Refinancing Student Loans to Buy a Car

If you’re thinking about buying a car, it’s important to consider how the purchase will fit into your overall financial responsibilities, including student debt. You’ll want to be sure you can afford both the cost of the car and the ongoing expense of driving and maintaining it.

Refinancing student loans to buy a car is one option that may allow you to free up money to put toward the cost of a car or monthly car payments. Here’s what to know about refinancing student loans to buy a car, if you can use student loans to buy a car, and how to make the choice that’s right for you.

Can I Use Student Loans to Buy a Car?

Federal student loans (and many private ones) are for “qualified” educational expenses, such as tuition, room and board, and books and supplies. And while the cost of transportation (for example, commuting to school) is considered a qualified expense, purchasing a car is not.

So can you use student loans to buy a car if you’re using the car to drive to class? No – only an allowance for the cost of driving the car to school would be an eligible expense. It’s an important distinction: A borrower caught misusing student loan funds can face serious repercussions, including having their loan revoked and the balance becoming immediately due.

Some private loans may have broader criteria for what constitutes an educational expense, and fewer penalties for how you use the loans. Still, using a private student loan to buy a car may not be the most efficient or smartest use of funds. You may end up paying more interest than you would on a typical car loan, and then have fewer funds to go toward the educational expenses you need.

So what do you do if you have student debt and need to buy a car? Refinancing may be an option, and can free up money in your budget to open a car loan. Here’s what to consider before refinancing student loans to buy a car.

Recommended: Should I Buy a New or Used Car?

Refinancing Student Loans to Buy a Car

When you refinance a student loan, you pay off all or some of your loans with a new loan with new terms from a private lender. The primary benefit of refinancing is that you can save money over the life of the loan if you’re able to lower your interest rate.

You can also change the terms of your payment, potentially spreading your payment over a longer period of time, and paying less each month. If you go this route, however, you may end up paying more in interest over the life of your loan.

Refinancing student loans can help lower your monthly payments and have more room in your budget to cover the costs of a car. However, it’s important to understand that if you refinance federal student loans, you’ll lose access to federal benefits and protections, such as income-driven repayment plans and forgiveness. If you’re planning to take advantage of any of these federal programs, refinancing is likely not a good option for you.

Pros of Refinancing Student Loans to Buy a Car

Considering the pros and cons of refinancing student loans to buy a car can help you decide if this choice is right for you. You’ll want to be able to cover the costs of the car as you continue to pay your student loans back. Some of the pros of refinancing a student loan to buy a car include:

Lower Monthly Student Loan Payments Can Offset Car Costs

Refinancing your student loans can lower your monthly student loan payment if you’re able to secure a lower interest rate or extend your loan term. A lower monthly student loan payment can mean that you have more funds to cover the costs of buying or maintaining a new car.

Recommended: Guide to Student Loan Refunds

As mentioned, lowering your interest rate can save you money over the life of a loan. Extending your loan term may not save you money, but it can free up cash to have more funds to put toward the costs of a car.

Simplified Payments Can Make Tracking Car Expenses Easier

When you refinance multiple loans into a single new loan, you’ll have one new monthly payment. This can make it easier to keep track of your student loan payments and be sure you’re making them on time.

And if you’re looking for ways to get a car loan, having a simplified student loan payment can make budgeting easier as you add a new loan to the mix. As mentioned earlier, you may find lower interest rates on car loans than what you’re paying on your student loans — another reason using student loans funds toward car expenses may not be the best choice even if they’re allowed according to your loan terms.

Saving Money on Student Loans Can Help Pay for a Car

Many people explore refinancing even when they don’t need to make an immediate purchase like a car. That’s because refinancing may help save money over the life of the loan if you can lower your interest rate.

And while applying for student loans can be arduous, applying to refinance student loans is relatively straightforward. You can check your rate and get an estimate of loan terms before you officially apply, and an application can generally be completed online. You can also compare refinancing rates without triggering a hard credit check—a credit check is only done once a formal loan application is submitted.

Cons of Refinancing Student Loans to Buy a Car

While refinancing student loans to buy a car can be one way to cover car payments when you have existing student debt, there are cons to this option as well. Here are some of the cons of refinancing a student loan to buy a car.

Recommended: How To Save Up For a Car

Losing Access to Original Loan Terms

If you refinance your loans, you lose access to the terms of the original loan. This may be important to consider if you’re refinancing federal loans.

Refinancing federal loans not only means potentially missing out on federal forgiveness or repayment programs, but also the opportunity for deferment or forbearance if you qualify.

As mentioned earlier, if you plan to take advantage of federal programs, refinancing is likely not a good option for you. Some people may choose only to refinance private loans.

Repayment May Take Longer

If you extend the length of your student loan term when you refinance to lower your monthly payments to offset the costs of a new car, it will take longer to repay your loan and you may end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan.

Overstretching Your Budget

It’s important to make sure that you can afford any car loan that you take out. If you’re planning on getting a car loan or leasing a car, will you be able to comfortably cover your student loans, the car payment, and other bills? What would happen if you were to lose a job or source of income? Those questions can help you assess whether a car payment would stretch you financially.

