REITs vs. REIT ETFs: What’s the Difference?

Both real estate investment trusts (REITs) and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest in REITs offer some benefits of real estate investing, without having to own any properties directly. The main differences between a real estate ETF vs. REIT lie in how they’re structured, dividend payouts, taxes, and the fees investors might pay to own them.

Also, REITs are considered alternative investments, which means they tend not to move in sync with traditional investments like stocks and bonds.

Key Points

•   REITs and REIT ETFs offer benefits of real estate investing without direct property ownership.

•   Differences between REITs and REIT ETFs include structure, dividend payouts, taxes, and fees.

•   REITs are considered alternative investments and may not move in sync with traditional investments.

•   REITs generate income through rents, while REIT ETFs own a collection of REIT investments.

•   Investors can buy and sell shares of REIT ETFs on stock exchanges, while REITs can be publicly traded, non-traded, or private.

Overview of REITs

A real estate investment trust is a legal entity that owns and operates income-producing properties. REITs can hold a single property type or multiple property types, including:

•   Hotels and resorts

•   Self-storage facilities

•   Warehouses

•   Retail space, including shopping centers

•   Apartment buildings or multi-family homes

•   On-campus housing

•   Assisted living facilities

REITs that own and manage properties typically generate most, if not all, of their income through rents. Some REITs may also invest in mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. REITs that invest in mortgages can collect interest on those loans.

There are two conditions to qualify for a REIT. A company must:

•   Derive the bulk of its income and assets from real estate-related activities

•   Pay out at least 90% of dividends to shareholders

Companies that meet these conditions can deduct all of the dividends paid to shareholders from corporate taxable income.

💡 Quick Tip: Alternative investments provide exposure to sectors outside traditional asset classes like stocks, bonds, and cash. Some of the most common types of alt investments include commodities, real estate, foreign currency, private credit, private equity, collectibles, and hedge funds.

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What Is a REIT ETF?

An exchange-traded fund or ETF is a pooled investment vehicle that shares some of the features of a mutual fund but trades on an exchange like a stock. A REIT ETF is an exchange-traded fund that owns a basket or collection of REIT investments.

While REITs own properties, REIT ETFs do not. REIT ETFs have a fund manager who oversees the selection of securities held in the fund. The fund manager also decides when to sell off fund assets, if necessary.

A REIT ETF may be actively or passively managed. Actively managed ETFs often pursue investment strategies that are designed to beat the market. Passively managed ETFs, on the other hand, aim to mimic the performance of an underlying market benchmark or index.

Recommended: What Is a Dividend?

How REIT ETFs Work

REIT ETFs work by allowing investors to gain exposure to a variety of real estate assets in a single investment vehicle. For example, a REIT may hold:

•   Stocks issued by REITs

•   Other real estate stocks

•   Real estate derivatives, such as options, futures, or swaps

Investors can buy shares of a REIT ETF on a stock exchange and sell them the same way. Like other ETFs, REIT ETFs charge an expense ratio that reflects the cost of owning the fund annually. Expense ratios for a REIT ETF, as well as performance, can vary from one fund to the next.

REIT ETFs pay dividends to investors, which may be qualified or non-qualified. The fund may give investors the option to reinvest dividends vs. collecting them as passive income. Reinvesting dividends can allow you to purchase additional shares of a fund, without having to put up any money out of pocket.

A REIT ETF might track the performance of the MSCI US Investable Market Real Estate 25/50 Index, which offers investors access to multiple REIT property sectors, including:

•   Data centers

•   Health care

•   Hotels and resorts

•   Office space

•   Industrial

•   Real estate

•   Retail

•   Telecom

💡 Quick Tip: Before opening an investment account, know your investment objectives, time horizon, and risk tolerance. These fundamentals will help keep your strategy on track and with the aim of meeting your goals.

What’s the Difference between REITs and REIT ETFs?

REITs and REIT ETFs both offer opportunities to invest in real estate, without requiring investors to be hands-on in managing property. There are, however, some key differences to know when considering whether to invest in a REIT vs. REIT ETF.

Structure

REITs are most often structured as corporations, though they can also be established as partnerships or limited liability companies (LLCs). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires REITs to have a board of directors or trustees who oversee the company’s management. As mentioned, REITs must pay out 90% of dividends to shareholders to deduct those payments from their corporate taxable income.

A REIT may be categorized in one of three ways, depending on what it invests in.

•   Equity REITs own properties that generate rental income.

•   Mortgage REITs focus on mortgages and mortgage-backed securities.

•   Hybrid REITs hold both properties and mortgage investments.

REIT ETFs are structured similarly to mutual funds, in that they hold multiple securities and allow investors to pool funds together to invest in them. The fund manager decides which investments to include and how many securities to invest in overall.

Both REITs and REIT ETFs are structured to pay out dividends to shareholders. And both can generate those dividends through rental income, mortgage interest, or a combination of the two. The difference is that structurally, a REIT ETF is a step removed since it doesn’t own property directly.

Investment Style

REITs and REIT ETFs can take different approaches concerning their investment style. When comparing a REIT vs. REIT ETF, it’s helpful to consider the underlying investments, fund objectives, and management style.

An actively managed REIT, for example, may generate a very different return profile than a passively managed REIT ETF. Active management can potentially result in better returns if the REIT or REIT ETF can beat the market. However, they can also present more risk to investors.

