What Are Intermediary Banks? What Do They Do?

When money moves from one bank to another, you may think it travels in one speedy step, but in truth, an intermediary bank may be involved. When funds move between a sender and a receiving account at the same bank, the money typically moves directly. But if the money is moving from one bank to another, the processing may be more involved and an intermediary bank is likely needed.

As the name implies, an intermediary bank is a bank that acts as a go-between, connecting two different banks. Smaller banks require intermediary banks or correspondent banks to facilitate transactions with other banks, while larger banks may have enough connections to serve as their own intermediaries.

Generally, retail bank customers do not have to worry about finding intermediary banks — instead, they work behind the scenes with the banks themselves.

Key Points

•   An intermediary bank acts as a go-between, connecting two different banks for transfers and transactions.

•   Intermediary banks are commonly used for international wire transfers and handling multiple types of currencies.

•   Retail bank customers usually don’t need to find intermediary banks as they work behind the scenes.

•   Intermediary bank fees are charged for their role in facilitating transactions, and the fees vary.

•   Intermediary banks are necessary when transferring money between two banks that don’t have an existing relationship.

What Is an Intermediary Bank?

An intermediary bank is a third-party bank that helps facilitate transfers and transactions between two other banks. Often, intermediary banks are dealing with international transactions such as wire transfers between different countries. If you are sending money to others abroad, your bank may end up using an intermediary bank.

You may not be aware of how the intermediary banks work behind the scenes, but be aware that you may be charged additional fees for the work that intermediary banks are doing.

How Do Intermediary Banks Work

If you are doing a bank account transfer, especially to an account in a different country than the one where your own bank is located, it is likely that an intermediary bank will be involved. During a monetary transfer between accounts at different banks, an intermediary bank works in between the sender’s bank account and the account at the receiving bank.

Here’s how the transaction might work:

•   A person with an account at Bank A wants to send money to another person, a client with an account at Bank B.

•   However, Bank A doesn’t have an account or banking relationship with Bank B.

•   Bank A and Bank B do, however, each have an account with Bank C.

•   Funds can be funneled through Bank C, the intermediary bank, to make the transaction successful.

Intermediary Bank Example

Intermediary banks are like an international travel hub through which transfers flow. They are especially important for fund transfers made via the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Telecommunications) network.

Here’s a simple example to show how intermediary banks usually work. Let’s say that John is an importer-exporter based in the United States who banks at the Acme Bank. He needs to make a payment to Angela, a supplier of his based in Germany, who banks with Big Bank. He gives Angela’s bank’s information to his bank to make the transfer.

If Acme Bank does not have an account at or a relationship directly with Big Bank (Angela’s bank), it will use an intermediary bank; let’s call it Central Bank. This intermediary bank will have accounts at both Acme Bank, John’s bank in the United States, as well as Big Bank, Angela’s bank in Germany.

Central Bank can transfer the money between the two banks. It will likely charge a fee for their role in the transaction. The transaction will be completed by the three banks working together.

When Is an Intermediary Bank Required?

Any time that money is being transferred between two banks that do not have an existing relationship, an intermediary bank is usually involved. Whether you have a single account or a joint bank account, when you transfer money to a user at a different bank (especially internationally), an intermediary bank will generally be required.

This is likely to occur as a commercial banking transaction. In other words, the use of an intermediary bank is not something the consumer has to initiate.

The Need for Intermediary Banks

Intermediary banks are important as part of the global financial system. Since banks generally do not have accounts with every single bank around the world, there is a need for intermediary banks to help facilitate monetary transfers.

The good news is that you typically do not have to worry about finding an intermediary bank yourself. Instead, the banks themselves have intermediary banks that they use to transfer money between other banks.

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When Will an Intermediary Bank Be Involved in a Transaction?

An intermediary bank will usually be involved whenever there is a need to transfer money between accounts at two separate banks. If the sending bank does not have its own account with the receiving bank, it will usually use an intermediary bank.

Even if a business thought it could get around the need for intermediary banks (and save money; see more on fees below) by opening multiple bank accounts, its main bank would still probably use an intermediary bank at some point to transfer funds on its behalf.

Difference Between Intermediary and Correspondent Banks

When considering how bank transfers work, you may hear two different terms: intermediary banks and correspondent banks. Depending on which part of the world you’re in, there may or may not be a difference between the terms “intermediary bank” and “correspondent bank.”

•   In some countries, the terms correspondent banks and intermediary banks are used interchangeably.

•   In the U.S. as well as in a few other countries, correspondent banks are often ones that handle multiple types of currencies.

•   Intermediary banks may be smaller banks that only typically handle transactions in one currency.

What Are Some Typical Intermediary Bank Fees?

Because intermediary banks typically do not work directly with consumers, they also do not regularly post a breakdown of the fees they charge. Instead, you can look at your own bank’s fees for financial transactions such as domestic wire transfers or international wire transfers.

