Tips for Voiding a Check

Tips for Voiding a Check

If you’re asked to void a check, which often happens when you’re setting up direct deposit, you might not be sure how to do it. Checks are being used less often these days, and as a result, people may be unfamiliar with the way they work.

Fortunately, the process of voiding a check for direct deposit or for any reason is pretty simple.

Definition of a Voided Check

First of all, what is a voided check? When you write the word “VOID” on a blank check, it becomes a voided check meaning it cannot be used to draw money out of your account. This type of check is not used for deposit or cashing purposes.

Instead, the voided check can be used to set up direct deposit or bill pay. Establishing direct deposit or online bill pay eliminates the hassle of going to the bank to make payments or deposit your paycheck. It also automates your transactions to speed delivery and help you keep tabs on the money going in and out of your account.

Recommended: Can I Use Checks with an Old Address?

How Do You Void a Check?

To void a check, all you need is a blank check and a pen. Here’s how to complete the process:

•   Take a blank check from your checkbook.

•   Grab a blue or black pen.

•   Write “VOID” in large letters across the face of the check. However, be sure not to cover the account numbers at the bottom. You could also write “VOID” in smaller letters on the payee line, amount line, in the amount box, and on the signature line, if you prefer.

•   Write down the check number, recipient, and date in your checkbook and note that the check was voided so you don’t get confused by a skipped check when you balance your checkbook.

Reasons for Voiding a Check

There are practical uses for voiding a check including setting up direct payments or deposits, and automatic bill payments. Providing a voided check is a convenient way to share your banking information for such purposes. After all, copying your banking information (routing and account number) by hand leaves you vulnerable to mistakes.

Here are the top reasons to void a check:

•   Set up direct deposit with your employer for wages, salary, or expense reimbursement. Employers often let workers set up direct deposit instead of receiving a physical paycheck, and a voided check speeds the process.

•   Set up direct deposit for government benefits. Unemployment benefits and Social Security payments may be delivered by direct deposit instead of a mailed check. This way, both parties can enjoy the increased security of a digital transaction.

•   Establish automatic bill pay for loans, utility bills, or other payments. You may have the option to set up automatic payments for bills such as an auto loan or mortgage. Setting up auto-pay helps ensure you don’t miss a payment.

•   Void checks with mistakes. If you are writing a check from your checking account and make a mistake, you can write “VOID” across it, so no one uses or deposits it.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

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Voided vs Canceled Check

You may wonder what the difference between a voided and a canceled check is. When you make a void check, you are canceling a physical check you have in your possession. If you’ve lost a check (especially a blank one) or have sent out a check in error, that’s a different situation. You can contact your bank about stopping payment on the check.

When banks and credit unions talk about canceled checks, however, they are likely referring to ones that have already been used to transfer funds. The work of these checks is done, so to speak, so they are considered canceled.

The differences between a voided check and a canceled check are:

•   You can void a check yourself. To cancel a check, however, a bank or credit union has already been involved.

•   Voiding is quick and free. If you seek to cancel a check by stopping payment, it will involve time to speak to your bank, and there may be a fee charged to stop payment.

What to Expect After Voiding a Check

After you submit your voided check with the required paperwork for direct deposit, it may take a few days to complete the setup process. Typically, employers will establish the direct deposit within one or two paycheck cycles.

This is also true for government benefits like Social Security. Once direct deposit is established, you’ll know exactly when deposits will hit your account.

With direct deposit, you can use the money in your account immediately since there’s no temporary hold on deposits.

With auto-pay, funds are withdrawn from your account based on a bill’s due date. Some businesses give you a choice of dates to submit payment.

What if You Don’t Have Checks?

If you don’t have any checks, the first step to getting a checkbook is to open a new bank account. Many banks will give you pre-printed “starter checks” to use until your personalized ones arrive.

If you already have a checking account but no checks, you can contact your bank or credit union about ordering checks. They can usually be ordered online, via a mobile app, over the phone, or in person.

Alternatives to a Voided Check

Aside from a voided check, you have other options to establish autopay or direct deposit. Here are some alternatives:

•   Direct deposit form. Some employers may let you use a direct deposit form without a voided check. In this case, ensure you complete your bank information correctly.