A borrower who can’t make the payments risks having the car repossessed and damaging their credit. If you ever think you’ll miss a monthly car payment, reach out to your lender to find out what your options are. Down the road, refinancing your car loan is also an option if you’re able to secure better terms.

Pros of refinancing student loans to buy a car Cons of refinancing student loans to buy a car
Lower monthly student loan payments can offset car costs Losing access to federal benefits and protections if you refinance federal loans
Simplified payments can make tracking car expenses easier Longer repayment time if you extend your term
Saving money on student loans can help pay for a car Overstretching your budget if you’re not able to afford the costs of a new car

Recommended: Passive Income Ideas

Refinancing Your Student Loans With SoFi

When you need a new car, you may need to rethink your finances in order to cover the costs. Refinancing student loans to buy a car is one option that can help you free up funds. You may be able to lower your monthly payments and save money over the life of the loan if you qualify for a lower interest rate. You can calculate your potential savings using a student loan refinance calculator.

Refinancing can be a good option if you’re able to qualify for a lower interest rate and are not planning to use any federal programs. When you refinance a federal loan, you lose access to federal benefits and protections.

If you’re considering refinancing your student loans, SoFi offers flexible terms, competitive rates, and no fees.

Learn more about whether refinancing student loans with SoFi is right for you.

FAQ

Do car dealerships look at student loans?

Your student loans appear on your credit report. If you apply for a car loan from a dealership, then they may be able to see your payment history and your credit score on your credit report. Student loans also count toward your debt-to-income ratio which may affect your ability to secure a car loan.

Does financing a car affect student loans?

Financing a car won’t affect your current student loans, but consider how taking on another loan will impact your finances. It’s important to be certain that you’ll be able to pay both your student loan payments and any new car loan payments on time. Refinancing a student loan can help offset the costs of a new car if you can save money by qualifying for a lower interest rate. It can be a good option if you’re refinancing private loans or not planning to take advantage of any federal programs.

Is it smart to buy a car after college?

Buying a car after college is a personal decision. But keep in mind that a lot can change in a few years, and a new car or a lease may be a liability if your plans change. It may make sense to consider buying a used car or holding off on buying a car until you have a sense of what your commute and lifestyle will look like.


Photo credit: iStock/LeoPatrizi

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


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.


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.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

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Buying a Home With Student Loan Debt: How Difficult Is It?

Buying a Home With Student Loan Debt: How Difficult Is It?

While student loan debt can make it harder to qualify for a mortgage, that isn’t necessarily the case for every student loan borrower.

Keep reading to learn more about buying a home when you have student loan debt and how to make the process easier.

How Student Loan Debt Might Affect Buying a Home

Student loan debt isn’t singled out by mortgage lenders, but when someone applies for a mortgage, all of their debt is taken into account when the lender decides whether or not to loan them money and what rates or terms to offer — particularly when it comes to their DTI, or debt-to-income ratio.

More on that in a minute.

Does the Government Have a Student Loan Home Buying Program?

The government doesn’t have a home buying program whose goal is to help people with student loans secure a mortgage, but it does have programs designed to help first-time and repeat homebuyers buy a single-family home, condo, or other primary dwellings, which may be a good fit for borrowers with student loan debt.

FHA loans (guaranteed by the U.S. Federal Housing Administration) are the best known. Applicants with a minimum 580 FICO® credit score qualify for the 3.5% down payment advantage; someone with a 500 to 580 score might be able to get an FHA loan with 10% down.

Lenders of VA loans (backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs or, in the case of Native American Direct Loans, issued directly) and USDA loans (backed or issued by the Department of Agriculture) often accept lower credit scores than would be required for a conventional mortgage.

VA loans usually require no down payment, and USDA loans never do.

Do Student Loans Affect Your Credit Scores?

When it comes to student loan debt and buying a home, what matters more during the mortgage application process than having student loans is a potential borrower’s credit score.

Credit scores, usually from 300 to 850, are made up of factors such as a history of on-time debt payments, how much debt someone has, and what type of debt it is. Mortgage lenders use FICO scores for applications, with some exceptions.

FICO created different scoring models for Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, the three main credit reporting bureaus. Mortgage lenders often receive a single report that contains an applicant’s three credit reports and FICO scores.

Student loan debt can help or hurt your credit scores. If you have a history of making on-time payments to your student loans and having them improves your credit mix, that debt could help your credit scores. If you have a history of making late student loan payments, your credit scores can be negatively affected.

Student Loan Debt-to-Income Ratio

Because debt can, clearly, strain a monthly budget, mortgage lenders evaluate the applicant’s DTI ratio. This is one of the factors mortgage lenders take most seriously, as the ratio accounts for how much of your gross monthly income is spent on your debt payments, including student loans.

DTI = monthly debts / gross monthly income x 100

Typically lenders want to see a DTI of 36% or less, though that is not necessarily the maximum.

If your DTI ratio is high and it makes it hard for you to qualify for a mortgage, there are steps you can take to lower your DTI.

Pay Down Your Debts

One straightforward way for aspiring homebuyers to lower their DTI is to pay off more of their student loan debt.