The fees that your bank will charge you for these transactions generally include the fees that your bank will have to pay to the intermediary bank it uses. These bank fees can range anywhere from $15 to $50 or more.

Recommended: How Do Banks Make Money?

Who Pays for Intermediary Bank Fees?

Intermediary bank fees are paid in different ways, depending on the specific transaction. Let’s say Person A is sending money to Person B. There are three ways the fees may be handled, depending on what the parties involved agree upon:

•   “OUR” is the code used when the sender will pay all fees. An average fee for an international transfer can be about $70.

•   “SHA” is the code indicating shared costs. Person A will likely pay their bank charges (perhaps $15 to $30 on a typical transaction) and then Person B pays the rest: their bank’s and the intermediary bank’s charges.

•   “BEN” indicates that Person B, the recipient of the funds, will pay all charges.

The Takeaway

If a bank customer wants to send money to someone at a different bank and the two banks involved are not connected, an intermediary bank typically plays a role. Intermediary banks work with other banks to help facilitate monetary transactions such as domestic and especially international wire transfers. You, as a consumer, usually do not have to find or hire your own intermediary bank. However, your bank will likely pass along any intermediary bank fees if you initiate a transaction that requires one.

What about your everyday, basic banking, though? If you’re looking for great interest rates while keeping flexible access to your money, why not open a bank account with SoFi? When you open our Checking and Savings with direct deposit, you can earn a competitive APY and pay no 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 an example of an intermediary bank?

An intermediary bank is one that moves funds between other banks. They do not typically work directly with consumers, so you likely neither need to know their names nor contact them. For instance, Bank of America might offer this service, or it might be provided by a foreign bank with which you are not familiar.

Why do you need an intermediary bank?

Intermediary banks are usually used when someone needs to send money to a person with an account at a different bank. An intermediary bank can serve as a middleman and facilitate the transaction. One common example is sending a wire transfer, especially internationally.

How do you find an intermediary bank?

In most cases, you will not need to find your own intermediary bank. The bank you use will have its own intermediary bank that it collaborates with as needed. Depending on what kinds of financial transactions you need, in some cases, you might also want to consider alternatives to traditional banks for international transfers.


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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.


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.

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Filling Out FAFSA for Divorced Parents

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA® form is required for students who are interested in receiving federal financial aid. This task can be challenging and can increase in complexity when a student has parents who are divorced.

The federal government treats divorced parents differently than parents who are married. Understanding the requirements for the financial information required by the FAFSA could help students improve their chances of receiving federal student aid and potentially lowering the amount of student loans they need to obtain a degree.

Continue reading for more information on filling out the FAFSA if your parents are divorced or separated.

What Complicates FAFSA for Divorced Parents?

The FAFSA treats parents who are divorced differently than it treats parents who are married. If a student’s parents are married, the FAFSA requires both of the parents to submit their financial information. Students who have divorced parents will usually include the salary and other financial information of the parent that he/she lived with for the majority of the time for the past 12 months. This parent is considered the custodial parent.

If a student lived with each parent for equal amounts of time, they’ll provide information on the parent that provided the most financial support during the year.

If the parent has remarried by the time a student is filing the FAFSA, the financial information of the parent’s new spouse will also typically be required on the form.

Recommended: Important FAFSA Deadlines for Students and Parents

FAFSA Tips for Students with Divorced Parents

Here are some important questions to ask yourself and tips for completing the FAFSA application with divorced parents:

Who to Count as Parents for FAFSA

If your parents are divorced, the FAFSA generally requests information on the parent whom you live with for the majority of the time during the previous 12 months. In the case of shared custody where you live with each parent equally, you’ll provide information on the parent who provides the most financial support.

If your parent is remarried, you’ll provide information on the stepparent, as well.

What Is a Custodial Parent?

As briefly mentioned, a custodial parent is the parent you spend the most time living with during the year.

What About Stepparents and Common-Law Spouses?

Generally, you’ll need to provide the financial information for a stepparent who is married to the custodial parent.

Should Alimony Be Included as Income?

Any alimony or child support received by the custodial parent should be reported on the FAFSA.

Parent’s Education Level

The FAFSA will ask you to include the education levels of your parents. You only need to include information about either your birth or adoptive parents. In this section, the FAFSA does not need information about your stepparent.

What If My Divorced Parents Still Live Together?

If your parents live together, but are divorced, the marital status should be “Unmarried and both legal parents living together.” You need to provide information about both of them on the FAFSA form.

If your parents live together, but are separated, the marital status should be “married or remarried.” Do not use “divorced or separated.” You should provide information about both of them on the FAFSA form.

Additional Sources to Finance Tuition

Many students seek alternative financial aid to finance college if they do not qualify for federal aid or if the amount of federal aid allocated will not cover the entire tuition cost.

