 100 shares of Company A. But it’s incorrect to say an investor owns 100 stocks in Company A. If an investor owns 100 stocks, that would mean they own shares of stock in 100 different companies.

Key Points

•   The terms “shares” and “stock” are often used in tandem, but they refer to different aspects of an equity investment.

•   A stock is a broad term for the asset, while a share is the unit of ownership.

•   Owning 100 shares implies you have 100 units of one company’s stock, while owning 100 stocks means you have stakes in 100 different companies.

•   Ordinary shares are the same as common stock, and preference shares are the same as preferred stock.

•   Common stockholders have voting rights and may receive dividends; preferred stockholders usually don’t have voting rights, but they often receive dividends before common stockholders.

Stock vs Share: Comparison

A stock is the actual asset you purchase, while a share is the unit of measurement for that asset.

So, investing in a certain stock means you’re investing in that company. A share tells you how much of that stock you own.

Differences Between Stocks and Shares

Stocks

Shares

A stock refers to the publicly-traded company that issues shares A share is the unit of measurement of ownership in a company
Stocks can refer to the ownership of many different companies Shares usually refer to the specific ownership stake in a company
Stock is a more general term Share is a more precise term

For example, if you are interested in investing in Company A, you will buy 100 shares of Company A stock. Owning 100 shares of Company A would give you a specific ownership stake in the company.

In contrast, if you said you wanted to buy 100 stocks, that would generally mean you wanted to buy shares of 100 different companies.

You could buy 10 shares of one company’s stock, 50 shares of another, 1,000 shares of another, and so on. Shares represent the percentage of ownership you have in that company.

Recommended: How to Invest in Stocks: A Beginner’s Guide

Get up to $1,000 in stock when you fund a new Active Invest account.*

Access stock trading, options, auto investing, IRAs, and more. Get started in just a few minutes.


*Customer must fund their Active Invest account with at least $25 within 30 days of opening the account. Probability of customer receiving $1,000 is 0.028%. See full terms and conditions.

What Are Stocks?

Stocks, also called equities, are a type of security that gives investors a stake in a publicly traded company. A publicly traded company trades on a stock exchange, like the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq.

When you buy stock, you buy a share or fractional shares of a publicly traded company. You essentially own a small piece of the company, hoping to get a return on your investment.

Companies typically issue stock to raise capital. Usually, the goal is to grow the business or launch a new product, but the company could also use the money to pay off debts or for another purpose.

Why Should I Buy Stocks?

Generally, people buy stocks with the hope that the company they invest in will earn money, and as a result, the investor will see a return or growth. There are two ways to earn money through stock ownership: dividends and capital appreciation.

Dividends are payouts a company makes to its shareholders. When a company is profitable, it can choose to share some of its profits with its shareholders through dividend payments. Typically, companies pay dividends on a specified schedule, often quarterly, although they can pay them at any time.

The second way to earn money is through capital appreciation, which is when a stock’s price increases above the purchase price. However, capital appreciation doesn’t lock in your gains; you don’t realize your profits until you sell your stock. And there is no guarantee that a stock will appreciate. Sometimes, owing to a range of factors, a stock’s price may drop, and investors may incur a loss.

If you sell stock and realize a profit, you must pay capital gains taxes on the earnings. The amount of tax you owe on your earnings depends on the type of asset, and how long you held it before selling.

Types of Stocks

There are two main types of stocks that investors can buy and sell.

•   Common stock: The type of stock most people invest in, common stockholders have voting rights and may receive dividends.

•   Preferred stock: Investors of this type of stock usually don’t have voting rights, but they often receive dividends before common stockholders. Preferred stock also gives investors a higher claim to assets than common stockholders if the company is liquidated.

Recommended: Preferred Stock vs. Common Stock

How Are Stocks Categorized?

Beyond common and preferred stocks, investors can buy and sell many different types of stocks. Usually, investors break down the various categories of stocks based on investing styles and company size, among other factors.

By Different Styles of Investing

Investors may divide up stocks of different companies into value and growth stocks.

Growth stocks have the potential for high earnings that may outpace the market. Growth stocks don’t usually pay dividends, so investors looking at these stocks hope to make money through capital gains when they sell their shares after the price increases.

Growth stocks are often tech, biotech, and some consumer discretionary companies. As the name suggests, consumer discretionary companies sell goods or services that consumers don’t consider essential.