Passive management, on the other hand, typically entails less risk to investors as the goal is to match the performance of an index or market benchmark rather than exceed it. Fees may be lower as well if there are fewer costs incurred to buy and sell securities within the fund.

How They’re Traded

Individual REITs can be publicly traded, public but non-traded, or private. Publicly traded REITs are bought and sold on stock market exchanges and are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Public non-traded REITs are also subject to SEC regulation but they don’t trade on exchanges.

Private REITs, meanwhile, are not required to register with the SEC, nor are they traded on exchanges. These types of REITs are most often traded by institutional or accredited investors and may require higher buy-ins.

REIT ETFs trade on an exchange like a stock. You can buy shares of a REIT or REIT ETF through your brokerage account. If you decide you’re no longer interested in owning those shares you can sell them on an exchange. Unlike traditional mutual funds, share prices for REIT ETFs can fluctuate continuously throughout the day.

The Takeaway

Real estate can be an addition to a portfolio for investors who are interested in alternative investments. Whether it makes sense to choose a real estate ETF vs. REIT, or vice versa, can depend on your short and long-term financial goals, as well as your preferred investment style.

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

Do REIT ETFs pay dividends?

REIT ETFs pay dividends to investors. When considering a REIT ETF for dividends, it’s important to assess whether they’re qualified or non-qualified, as that can have implications for the tax treatment of that income.

What are the risks of investing in REITs?

REITs are not risk-free investments, and their performance can be affected by a variety of factors, including interest rates, shifts in property values, and limited liquidity. In some cases, the dividend payout from a REIT can provide steady returns, but this is not always the case, as real estate conditions can fluctuate.

Do REITs have fees?

REITs can charge a variety of fees, which may include upfront commissions, sales loads, and annual management fees. REIT ETFs, meanwhile, charge expense ratios and you may pay a commission to buy or sell them, depending on which brokerage you choose. Evaluating the fees for a REIT or REIT ETF can help you better understand how much of your returns you’ll get to keep in exchange for owning the investment.


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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.


An investor should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the Fund carefully before investing. This and other important information are contained in the Fund’s prospectus. For a current prospectus, please click the Prospectus link on the Fund’s respective page. The prospectus should be read carefully prior to investing.
Alternative investments, including funds that invest in alternative investments, are risky and may not be suitable for all investors. Alternative investments often employ leveraging and other speculative practices that increase an investor's risk of loss to include complete loss of investment, often charge high fees, and can be highly illiquid and volatile. Alternative investments may lack diversification, involve complex tax structures and have delays in reporting important tax information. Registered and unregistered alternative investments are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as mutual funds.
Please note that Interval Funds are illiquid instruments, hence the ability to trade on your timeline may be restricted. Investors should review the fee schedule for Interval Funds via the prospectus.

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

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.


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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.


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.

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.

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Private Credit vs. Private Equity: What’s the Difference?

Private credit and private equity investments offer investors opportunities to build their portfolios in substantially different ways. With private credit, investors make loans to businesses and earn returns through interest. Private equity represents an ownership stake in a private company or a public company that is not traded on a stock exchange.

Each one serves a different purpose, which can be important for investors to understand.

Key Points

•   Private credit and private equity are alternative investments that offer different ways to build portfolios.

•   Private credit involves making loans to businesses and earning returns through interest, while private equity represents ownership stakes in private or delisted public companies.

•   Private credit investors include institutional investors, high-net-worth individuals, and family offices, while private equity investments are often made by private banks or high-net-worth individuals.

•   Private credit generates returns through interest, while private equity aims to generate returns through the sale of a company or going public.

•   Private credit carries liquidity risk, while private equity investments can be affected by the company’s performance and potential bankruptcy.

What Does Private Credit and Private Equity Mean?

Private equity and private credit are two types of alternative investments to the stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that often make up investor portfolios. Alternative investments in general, and private equity or credit in particular, can be attractive to investors because they can offer higher return potential.

However, investors may also face more risk.

💡 Quick Tip: While investing directly in alternative assets often requires high minimum amounts, investing in alts through a mutual fund or ETF generally involves a low minimum requirement, making them accessible to retail investors.

Alternative investments,
now for the rest of us.

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


Private Credit Definition

Private credit is an investment in businesses. Specifically, an investor or group of investors extends loans to private companies and delisted public companies that need capital. Investors collect interest on the loan as it’s repaid. Other terms used to describe private credit include direct lending, alternative lending, private debt, or non-bank lending.

Who invests in private credit? The list can include:

•   Institutional investors

•   High-net-worth individuals

•   Family offices or private banks

Retail investors may pursue private credit opportunities but they tend to represent a fairly small segment of the market overall. Private credit investment is expected to exceed $3.5 trillion globally by 2028.

Private Equity Definition

Private equity is an investment in a private or delisted public company in exchange for an ownership share. This type of investment generates returns when the company is sold, or in the case of a private company, goes public.

Similar to private credit, private equity investments are often the domain of private banks, or high-net-worth individuals. Private equity firms can act as a bridge between investors and companies that are seeking capital. Minimum investments may be much higher than the typical mutual fund buy-in, with investors required to bring $1 million or more to the table.