About half of college tuition and living expenses are paid by the income and savings of a student’s family members, according to a Sallie Mae study, “How America Pays for College in 2024 .”

Federal Aid

There are many other sources that could help a student obtain funding for tuition, books, and living expenses. When filling out the FAFSA, students are applying for federal financial aid. This includes federal student loans, the federal work-study program, and some federal grants.

Some colleges also use information provided on the FAFSA to determine awards for scholarships. Federal aid is provided on a first-come first-served basis, so it can potentially be helpful to file your FAFSA early. Check out even more detailed information in SoFi’s FAFSA guide.

Federal student loans can be either subsidized or unsubsidized.

Subsidized federal loans are given to students based on financial need. The interest on these loans is subsidized by the federal government, which means students will not be responsible for repaying the interest that accrues while they are enrolled at least part time or during their grace period.

Unsubsidized loans are not awarded based on need and will begin accruing interest as soon as the loan is disbursed.

Recommended: Types of Federal Student Loans

Scholarships

If federal aid is not enough to cover the cost associated with attending college, there are other options available to help you pay for college. Two sources of funding are grants and scholarships. These are highly sought after by students because they do not have to be repaid. Many of them require students to apply annually.

SoFi’s Scholarship Search Tool can help you find scholarships based on your location, level of study, and more.

Part-Time Job

Some students may also consider getting a part-time job to help pay for tuition or living expenses. Consider looking both on and off campus, or even online.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans could be another option for students to fill the gap to pay for tuition and other necessities, such as room and board and books.

Private student loans are offered by private organizations, like banks or online lenders, and can be more expensive than federal student loans. They also don’t come with the same borrower protections as federal loans, like deferment or income-driven repayment plans. That’s why private student loans are generally considered an option after students have exhausted all other sources of financing.

The loan terms and interest rate will vary from lender to lender and will likely be determined by the borrower’s financial history and credit score. Those interested in borrowing a private loan should consider shopping around with various lenders to find the best fit for them.

SoFi’s Private Student Loans

If your federal student aid, scholarships, and grants do not cover the entire amount of your tuition and living expenses, you can consider an undergraduate private student loan from SoFi. In just a few minutes, students can see if they pre-qualify for a private loan, what the interest rates are, and if a cosigner is needed.

SoFi has four repayment options for its undergraduate loans, giving students financial options to meet their budgets and financial circumstances.

SoFi private student loans offer competitive interest rates for qualifying borrowers, flexible repayment plans, and no fees.

FAQ

Does FAFSA require both parents’ income if they are divorced?

If your parents are divorced, you’ll generally report the information for the parent you lived with for the most amount of time in the past 12 months. If your parents have joint custody and you spend an equal amount of time with both parents, you’ll report the financial information of the parent who provided the most financial support during the previous 12 months.

How do you determine who parent 1 and parent 2 are for FAFSA?

Parent 1 and Parent 2 will be determined by how their information was entered into the FAFSA when the form was being completed. If the mother’s information was entered first, she would be Parent 1 and vice versa. If you cannot recall who was listed as Parent 1 or Parent 2 on your FAFSA, you can look the information up by navigation to the “Personal Information for Parent” page of your application and reviewing the information provided.

What is the maximum parent income to qualify for FAFSA?

There are no income limits when it comes to filling out the FAFSA or qualifying for federal financial aid. Even if your parents are high earners, you could still qualify for certain types of aid, such as scholarships or federal student loans. The FAFSA application is free to fill out, so it’s almost always worth taking the time to do so.


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


SoFi 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.


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

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

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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Understanding the Parent Plus Loan Forgiveness Program

Understanding Parent Plus Loan Forgiveness

Parent PLUS loan forgiveness provides financial relief to parents who borrowed money to cover the cost of their children’s college or career school. It isn’t always a quick fix, but there are certain federal and private programs that might offer the financial assistance needed to help them get on track.

Keep reading to learn more about what the available student loan forgiveness possibilities are for Parent PLUS loans.

Are Parent Plus Loans Eligible for Student Loan Forgiveness?

Parent PLUS loans are eligible for several of the same student loan forgiveness programs as federal student loans for students, including:

•   Borrower Defense Loan Discharge

•   Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge

•   Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

That said, Parent PLUS loans generally have fewer repayment options. The Parent PLUS loans do not qualify for the SAVE program or other income-driven plans. And guidelines are strict for the few programs that parent loans are eligible for.

Refinancing is another option for Parent PLUS loan borrowers — applying for a new private student loan with an, ideally, lower interest rate. That said, some lenders offer less flexibility for repayment and the fine print can be lengthy, so there’s an inherent risk associated with refinancing Parent PLUS loans.

It’s worth noting that refinancing a PLUS loan will eliminate it from any federal repayment plans and benefits.


💡 Quick Tip: Some student loan refinance lenders offer no fees, saving borrowers money.