Value stocks, in contrast, are stocks that investors consider to be trading below a price that accurately reflects the company’s strength. Value stocks usually have a lower price-to-earnings ratio.

Value investors are hoping to buy a stock when its price is low relative to its earnings, holding it until the market corrects and the stock price goes up to the point that better reflects the company’s underlying value.

Recommended: Value vs. Growth Stocks

By Market Cap

Market capitalization, often referred to as market cap, is a common way to categorize stocks. Market cap is a measure of a company’s value. Below is a breakdown of market cap categories:

•   Micro-Cap: $50 million to $300 million

•   Small-Cap: $300 million to $2 billion

•   Mid-Cap: $2 billion to $10 billion

•   Large-Cap: $10 billion or higher

•   Mega-Cap: $200 billion or higher

Generally speaking, companies with larger market capitalizations are older, more established, and have greater international exposure. Meanwhile, smaller-cap stocks tend to be newer, less established, and more domestically oriented. Smaller-cap companies can be riskier but also offer more growth potential.

What Are Shares?

A share is a piece of the company an investor can own. A share is a unit of ownership (e.g., you own 10 shares), whereas stock is a measurement of equity (e.g., you own 10% of the company).

Think of shares as a small portion of a company. So, if a company were a pie, a share would be a slice of said pie: the more slices, the more shares.

Shares play a role when calculating a company’s market cap. To find the market cap of a publicly traded company, you multiply the stock’s price by the number of outstanding shares, which is the number of shares currently owned by shareholders. This can also be referred to as shares outstanding, and the exact number can fluctuate over time.

Changes in the number of shares available can occur for various reasons. For example, if a company decides to release more shares to the public, the number of shares would increase.

Additionally you can own shares in a variety of assets other than stocks, like mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), limited partnerships (LPs), and real estate investment trusts (REIT).

Types of Shares

Like with stock, investors may own different types of shares.

•   Ordinary shares are the same as common stock. Holders of ordinary shares are entitled to vote on corporate matters and may receive dividends.

•   Preference shares are the same as preferred shares. Holders of preferred shares usually receive dividends before common stock dividends are issued. If the company enters bankruptcy, shareholders of preference shares may be paid from company assets before common stockholders.

•   Deferred shares are shares usually issued to company founders and executives where they are the last in line to be paid in bankruptcy proceedings, following preferred and common stockholders.

•   Non-voting shares, as the name suggests, do not confer voting rights to the shareholder. Non-voting shares may have different dividend rights and rights to company assets in the event of liquidation compared to holders of voting shares.

Stock Splits Definition

A stock split is a decision made by the board of directors of a company to adjust the price of their stock without changing the company’s overall value. It is one of the ways how the number of a company’s outstanding shares can change.

A company usually initiates a stock split when its stock price gets too high. For example, if a company’s stock is trading at over $1,000, it can be difficult for some investors to purchase and limits the availability of buyers.

To remedy this problem, a company will issue new shares through a stock split, lowering the price of each share but maintaining its market cap. A 10-for-1 stock split, for instance, would exchange 1 share worth $1,000 into 10 shares, each worth $100. Your total investment value remains the same, but the number of shares you own increases.

Other Ways to Own Stock

Trading company stocks or shares isn’t the only way to own equities. One alternative is to invest in shares of a mutual fund, a managed investment fund that pools money from several different investors. The money is then invested in various securities, including stocks and bonds.

Another option for investors is exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Like mutual funds, ETFs are baskets of securities packaged into a single investment vehicle. But unlike mutual funds, investors can trade shares of ETFs all day in the stock market.

One significant benefit that mutual funds and ETFs offer is portfolio diversification. A mutual fund and ETF can either be actively managed by a financial professional or passively managed, which means the fund tracks an index like the S&P 500.

Another way besides stocks or shares to get exposure in the market is through options trading. Options are contracts giving the purchaser the right — but not always the obligation — to buy or sell a security, like stock or (ETF), at a fixed price within a specific period of time.

The Takeaway

The difference between stocks and shares is that a share represents a unit of ownership in a company, while stocks refer to the ownership of one or more companies. It’s common to use both terms when discussing equity investments. But knowing the distinction between the two terms can help you better understand the stock market and investing.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative funds, and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.