Private equity is often a long-term investment as you wait for the company to reach a point where it makes sense financially to sell or go public. One difference to note between private equity and venture capital lies in the types of companies investors target. Private equity is usually focused on established businesses while venture capital more often funds startups.

What Are the Differences Between Private Credit and Private Equity?

Private credit and private equity both allow for investment in businesses, but they don’t work the same way. Here’s a closer look at how they compare.

Investment Returns

Private credit generates returns for investors via interest, whereas private equity’s goal is to generate returns for investors after selling a company (or stake in a company) after the company has grown and appreciated, though that’s not always the case.

With private credit, returns may be more predictable as investors may be able to make a rough calculation of their potential returns. Private equity returns are less predictable, as it may be difficult to gauge how much the company will eventually sell for. But there’s always room for private equity returns to outstrip private credit if the company’s performance exceeds expectations. However, it’s important to remember that higher returns are not guaranteed.

Risk

Investing in private credit carries liquidity risk, in that investors may be waiting several years to recover their original principal. That risk can compound for investors who tie up large amounts of capital in one or two sectors of the market. Likewise, changing economic conditions could diminish returns.

If the economy slows and a company isn’t able to maintain the same level of revenue, that could make it difficult for it to meet its financial obligations. In a worst-case scenario, the company could go bankrupt. Private credit investors would then have to wait for the bankruptcy proceedings to be completed to find out how much of their original investment they’ll recover. And of course, any future interest they were expecting would be out the window.

With private equity investments, perhaps the biggest risk to investors is also that the company closes shop or goes bankrupt before it can be sold but for a different reason. In a bankruptcy filing, the company’s creditors (including private credit investors) would have the first claim on assets. If nothing remains after creditors have been repaid, private equity investors may walk away with nothing.

The nature of the company itself can add to your risk if there’s a lack of transparency around operations or financials. Privately-owned companies aren’t subject to the same federal regulation or scrutiny as publicly-traded ones so it’s important to do thorough research on any business you’re thinking of backing.

Ownership

A private credit investment doesn’t offer any kind of ownership to investors. You’re not buying part of the company; you’re simply funding it with your own money.

Private equity, on the other hand, does extend ownership to investors. The size of your ownership stake can depend on the size of your investment.

Investor Considerations When Choosing Between Private Credit and Private Equity

If you’re interested in private equity or private credit, there are some things you may want to weigh before dividing in. Here are some of the most important considerations for adding either of these investments to your portfolio.

•   Can you invest? As mentioned, private credit and equity are often limited to accredited investors. If you don’t meet the accredited investor standard, which is defined by income and net worth, these investments may not be open to you.

•   How much can you invest? If you are an accredited investor, the next thing to consider is how much of your portfolio you’re comfortable allocating to private credit or equity.

•   What’s your preferred holding period? When evaluating private credit and private equity, think about how long it will take you to realize returns and recover your initial investment.

•   Is predictability or the potential for higher returns more important? As mentioned, private credit returns are typically easy to estimate if you know the interest rate you’re earning. However, returns may be lower than what you could get with private equity, assuming the company performs well.

Here’s one more question to ask: how can I invest in private equity?

These investments may not be available in a standard brokerage account. If you’re looking for private credit opportunities you may need to go to a private bank that offers them. When private equity is the preferred option, a private equity firm is usually the connecting piece for those investments.

When comparing either one, remember to consider the minimum initial investment required as well as any fees you might pay.

💡 Quick Tip: Did you know that opening a brokerage account typically doesn’t come with any setup costs? Often, the only requirement to open a brokerage account — aside from providing personal details — is making an initial deposit.

The Takeaway

Private credit and private equity can diversify a portfolio and help you build wealth, though not in the same way. Comparing the pros and cons, assessing your personal tolerance for risk and ability to invest in either can help you decide if alternative investments might be right for you.

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

Why do investors like private credit?

Private credit can offer some unique advantages to investors, starting with predictable returns and steady income. The market for private credit continues to grow, meaning there are more opportunities for investors to add these types of investments to their portfolios. Compared to private equity, private credit carries a lower degree of risk.

How much money do you need for private equity?

The minimum investment required for private equity can vary, but it’s not uncommon for investors to need $100,000 or more to get started. In some instances, private equity investment minimums may surpass $1 million, $5 million, or even $10 million.

Can anyone invest in private credit or private equity?

Typically, no. Private credit and private equity investments most often involve accredited investors or legal entities, such as a family office. It’s possible to find private credit and private equity investments for retail investors, however, you may need to meet the SEC’s definition of accredited to be eligible.


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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.

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.

Claw Promotion: 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.


An investor should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the Fund carefully before investing. This and other important information are contained in the Fund’s prospectus. For a current prospectus, please click the Prospectus link on the Fund’s respective page. The prospectus should be read carefully prior to investing.
Alternative investments, including funds that invest in alternative investments, are risky and may not be suitable for all investors. Alternative investments often employ leveraging and other speculative practices that increase an investor's risk of loss to include complete loss of investment, often charge high fees, and can be highly illiquid and volatile. Alternative investments may lack diversification, involve complex tax structures and have delays in reporting important tax information. Registered and unregistered alternative investments are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as mutual funds.
Please note that Interval Funds are illiquid instruments, hence the ability to trade on your timeline may be restricted. Investors should review the fee schedule for Interval Funds via the prospectus.