If they can’t pay off the debt in full, they can try to increase their monthly payments or make principal-only payments. Each month as they pay down their debt, their DTI will improve as long as they don’t take on more debt.

Increase Your Income

One way to improve your DTI is to increase your income by applying for a new job, plotting a promotion, or starting a side hustle. An income boost will make the ratio of debt to income smaller.

Increasing your income can serve a second purpose: You can put the extra funds toward debt repayment, which also will decrease your DTI.

Recommended: Passive Income Ideas

Refinance Your Student Loans

Refinancing student loans can be appealing if you can get a lower interest rate or a better-fitting repayment term.

When someone refinances a private or federal student loan, they take out a new loan from a private lender and use it to pay off the existing loan. If you can secure a lower interest rate and keep or reduce the term, you will spend less on total interest and put more money each month toward principal. It might help to crunch some numbers with a student loan refinancing calculator.

A better interest rate when refinancing is not guaranteed, so it’s worth shopping around for the best deal to see if refinancing is worthwhile. Let’s say you find a good deal but later find a better deal. Can you refinance student loans more than once? Indeed.

It’s important to note that although refinancing a federal student loan into a private one can potentially save the borrower money on interest, the conversion will mean losing access to federal deferment, income-driven repayment programs, and public service loan forgiveness.

Borrowers with federal student loans can consolidate them, but doing so doesn’t save money on interest because the new rate for a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan is simply an average of the loan rates, rounded up to the next one-eighth of a percentage point. Still, the consolidation loan remains eligible for federal benefits.

Income-Based Repayment Plan

A potential homeowner who has federal student loans may choose income-based repayment. Those who enroll tend to have big loan balances and/or lower income.

The four income-driven repayment (IDR) plans base payments on family size and state of residence in addition to income. After 20 or 25 years of payments, borrowers are eligible to have any remaining balance forgiven.

An IDR plan lowers monthly payments, which could free up money to save for a down payment. But the longer loan term may slow down progress toward paying off your debt, so it’s worth thinking about how an IDR plan will affect your DTI ratio over time.

Fannie Mae Guidelines

Lenders often follow Fannie Mae guidelines when deciding whether to approve a conventional home loan, which is one not backed by the federal government and is the most common type of mortgage.

Here are some key guidelines:

•  Minimum credit score: 620

•  DTI ratio: usually up to 45%

•  Income: two years of stable income and employment, with some exceptions

•  Down payment minimum: 3%

•  Private mortgage insurance: required when down payment is under 20%

The Fannie Mae HomeReady® Mortgage is an option for low-income first-time homebuyers and repeat buyers. The loan has pricing that is better than or equal to standard loan pricing and has lower than standard mortgage insurance coverage requirements.

The Takeaway

Having student loans doesn’t necessarily make it harder to qualify for a mortgage, but borrowers may find that refinancing or paying off their student loans frees up room in their monthly budget, which can make homeownership more accessible.

Student loan borrowers dreaming of buying a house may want to consider student loan refinancing with SoFi.

Choose from low fixed or variable rates on a SoFi refi.

FAQ

Does student loan debt have a negative impact on buying a home?

Not necessarily, but student loan debt can lower or nix borrowers’ chances of mortgage approval if their DTI ratio is too high, and late student loan payments can ding credit scores.

Is it possible to buy a home with student loan debt?

Yes, it’s quite possible to buy a home with student loan debt, especially if the mortgage applicant’s income is much higher than their monthly debt payments.

Should you pay down your student loans before buying a house?

It’s not necessary to pay down a student loan before trying to buy a house, but doing so can’t hurt. The student loan balance affects a mortgage applicant’s DTI ratio, and any money freed up in the budget can go toward the down payment, closing costs, or future mortgage payments.


Photo credit: iStock/tonefotografia

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


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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What Is a Tradeline on a Credit Report?

What Is a Tradeline on a Credit Report?

A tradeline is the term used by the three major credit reporting bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to describe any one of the accounts listed on your credit report. Each account has its own tradeline, and each tradeline contains information about the creditor, your account, and your debt.

Tradelines make up a good portion of your credit report, which means the information within them plays a big role in determining your credit score. And, as you probably know, your credit score is an important number that can prove your creditworthiness and help you snag lower rates on loans, among other benefits.

The more you understand about what a tradeline is and what creditors see when they read your credit report, the better equipped you’ll be to use that information to maintain the best credit score possible.

So to help you with that pursuit, let’s look at:

•   What a credit tradeline is and how it works

•   What information is reported by your creditors

•   How tradelines can impact your credit and banking

•   The risks and rewards of buying tradelines

•   Alternatives to credit tradelines

What Is a Credit Tradeline?

If you’re wondering, “What is a credit tradeline?” you are probably not alone. It’s not an everyday personal finance term. So let’s define it: A tradeline in a credit report is a record for each of the credit accounts that you have. This includes revolving credit accounts, such as credit cards, and installments loans, such as student loans, auto loans, mortgages, and personal loans.

Each tradeline may contain a host of information reported by the creditor about themselves and your debt.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

What Information Is Reported by a Creditor?