Parent Student Loan Forgiveness Program

Parents who are on the hook for student loan debt can also qualify for student loan forgiveness. A Parent PLUS loan may be eligible for Parent Student Loan Forgiveness through federal programs that include Income-Contingent Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Other forgiveness options may also be available through the state.

Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)

An Income-Contingent Repayment plan, or ICR plan, is the only income-driven repayment plan that’s available for Parent PLUS borrowers. In order to qualify, parent borrowers must first consolidate their loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, then repay that loan under the ICR plan.

Bear in mind:

•   A Parent PLUS loan that’s included in a Direct Consolidation Loan could be eligible for Income-Contingent Repayment.

•   A Parent PLUS loan that’s included in the Federal Direct Loan Program or the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) is also eligible for ICR if it’s included in the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.

The ICR plan is a repayment plan for Direct loans. Monthly payments are the lesser of (1) what you would pay on a repayment plan with a fixed monthly payment over 12 years, adjusted based on your income, or (2) 20% of your discretionary income.

Typically, the IRS considers canceled debt a form of taxable income, but the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 made all student loan forgiveness tax-free through 2025 on federal returns. Some states will tax student loan forgiveness amounts; check with your accountant to be sure.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

Borrowers with Parent PLUS loans may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. In order to pursue that option, they must first consolidate the Parent PLUS loan into a Direct Consolidation Loan.

Then, after they’ve made 120 qualifying payments (10 years’ worth), borrowers become eligible for the PSLF. The parent borrower (not the student) must be employed full-time in a qualifying public service job. PSLF also has strict requirements such as certifying employment, so it’s important to follow instructions closely if pursuing this option.

Student Loan Forgiveness for Death of Parent

Federal student loans qualify for loan “discharge” when the borrower dies. In the case of Parent PLUS loans, they are also discharged if the student who received the borrowed funds dies.

In order to qualify for federal loan discharge due to death, borrowers must provide a copy of a death certificate to either the U.S. Department of Education or the loan servicer.

Some, but not all, private lenders discharge student loans after the student or loan holder dies.

Recommended: Can Student Loans Be Discharged?

State Parent PLUS Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Many individual states offer some sort of student loan repayment assistance or student loan forgiveness programs for Parent PLUS loan borrowers.

For an overview of options available in different states, you can take a look at The College Investor’s State-by-State Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness . For information on student loan and aid available take a look at the SoFi guide on state-by-state student aid available for borrowers.

Disability

In the event of the borrower becoming totally and permanently disabled, a Parent PLUS loan may be discharged. To qualify for a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge , borrowers must complete and submit a TPD discharge application, as well as documentation showing that they meet the requirements for being considered totally and permanently disabled.

Note that in order to qualify for TPD, the parent borrower must be considered disabled. This type of forgiveness does not apply to Parent PLUS loans in the event that the student becomes disabled.

Bankruptcy

If a borrower can demonstrate undue financial hardship upon repaying the student loan, they might be able to discharge their Parent PLUS loan. Note: Having student loans discharged in bankruptcy is uncommon. Proving “undue hardship” varies depending on the court that’s granting it, but most rulings abide by the Brunner test, which requires the debtor to meet all three of these criteria in order to discharge the student loan:

•   Poverty. Maintaining a minimal standard of living for the borrower and their dependents is deemed impossible if they’re forced to repay their student loans.

•   Persistence. The borrower’s current financial situation will likely continue for the majority of the repayment period.

•   Good faith. The borrower has made a “good faith” effort to repay their student loans.

Closed School Discharge

For parent borrowers whose children attended a school that closed while they were enrolled or who withdrew from the school during a “lookback period” of 120 days before its closure, a Closed School Discharge is another available form of student loan forgiveness.

If your child’s school closes on or after July 1, 2023, and you meet the eligibility requirements for a closed school discharge of your loans obtained to attend the closed school, you will generally receive an automatic closed school discharge one year after the date the DOE establishes as the school’s official closure date. This discharge will be initiated by DOE, and you will be notified by your loan servicer.

Although this closed school loan discharge is granted automatically after one year has passed since the school’s closure, you can always apply for and receive a closed school discharge as soon as the school’s official closure date is confirmed by the U.S. Department of Education. If your child 1) attended a school that closed less than one year ago, 2) meet the eligibility requirements for a closed school discharge, and 3) want your loans discharged, contact your loan servicer about applying for a closed school discharge now instead of waiting for one year to receive an automatic closed school discharge.

Borrower Defense

Borrower Defense Loan Discharge is available to Parent PLUS borrowers whose children were misled by their college or university or whose college or university engaged in certain forms of misconduct or violation of state laws.

To make a case for borrower defense, the Parent PLUS borrower must be able to demonstrate that their school violated a state law directly related to their federal student loan.


💡 Quick Tip: Federal parent PLUS loans might be a good candidate for refinancing to a lower rate.

