What to Do if There Is a Bank Error in Your Favor

What to Do When There Is a Bank Error Made in Your Favor

If you ever see a bank error made in your favor, you might think, “Free money!” but the truth is, you need to report the error ASAP.

An unfortunate fact of life is that people — and sometimes technology — can make mistakes. Every once in a while, your bank might make an error and deposit cash into your account that wasn’t meant for you. A teller at a bank branch could have entered the wrong digit in an account number as a customer tried to deposit a check or transfer funds, for example. Whatever the reason, you’ll notice that your bank account balance is higher than it ought to be.

While this may seem like a cash windfall and you might be tempted to keep the money, you should report the error to your bank as soon as you notice it. That way, the mistake can be corrected as quickly as possible.

Key Points

•   If you notice a bank error in your favor, you should report it to your bank as soon as possible.

•   You cannot keep money that was mistakenly deposited into your account; it must be returned.

•   Failing to report and return the money could result in legal consequences, such as criminal charges.

•   Contact your bank immediately when you notice the error and keep records of your interactions.

•   Regularly monitor your bank account to catch any errors and avoid potential financial issues.

Can I Keep the Money from a Bank Error in My Favor?

So what happens when money is accidentally deposited into your account? You may wonder if it’s a case of “finders, keepers.” Well, the only time that you can keep funds added to your account is when the money deposited was legitimately meant for you.

When a bank error occurs in your favor, you cannot keep the money — even if the error seems small and likely to fly under the radar. The money isn’t legally yours, so you must return it.

What’s more, the customer whose money accidentally landed in your account will probably notice the mistake and ask the bank to track down the money. Or, the bank will catch the mistake in one of the regular audits that it makes on accounts and withdraw the money again. If the money isn’t in your account, they may ask you why you didn’t report the mistake earlier.

Recommended: Ways to Deposit Money into a Bank Account

What Is the Penalty for Attempting to Spend or Keep the Money?

Now, let’s consider what would happen if you didn’t report and return the money mistakenly put in your account. Even if you are a person who doesn’t pay much attention to your banking details and assume the money is yours, it is still a big problem if you use it. If you spend the money from a bank error in your favor, move it to another account, invest it, or give it away, you could wind up in a lot of hot water.

Failing to return the money may be tantamount to theft, and you could face criminal charges, such as theft of property lost by mistake or receiving stolen property. Criminal charges may be made to get a court order to force you to repay the amount, and in some cases, you could end up with probation or prison time. That’s a very good reason to get the funds back to your bank as soon as you realize there’s been an error.

A few years ago, a Pennsylvania couple went on a spending spree when their bank accidentally deposited $120,000 in their account instead of a business’ account due to a teller error. The couple bought various vehicles with the money and also gave $15,000 away to friends in need.

The bank requested that the couple return the money and then reversed the transfer, causing an overdraft on the couple’s account of over $100,000. The couple was eventually convicted of theft, sentenced to seven years’ probation, 100 hours of community service, and ordered to repay the money they stole. Surely, this is a good example of why there’s no such thing as free money in this situation.

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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!


When Should I Report the Error?

If you discover money in your account and can’t explain where it came from, contact your bank right away, and ask them to figure out the origins of the funds. If it turns out the money really was for you — perhaps a relative deposited it in your account as a gift, for example — your bank will let you know that you are free to access the funds and use them for whatever you’d like.

If the funds weren’t originally meant for you, the bank can start the process of reversing the transaction.

To report the error, first call your bank. Take down the name of the person you talked to and make a note of the time and date. Follow up your call with an email that outlines the details of the error. That way, you’ll have a paper trail of your attempts to correct the issue. The time frame in which to report a bank error varies, so check with your particular account’s fine print to know the specifics.

What Happens if the Bank Does Not Respond?

Generally speaking, banks have 10 days to complete an investigation into an account error. But it is possible the investigation could take as long as 45 days. You can take a look at your deposit account agreement to find out how long it should take your bank.

If nothing has changed after that period of time, contact your bank again to check in on the progress of the investigation. Do not assume the money has somehow become rightfully yours. You don’t want to make a bad situation worse, cause legal action, and wind up eventually having to hire a lawyer to represent you.

What Should I Do So That I Don’t Get in Trouble?

When an erroneous deposit is made to your account, here are the steps you should take to help ensure that you don’t get into any trouble.

Do Not Touch or Transfer Money

First things first, if you notice money in your account that’s not yours, don’t touch it. Don’t spend, don’t give it to someone else, and don’t move it into a different account. Don’t even spend the money if you plan to repay it and report the mistake later. Anything you do to tamper with the money, no matter how benign it seems, could have big consequences later.

Contact Your Bank

As we mentioned above, contact your bank immediately when you notice the error, and keep records of your interactions.