When it comes to knowing what a tradeline is on a credit report, you may be surprised by just how much intel is shared. Quite a lot of information is reported about a creditor and your debt. The list includes:

•   Creditor’s name and address

•   Type of account

•   Partial account number

•   Date the account was opened

•   The account’s current status

•   Date of latest activity

•   Original loan amount

•   Credit limit

•   Current or recent balance

•   Monthly payment

•   Payment history

•   Date the account was closed, if this situation applies

By looking at a tradeline, you can view all of the most recent information reported by your creditors to the three credit reporting bureaus, all in one place. This is the information that will have an impact on your credit score.

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Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

What Other Information Is Gathered by the Credit Bureaus?

In addition to the information listed above, the credit reporting bureaus will also gather:

•   Personal information, including your name, date of birth, Social Security number, home address, phone number and employer

•   Information from the public record, including bankruptcies

•   Who has made recent inquiries about your credit and when (for example, if you’ve applied for new credit and a hard inquiry has been made)

The credit bureaus don’t know everything about you, however. They don’t have access to information such as your income, bank account balances, or marital status, though the report could include a spouse’s name if a creditor reports it.

How a Credit Tradeline Works

Tradelines are like the heartbeat of your credit report. Without them, you can’t have a score. If you are keeping your credit utilization low (that is, keeping your balance low vs. your limit on credit cards), paying your bills on time, and showing that you are a dependable borrower, your tradelines will be positive. Your three-digit credit-score number will be in good shape.

If, on the other hand, you pay your bills late, skip payments, and rack up loads of debt, your tradelines will reveal negative information. Your score is likely to be low or decline.

What Are Tradelines for Credit Used for?

So now you understand that your credit score is calculated based on the information provided in your tradelines. Let’s take it a step further in terms of how tradelines for credit are used.

Creditors use your score to help them determine whether or not to extend credit to you and what terms and interest rates they’re willing to offer. Good credit is important. For example, if you have a good credit score, your lender may see you as less of a risk and offer a lower interest rate on a loan. Higher risk loan applicants with lower scores may be offered much higher rates. In other words, buying a car or home will be that much more expensive if your score is low.

While your credit score gives lenders an overall sense of the shape of your personal finances and credit history, it doesn’t give them any details. For those, they may look at individual tradelines contained within your credit report.

How Tradelines May Affect Your Credit and Banking

Your tradelines have a direct impact on your credit, since activity within the account is used to calculate your credit score.

Here’s a closer look at the five factors used to generate your FICO score, and the weightings used for each.

•   Payment history: 35%

•   Amounts owed: 30%

•   Length of credit history: 15%

•   New credit: 10%

•   Credit mix: 10%.

Any credit activity that pertains to one of those categories can have an impact on your score when reported in your tradeline. For example, delinquent payments could damage your credit history. Or closing an account may have an impact on your length of credit history.

When Are Credit Tradelines Removed?

From time to time, a tradeline can be removed from your credit report. For example, if you’re an authorized user of a credit card and you are removed from the account, the tradeline will be dropped from your credit report in about two months.

When you close an account, the tradeline isn’t removed immediately. In fact, if that account has a positive impact on your credit score, the tradeline may stay on your report for as long as 10 years. Nice!

Worth noting: If a tradeline was opened fraudulently — someone opened a credit line or took on a loan in your name without your knowledge — you may ask to have the tradeline removed. In fact, it can be a very good idea to do so. It can help boost your credit score since many fraudulent accounts contain negative credit information.

What Happens to Your Banking When a Tradeline Is Removed?

Removing a tradeline can be a positive or negative thing for your credit. If the tradeline was associated with positive information, removing it can hurt your credit. Luckily, a positive closed account stays on your report for a decade.

Closing an account with negative information can be a plus for your credit score. If an account is delinquent when it’s closed, the entire account will be removed after seven years.

How Is This Information Collected?

Creditors report the information collected in the tradelines to the credit reporting bureaus. They do so voluntarily, at their discretion, and on their own timeline, though the credit bureaus prefer that credit information is updated every month.

Each credit bureau may use different sourcing for the information they gather. What’s more, while some creditors will report to all three bureaus, some may only report to two, one, or even none of them.

Why You Should Check for Errors

As we’ve mentioned above, your tradelines are the source of information that determines your credit score. So it’s important to check your credit report regularly to make sure that there are no errors negatively impacting your score. Inaccurate information could also be a sign of identity theft.

You can request one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus each year, according to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. Since you can get three reports each year, you could even request one report every four months, to help ensure your finances are as up-to-date as possible. A popular site to check your credit report is Annualcreditreport.com .

You may also consider signing up with a credit score monitoring service.

Can You Buy New Tradelines?

Some companies will offer the opportunity to buy tradelines to boost your score. It’s not necessarily advisable to purchase from these third-party services.

Here’s how they work. First, a little background info: When you’re trying to build credit, one common strategy is to become an authorized user on an already existing account. For example, your parents might make you a user on their credit card. Good credit history and maintaining a low balance on this account could help you build credit.