Alternatives to Parent Plus Student Loan Forgiveness

When it comes to Parent PLUS loans, there are a few ways to get out of student loan debt legally, including the scenarios outlined below.

Refinance Parent Plus Loans

Refinancing a Parent PLUS loan is another option that could provide some financial relief. In doing so, you’ll lose the government benefits associated with your federal loans, as briefly mentioned above, such as:

•   Forbearance options or options to defer your student loans

•   Choice of repayment options

•   Student loan forgiveness

Refinancing a Parent PLUS loan into the dependent’s name is another option, which some borrowers opt for once their child has graduated and started working. Not all loan servicers are willing to offer this type of refinancing option, though.

Transfer Parent Plus Student Loan to Student

Transferring Parent PLUS loans to a student can be complicated. There isn’t a federal loan program available that will conduct this exchange, and, as mentioned above, some private lenders won’t offer this option.

Some private lenders, like SoFi, allow dependents to take out a refinanced student loan and use it to pay off the PLUS loan of their parent.

Explore Private Student Loan Options for Parents

Banks, credit unions, state loan agencies and other lenders typically offer private student loans for parents who want to help their children pay for college and refinancing options for parents and students.

Refinancing options will vary by lenders and some may be willing to refinance a Parent PLUS loan into a private refinanced loan in the student’s name. In addition to competitive interest rates and member benefits, SoFi does allow students to take over their parent’s loan during the refinancing process. Interest rates and terms may vary based on individual criteria such as income, credit score, and history.

The Takeaway

Parent PLUS Loan forgiveness offers financial relief to parents who borrowed money to help their child pay for college. To receive federal relief for Parent PLUS loans, parent borrowers can enroll in an Income-Contingent Repayment plan, pursue Public Service Loan Forgiveness, transfer their student loan to another student, take advantage of a state Parent PLUS student loan forgiveness program, or opt for private student loan assistance or refinancing.

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.


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.


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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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Student Loans: Refinance vs. Income Driven Repayment

Refinancing Student Loans vs Income Driven Repayment Plans

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

If you’re having trouble making your student loan payments or just want to know if you can make a change to your payments, it’s worth looking into the options, such as refinancing student loans or an income-driven repayment plan.

Student loan refinancing is available for both private and federal student loans, while income-driven repayment plans are an option only for federal student loans. Proposed changes to income-driven repayment would lower monthly payments and curtail interest accrual, making the plans a better deal for borrowers. Here’s what to know about both options as well as the pros and cons of each.

What Is Student Loan Refinancing?

When you refinance a student loan, a private lender pays off your student loans and gives you a new loan with new terms. For example, the interest rate and/or the loan term may change. You can’t refinance loans through the federal government, however. You can only refinance federal student loans (or private student loans) through a private lender.

If you’re a graduate with high-interest Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Graduate PLUS loans, and/or private loans, a refinance can change how quickly you pay off your loans and/or the amount you pay each month.


💡 Quick Tip: Ready to refinance your student loan? With SoFi’s no-fee loans, you could save thousands.

Pros of Student Loan Refinancing

When considering refinancing your student loans, there are several benefits. You can:

•   Lower your monthly payments: Lowering your monthly payment means you can save money or spend more in other areas of your life instead of putting that cash toward paying student loans. (Depending on the length of the loan term, however, you may end up paying more in total interest.)

•   Get a lower interest rate than your federal student loan interest rates: This can result in paying less interest over the life of the loan (as long as you don’t extend your loan to a longer term). A student loan refinance calculator can show you the interest rate you qualify for.

•   Decrease your debt-to-income ratio (DTI): Your DTI compares your debt payments to your income. So if you lower your monthly payments, you could be lowering your DTI ratio — and a lower DTI can help when applying for a mortgage or other type of loan.

•   Remove a cosigner. Many borrowers who took out undergraduate loans did so with a parent or other cosigner. Refinancing without a cosigner allows you to regain some financial independence and privacy, provided you have a strong credit history.

Recommended: What’s the Average Student Loan Interest Rate?

Cons of Student Loan Refinancing

That said, refinancing federal loans can have some drawbacks as well. They include:

•   No longer being able to take advantage of federal forbearance: When you refinance your student loans through a private lender, you no longer qualify for federal student loan forbearance, such as the Covid-19-related payment holiday. However, it’s worth noting that some private lenders offer their own benefits and protections after you refinance.

•   No longer being able to tap into income-driven repayment plans, forgiveness programs, or other federal benefits: Refinancing federal student loans means replacing them with private loans — and forfeiting the protections and programs that come with them.

•   Possibly seeing your credit score get dinged: Your lender may do a hard credit history inquiry (or pull), which can affect your credit score.

For a deeper dive into the topic, check out our Student Loan Refinancing Guide.

What Are Income Driven Repayment Plans?