•   Preview a check. Some financial institutions let you “preview” your checks on your bank or credit union’s website before you order them online. If your financial insulation allows this, you might be able to print out the preview and write “VOID” across it.

•   Enter bank information online. Depending on how your employer sets up direct deposit, you might have the option to connect directly to your bank account through your company’s payroll website. Just enter your bank information instead of supplying a voided paper check.

•   Request a counter check at a bank branch. You may have the option to request a “counter check” at your local bank branch. You can use this specially printed check containing your bank information for your voided check. Some banks charge a fee for this service.

The Takeaway

Knowing how to void a check is a good skill to have, and it’s part of becoming a savvy financial consumer. When you write “VOID” on a check, it becomes a voided check you can use to set up auto-pay or direct deposit. Voided checks are not available for deposit or cashing.

Once you submit your forms and voided check, employers can usually establish direct deposit within a few days. Another option is to request a “counter check” from your bank branch and void that check, though some banks may charge a fee for this service.

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

How do I void a blank check?

To void a blank check, take a blue or black pen and write “VOID” across the face of the check. You could also write “VOID” in the payee line, amount line, amount box, and the signature line.

How do I void a check for direct deposit?

You void a check for direct deposit by writing “VOID” across the face of the check with a blue or black pen. Or you could fill that in on the payee line, amount line, amount box, or the signature line.

How do I void a check I’ve already sent?

You can’t void a check you have already sent. You’ll have to cancel the check. To do this, first make sure the check hasn’t cleared yet. Then, make sure you have your account number, check number, dollar amount, and date you wrote on the check. Contact your bank or credit union to stop payment. This action may require a fee.


Photo credit: iStock/AsiaVision

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Refinancing Student Loans During Medical School: What to Know

Refinancing Student Loans During Medical School: What to Know

Editor's Note: For the latest developments regarding federal student loan debt repayment, check out our student debt guide.

A career in medicine can be rewarding, but the high cost of medical school means many students take on additional student debt on top of their existing undergraduate student loans.

Some students defer student loan payments while they’re in medical school and others choose to refinance their student debt. The right choice for you depends on a number of factors, such as whether you have federal or private student loans. Here’s what to know about refinancing student loans during medical school.

What You Can Expect to Pay

Going to medical school is expensive: The average cost of medical school is $264,704 for four years at a private institution and $161,972 at a public medical school, according to the Education Data Initiative.

Many students need loans to cover the high cost of medical school tuition and other educational expenses. In fact, 70% of medical school students use loans specifically to help pay for medical school (as opposed to undergraduate debt). The average medical school graduate owes $250,995 in total student loan debt, which includes undergraduate debt.

If you don’t have the option for in-school deferment for your undergraduate loans while you’re enrolled in med school, refinancing your undergraduate student loans might be worthwhile and may help lower your loan payments while you’re in medical school. Here’s what you need to know to decide if refinancing loans as a medical student is right for you.

Can You Refinance Student Loans During Medical School?

Whether you have federal or private student debt, you can technically refinance your student loans at any time along your journey toward becoming a physician.

During a student loan refinance, you can combine multiple student loans of any type — federal and private — into one new refinance loan. This new loan is from a private lender, and comes with a new interest rate and different loan term.

The lender will repay your original loans that were included in the refinance process. You’ll then repay the lender, based on the details of your refinance loan agreement, in incremental monthly payments.

Another Option for Federal Student Loans During Medical School

It’s important to know that if you have federal student loans, refinancing them will remove you from the federal student loan program.

Keeping your federal student loans within the Department of Education’s loan system gives you access to benefits and protections that can be useful while in medical school, like extended deferment or forbearance.

Generally, automatic student loan deferment is applied to federal Direct Loans of borrowers who are enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school. If your federal student loans from your undergrad program weren’t placed on in-school deferment status, reach out to your school and ask them to report your enrollment status.

This student loan refinancing alternative can postpone your monthly payment requirement until after you leave school. However, if you borrowed Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct PLUS Loans, you’re responsible for repaying interest that accrues during this time.