SoFi Invest®

INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE

SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

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.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): Investors should carefully consider the information contained in the prospectus, which contains the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other relevant information. You may obtain a prospectus from the Fund company’s website or by email customer service at [email protected]. Please read the prospectus carefully prior to investing.
Shares of ETFs must be bought and sold at market price, which can vary significantly from the Fund’s net asset value (NAV). Investment returns are subject to market volatility and shares may be worth more or less their original value when redeemed. The diversification of an ETF will not protect against loss. An ETF may not achieve its stated investment objective. Rebalancing and other activities within the fund may be subject to tax consequences.


Options involve risks, including substantial risk of loss and the possibility an investor may lose the entire amount invested in a short period of time. Before an investor begins trading options they should familiarize themselves with the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options . Tax considerations with options transactions are unique, investors should consult with their tax advisor to understand the impact to their taxes.
Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.

Disclaimer: The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results.
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.

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What Is a Silver IRA? How Do They Work?

A silver IRA follows the basic rules of an ordinary IRA account, but it has a special designation as a self-directed IRA that allows you to invest in precious metals like silver.

It’s important to note that you don’t need to open a specific silver IRA. Instead, you set up a self-directed account with a qualified broker that specializes in precious metals or other types of alternative investments (e.g. real estate, commodities, private placements, and others).

That said, not all brokers offer self-directed IRAs. And investing in silver within an IRA may be more expensive owing to the cost of storing a physical commodity like silver.

Introduction to IRAs Invested in Precious Metals

An IRA invested in silver assets is one way to invest in precious metals. There are a few kinds of precious metal IRAs you can invest in, including a platinum IRA, a gold IRA, or a palladium IRA.

While alternative investments can be illiquid, volatile, or subject to other risk factors, investors interested in alts may be curious about the potential for greater diversification since these assets typically don’t move in tandem with conventional markets. In the case of precious metals, they can be an inflation hedge.

How a Self-Directed IRA Works

Again, it is important to note that these are not separate types of IRAs. Rather, investors interested in investing in silver or other types of alternative investments can set up what’s known as a self-directed IRA (or SIDRA) in order to choose investments that aren’t normally available through a traditional IRA account.

While the brokerage administers the SDIRA, the investor typically manages the portfolio of assets themselves. These accounts may also come with higher fees than regular IRAs owing to the higher cost of storing physical assets like silver.

That said, these accounts follow the same rules as ordinary IRAs in terms of withdrawal restrictions, income caps, taxes, and annual contribution limits (see details below). A self-directed IRA can be set up as a traditional, tax-deferred account, or a self-directed Roth IRA.

Recommended: Alternative Investments: Definition, Examples, Benefits and Risks

Boost your retirement contributions with a 1% match.

SoFi IRAs now get a 1% match on every dollar you deposit, up to the annual contribution limits. Open an account today and get started.


Only offers made via ACH are eligible for the match. ACATs, wires, and rollovers are not included.

Establishing a Silver IRA

If you’re ready to start investing in precious metals and you’ve found a broker or IRA custodian that will allow you to open a SDIRA and purchase silver in your account, you must fund it, either by depositing cash or by transferring money from an existing 401(k) or IRA account. Then your custodian will purchase the physical silver bullion and store it for you.

Requirements for Silver Investments

When comparing a commodity vs. a security, the IRS has specific rules for investing in commodities like silver in an IRA.

One of the most important is that any physical silver bullion held in your IRA must be at least 99.9% pure. This includes coins such as the Australian Silver Kangaroo, American Silver Eagle or Canadian Maple Leaf. Make sure that you work with a reputable precious metals IRA custodian that can ensure you are only investing in approved investments.

Be sure to check that the company is registered both with FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) as well as the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission).

Recommended: Portfolio Diversification: What It Is and Why It’s Important

Managing a Silver IRA Portfolio

The guidelines for managing a silver IRA portfolio are similar to the rules for any other type of IRA.

When you open a silver IRA, you will issue instructions to your broker to buy and sell physical silver, just as you would if you were buying stocks in a regular IRA. The value of your silver IRA portfolio will vary according to the price of silver in the market.

You don’t hold onto or store the silver yourself while it’s an asset in your IRA. If you want to take possession of the physical assets in your silver IRA, you would need to make a withdrawal from your IRA — which is subject to standard rules governing IRA withdrawals.