Monitor Your Account

Get in the habit of scoping out your financial accounts regularly, whether it’s checking your credit report, bank account, or even checking medical bills for errors. The fact that even your bank can accidentally deposit money into your account illustrates the necessity of reviewing your bank account regularly.

If you don’t look at your account statement frequently, you may not notice small errors, and these can have a big impact on your personal finances. How often should you check your bank account? There’s no precise answer, but between once a week and once a month can be a good place to start.

For example, say a small deposit of just a few hundred dollars is accidentally made to your checking account. Say, too, that you don’t notice the deposit and spend some of the funds. When the bank discovers the mistake, they can withdraw the funds without your permission, freeze your account, or put a hold on your funds. If you’re still operating unaware of the erroneous deposit, this can wreak havoc on your account. It could cause overdrafts or your checks to bounce. It might gum up the works on any automated bill pay that you may have set up.

As a result, you may be on the hook for overdraft fees, or you may end up paying some bills late.

Keeping careful tabs on your account can help you catch errors so you can avoid these situations and improve your financial health. Consider setting up alerts for deposits in your account. That way you can spot any mistakes as soon as they happen. You may want to consider other automatic ways to monitor your finances, such as credit score monitoring and card security and protection, to help keep your accounts safe.

The Takeaway

Now you know what to do if money is accidentally deposited into your bank account. If a financial institution makes a mistake in your favor, sorry to say, this isn’t the moment to go on a spending spree. The best thing you can do is act quickly to alert your bank. That way, the error can be corrected, the right person can receive the money they need, and you can continue banking as usual. If you fail to do so, you could wind up with overdrafts and other issues when the bank takes the money back. Worse still, you could face legal consequences with far-reaching effects. So do the right thing, and keep your financial life on the up and up.

Here’s a no-funny-business way to help your money grow: Bank with SoFi. We’re committed to zero account fees as well as superior interest rates. Sign up for our Checking and Savings with direct deposit, and you’ll earn a super competitive 4.60% APY which is 41 times the current national checking account average. Plus, we won’t deduct any monthly, minimum balance, or overdraft fees.

Bank smarter with SoFi.

FAQ

Can I keep money credited in error to me?

No, you cannot keep money that is deposited in your account in error. You should alert your bank and have the funds redirected to their rightful owner.

Do I have to report a bank error?

Yes, you should report the error. Contact your bank and report the mistaken deposit as soon as you notice it so the problem can be corrected.

What happens if the bank makes a mistake? Who is responsible and why?

If your bank makes a mistake, you should alert them as soon as you notice it. Your bank will also run regular audits of your accounts, which can help them catch errors. When they do catch a mistake, it must be resolved with the funds going back to the correct account. To do so, the bank can reverse transfers, withdraw funds from your account, freeze your account, or place a hold on the funds without your permission. If the money isn’t there, you will be asked to repay it, and you may face criminal charges.


Photo credit: iStock/fizkes

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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.

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What Is a Bump-Up Certificate of Deposit?

What Are Bump-Up Certificates of Deposit? All You Need to Know

A bump up certificate of deposit (CD), also known as a step-up CD or raise-your-rate CD, is a type of savings account that allows the account owner to “bump up” or increase the interest rate they earn if rates increase during the investment term. Typically one bump up is allowed, and the other terms of the CD remain the same after that.

The initial interest rate of a bump up CD is lower than other types of CDs, but it comes with the opportunity to earn a higher rate.

In this article, we will go over how bump-up CDs work, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to get started earning with this type of savings account.

How a Bump-Up CD Works

Bump-up certificates of deposit are similar to ordinary CDs in most ways.

If an investor buys into a bump-up CD account, it will start out with a certain interest rate. The investor will be required to deposit a certain amount of money to open the account and agree to keep it there for a specified period.

If, during the term of the CD, the issuer’s interest rates increase, the investor can ask the issuing bank to raise the interest rate they earn on their CD. This is quite different from a standard savings account, where the investor has no control over the interest rate. So if the initial rate is 2.0%, and during the maturity term the rate increases to 3.0%, the account holder can request a bump up to 3.0%.

If the interest rate drops to 2.5% sometime after that, the investor is protected and keeps their bump up to 3%.

Step-up CDs are similar, but the difference is the bank will automatically raise the interest rate throughout the term of the CD with a step-up CD. With a bump-up CD the rate is not automatically increased.

Usually, interest rates can only be increased one time during a CD term, but some banks do offer multiple bump-ups if the term of the CD is long. Also important to note, is that some banks put a cap on how high the interest rate can be bumped on a CD. So if interest rates go up a lot, CD owners may not be able to fully take advantage. Generally, bump-up CDs have a two- to four-year term. Like a regular CD, these accounts are FDIC-insured.

Recommended: How to Invest in CDs

Bump-Up CDs: Real World Example

Let’s say an investor opens a bump-up CD with a two-year term and an interest rate of 1.25%. One year into the CD term, the issuing bank’s interest rates rise, and they now offer 1.60% on the same type of CD. The investor can request that the interest rate on their CD be increased to the new rate of 1.60% for the second year of its term.