Pros of Refinancing During Medical School

A student loan refinance during medical school can offer benefits.

Extend Your Loan Term

Generally, once you’ve signed your student loan agreement you’ve committed to a specific repayment term. For example, if your private student loan has a 5-year term, you’ll need to repay the loan’s balance, plus interest, in that time period.

However, repaying your loan balance while attending medical school might be difficult. With a student loan refinance, you can choose to prolong your repayment timeline over a longer term, like 10 or 15 years.

Lower Monthly Payments

By extending your student loan refinance term, your monthly installment payments become smaller since they’re stretched over a longer period. Prolonging your loan term can result in paying more interest over the life of the loan. However, it affords you a lower monthly payment so you have more funds in your budget toward the day-to-day cost of medical school.

Some Refinancing Lenders Offer Deferment

Some refinancing lenders offer borrowers the option to defer their student loan refinance payments while in medical school. Generally, you’ll need to meet the lender’s minimum enrollment status and possibly meet other requirements.

This benefit, however, isn’t offered by all lenders so always confirm with the lender before finalizing any student loan refinance offer.

Recommended: A Guide to Refinancing Student Loans

Cons of Refinancing During Medical School

Although there are benefits to refinancing your student loans, there are downsides to this repayment strategy as well.

You Could Pay More Interest Over Time

Extending your loan term causes you to pay more interest throughout the life of the loan, assuming you don’t make extra monthly payments. This means that you’ll ultimately pay more overall for your undergraduate degree.

You’ll Lose Access to Loan Forgiveness

If you refinance federal student loans, you’ll lose access to federal benefits and protections. Physicians who expect to work in the government or nonprofit sector might be eligible for loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

To be eligible for forgiveness, you must have eligible Direct Loans, and have made 120 qualifying payments toward your federal loan debt while working for a qualifying employer. After PSLF requirements are met, the program forgives the remainder of your eligible federal loan balance.

You’ll lose access to this significant benefit if you refinance federal loans into a private refinance student loan.

Should You Refinance Your Student Loans?

Student loan refinancing is a strategy that can be advantageous for certain borrowers in specific circumstances. For instance, it might be a good option for borrowers who already have a private undergraduate loan and simply want to lower their interest rate to save money.

It can also be a strategy to extend your term if your main goal is to lower your monthly undergraduate loan payments. Borrowers who have adequate savings, reliable income while in medical school, and who are confident that they won’t participate in programs, like PSLF, might benefit most.

Assess your current financial situation, and talk to your loan servicer or undergraduate loan lender to get a full understanding of your repayment options during medical school.

Refinancing Student Loans With SoFi

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.


With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.

FAQ

Can you refinance student loans in residency?

Yes, you can refinance student loans while in residency. However, if you refinance federal loans, it will make that portion of your student debt ineligible for federal loan forgiveness in the future.

Do doctors ever pay off their student loans?

Yes, doctors pay off their student loans, though how they do so can vary. Some start making small payments during residency or apply for an income-driven repayment plan, while others refinance or pursue loan forgiveness programs.

When should I refinance my medical student loans?

Exploring a private student loan refinance can be done at any time, especially if your income is stable and your credit has improved since you first took out the loan. If you have federal student loan debt, consider whether you’ll pursue loan forgiveness at any point along your career journey. If you might, your student loans must be kept within the federal loan program to be eligible for forgiveness.


Photo credit: iStock/Edwin Tan

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.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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

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Cheapest States to Attend College

Cheapest States to Go to College in the United States

The cost of attending college in the U.S. can be quite expensive. In addition to tuition and fees, students may need to cover the cost of room and board, and other expenses like books and lab fees.

To help students going to college manage their budgets, it’s important that they carefully weigh their options when it comes to public and private schools. In-state tuition at public colleges can be far cheaper than out-of-state tuition or the price of attending private nonprofit schools.

College Tuition in the United States

The United States has some of the highest tuition costs, and prices have risen over time. Some of the factors that drive increasing prices are increased demand from students and increased availability of financial aid.

Colleges have also added amenities to their campuses to help attract higher-paying students. The cost of these amenities can account for as much as $3,000 per student per year. Schools are also spending more on administration.