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How to Invest in Real Estate: 7 Ways for Beginners

Real estate investing can be an effective way to hedge against the effects of inflation in a portfolio while generating a steady stream of income. When it comes to how to invest in real estate, there’s no single path to entry.

Where you decide to get started can ultimately depend on how much money you have to invest, your risk tolerance, and how hands-on you want to be when managing real estate investments.

Key Points

•   Real estate investing offers portfolio diversification and potential income generation.

•   Benefits of real estate investing include hedging against inflation and potential tax breaks.

•   Different ways to invest in real estate include REITs, real estate funds, REIT ETFs, real estate crowdfunding, rental properties, fix and flip properties, and investing in your own home.

•   Each investment option has its own requirements, fees, holding periods, and risk factors.

•   Consider your financial goals, risk tolerance, and available capital when deciding which real estate investment strategy is right for you.

Why Invest in Real Estate?

Real estate investing can yield numerous benefits, for new and seasoned investors alike. Here are some of the main advantages to consider with property investments.

•   Real estate can diversify your portfolio, allowing you to better balance risk and rewards.

•   Provides the opportunity to generate investment returns outside of owning securities such as stocks, ETFs, or bonds.

•   Historically, real estate is often seen as a hedge against inflation, since property prices tend to increase in tandem with price increases for other consumer goods and services.

•   Owning real estate investments can allow you to generate a steady stream of passive income in the form of rents or dividends.

•   Rental property ownership can include some tax breaks since the IRS allows you to deduct ordinary and necessary expenses related to operating the property.

•   Real estate may appreciate significantly over time, which could result in a sizable gain should you decide to sell it. However, real estate can also depreciate in value, leading to a possible loss or negative return. Investors should know that the real estate market is different than the stock market, and adjust their expectations accordingly.

There’s one more thing that makes real estate investing for beginners particularly attractive: There are many ways to do it, which means you can choose investments that are best suited to your needs and goals.

💡 Quick Tip: While investing directly in alternative assets often requires high minimum amounts, investing in alts through a mutual fund or ETF generally involves a low minimum requirement, making them accessible to retail investors.

Alternative investments,
now for the rest of us.

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


7 Ways to Invest in Real Estate

Real estate investments can take different forms, some of which require direct property ownership and others that don’t. As you compare different real estate investments, here are some important things to weigh:

•   Minimum investment requirements

•   Any fees you might pay to own the investment

•   Holding periods

•   Past performance and expected returns

•   Investment-specific risk factors

With those things in mind, here are seven ways to get started with real estate investing for beginners.

1. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

A real estate investment trust (REIT) is a company that owns and operates income-producing properties. The types of properties you might find in a REIT include warehouses, storage facilities, shopping centers, and office space. A REIT may also own mortgages or mortgage-backed securities.

REITs allow investors to enjoy the benefits of property ownership without having to buy a building or land. Specifically, that means steady income as REITs are required to pay out 90% of taxable income annually to shareholders in the form of dividends. Most REIT dividends are considered to be ordinary income for tax purposes.

Many REITs are publicly traded on an exchange just like a stock. That means you can buy shares through your brokerage account if you have one, making it relatively easy to add REITs to your portfolio. Remember to consider any commission fees you might pay to trade REIT shares in your brokerage account.

2. Real Estate Funds

Real estate funds are mutual funds that own a basket of securities. Depending on the fund’s investment strategy, that may include:

•   Individual commercial properties

•   REITs

•   Mortgages and mortgage-backed securities

Mutual funds also trade on stock exchanges, just like REITs. One of the key differences is that mutual funds are not required to pay out dividends to investors, though they can do so.

Instead, real estate funds aim to provide value to investors in the form of capital appreciation. A real estate fund may buy and hold property investments for the long term, in anticipation of those investments increasing in value over time.

Investing in a real estate fund vs. REIT could offer broader exposure to a wider range of property types or investments. A REIT, for instance, may invest only in hotels and resorts whereas a real estate mutual fund may diversify with hotels, office space, retail centers, and other property types.

3. REIT ETFs

A REIT ETF or exchange-traded fund is similar to a mutual fund, but the difference is that it trades on an exchange just like a stock. There’s also a difference between REIT ETFs and real estate mutual funds regarding what they invest in. With a REIT ETF, holdings are primarily concentrated on real estate investment trusts only.

That means you could buy a single REIT ETF and gain exposure to 10, 20 or more REITs in one investment vehicle.

Some of the main advantages of choosing a REIT ETF vs. real estate funds or individual REITs include:

•   Increased tax efficiency

•   Lower expense ratios

•   Potential for higher returns

A REIT ETF may also offer a lower minimum investment than a REIT or real estate fund, which could make it suitable for beginning investors who are working with a smaller amount of capital.

But along with those advantages, investors should know about some of the potential drawbacks:

•   ETF values may be sensitive to interest rate changes

•   REIT ETFs may experience volatility related to property trends

•   REIT ETFs may be subject to several other types of risk, such as management and liquidity risk more so than other types of ETFs.

As always, investors should consider the risks along with the potential advantages of any investment.