An early withdrawal before age 59 ½ may result in taxes and/or penalties, so make sure you understand the terms of investing in any IRA before you take a withdrawal from a self-directed IRA.

Tax Advantages and Drawbacks of Silver IRAs

Remember that a silver IRA still follows the basic structure and tax rules of traditional and Roth IRAs. The annual contribution limit for a regular, Roth, or self-directed IRA is $7,000 for tax year 2024, or $8,000 for those 50 and older.

•   With a self-directed traditional IRA, you save pre-tax money for your retirement, similar to a traditional IRA. The assets grow tax deferred over time. You pay taxes on the money when you withdraw it, which you can do without a penalty starting at age 59 ½.

•   With a self-directed Roth IRA, similar to a regular Roth IRA, you make after-tax contributions. Your assets also grow tax free over time. And in the case of a Roth account, qualified withdrawals are tax free starting at age 59 ½, as long as you have had the account for at least five years, according to the five-year rule.

In addition, investors who want to set up a Roth SIDRA must meet certain income requirements. These are the same as the income caps on an ordinary Roth account. In order to contribute the full amount to a Roth IRA you must earn less than $146,000 (for single filers) or $230,000 (if you’re married, filing jointly), respectively. See IRS.gov for more information, or consult a tax professional.

One of the drawbacks of a silver IRA is that the assets in your IRA are intended for retirement. That means that if you withdraw the money in any IRA before you reach 59 ½, you may have to pay additional taxes and/or a 10% penalty.

The Takeaway

A silver IRA is a common name for a self-directed IRA that invests in and holds physical silver bullion. You can open either a traditional silver IRA or a Roth silver IRA, each of which comes with its own tax advantages.

Only certain brokerages support investing in silver in a self-directed IRA, so make sure that you have found a reputable company that offers this option. It’s also important to know that the IRS has certain regulations about investing in a silver IRA, such as a requirement that any silver be at last 99.9% pure.

Ready to expand your portfolio's growth potential? Alternative investments, traditionally available to high-net-worth individuals, are accessible to everyday investors on SoFi's easy-to-use platform. Investments in commodities, real estate, venture capital, and more are now within reach. Alternative investments can be high risk, so it's important to consider your portfolio goals and risk tolerance to determine if they're right for you.

Invest in alts to take your portfolio beyond stocks and bonds.

FAQ

What types of silver investments are eligible for a silver IRA?

If you are looking to invest in gold, silver or other precious metals, it’s important to understand that there are certain IRS requirements and regulations for the types of silver you can hold in an IRA. Only silver that is 99.9% pure is allowed to be held in a Silver IRA. This includes popular coins such as the Canadian Maple Leaf, Australian Silver Kangaroo, or American Silver Eagle.

How does the process of establishing and funding a silver IRA work?

The first step in opening up a silver IRA is to find an IRA custodian that allows you to self-direct (or manage) your investments. Once you’ve opened a self-directed IRA at a brokerage that supports it, you can deposit money or transfer it from an existing 401(k) account or IRA. Your custodian will then purchase the silver bullion based on your instructions.

What are the potential tax advantages and drawbacks of a silver IRA?

The tax advantages of a silver IRA depend on whether it is structured as a traditional or Roth self-directed IRA. With a traditional IRA, you may be eligible for a tax deduction in the year that you make your contributions. With a Roth IRA, you pay tax on your contributions in the year you make them, but you don’t pay capital gains on withdrawals; qualified withdrawals are tax free.

One potential drawback is that, in most circumstances, you will have to pay additional taxes and/or penalties if you withdraw money from your IRA before you reach retirement age.


Photo credit: iStock/Pekic

SoFi Invest®

INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE

SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit SoFi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): Investors should carefully consider the information contained in the prospectus, which contains the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other relevant information. You may obtain a prospectus from the Fund company’s website or by email customer service at [email protected]. Please read the prospectus carefully prior to investing.
Shares of ETFs must be bought and sold at market price, which can vary significantly from the Fund’s net asset value (NAV). Investment returns are subject to market volatility and shares may be worth more or less their original value when redeemed. The diversification of an ETF will not protect against loss. An ETF may not achieve its stated investment objective. Rebalancing and other activities within the fund may be subject to tax consequences.


Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.