Average College Tuition

The cost of colleges varies depending on whether students choose to attend public or private institutions. Public schools generally have different costs for in-state versus out-of-state tuition.

The average tuition in 2024 at a public, four-year school for in-state students is $9,750 per year. Students attending a public four-year program from out-of-state could expect to pay $28,386, according to Education Data Initiative.

Students who wished to attend a private nonprofit four-year college paid an average of $38,421.

In addition to tuition and fees, students have to cover other costs, such as the price of room and board, transportation, and other expenses. These additional expenses will vary depending on whether you’re living on or off-campus, but they can add more than $10,000 to the price of attending school. The average cost of attendance for students attending a public four-year in-state program is $27,146 for the 2023–2024 school year. Out-of-state students had an average of $45,708. And students attending a private nonprofit four-year program had an average annual cost of attendance of $55,840.

Recommended: What is the Average Cost of College Tuition?

States With the Cheapest College Tuition

College tuition prices vary widely by state at public four-years institutions. Generally speaking, public colleges in the South and the West are the cheapest to attend. Colleges in the Northeast are the most expensive. Vermont has the most expensive in-state tuition and fees, topping out at $17,180. New Hampshire is a close second at $17,170. To learn more, take a look at the annual study published by the College Board that tracks trends in college pricing and financial aid.

Here’s a look at the states with the cheapest in-state tuition and fees at four-year flagship university programs over the 2023–2024 school year.

Wyoming

University of Wyoming
In-state tuition and fees: $6,700
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $22,480

Florida

University of Florida
In-state tuition and fees: $6,380
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $28,660

Montana

University of Montana
In-state tuition and fees: $8,150
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $31,620

Idaho

University of Idaho
In-state tuition and fees: $8,820
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $28,050

North Carolina

University of NC-Chapel Hill
In-state tuition and fees: $9,000
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $39,340

Nevada

University of Nevada: Reno
In-state tuition and fees: $9,010
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $25,970

Mississippi

University of Mississippi
In-state tuition and fees: $9,410
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $26,980

South Dakota

University of South Dakota
In-state tuition and fees: $9,430
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $12,940

West Virginia

West Virginia University
In-state tuition and fees: $9,650
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $27,360

Arkansas

University of Arkansas
In-state tuition and fees: $9,750
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $28,770

Paying for College

Because the price of college tuition, fees, and room and board can be so high, many students have to take out student loans, apply for grants and scholarships, or apply for student aid in order to make college affordable. Students may take out federal loans or private loans to help them pay for school. They will have to repay these loans through a series of monthly payments with interest.

Federal student loans are offered by the U.S. Department of Education under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. This program offers four types of federal loans:

•  Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergrads who demonstrate financial need. Interest on these loans is covered by the Department of Education while the students are enrolled in school at least half-time.

•  Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergrads, graduate students, and professional students and are not made based on need.

•  Direct PLUS Loans are for graduate and undergraduate students and parents of dependent undergrads. Eligibility is not based on financial need.

•  Direct Consolidation Loans allow students to combine federal loans into a single loan.

To apply for federal student loans and other forms of federal aid, students are required to fill out the FAFSA®, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, each year.

Recommended: FAFSA Guide

Private student loans may be available through private lenders, such as banks and online lenders. These institutions set their own terms, interest rates, and loan amounts. When determining individual rates and terms, lenders will generally evaluate the applicants credit history, among other factors. Private student loans are typically considered a last resort when it comes to financing college because they aren’t required to offer the same borrower benefits or protections (like income-driven repayment options) as federal student loans.

There are also various sources of financial aid that can help students pay for school. It can come from federal, state, school, and private sources.

•  Grants, such as federal Pell Grants, are a form of financial aid that doesn’t need to be paid back, unlike student loans.

•  Scholarships are funds offered to students often based on academic performance, an area of study, or special talents. Scholarships also do not generally need to be repaid.

•  Work-study programs allow students to earn money while they are in school. Students may qualify for the federal work-study program based on financial need.

•  Many schools offer financial aid or scholarships.