Put simply, income-driven repayment plans are plans that base your monthly payment amount on what you can afford to pay. Under the Standard Repayment Plan, you’ll pay fixed monthly payments of at least $50 per month for up to 10 years. On the other hand, an income-driven repayment plan considers your income and family size and allows you to pay accordingly based on those factors — for longer than 10 years and with smaller loan payments. Income-driven repayment plans are based on a percentage of your discretionary income.

You can only use an income-driven repayment plan for federal student loans. If you qualify, you could take advantage of four types of income-driven repayment plans:

•   Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan: You typically pay 10% of your discretionary income over the course of 20 years (for loans for undergraduate study) or 25 years (for loans for graduate or professional school).

•   Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE Plan): You typically pay 10% of your discretionary income but not more than the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan amount over the course of 20 years.

•   Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR Plan): As a new borrower, you typically pay 10% of your discretionary but never more than the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan amount over the course of 20 years. If you’re not a new borrower, you’ll pay 15% of your discretionary income but never more than the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan amount over the course of 25 years.

•   Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR Plan): As a new borrower, you typically pay the lesser of the two: 20% of your discretionary income or a fixed payment over the course of 12 years, adjusted according to your income over the course of 25 years.

How do you know which option fits your needs? Your loan servicer can give you a rundown of the program that may fit your circumstances. You must apply for an income-driven repayment plan through a free application from the U.S. Department of Education.

Note: Every income-driven plan payment counts toward the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). So if you qualify for this program, you may want to choose the plan that offers you the smallest payment.

Recommended: How Is Income-Based Repayment Calculated?

Pros of Income Driven Repayment Plans

The benefits of income-driven repayment plans include the following:

•   Affordable student loan payments: If you can’t make your loan payments under the Standard Repayment Plan, an income-driven repayment plan allows you to make a lower monthly loan payment.

•   Potential for forgiveness: Making payments through an income-driven repayment plan and working through loan forgiveness under the PSLF program means you may qualify for forgiveness of your remaining loan balance after you’ve made 10 years of qualifying payments instead of 20 or 25 years.

•   Won’t affect your credit score: This may be one question you’re wondering, whether income-based repayment affects your credit score? The answer is: no. Since you’re not changing your total loan balance or opening another credit account, lenders have no reason to check your credit score.

Cons of Income Driven Repayment Plans

Now, let’s take a look at the potential downsides to income-driven repayment plans:

•   Payment could change later: The Department of Education asks you to recertify your annual income and family size for payment, which is recalculated every 12 months. If your income changes, your payments would also change.

•   Balance may increase: Borrowers under the PAYE or IBR plan receive a three-year interest subsidy from the government. However, after the subsidy expires, borrowers are responsible for paying the interest that accrues on subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

•   There are many eligibility factors: Your eligibility could be affected by several things, including when your loans were disbursed, your marital status, year-to-year changing income, and more.

Refinancing vs Income Driven Repayment Plans

Here are the factors related to refinancing and income-driven repayment plans in a side-by-side comparison.

Refinancing

Income-Driven Repayment Plan

Lowers your monthly payments Possibly Possibly
Changes your loan term Possibly Yes
Increases your balance Possibly Possibly
Is eventually forgiven if you still haven’t paid off your loan after the repayment term No Yes
Requires an application Yes Yes
Requires yearly repayment calculations No Yes

Choosing What Is Right for You

When you’re considering whether to refinance or choose an income-driven repayment plan, it’s important to take into account the interest you’ll be paying over time. It could be that you will pay more interest because you lengthened your loan term. If that’s the case, just make sure you are comfortable with this before making any changes. Many people who refinance their student loans do so because they want to decrease the amount of interest they pay over time — and many want to pay off their loans sooner.

That said, if you’re wondering whether you should refinance your federal student loans, you’ll also want to make sure you are comfortable forfeiting your access to federal student loan benefits and protections.

Refinancing Student Loans With SoFi

Refinancing your student loans with SoFi means getting a competitive interest rate. You can choose between a fixed or variable rate — and you won’t pay origination fees or prepayment penalties.

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

Is income-contingent repayment a good idea?

This plan may be a good idea for some borrowers because the repayment terms are based on the lesser of these two: 20% of your discretionary income or a fixed payment over the course of 12 years, adjusted according to your income over the course of 25 years. Any remaining balance will be forgiven if you haven’t repaid your loan in full after 25 years. Because of the longer repayment timeline, the drawback is borrowers may pay more over time. It also won’t provide payments as low as the SAVE Plan.

What are the disadvantages of income based repayment?

The biggest disadvantage of income-based repayment is that you stretch out your loan term from the standard repayment plan of 10 years to longer — up to 25 years. This means that more interest will accrue on your loans and you could end up paying more on your loan before your loan term ends.

Does income based repayment get forgiven?