4. Real Estate Crowdfunding

Real estate crowdfunding platforms allow multiple investors to come together and pool funds to fund property investments. The minimum investment may be as low as $500, depending on which platform you’re using, and if you have enough cash to invest you could fund multiple projects.

Compared to REITs, REIT ETFs, or real estate funds, crowdfunding is less liquid since there’s usually a required minimum holding period you’re expected to commit to. That’s important to know if you’re not looking to tie up substantial amounts of money for several years.

You’ll also need to meet a platform’s requirements before you can invest. Some crowdfunding platforms only accept accredited investors. To be accredited, you must:

•   Have a net worth over $1 million, excluding your primary residence, OR

•   Have an income of $200,000 ($300,000 if married) for each of the prior two years, with the expectation of future income at the same level

You can also qualify as accredited if you hold a Series 7, Series 65, or Series 82 securities license.

5. Rental Properties

Buying a rental property can help you create a long-term stream of income if you’re able to keep tenants in the home. Some of the ways you could generate rental income with real estate include:

•   Buying a second home and renting it out to long-term tenants

•   Buying a vacation home and renting it to short-term or seasonal tenants

•   Purchasing a multi-unit property, such as a duplex or triplex, and renting to multiple tenants

•   Renting a room in your home

But recognize the risks or downsides associated with rental properties, too:

•   Negative cash flow resulting from tenancy problems

•   Problem tenants

•   Lack of liquidity

•   Maintenance costs and property taxes

Further, the biggest consideration with rental properties usually revolves around how you’re going to finance a property purchase. You might try for a conventional mortgage, an FHA loan if you’re buying a multifamily home and plan to live in one of the units, a home equity loan or HELOC if you own a primary residence, or seller financing.

Each one has different credit, income, and down payment requirements. Weighing the pros and cons of each one can help you decide which financing option might be best.

6. Fix and Flip Properties

With fix-and-flip investments, you buy a property to renovate and then resell it for (ideally) a large profit. Becoming a house flipper could be lucrative if you’re able to buy properties low, then sell high, but it does take some knowledge of the local market you plan to sell in.

You’ll also have to think about who’s going to handle the renovations. Doing them yourself means you don’t have to spend any money hiring contractors, but if you’re not experienced with home improvements you could end up making more work for yourself in the long run.

If you’re looking for a financing option, hard money loans are one possibility. These loans let you borrow enough to cover the purchase price of the home and your estimated improvements, and make interest-only payments. However, these loans typically have terms ranging from 9 to 18 months so you’ll need to be fairly certain you can sell the property within that time frame.

7. Invest in Your Own Home

If you own a home, you could treat it as an investment on its own. Making improvements to your property that raise its value, for example, could pay off later should you decide to sell it. You may also be able to claim a tax break for the interest you pay on your mortgage.

Don’t own a home yet? Understanding what you need to qualify for a mortgage is a good place to start. Once you’re financially ready to buy, you can take the next step and shop around for the best mortgage lenders.

How to Know If Investing in Real Estate Is a Good Idea for You

Is real estate investing right for everyone? Not necessarily, as every investor’s goals are different. Asking yourself these questions can help you determine where real estate might fit into your portfolio:

•   How much money are you able and willing to invest in real estate?

•   What is your main goal or reason for considering property investments?

•   If you’re interested in rental properties, will you oversee their management yourself or hire a property management company? How much income would you need them to generate?

•   If you’re considering a fix-and-flip, can you make the necessary commitment of time and sweat equity to get the property ready to list?

•   How will you finance a rental or fix-and-flip if you’re thinking of pursuing either one?

•   If you’re thinking of choosing REITs, real estate crowdfunding, or REIT ETFs, how long do you anticipate holding them in your portfolio?

•   How much risk do you feel comfortable with, and what do you perceive as the biggest risks of real estate investing?

Talking to a financial advisor may be helpful if you’re wondering how real estate investments might affect your tax situation, or have a bigger goal in mind, like generating enough passive income from investments to retire early.

💡 Quick Tip: When you’re actively investing in stocks, it’s important to ask what types of fees you might have to pay. For example, brokers may charge a flat fee for trading stocks, or require some commission for every trade. Taking the time to manage investment costs can be beneficial over the long term.

The Takeaway

Real estate investing is one of the most attractive alternative investments for portfolio diversification. While you might assume that property investing is only for the super-rich, it’s not as difficult to get started as you might think. Keep in mind that, depending on how much money you have to invest initially and the degree of risk you’re comfortable taking, you’re not just limited to one option when building out your portfolio with real estate.

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

How Can I Invest in Property With Little Money?

If you don’t have a lot of money to invest in property, you might consider real estate investment trusts or real estate ETFs for your first investments. REITs and ETFs can offer lower barriers to entry versus something like purchasing a rental property or a fix-and-flip property.

Is Real Estate Investing Worth It?

Real estate investing can be worth it if you’re able to generate steady cash flow and income, hedge against inflation, enjoy tax breaks, and/or earn above-average returns. Whether investing in real estate is worth it for you can depend on what your goals are, how much money you have to invest, and how much time you’re willing to commit to managing those investments.

Is Investing in Real Estate Better Than Stocks?

Real estate tends to have a low correlation with stocks, meaning that what happens in the stock market doesn’t necessarily affect what happens in the property markets. Investing in real estate can also be attractive for investors who are looking for a way to hedge against the effects of inflation over the long term.