When you purchase a tradeline, you enter into a similar agreement with a stranger. You’ll pay a third-party service to set up the transaction. You won’t know the person whose account you’re joining, and you will not be able to use the account. The account will usually remain open to you for a short period of time only.

You are paying for the privilege of being on this account, which will supposedly help raise your credit rating.

Is Buying Tradelines Legal?

Technically speaking, buying tradelines through a reliable tradeline service is legal. Congress has said that under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, authorized users cannot be denied on existing credit accounts, even if the person being authorized is a stranger.

That said, there are times when working with a tradeline service can lead to serious issues.

For example, a company may say you can hide bad credit or a bankruptcy using a credit privacy number. In reality, this might be someone else’s Social Security number, landing you in the middle of an identity theft scam.

You might also find yourself buying into an account that’s gone into default. You could end up as the primary owner of the account, which could hurt your credit.

Also, watch out for companies that use a process called address merging in which the company claims the authorized user (that would be you) lives at the same address as the account holder. This is fraudulent, and it indicates that you are not working with a reliable company.

Risks of Buying Credit Tradelines

Whenever you give out your personal information, including to a tradeline supplier, you are putting yourself at risk of identity theft.

By attempting to take a shortcut to build credit, you also won’t be doing yourself any favors. Beyond the risk of identity theft and other entanglements, you’ll be robbing yourself of the chance to build good financial habits. And this could come back to bite you in the end if you never learn to manage debt responsibly on your own.

How Banking Can Improve Your Credit Report

If you’re looking to improve your credit score, there are a number of alternatives to buying tradelines that you can pursue.

•   Always pay your bills on time. Your payment history makes up the bulk of your credit score. Pay close attention to your checking account and bills; make sure you can and do make regular debt payments on time and in full. Consider automated bill pay to help ensure you never miss a payment.

•   Pay down debts. Your available credit plays a large role in the calculation of your credit score. Your credit card utilization ratio, as we mentioned above, shows how much or your available credit you’re using. You can calculate your ratio by dividing credit card balance by loan limit. If your utilization rate is over 30%, improve your credit score by paying down your balance. Aim to keep your score at under 10%.

•   Check your credit reports regularly. Learn to read your credit report. Alert the credit bureaus to any inaccuracies. Your credit score should change for the better shortly after a mistake is corrected.

Alternatives to Credit Tradelines

If you’re trying to build credit over time, there are also alternatives to tradelines.

•   Become an authorized user. You may wonder, “Isn’t this what purchasing a tradeline is?” The answer is yes, but it’s far better to become an authorized user on the account of someone you know well or are related to. You’ll have the opportunity to use the account and learn healthy credit habits. Just don’t abuse this privilege.

•   Apply for a secured credit card. Secured credit cards require you to make a security deposit to receive a line of credit. This deposit often becomes your credit limit. These cards are easier for people with no credit history to qualify for, and they help you build credit.

•   Get credit for paying bills. You might look into services that allow you to get credit for on-time payment of bills that usually don’t count towards your credit score. This may include bills for everything from your utilities to your streaming service.

The Takeaway

The tradeline for each of your revolving credit or installment accounts contains all the information necessary to generate your credit score. Understanding your tradelines can help you understand the ways in which you can boost your score. Manage those tradelines well, and you may unlock lower interest rates on loans and other elements of financial health.

Here’s another way to boost your financial health: by banking with SoFi. Our linked Checking and Savings accounts, when opened with direct deposit, earn you a top-notch APY so your money grows faster. And we don’t cut into those earnings with fees, either. We won’t charge you monthly, minimum-balance, or overdraft (up to $50) fees.

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

Are tradelines good for credit?

The information contained with your tradelines is used to generate your credit score. It reflects how well you manage credit and can therefore be either good or bad, depending on whether you have been paying back debt on time and how much debt you are carrying.

How much will a tradeline boost my credit?

Adding a tradeline can actually lower your credit in the short-term. For example, it will lower the average age of your accounts, which can have a negative impact on your length of credit history. However, if you can maintain the account over the long-term and keep up with payments, the new account may provide a boost to your credit score.

How do I get tradelines on my credit?

Tradelines are added to your credit report when you open new lines of credit or take out new loans. A tradeline is also added when you become an authorized user on another person’s account.


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.


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.


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

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

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

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

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

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cryptocurrencies

What Are Digital Assets in the Crypto World?

The meaning of digital assets has morphed over time from commonly known digital items (e.g. data, images, video, audio files, etc.) to a broader definition that includes entities that can be created and/or stored using blockchain technology, are verifiably unique, and can be used to generate value.

Digital assets now include different cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), crypto assets such as utility or security tokens, and more. While trading crypto is one of the most common ways to invest in digital assets, there are many options to choose from.

What Is a Digital Asset?

Putting aside IRL forms of digital assets that can be created and stored on devices (e.g. text, images, video, audio), the real innovation in digital assetry began with the birth of blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology is a decentralized, transparent, append-only digital ledger that can be used to track or record almost any type of asset, from goods and services to patents, smart contracts, decentralized apps (dApps), and more.

Blockchain technology relies on cryptography and a system of peer-to-peer verification, or consensus mechanisms, to secure transactions and, in the case of cryptocurrency, to mine coins and tokens.