Fund Fees
If you invest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) through SoFi Invest (either by buying them yourself or via investing in SoFi Invest’s automated investments, formerly SoFi Wealth), these funds will have their own management fees. These fees are not paid directly by you, but rather by the fund itself. these fees do reduce the fund’s returns. Check out each fund’s prospectus for details. SoFi Invest does not receive sales commissions, 12b-1 fees, or other fees from ETFs for investing such funds on behalf of advisory clients, though if SoFi Invest creates its own funds, it could earn management fees there.
SoFi Invest may waive all, or part of any of these fees, permanently or for a period of time, at its sole discretion for any reason. Fees are subject to change at any time. The current fee schedule will always be available in your Account Documents section of SoFi Invest.


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.

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: The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results.
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.

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Money Market vs Checking Account

Money market and checking accounts can both offer a safe place to store your cash, easy access to your funds, and the ability to earn a bit of interest. However, they are not identical. Money market accounts generally offer higher interest rates, but may require higher minimum deposits and balances, and they may also restrict how many transactions you can make per month.

Understanding the differences between these two accounts, and the pros and cons of each, can help you determine which is the best choice for your needs.

What Is a Checking Account?

A checking account is a deposit account where you can keep your money, safely storing your earnings and managing your everyday spending. A deposit account, for those who aren’t used to the term, is a type of bank account that lets you deposit and withdraw funds.

Unlike a savings account (which is often designated for an emergency fund and future goals, like a new car), a checking account is designed for frequent use, such as paying for your living expenses and basic purchases.

Checking accounts typically feature unlimited transfers, deposits, and withdrawals. If the checking account is with a bank, the funds are likely protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to $250,000 per depositor, per account ownership category, per insured institution. If the account is with a credit union, the money is likely insured up to the same limits by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

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!


💡 Quick Tip: Typically, checking accounts don’t earn interest. However, some accounts do, and online banks are more likely than brick-and-mortar banks to offer you the best rates.

What Is a Money Market Account?

A money market account (MMA) is also a deposit account. If you’re putting different deposit accounts on a spectrum, a money market account leans more toward the savings account end of the range. They tend to have higher interest rates than a checking account and are typically better suited to storing your funds for future goals.

Money market accounts are protected by the FDIC and NCUA in the same way as checking accounts. However, these accounts often have limits on withdrawals and transfers. Another feature to note: They frequently have higher minimum deposit and balance requirements than checking accounts.

Recommended: Money Market Account vs Certificate of Deposit (CD)

Key Differences

Here are some key differences when comparing money market vs. checking accounts.

Interest Rates

You have a better chance of scooping up a higher interest rate on a money market account vs. a checking account. (Some checking accounts offer no interest at all.)

The national average interest rate for money market accounts is 0.67%, but you’ll likely find higher rates than that. Some financial institutions offer money market accounts with annual percentage yields (APYs) of 5.00% and higher. On the other hand, the national average rate for checking accounts is 0.08%.

Accessibility of Funds

As checking accounts are made for everyday purchases, they feature unlimited transactions — transfers, deposits, and withdrawals. A money market account will likely provide similar forms of access to your money, such as check writing privileges, debit card transactions, and ATM withdrawals. However, how often you can conduct these transactions with a money market account may be limited, as you’ll learn in the next point.

Transaction Limits

With a checking account, you typically can access your funds as often as you like. With money market accounts, this may not be the case. While the Federal Reserve lifted previous caps on monthly limits for withdrawals, deposits, and transfers set by Regulation D, a bank or credit union might still set limits. You could find yourself restricted to, say, six transactions of a certain kind per statement period. It’s therefore important to read the find print on your account agreement or to ask a customer service rep for details.

Opening Deposit Requirements

Another key difference between a money market account and a checking account is the opening deposit requirements. Money market accounts typically have higher minimum opening deposits than their checking counterparts.

Plus, you might need to maintain a higher monthly balance. Stashing a larger sum of cash (say, $2,500) in your money market account may be necessary to snag a higher interest rate and lower account fees. Standard checking accounts typically don’t have these conditions, although some premium accounts do require higher balances.

Pros of Checking Accounts

When comparing these two financial products, ponder the pros and cons of checking accounts. First, consider their advantages:

Low opening deposit. You can open a checking account with no initial deposit at some financial institutions. Others may require $25 to $100.