Yes! Through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, student loans can be forgiven after making 10 years of qualifying, consecutive payments. Additionally, borrowers with an income-driven repayment plan can have the remaining balances on their loans forgiven after 20 or 25 years.


Photo credit: iStock/m-imagephotography

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.

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Guide to Custodial Accounts and How They Work

Many parents want to save for their child’s future. One way to do this is by setting up a custodial account. This type of account specifically allows an adult to put money into a savings or investment account for a minor, which they can then access once they reach adulthood.

Custodial accounts can be a great way to give a child a financial gift. These funds can eventually be used for such expenses as their education, a car, wedding, renting an apartment, or even buying a home. If college is a particular goal, you can even open a custodial account designed for this very purpose.

If you’re considering opening up a custodial account for a young person, read on to learn what a custodial account is, the different types, and how they operate.

What is a Custodial Account?

A custodial account is savings or an investment account, established with a bank, brokerage firm, or mutual fund company, that’s managed by an adult on behalf of a minor, also known as the beneficiary.

Custodial accounts typically allow a parent, grandparent, family friend, or guardian to start saving for the child, until they reach adulthood, which depending on the state of residence, could be 18, 21, or even 25 years of age.

Even though the custodian manages and oversees the funds, the account is in the child’s name. Once the child reaches adulthood, the account legally transfers to their control.

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!


Recommended: What is Retail Banking?

How Custodial Accounts Work

Opening a custodial account is simple. You can likely start one with almost any financial institution, brokerage firm, or mutual fund company. All a custodian probably needs to establish one is to provide basic personal information about themselves and the child. Once a custodial account is created, the adult can start contributing funds into the account.

The financial institution sets the terms of the account, which may include a minimum balance, maintenance fees, and initial investment requirements, among other stipulations. Individuals can usually contribute as much as they want to a custodial account, but there’s a federal cap on how much you can contribute that’s free of the gift tax imposed by the IRS. In 2023, this amount is up to $17,000 for individuals and $34,000 for married couples per child, per year.

Custodial bank accounts usually come with protections for the beneficiary. While the custodian can withdraw money from the account, legally the money must only be used to benefit the minor. This means the adult in charge of the account can’t use the funds for their own personal reasons. Additionally, any contribution made becomes the property of the child, so transactions can’t be changed or reversed.

A monthly contribution to a custodial account can make a big difference in a child’s life because the money can substantially accumulate over the years. According to Fidelity Investments, starting to contribute $50 a month to a custodial account when a child is 5 years old can result in $21,000 once that child reaches age 21. Put in $150 a month and that amount goes up to $63,000, while $250 a month clocks in at $104,900.

Recommended: Tax Credits vs. Tax Deductions: What’s the Difference?

Types of Custodial Accounts

There are two main types of custodial accounts: the Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) and the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA). While both have the same objective and eliminate the need to start a trust, they work in slightly different ways. Another option is the Coverdell ESA and 529 accounts that can help with saving for college.

Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA)

The Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA), established in 1956, is a custodial account that grants adults the opportunity to give or transfer many different kinds of financial assets to a child. Here’s what is important to know:

•   Besides cash, assets in an UGMA account can include individual stocks, index funds, bonds, mutual funds, and insurance policies.

•   UGMA accounts aren’t limited to educational expenses. In fact, the money can be used by the beneficiary for anything once they come of age. A UGMA doesn’t have restrictions or contribution and withdrawal limits, but, as previously noted, gift tax limits apply.

•   This kind of custodial account is available in all 50 states and is easy to set up at many financial institutions and brokerages nationwide. Keep in mind there may be a minimum deposit required to open an UGMA.

•   There aren’t any tax benefits for contributions, but up to $1,250 of any earnings from a custodial account may be exempt from the IRS, and a portion of up to $1,250 of any earnings greater than the exempt amount may be taxed. If so, it will be at the child’s tax rate, which is generally lower than their parent’s tax rate.

•   Since education costs are one main reason parents or loved ones open a custodial account, one thing to know is because the funds are considered an asset owned by the child, it can affect their ability to get financial aid and student loans.

Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)

The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA), is a newer, expanded version of an UGMA. There are some differences between them to be aware of:

•   The main difference is that an UTMA account can include physical assets, such as cars, art, jewelry, and real estate.

•   You are not able to open a UTMA in every state. Currently, South Carolina and Vermont are two that don’t allow you to open a UTMA custodial account. And many states have a higher age at which a beneficiary can take control of a UTMA compared to a UGMA account.

•   The zero contribution limits, tax benefits, and financial aid impact that come with UGMAs are the same for UTMAs.

Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) and 529 Plans

There are two educational savings plans that fall under the umbrella of custodial accounts and can help a parent save for college for their child. One is the Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA).

•   This type of custodial account exists solely for saving for a child’s future educational needs. According to the IRS, ESA contributions made must be in cash and are not tax deductible.