The Takeaway

College can be a huge expense, but there are also a lot of benefits of a college education. As you’re choosing schools, it’s important to evaluate all of your options and think seriously about choosing one that’s in your budget as well as finding manageable ways to pay for it. That may mean attending the public school in the state you live in. And if you live in one of the states with the cheapest in-state tuition, you may pay less than $10,000 a year to go to school.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.


Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.

FAQ

How much does college cost on average in the U.S.?

The estimated cost of attendance for one year of college is $27,146 for in-state students at public four-year schools, $45,708 per year for out-of-state students at public four-year colleges, and $55,840 for students at private nonprofit schools.

What state has the cheapest tuition?

States with the cheapest tuition include Florida, Wyoming, and Montana.


Photo credit: iStock/Bet_Noire

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.


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.

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.

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How to save for your dream wedding

How To Save For Your Dream Wedding

Getting married can be a pricey proposition, with the average wedding in the U.S. now running $35,000. If you don’t have access to a large stockpile of cash, you may think you’ll never be able to afford the kind of wedding you envision. But that’s not necessarily the case. The key is to start budgeting and saving well ahead of the big day.

Whether you long for a fairy tale wedding or you prefer something more scaled back, there are ways to save for your dream day that will ensure you have the magical moment you’ve always wanted without having to start off your marriage mired in debt.

Set a Budget

Do you want a big lavish wedding worthy of the royals? A destination wedding? Or maybe you want something more intimate with just a few friends and family? There are different levels of spending when it comes to weddings, and deciding what is most important to you can help you determine just how much you’ll need to save.

Is the venue a priority? The number of people? The food? The DJ (or band)? It’s smart to start by making a list and getting a solid estimate of the costs for each of your need-to-haves and your want-to-haves. It’s also wise to leave a little wiggle room for unexpected wedding costs. Little things like the marriage license, dress or suit alterations, and even insurance costs, can start to eat into your budget pretty quickly.

Start a Savings Plan

Before you’ve locked in the date, you and your partner can start a savings plan. Some couples open a separate bank account and set up automatic monthly transfers to that account to build their wedding fund. When savings are automated, you often don’t notice the missing funds. And by picking an account with a competitive interest rate, your money can make money while you continue to plan and save.

If you’re thinking about financing part of your wedding, you’ll want to start investigating your options, which can range from credit cards to personal loans (which typically have lower rates than credit cards), early on and weigh the pros and cons of taking on debt.

Put the Wedding First

Sure, you may want to go on vacation, eat at fancy restaurants, and buy those new clothes, but that will put you further from your goal. Instead of spending on those luxuries now, cutting back and putting that money into your shared dream wedding account can help you get to your savings goal quicker.

There are also some simple ways to cut back that won’t make you feel deprived. For example, you can take local day trips or regional vacations instead of traveling afar. Eating out just once a month and cooking at home more can cut costs. You could even get swanky and hold cocktail hour with friends at your house instead of going to happy hour. Your new bank account will thank you.

Recommended: The Cost of Being in Someone’s Wedding

Do It Yourself

One way to keep wedding costs down is to plan the majority of the wedding yourself. If you already have experience managing projects, then this should be within the realm of your abilities. Researching the typical steps and fees associated with weddings before making any concrete decisions can be helpful. If that feels daunting, you may want to keep in mind that wedding planners cost an average of $2,100. And while there are advantages to using a planner (they already have a contact list of professionals and know their rates, saving you a lot of time and energy), the downside is you could be getting a one-size-fits-all experience instead of the personalized ceremony and party you may want.

Recommended: 8 Tips for a Budget Dream Wedding with Budget Breakdown

Comparison Shop

Just like other big expenses, getting more than one quote for each service you need can help you find the best price point to fit your needs and wants. Does your preferred venue charge a premium for a wedding, but a lower price for a party? You may want to consider negotiating the price. Calling multiple DJs and catering services can help you ensure you are not overpaying. New York City is going to have very different rates than, say, Asheville, North Carolina. This might even be a factor in deciding when to have your wedding, too. For a better idea of how much costs can vary, you can check out this comparison of costs by state .