Is Investing in Real Estate Safer Than Stocks?

Just like stocks, real estate investments carry risk meaning one isn’t necessarily safer than the other. Investing in both real estate and stocks can help you create a well-rounded portfolio, as the risk/reward profile for each one isn’t the same.


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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.

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.

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

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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.


Claw Promotion: 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.


An investor should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the Fund carefully before investing. This and other important information are contained in the Fund’s prospectus. For a current prospectus, please click the Prospectus link on the Fund’s respective page. The prospectus should be read carefully prior to investing.
Alternative investments, including funds that invest in alternative investments, are risky and may not be suitable for all investors. Alternative investments often employ leveraging and other speculative practices that increase an investor's risk of loss to include complete loss of investment, often charge high fees, and can be highly illiquid and volatile. Alternative investments may lack diversification, involve complex tax structures and have delays in reporting important tax information. Registered and unregistered alternative investments are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as mutual funds.
Please note that Interval Funds are illiquid instruments, hence the ability to trade on your timeline may be restricted. Investors should review the fee schedule for Interval Funds via the prospectus.

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TFSA vs RRSP: What’s the Difference?

TFSA vs RRSP: What’s the Difference?

Both TFSAs and RRSPs are accounts that provide Canadian consumers with a chance to save while enjoying investment earnings and unique tax benefits. While a TFSA acts as a more general savings account, an RRSP is used for retirement savings.

Saving is never a bad idea, so here you can learn the difference between these accounts and how they can play a role in securing your financial future.

Keep reading for a more detailed breakdown of a TFSA vs. RRSP so you can make the right financial move for your needs.

What Is the TFSA?

A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is a type of registered tax-advantaged savings account to help Canadians earn money on their savings — tax-free. TFSA accounts were created in 2009 by the Canadian government to encourage eligible citizens to contribute to this type of savings account.

Essentially, a TFSA holds qualified investments that can generate capital gains, interest, and dividends, and they’re tax-free. These accounts can be used to build an emergency fund, to save for a down payment on a home, or even to finance a dream vacation.

A TFSA can contain the following types of investments:

•   Cash

•   Stocks

•   Bonds

•   Mutual funds

It’s possible to withdraw the contributions and earnings generated from dividends, interest, and capital gains without having to pay any taxes. Accountholders don’t even have to report withdrawals as income when it’s time to file taxes.

There is a limit to how much someone can contribute to a TFSA on an annual basis. This limit is referred to as a contribution limit, and every year the Canadian government determines what the contribution limit for that year is. If someone doesn’t meet the contribution limit one year, their remaining allowed contributions can be made up for in following years.

To contribute to a TFSA, an individual must be at least 18 years of age and be a Canadian resident with a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN).

💡 Quick Tip: Tired of paying pointless bank fees? When you open a bank account online you often avoid excess charges.

What Is the RRSP?

A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is, as the name indicates, a type of savings plan specifically designed to help boost retirement savings. To obtain one, a Canadian citizen must register with the Canadian federal government for this financial product and can then start saving.

When someone contributes to an RRSP, their contributions are considered to be tax-advantaged. What this means: The funds they contribute to their RRSP are exempt from being taxed the year they make the contribution (which can reduce the total amount of taxes they need to pay for that year). On top of that, the investment income these contributions generate will grow tax-deferred. This means the account holder won’t pay any taxes on the earnings until they withdraw them.

Unlike a TFSA, there isn’t a minimum age requirement to open and contribute to an RRSP. That being said, certain financial institutions may require their customers to be the age of majority in order to contribute. It’s possible to contribute to an RRSP until the year the account holder turns 71 as long as they are a Canadian resident, earned an income, and filed a tax return.

Keep reading for a TFSA vs. RRSP comparison.

Similarities Between a TFSA and an RRSP

How does a TFSA vs. RRSP compare? There are a few similarities between TFSAs and RRSPs that are worth highlighting. Here are the main ways in which they are the same:

•   Only Canadians citizens can contribute

•   Contributions can help reach savings goals

•   Investments can be held in each account type

•   Both accounts offer tax advantages.

Differences Between a TFSA and RRSP

Next, let’s answer this question: What is the difference between an RRSP and a TFSA? Despite the fact that both an RRSP and a TFSA share similar goals (saving money and earning interest on it) and advantages (tax benefits), they have some key differences to be aware of.

•   Intended use. RRSPs are for retirement savings whereas TFSAs can be used to save for any purpose.

•   Age eligibility. To contribute to a TFSA one must be 18 years old, but there isn’t an age requirement to open an RRSP.

•   Contribution limit. The limits are usually set annually and are different for TFSAs and RRSPs. For 2024, the contribution limit for an RRSP is the lesser of either 18% of earned income reported on an individual’s tax return for the previous year or the contribution limit, which is currently $31,560 in US dollars. The limit for a TFSA, which also can vary annually, was most recently $7,000.

•   Taxation on withdrawals. While RRSP withdrawals are taxable (but subject to certain exceptions), TFSA withdrawals can be made at any time tax-free.

•   Taxation on contributions. Contributions made to a TFSA aren’t tax-deductible, but RRSP contributions are.