Although most people think cryptocurrency is synonymous with blockchain technology, in fact blockchain technology is increasingly common for a range of digital products and functions — especially the creation and storage of digital assets.

Types of Digital Assets

Broadly speaking, most digital assets fall into two general categories:

1.    Cryptocurrencies

2.    Cryptographic tokens

Cryptocurrencies

There are thousands of different types of cryptocurrency beyond Bitcoin (these are often referred to as altcoins). As of August 12, 2022, some of the top crypto include:

•   Ethereum (ETH)

•   Binance Coin (BNB)

•   Ripple (XRP)

•   Tether (USDT)

•   Polkadot (DOT)

•   Litecoin (LTC)

In general, though, crypto digital assets are decentralized forms of currency; they exist on a blockchain platform, and are secured by either a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism (which involves mining), or a proof-of-stake system (PoS), where users lock up or stake some of their coins in order to become validators.

Of the many types of crypto, the vast majority have emerged from new projects. But some are hard forks from existing blockchains (e.g. Litecoin launched in 2011 after a hard fork from Bitcoin).

Others are stablecoins, meaning they’re pegged to a fiat currency like the dollar, euro, or yen, and aim to keep a 1:1 value with that currency.

💡 Interested in crypto? Learn the basics with our Crypto 101 Guide.

Cryptographic Tokens

Tokens are digital assets that can serve a variety of purposes on a blockchain platform. One of the most common types of tokens is known as a utility token, which is a token that serves a specific function within a blockchain ecosystem.

For example, as blockchain technology has advanced and the DeFi space (decentralized finance) has grown, users typically need utility tokens native to each platform to execute certain functions on that platform.

One common example is how ERC20 tokens are used on the Ethereum platform to pay for goods and services (e.g. dapps and smart contracts).

Another example of a utility token would be the Basic Attention Token (BAT). BAT is the native token of the Brave web browser, which is built on Ethereum and seeks to protect users’ privacy with a new advertising model.

There are even digital assets for social networks that reward users in the form of crypto when they create and curate quality content, like Steemit does with the STEEM token.

Digital Assets in Marketing

These days, with so many types of digital and blockchain-based digital assets, many organizations have come to rely on Digital Asset Managers (DAMs).

DAM cloud software plays a vital role for businesses that need a way to catalog and store all the various forms of data and media relevant to that company, including images, video and audio files, social media, as well as cutting-edge material like VR and AR.

In particular, marketers make use of DAM software in order to manage the brand’s entire library of digital assets, to streamline online and offline channels.

Digital Assets in Investing

Perhaps the most important aspect of digital assets for investors is that each one is unique and stored on a blockchain, therefore they provide a form of real world value that can rise and fall like any other asset (e.g. stocks, bonds, mutual funds).

Digital assets present a range of new opportunities for investors. Not only can you buy and sell the many forms of crypto, you can trade NFTs, stake tokens, and more.

Legacy markets have certain limitations that crypto markets in general and digital assets in particular may help solve, especially in regard to cross-border transfers, minimum capital requirements, and the availability of certain asset classes. Because digital assets are decentralized, meaning they are created and stored without the need for middlemen, there are new possibilities for all market participants.

Virtual Assets vs Digital Assets

Virtual assets predate digital assets, in the sense that the acquisition and trading of virtual assets has been core to the online gaming industry for years. It’s important to note however that virtual gaming assets could not be traded in a liquid market initially, whereas the digital asset market allowed for limited liquidity trading.

History of Blockchain Digital Assets

The Bitcoin white paper, also known as the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper, was published on October 31, 2008. About two months later, on January 3, 2009, the Bitcoin network went live, the first Bitcoin was created, and a new asset class (cryptocurrency) was born thanks to the emergence of blockchain, a peer-to-peer, decentralized technology that would soon change the world.

While the pioneering Bitcoin protocol helped establish the market for crypto digital assets, it wasn’t long before developers and entrepreneurs seized on the potential of blockchain technology to innovate in the DeFi space.

In 2015, the Ethereum network launched (following a 2013 white paper). From the start, Ethereum was meant to build on Bitcoin’s foundation. It was built as more than a form of crypto, but rather a programmable blockchain platform with the capacity to support smart contracts, dapps (decentralized apps), and other DeFi projects.

Ethereum and other like-minded projects that emerged around the same time revolutionized how blockchain was used and how digital assets were formed.

Pros and Cons of Investing in Digital Assets

How should investors consider the various opportunities in the digital asset space? Here are some advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

Individual Sovereignty

Bitcoin allows people to become their own bank. When storing assets at a traditional bank or other financial institution, an individual becomes vulnerable to the risk of that institution going bankrupt or mismanaging their funds. This risk is known as counterparty risk.

Because digital assets and crypto are mainly decentralized, they can eliminate counterparty risk.

By holding their own private keys in a crypto wallet, investors can have total ownership of their digital assets and cryptocurrency. Other than gold or silver, no other asset has this quality.