You can wind up saving a ton of money by doing away with an expensive venue altogether and looking for a free or really inexpensive location, like parks, gardens and even beaches.

And if you’re able to hold your celebration on a weekday or during off-season, you’re likely to find some additional savings. For example, you can pick Friday instead of Saturday; or you can have a fall or winter event to help lower your costs.

Reassess the Dress

Maybe your dream wedding includes a Vera Wang gown, but your bank account can’t swing that. Consider shopping for a vintage dress and having it altered. Or if you want a more modern look, you don’t necessarily have to buy brand new — wedding dresses are usually only worn once and then either sit in the back of a closet or get sold or donated. Resellers often offer beautiful dresses at a fraction of the initial cost.

Consider this: Dresses less than three years old are usually sold for half their original price. And that Vera Wang might not be out of reach after all if you buy it used. Designer brands can sell for 60% to 70% of their original cost.

Recommended: What is the Ideal Wedding Budget?

Where not to Cut Costs

While you might not have much of an appetite on your big day, your guests likely will, so it’s a good idea not to scrimp on the food. It doesn’t have to be a five-star, multi-course meal, but if you want to create a memorable experience for all, it’s smart to offer quality food that doesn’t leave anyone grumbling about “wedding food.”

And what good is a dream wedding if you have bad or no photos to remember it? A good photographer can capture all of the moments of both you and your guests. These are photos that you will cherish when you are older and wiser, that will adorn your dresser and be sent out to family, so skimping here is best avoided if you can. The average cost of a wedding photographer is about $2,900, but It could end up being the best you put toward your special day.

Recommended: 2024 Wedding Cost Calculator with Examples

The Takeaway

Saving for your dream wedding might seem impossible, but it’s within your grasp if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. By cutting a few everyday costs and making automatic transfers into a high-yield savings account every month, you and your soon-to-be spouse will be able to slowly but surely build your wedding fund.

You can also find ways to trim wedding costs while still staying true to your vision for the day. If you find you’ll still need to rely on some type of financing to pay for your big day, be sure to look at all your options to find one with the least cost.

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.


Photo credit: iStock/standret

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Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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.

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Supplementary Credit Cards: What They Are and How They Work

Adding supplementary credit cards — credit cards tied to a primary credit card account — can be a good way to help someone establish credit. For example, adding a supplementary credit card for a child can help them build credit, since they will get the benefit of the primary cardholder’s good credit history. Someone working to rebuild their credit could also benefit.

Still, it’s important to keep in mind that the primary cardholder is responsible for any charges made by any authorized users on the account. Read on to learn more about who can benefit from a supplementary credit card and the pros and cons of adding an authorized user to your account.

What Is a Supplementary Credit Card?

A supplementary credit card, also known as an authorized user credit card, is a secondary credit card tied to the account of an existing user. This existing user could be a trusted friend, family member, or caregiver. The primary cardholder is responsible for all charges made by any authorized users or supplementary credit card holders.

Recommended: What Is Considered a Fair Credit Score?

How Do Supplementary Credit Cards Work?

When you add a supplementary credit card to your credit card account, your credit card company will send a new physical card. The credit card issuer will typically mail the card to the address of the primary cardholder in order to prevent fraud.

In some cases, the supplementary credit card number will be the same as the card number of the primary credit card. In other cases, it may have a different number. Either way, all charges made on the account — including those made by supplementary cardholders — are the responsibility of the primary cardholder.

Supplementary Credit Card Annual Fees

For most credit cards, there is not a charge to add a supplementary credit card or authorized user. However, some premium cards, such as The Platinum Card from American Express, do charge an annual fee for additional cards.

Supplementary Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses

Typically there is not a sign-up bonus or welcome offer for adding a supplementary card user. If you want to enjoy credit card bonuses, you must apply as the primary account holder.

Supplementary Credit Card Earnings and Redemption Rates

The earnings rates for supplementary credit cards are the same as the rates for the primary credit cardholder. Because the primary cardholder is financially responsible for all charges, they will receive the benefits of all rewards, regardless of which account makes the charges.

Who Needs a Supplementary Credit Card?

A supplementary credit card can be useful for someone who does not meet the credit card requirements to qualify for a credit card on their own.