•   Plan maturity. An RRSP matures at the end of the calendar year that the account holder turns 71. TFSAs don’t have age limits for account maturity.

•   Spousal contributions. There is no form of spousal TFSA available, but someone can contribute to a spousal RRSP.

How Do I Choose Between a TFSA and RRSP?

Choosing between a TFSA and an RRSP depends on someone’s unique savings goals and tax preferences. That being said, if someone’s main goal is saving for retirement, they’ll likely find that an RRSP is the right fit for them. When someone contributes to an RRSP, they can defer paying taxes during their peak earning years. Once they retire and make withdrawals (which they will need to pay taxes on), they will ideally have a lower income (and be in a lower tax bracket) and smaller tax liabilities at that point in their life.

If someone wants to be able to use their savings for a variety of different purposes (perhaps including a medium-term goal like the amount needed for a down payment on a home), they may find that a TFSA offers them more flexibility.
That said, there’s no reason TFSA savings can’t be used for retirement later on. Contributing to a TFSA is a great option for someone who has already maxed out their RRSP contributions for the year, but who wants to continue saving and enjoying tax benefits.

Recommended: What Tax Bracket Do I Fall Under?

Can I Have Both a TFSA and RRSP?

It is indeed possible to have both an RRSP and TFSA and to contribute to them at the same time. Putting money into both of these financial vehicles can be a great way to save. There are no downsides associated with contributing to both an RRSP and TFSA at the same time if a person can afford to do so.

Can I Have Multiple RRSP and TFSA Accounts?

Yes, it’s possible to have more than one TFSA and RRSP open at the same time, but there’s no real benefit here. The same contribution limits apply.

That means that opening more than one version of the same account or plan only leads to having more accounts to manage and incurring more administration and management fees. Just as you don’t want to pay fees on your checking account and other bank accounts, you probably don’t want to burn through cash on fees here.

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!


Should I Prioritize One Over the Other?

Which type of account someone should prioritize depends on their savings goals. Their preferences regarding the unique tax advantages of each account may also come into play. That being said, if someone is focused on saving for retirement, they’ll likely want to make sure they max out their RRSP contributions first.

The Takeaway

Both RRSP and TFSA accounts are great ways for Canadian citizens to save for financial goals like retiring or financing a wedding. Each account has unique advantages and contribution limits. While an RRSP account is designed to help with stashing away cash for retirement, a TFSA account can be used to save for any type of financial need. Whether you choose one or both of these products, you’ll be on a path towards saving and helping to secure your financial future.

Are you U.S.-based and looking to increase your savings efforts?

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

Is it better to invest in TFSA or RRSP?

When it comes to TFSA vs. RRSP, there’s no right answer to whether investing in one is better than the other. Someone focused on saving for retirement may want to prioritize an RRSP, while someone who wants to save for other expenses (like a home or wedding) may find a TFSA more appealing.

Should I max out RRSP or TFSA first?

If someone is focused on saving for retirement, they may want to max out their RRSP first. That being said, this is a personal decision that depends on unique financial goals and tax preferences.

When should you contribute to RRSP vs TFSA?

Typically, the contribution deadline for RRSPs is around March 1st. A Canadian citizen can put funds in a TFSA at any point in a calendar year, and if they don’t max out their account, they will usually be able to contribute the remaining amount in the future.


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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 deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government 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, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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.


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.

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Guide to Deposit Interest Rates

Guide to Deposit Interest Rates

A deposit account — such as a savings account or interest-bearing checking account — can be an attractive place to park your cash. It’s safe, allows relatively quick access, and even helps you earn a little bit of money, thanks to what’s known as the deposit interest rate.

The deposit interest rate is the amount of interest that a bank or other financial institution will pay you when you make a deposit. (You may also hear it referred to by such terms as simply the interest rate or the APY, for annual percentage yield.) Understanding deposit interest rates can help you choose among banking products and find the one that best suits your needs. Learn more here.

What Is a Deposit Interest Rate?

When you put money into a deposit account, your bank or financial institution will pay you interest. Why? Banks make money by using a portion of the money that’s deposited with them to make loans to other customers, perhaps as a mortgage, business loan, or personal loan.

The bank pays you interest for the privilege of lending out your money. They will then charge a higher interest rate on the loans they make, which is how the bank turns a profit.

Incidentally, just because a bank is loaning out your money doesn’t mean your cash won’t be there when you need it. Banks typically carry a cash reserve to cover withdrawals their customers need to make.

💡 Quick Tip: Banish bank fees. Open a new bank account with SoFi and you’ll pay no overdraft, minimum balance, or any monthly fees.

How Does a Deposit Interest Rate Work?

Deposit interest rates in banking are expressed as percentages. The amount of interest you earn will be based on how much cash you’ve deposited in your account, also known as your principal.

The interest rate you’re offered will vary by account. For example, a simple savings account may offer a relatively low interest rate, while a high-yield savings account or a money market account may offer a higher rate.

Your interest rate will also be determined in part by the federal funds rate. That rate is the amount the Federal Reserve suggests banks charge to lend each other money overnight.

Recommended: How Does a High Yield Savings Account Work?

How Is Deposit Interest Rate Calculated?

Wondering how interest rates are calculated? It usually is done in one of two ways: as simple interest or compounding interest.