Diversification

Bitcoin has been the best performing asset class of the last decade by far. During eight of those years, the returns from holding Bitcoin exceeded that of any other asset in the world. (That said, as with any investment past performance is not an indication of future performance.)

Cryptocurrency can diversify an investment portfolio in a way no other asset class can. Crypto is known as a “non-correlated asset,” meaning it tends to have little or no correlation to other traditional securities (although this has changed at times and is no guarantee of future performance).

Inflation Hedge

While all investing carries risk, investors often fail to factor in the one risk inherent in every investment denominated in fiat currency (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, etc.): Inflation risk.

The law of supply and demand dictates that when the supply of something increases, its price will decrease absent an equal or greater increase in demand. With central banks creating tens of trillions of new currency units in recent years, some investors have begun looking toward digital assets and cryptocurrencies that have fixed supply limits, like Bitcoin.

It should be noted that the only cryptocurrencies that can serve as viable inflation hedges are those that have a fixed supply. Like gold, scarce commodities tend to increase in value during times of inflation.

In addition, global uncertainty and turmoil tend to increase demand for safe haven assets.

Cons

Digital assets can be extremely volatile, whether you’re talking about the ups and downs of cryptocurrencies or the value of NFTs.

In addition, while digital assets can be considered secure because they are created and stored using decentralized technology and peer-to-peer verification systems, the reality is that when blockchain networks are hacked, those digital assets are at risk. Also, many scams are built around fake digital assets.

The market for digital assets is largely unregulated. Investors have to proceed with caution, verifying procedures, and networks, in order to avoid losses.

Digital Assets and Risk

As noted above, the vast majority of altcoins are highly speculative in nature. Most have small market capitalizations of less than $1 billion or even less than $100 million, so their prices can swing dramatically in short periods of time due to a lack of liquidity. And in the long run, it’s not unheard of for altcoins to drop to zero, meaning investors lose everything.

Bitcoin might be a little different because it has the most secure network (due to having the highest hashrate), the longest track record, and the largest market cap by far. Still past performance is no guarantee of future results, so it’s important for crypto investors to understand the risks inherent in investing in digital assets.

Best Practices for Investing in Digital Assets and Cryptocurrency

Anyone considering investing in digital assets and cryptocurrency would do well to educate themselves on related subjects.

The more a potential investor familiarizes themselves with crypto terms like bitcoin halving, bitcoin forks, and how crypto exchanges work, the less confusing this type of investment will seem.

Due to the volatile nature of digital assets and cryptocurrency, one possible investing strategy is dollar-cost averaging. Rather than trying to time the markets, investors can buy fixed dollar amounts at certain intervals. An example would be an investor setting a recurring buy for an automatic purchase of $50 worth of crypto every two weeks.

The Takeaway

Digital assets is a broad term. It has morphed over time from more tangible digital items like text and images to a definition that includes entities that are created using blockchain technology. Unlike tangible digital assets, today’s digital assets generate real-world value and are an asset class unto themselves.

Digital assets not only include cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), but also crypto assets such as utility or security tokens, and more. Trading these assets comes with certain risk factors, but considering how new this area is, there are also many opportunities for investors.


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.

Crypto: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t endorsed or guaranteed by any government, are volatile, and involve a high degree of risk. Consumer protection and securities laws don’t regulate cryptocurrencies to the same degree as traditional brokerage and investment products. Research and knowledge are essential prerequisites before engaging with any cryptocurrency. US regulators, including FINRA , the SEC , and the CFPB , have issued public advisories concerning digital asset risk. Cryptocurrency purchases should not be made with funds drawn from financial products including student loans, personal loans, mortgage refinancing, savings, retirement funds or traditional investments. Limitations apply to trading certain crypto assets and may not be available to residents of all states.

2Terms and conditions apply. Earn a bonus (as described below) when you open a new SoFi Digital Assets LLC account and buy at least $50 worth of any cryptocurrency within 7 days. The offer only applies to new crypto accounts, is limited to one per person, and expires on December 31, 2023. Once conditions are met and the account is opened, you will receive your bonus within 7 days. SoFi reserves the right to change or terminate the offer at any time without notice.

First Trade Amount Bonus Payout
Low High
$50 $99.99 $10
$100 $499.99 $15
$500 $4,999.99 $50
$5,000+ $100

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What Is a Senior Checking Account?

What Is a Senior Citizen Checking Account?

A senior checking account usually comes with unique perks designed to provide support to senior citizens. As we get older our needs change, including our financial needs. That’s why some financial institutions offer these accounts, known as senior checking accounts.

So what exactly is a senior checking account? What perks does it offer and what are the possible downsides? And is it worth it vs. a regular checking account . We’ll fill you in on all of that, plus how to find a senior citizen checking account if you think it’s right for you.

How Does a Senior Checking Account Work?

A checking account, often simply referred to as a bank account, is a type of deposit account that gives consumers a place to safely store their money while still being able to easily access it and spend it. With a checking account, it’s possible to make purchases or payments with a debit card or a check.

So, what is a senior checking account then? A senior checking account functions the same as a normal checking account, but is designed for consumers of a certain age (usually in retirement).

What Is the Difference Between a Senior Checking Account and a Normal Checking Account?