For instance, you can get a supplementary card for a child to help them establish credit. Adding them to your account also offers an opportunity for you to teach them the ins and outs of using a credit card responsibly.

You might also add a trusted friend or family member to your account to help them build their credit score although this will depend on the primary cardholder keeping the account in good standing. Another reason you might add an authorized user to your account is to allow them to take advantage of travel or other benefits when you are not with them.

It’s also possible to add someone as an authorized user without actually giving them a card. This can allow them to enjoy the benefits to their credit score without the risk that they’ll overspend or otherwise use the card irresponsibly.

Pros and Cons of Supplementary Credit Cards

While there are benefits to supplementary credit cards, there are also downsides that are worth noting. Consider these pros and cons.

Pros of Supplementary Credit Cards Cons of Supplementary Credit Cards
Can help those with poor credit or no credit history to build or improve their credit score Primary cardholder remains financially responsible for all charges
Generally no annual fee to add a supplementary credit card Could damage the credit of the primary and/or secondary cardholder if used irresponsibly
Can earn additional rewards from the spending of multiple people Some cards may charge a fee to add an authorized user

Do Supplementary Credit Cards Affect Your Credit Score?

Yes, using a supplementary credit card can affect the credit score of both the primary and the secondary user. Depending on how a credit card is used, the effects could be either positive or negative.

If all cardholders on the account use their credit card responsibly, a supplementary credit card can have a positive impact on their credit scores due to how credit cards work. However, if the supplementary cardholder makes charges that the primary cardholder can’t repay, both of their credit scores could go down. Similarly, if the primary cardholder fails to make on-time payments, that could hurt the supplementary cardholder’s credit rather than helping it.

This is why it’s important that both cardholders are on the same page when it comes to credit card rules and best practices.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

How Much Do Supplementary Credit Cards Cost?

In most cases, there is no charge for adding supplementary credit cards or authorized user cards. However, some credit card issuers do charge an additional fee for adding supplementary cards. Make sure to check with your issuer before ordering one.

Applying for a Supplementary Credit Card

Because any supplementary credit cards are tied to the account of the primary cardholder, you can’t apply for a supplementary credit card directly. Instead, the primary cardholder will need to request an additional card directly from the issuer.

To do so, the primary cardholder can either call the customer service number listed on the back of their credit card or request an additional card through their online account or app.

Alternatives to Supplementary Credit Card

Opening a supplementary credit card can be a good way to help a family member build their credit, but it does come with some risk. One alternative to giving someone a supplementary credit card is to open a supplementary credit card account but keep the actual card.

With this arrangement, the authorized user gets the advantages of a supplementary account — namely, building their credit through the primary cardholder’s responsible use — without the risk that they will use their card irresponsibly.

The Takeaway

Supplementary credit cards, or authorized user cards, are additional cards tied to the credit card account of a primary cardholder. When used responsibly, they can help the authorized user build or establish credit. However, the primary account holder is responsible for all charges made by supplementary cardholders, so there is also some risk if the supplementary credit card is used irresponsibly.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.

FAQ

Are bills paid with the card number of the primary or supplementary card?

The card numbers of the primary and supplementary cards are both tied to the primary cardholder’s account. As such, the primary cardholder is responsible for all charges made, including by authorized users.

Is a supplementary credit card the same as a joint card?

A joint credit card account allows two people to use the same credit card account, with both account owners holding responsibility for all charges made to the account. In contrast, a supplementary credit cardholder is not responsible for charges they make. Instead, only the primary cardholder is financially responsible for all charges made by any user.

Who is responsible for a supplementary credit card?

Only the primary account holder is responsible for charges made by any and all authorized users. Any secondary or supplementary cardholders are not considered financially liable for any charges they make.

Does a supplementary card affect credit score?

Yes, having a supplementary card can affect your credit score. It can help build credit when used responsibly. But because the primary cardholder is ultimately responsible for all charges, their credit could suffer if an authorized user uses the card irresponsibly. An authorized user could also see their score suffer if the primary account holder fails to manage their account responsibly.


Photo credit: iStock/MixMedia

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.

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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