•   Unlike UTMAs and UGMAs, there’s a $2,000 limit per year to how much you can contribute to the ESA’s account beneficiary.

•   ESA custodial accounts also have income-based restrictions and are only available to families who fall under a certain income level. Coverdell ESA’s are created by each state so you’ll need to see if your state offers one.

A 529 College Savings Plan, also known as a “qualified tuition plan” is often considered a kind of custodial account because it’s created to pay for the beneficiary’s educational expenses, whether it’s for college, tuition costs for kids in grades K-12, certain apprenticeship programs, and even to pay student loans.

•   Unlike other custodial plans, a 529 College Savings account can remain in the holder’s name even when the beneficiary reaches the age of majority in their state.

•   There aren’t any income limits for a 529 Plan, which differentiates it from a Coverdell ESA.

•   The 529 Plans are state-sponsored and most states offer at least one. You must be a U.S. resident to open a 529 Plan.

•   You don’t have to be a resident of the state and can pick another state’s plan, but your state may offer a tax deduction if you live there and open one. The Federal Reserve features a list of state 529 Plans.

Custodial Accounts vs. Traditional Savings Account

Both a custodial account and a traditional kid’s savings account can be opened with the goal of putting money away for a child’s future. However, they are two separate types of accounts that operate in different ways.

•   A traditional savings account opened for a minor is a type of joint account that typically can be accessed and used by both the minor and their parent or guardian. Some states and financial institutions have age limits or restrictions on whether a child can be on a joint account. With a custodial account, as previously mentioned, a minor can’t make any transactions until they reach the age of maturity.

•   Traditional savings accounts typically have no limits on how much money you can keep in the account, but banks may have a base amount you need to open an account along with minimum balance requirements.

•   Custodial accounts may be better for long-term savings, while a traditional savings account can teach kids about banking and good finance habits.

Recommended: Understanding the Different Types of Bank Accounts

Pros and Cons of Custodial Accounts

Custodial accounts have their upsides and downsides. Here’s some pros and cons to consider, presented in chart form:

Pros of Custodial AccountsCons of Custodial Accounts
Easy to set upCustodian loses monetary control when beneficiary comes of age
Can be inexpensive to establishMay have a cap on how much you can contribute due to gift-tax laws
May have tax benefitsNot as tax-exempt as other types of financial accounts
Money is the property of the childCan impact the ability to get financial aid
Anyone can make a contribution to the accountContributions are irrevocable

4 Steps to Opening a Custodial Account

Setting up a custodial account is simple and doesn’t take up a lot of time. Here’s how to open a custodial account in four steps.

1. Decide on the Type of Custodial Account

Research the various options to determine which kind of account would best suit your goals and those of the child. For example, is the goal strictly for educational expenses? Are there limits to contributions? Do you want contributions to include physical assets as well as monetary funds?

2. Figure out Where You Want to Open the Account

Banks, brokerage firms, and mutual fund companies all offer custodial accounts. Pick the one that best suits your comfort level, familiarity, and goals for the child.

3. Gather the Child’s Personal Information as Well as Your Own

When you open the account, you’ll want to have the necessary information ready, such as the custodian and child’s Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth.

The person who will be controlling the account will most likely have to provide employment information and have the account number(s) ready for another bank or investment account they want linked so they can transfer the money between accounts.

4. Open the Account

Many financial institutions make it easy for you to start an account online through their websites, or you can go to the financial institution in person.

The Takeaway

Custodial accounts can be a solid way to sock money away for a child’s future, whether it be for their education, a financial gift, or to provide them with a leg up on savings once they become young adults. These accounts can be opened at financial institutions and banks around the country, and you don’t even need to leave home to set one up. Depending on which type of custodial account you choose, you may also enjoy some tax-advantages too.

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

Are custodial accounts a good idea?

They can be. Saving and investing money on behalf of a child can make their lives easier once they’ve become an adult. Having a built-in financial cushion they can use for their education, housing, a trip, or even towards retirement can be a valuable gift to someone as they start their adult life.

How does a custodial account work?

A parent, grandparent, guardian, or loved one can open a custodial account for a child, at a bank, brokerage, or mutual fund firm. The account is for the benefit of the child and managed by an adult or the custodian of the account, with contributions added over time, if desired. Once the child turns 18, 21, or 25 (depending on which state they live in), the money is turned over to them.

What are the pros and cons of custodial accounts?

The advantages of a custodial account are an automatic savings available to the child when they become of age, typically to spend on whatever they want; some potential tax breaks for the person who opens the account; and the ease of setting them up. Downsides of a custodial account include a possible cap on how much you can give because of gift-tax restrictions; the inability to reverse any transaction after its completed; and, since the account is considered an asset of the child, it could affect their ability to be eligible for financial aid when applying to schools.


Photo credit: iStock/Drazen Zigic

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
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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.


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

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.

This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice.

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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