Convenient access. As previously noted, you can typically access the funds in a checking account as often as you like via a debit card, an ATM, electronic transfers, or checks. There may be an unlimited number of transactions you can make in a given month.

Pay bills. You can usually set up automatic bill pay so your financial institution sends funds to payees on your behalf. Plus you can set up autopay with different companies so that they can deduct funds from your checking account to pay for bills each month, such as utility bills, insurance premiums, and credit card payments.

Debit card. When you open a checking account, you typically receive a debit card for everyday purchases, whether in-person and online, and for withdrawing cash at an ATM.

Cons of Checking Accounts

Now, consider some of the downsides of a checking account:

Low interest. Checking accounts aren’t designed to grow your savings; they’re designed to pay bills, make everyday purchases, and constantly move money in and out. As such, they don’t feature high interest rates. Some may not earn any interest. It’s likely that any interest earnings on a checking account will be outpaced by inflation.

Monthly service fees. A checking account might come with a monthly service fee. However, you might be able to opt out of these fees by maintaining a minimum balance or receiving a certain amount in direct deposits in a statement cycle.

Other fees. You might also find yourself paying out-of-network ATM fees, overdraft fees, bounced check or returned payment fees, and paper statement fees with a checking account.

Pros of Money Market Accounts

Here are some advantages to opening a money market account:

Higher interest rates. You will typically enjoy a higher rate with a money market than a standard checking account, though perhaps not as much as a savings account. The rates vary depending on where you do your banking.

Access to cash. Unlike certificates of deposit (CD), your money isn’t locked in your money market account for a specific term. Instead, you can access your money and use a linked debit card to make purchases or ATM withdrawals.

Cons of Money Market Accounts

Next, review some potential drawbacks to money market accounts:

Transaction limits. Depending on the financial institution, monthly transaction limits on electronic transfers and outgoing checks may be in place. For example, you might be limited to six withdrawals and transfers per statement period. If you exceed these limits, you might be on the hook for paying a fee or receiving a lower interest rate.

Opening deposit. Money market accounts typically require a larger chunk of change for the opening deposit. The amount depends on the bank but usually starts at roughly $2,500.

Fees. As with checking accounts, you may find yourself paying a number of fees that can eat away at the interest you earn.

Which Account Is Right for You?

When comparing a money market account to a checking account, a checking account may be a better fit if you intend to keep the funds for everyday use. Most people (82% or more of Americans) have a checking account, and it can be the hub of one’s daily financial life. Think of it as a well from which you’re constantly drawing water — you’ll enjoy unlimited access to withdrawals, transfers, and debit card spending.

It might also be a stronger fit if you’re looking for an account that requires a low minimum opening deposit and monthly balance thresholds.

If you have a larger sum of money to keep in an account, want to earn more interest, and don’t anticipate needing to make a lot of transactions, a money market account could be a better fit. It’s also important to look at the initial deposit requirement and monthly balance minimum before making your decision.

Using Both Account Types

Consider using both a checking and a money market account. For instance, you can use your checking account for your everyday spending and to set up autopay on some of your recurring monthly bills.

Your money market account can be linked to pay a few of your bills. If you don’t touch your money market account otherwise, you can stay within any monthly transaction limits that may exist and earn a higher rate of interest, perhaps even an APY that’s competitive with high-yield savings accounts.

The Takeaway

While checking and money market accounts do share some similarities, they have important differences. A money market may offer higher interest, but it could have higher opening deposit and balance requirements, as well as transaction limits. Which kind of account works best for you will depend on your preferences and your unique financial situation.

If you’re considering where to keep your checking and savings account, 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 a money market account replace checking?

It depends: A money market account can have limited monthly withdrawals. Plus, there might be a higher minimum opening deposit and monthly balance needed. That said, it could potentially replace your checking if you don’t typically make a lot of transactions with your checking account and the potential requirements mentioned don’t bother you.

Do money market accounts have debit cards?

Yes, money market accounts typically come with debit cards, which can make spending easier. Money market accounts might have monthly caps on the number of withdrawals and transfers, however. The limit, if it exists, can vary depending on the bank or credit union.

How do money market rates compare to savings?

Money market rates can be comparable to those of some savings accounts. To get the most competitive rate, you might find a money market that’s offering around what you’d earn with a high-yield account at an online bank (currently around 4.00% or even 5.00%).


Photo credit: iStock/PeopleImages

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.

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