Overall, senior checking accounts serve the same purpose as a normal checking account. However, a senior checking account may have certain age requirements and can come with unique benefits and senior discounts designed to provide support to senior citizens. Some of these benefits may include:

•   Free checks

•   No minimum balance requirement

•   No monthly service charges

•   No transaction fees

•   No statement processing fees

•   Waived CD penalties

These types of perks make it easier for senior citizens to manage their financial life.

Pros of a Senior Checking Account

A senior checking account enjoys the same advantages as a normal checking account, as well as additional perks.

•   Unique perks. Eligible account holders can enjoy special perks like free checks, and no minimum balance requirement, monthly service charges, or transaction fees.

•   Earn interest. It’s not guaranteed everywhere, but some senior checking accounts allow account holders to earn interest.

•   Secure. Thanks to FDIC insurance, funds stored in a checking account (up to a certain amount) are safe and secure.

•   Accessible. It’s super easy to access money stored in a checking account. Account holders can make as many withdrawals as they like in a variety of different ways including by visiting a bank, using a debit card at an ATM, writing a check, and making an online bank transfer.

•   Debit card. Typically, checking accounts come with debit cards which make it easy to pay for purchases without having cash on hand.

•   Direct deposits. Instead of waiting for paper checks in the mail, account holders can set up convenient direct deposits.

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!


Cons of a Senior Checking Account

Of course, there are also disadvantages associated with senior checking accounts. Here are some to mull over:

•   Age requirements. Senior checking accounts often have age requirements, such as age 55 and over. Some banks require age 62 and up. It can be challenging to find one if below a certain age.

•   No interest. As briefly mentioned above, it is possible to earn interest with a checking account, but it’s fairly rare. Keeping money in a savings account can make it easier to earn interest.

•   Fees. While senior checking accounts tend to charge fewer or lower fees, they can come with account management fees, overdraft fees, and other fees.

•   Minimum balance. Again, some senior checking accounts don’t require a minimum balance, but some may.

How Can I Apply for a Senior Citizen Checking Account?

The process of opening a checking account for senior citizens looks the same as opening a normal checking account, but the applicant may be required to prove they are a certain age to be eligible.

While all banks and credit unions will have their own unique process for opening an account, consumers can generally expect to take the following steps to open a senior citizen checking account.

•   Complete the application. During the application process it is typical to provide identity and contact information during this stage.

•   Designate beneficiaries. Once their application is approved, they will need to choose a beneficiary for their account in the event they pass away.

•   Deposit funds. As briefly noted, some senior citizen checking accounts will require a minimum account balance, so the applicant may need to deposit that amount to open their account.

Is a Senior Checking Account Worth It Over a Normal Checking Account?

If someone is old enough to qualify for a senior checking account, it is likely worth it for them to choose this type of deposit account over a normal checking account. Both senior checking accounts and normal checking accounts share the same disadvantages, but senior checking accounts come with unique perks that regular checking accounts often don’t include, such as free checks and minimal fees.

Things to Consider When Looking for a Senior Citizen Checking Account

Before opening a senior checking account, here are a few helpful things to keep in mind.

•   Convenience. Scope out the bank’s features to make sure it’s super simple to use. Is it also possible to have a savings account at the bank or credit union offering a senior citizen checking account? Having both a checking account and savings account in one place is usually easier. Do they have a bank location nearby? Is their website a breeze to use? Keep convenience in mind when choosing where to open a new senior citizen checking account.

•   Bank type. Everyone has their preferences when it comes to banking. Take some time to consider if a traditional bank, credit union, or online bank is the best fit.

•   Features. Compare a few different senior citizen checking account options. What perks do they offer? Do they have a mobile app? What other financial products and tools do they offer?

•   Fees. Senior citizen checking accounts tend to have fewer fees than typical checking accounts. Still, it’s worth comparing the different fees each account charges.

The Takeaway

If you or a loved one is 55 or older, a senior bank account can offer unique advantages compared to typical checking accounts. Fees can be lower, you might earn a bit of interest, and checks may be free. All in all, if someone is old enough to qualify, they can likely enjoy a lot more perks with a senior citizen checking account.

Looking for a new bank with a lot of perks? Check out SoFi. If you open an online bank account with direct deposit, you’ll earn a terrific APY and pay no account fees.

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

FAQ

What is senior banking?

Senior bank accounts function the same way normal banking does. The only difference between banking products and services designed for senior citizens is that they offer unique perks suited for their life stage — such as not requiring a minimum account balance.

Which banks have the best checking accounts?

Getting the best checking account depends on the features that matter most to you. That said, online banks tend to have the same benefits since they don’t need to pay for bricks and mortar locations and pass the savings along to their customers with fewer fees and better APYs. Similarly, because credit unions are not-for-profit organizations owned by their members, they tend to pass their profits off to customers in the forms of lower fees and higher interest rates.

What is the age restriction for senior checking accounts?

The age restrictions for senior bank accounts depend on each bank and credit union that offers this type of account. They often range from a minimum age requirement of 55 to 62.


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

SoFi 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.


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.


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.

Photo credit: iStock/Deagreez
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