Simple interest is a matter of multiplying the principal by the interest rate. As the name suggests, it is easier to calculate. However, most banks will use compounding to calculate interest rates. Compounding interest essentially allows you to earn a return on your returns, which can help your money grow exponentially. So your principal earns interest, and that amount of interest is added to the principal. Then the interest rate gets calculated again at a certain interval based on that pumped-up principal. This keeps happening, helping your savings grow. Interest can compound at various rates, such as continuously, monthly, or annually, depending on the product and financial institution.

Ways Deposit Interest Rates Are Applied by Institutions

Financial institutions can apply interest rates in a variety of ways. First, they can be fixed or variable. A fixed interest rate guarantees that you will receive an interest payment equal to a certain percentage of your principal. This percentage won’t change over the life of the account. So if your interest rate on your money is set at, say, 2%, that is what you will get, period.

A variable interest rate, on the other hand, may change according to shifts in a benchmark interest rate, such as the federal funds rate. As the benchmark rises, so too will the interest rate. What if the benchmark drops? That means you’re paid less interest.

Additionally, some deposit accounts will offer higher interest rates for larger balances. A certificate of deposit, or CD, may offer you better interest rates if you agree to park your cash in the account for a longer term.

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Here’s how to do the math on a couple of examples of deposit interest rates. If you’re a bank customer with $10,000 to deposit, here are two scenarios:

•   Bank 1 is a bricks-and-mortar bank offering 0.01% interest. (Remember, one percentage point is one-hundredth of a whole.) If you deposit your $10,000 for one year, you’ll earn: 10,000 x 0.0001 = 1. At the end of 365 days, you will have the principal plus the interest, or $10,001.

•   Bank 2 is an online bank offering 1.0% interest. If you deposit the same $10,000 for a year, you’ll earn: 10,000 x 0.01 = 100. You’ll have $10,100 at year’s end.

Types of Deposit Interest Rate Accounts

There are a variety of different deposit account types that you might encounter. Here are four of which you should be aware. We’ll explain how each one works.

1. Savings Accounts

Savings accounts are designed specifically as a place for you to put cash you might need in the short-term. For example, you might keep your emergency fund in a savings account, since you’d need quick access to cash if your car’s transmission failed or you had to cover an unexpected medical bill.

Not only does your savings account allow you to earn interest, it is also one of the safest places you can put your money. That’s because the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) guarantees your money, up to $250,000, per depositor, per account category, per insured institution, as it does with the deposit accounts below. That means in the rare case that your bank fails, you will still have access to your money.

You can deposit cash at an ATM, in person, or through mobile deposits. You can deposit checks or cash into the account, too. When you make a deposit, your funds may not be immediately available for use. Check with your bank to understand their rules around fund availability.

2. Interest-Bearing Checking Accounts

Many checking accounts have very low fees and don’t pay interest. As a result, it doesn’t make sense to keep a lot of money in this type of account. In fact, you may want to keep just enough to pay your bills.

Interest-bearing checking accounts are an exception. They allow you to collect interest on your account, which could be a nice perk. After all, you may well have your paycheck deposited there by setting up direct deposit, which can make your funds available quickly. Whatever remains in your account after paying your bills could be earning you some interest.

However, these accounts may be more complicated and expensive, with higher fees and minimum balance requirements. It’s important to make sure that the expense of holding the account doesn’t outweigh the interest paid.

💡 Quick Tip: If your checking account doesn’t offer decent rates, why not apply for an online checking account with SoFi to earn 0.50% APY. That’s 7x the national checking account average.

3. Certificates of Deposit

A certificate of deposit, or CD, is a product offered by financial institutions that offers a higher interest rate if you agree to keep your funds in place for a period of time. Typically, the length of time is from six months to a few years, but it could be anywhere from one month to 20 years. The longer the period, the higher the interest rate you will probably be offered.

Here’s the rub: If you find that you need the money in the CD before the account matures (meaning the agreed-to time period passes), you’ll likely have to pay early withdrawal penalties. That said, it is possible to get CD’s with no-penalties, but you may have to compromise, such as by accepting lower interest rates.

4. Money Market Accounts

Money market accounts, on the other hand, pay interest and allow for withdrawals. They often pay higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts. However, in return, these accounts may require you to make higher initial deposits and they may have minimum balances, which could be $10,000 or more.

Like checking accounts, money market accounts can offer checks and debit cards, though they may limit the number of transactions you may make per month.

The Takeaway

There are a number of different deposit accounts that offer a deposit interest rate, ranging from checking and savings accounts to CDs and money market accounts. The interest rates will likely vary. For example, with CDs, the rates may depend on factors such as account minimums or term of deposit. Understanding these kinds of “fine print” differences will help you find the right match for your needs, whether your goal is the highest possible interest or having enhanced access to your funds.

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

Do you get interest when you deposit money?

When you deposit money in an interest-bearing deposit account, you will start to earn interest. In other words, your money makes money.

Which deposits pay more interest?

The amount of interest you earn will depend on your interest rate and the amount of money in the account. The more money you deposit and the higher the interest rate, the more interest you will earn. Also, online banks typically pay interest rates than bricks-and-mortar banks.

Do all banks have deposit interest rates?

Banks that offer interest-bearing deposit accounts will always offer a deposit interest rate.


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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 deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government 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, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

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.


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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