In this example, let’s say the investor deposited $10,000 into the CD when they opened it. If they had earned 1.25% on their money for the full two-year term, by the end of the term they would have $10,251.56 at the maturity date. However, if they earn 1.25% for the first year and 1.6% for the second year, at the maturity date they would have $10,285.00.

Earning an additional $34 may not seem like a significant difference, but it’s one of the easier and safer ways to have your money earn money.

Advantages of Bump-Up CDs

There are advantages to buying bump-up CDs, including:

•   Ability to raise the CD’s interest rate during its maturity term instead of having to wait or open a new CD

•  Take advantage of new, higher rates without any early withdrawal penalties

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!


Disadvantages of Bump-Up CDs

Although there are advantages to bump-up CDs, they come with some downsides as well:

•  Since bump-up CDs typically only allow one bump up, they are recommended for investors who have a deep understanding of the interest-rate system and what might happen during their investment term.

•  The initial interest rate on bump-up CDs tends to be lower than other types of CDs. So even though there is the ability to raise the rate later, a traditional certificate of deposit may still earn more interest since it likely starts at a higher rate.

•  Interest rates may not go up during the CD term, locking the investor into the initial lower rate.

•  If interest rates do start to increase, timing the bump-up on a CD can be challenging. By bumping up earlier you can take advantage of a higher interest rate for more time, but you could miss out on an even higher rate that might come later.

How to Open a Bump-Up CD

Banks and credit unions offer bump-up CDs. To open one, an investor deposits a certain amount, and the CD has a particular starting interest rate and term. Once it’s open the account owner can contact the issuing bank or credit union to increase the rate throughout the CD term.

The terms to consider when opening a CD include:

•  Maturity term

•  Bump up frequency

•  nitial interest rate

•  Minimum deposit to open the account

•  Early withdrawal rules and penalties

•  Fees

Alternatives to Bump-Up CDs

There are several other types of interest-bearing deposit accounts and CD investment strategies that investors may want to consider:

Traditional CD

A traditional CD has a fixed interest rate over the course of its maturity term. There are some advantages to traditional CDs and they often earn higher rates than bump-up CDs.

CD Laddering

Since it can be hard to predict what will happen with interest rates in the future, another investing strategy is to create a CD ladder.

A CD ladder is a portfolio of CDs that each have a different interest rate and maturity term. This strategy provides an investor with a range of interest rates, allowing them to take advantage of changes in the market, and each time one of their CDs matures they have some funds to put into a new one or cash out. Usually, a longer-term CD will have a higher rate, but by opening some shorter-term CDs as well investors can put their money into new ones if interest rates increase rather than opening a bump-up CD.

Here is an example of a CD ladder:

•  6-month CD at 0.40%

•  9-month CD at 0.50%

•  12-month CD at 0.80%

•  18-month CD at 0.90%

Step-Up CD

Similar to a bump-up CD, step-up CDs allow investors to take advantage of rising interest rates. The difference is with a step-up CD the issuer automatically raises the interest rates at certain intervals throughout the CD term.

The Takeaway

Bump-up CDs can be a good way to take advantage of rising interest rates. They are safe investments with more flexibility than a traditional CD, but they don’t necessarily earn more interest. Understanding interest rates is complicated, so bump-up CDs are generally only recommended for experienced investors.
If you want to bump up your savings, one smart option is to open a SoFi Checking and Savings. You can get started with just a few clicks online, or on your phone, and this all-in-one account has no account fees or overdraft fees. Even better, you can qualify to earn a competitive APY by using direct deposit – and you can set up automated goals to grow your savings steadily over time.

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 a 12-month bump CD?

A 12 month bump CD is a certificate of deposit savings account that earns a certain amount of interest over the course of one year. If interest rates rise during that year the account owner can request that the interest rate their CD earns be increased to the new rate.

How do bump-rate CDs work?

Bump-rate CDs are similar to traditional CDs, but they allow the owner to request an interest rate increase one time during their maturity term if market interest rates go up.


Photo credit: iStock/sihuo0860371

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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What is Ripple XRP? Everything to Know for 2022

Cryptocurrency is a fast-moving space with new technologies and names arising on a daily basis. One of the largest and more polarizing subjects in the space is Ripple XRP, a private-company-founded platform and cryptocurrency launched in 2012. It has gained notoriety for its unique founding, structure, and operations.

Ardent supporters back its real-world adoption and growth potential. Dissenters contend that because of many of these same factors, it’s philosophically misaligned with cryptocurrency ideals and fundamentals.

Despite these contentions, Ripple XRP has grown to become a household name in cryptocurrency. Here’s everything you need to know about this cryptocurrency, and how to invest in it.

What Is Ripple?

Ripple is both a currency-exchange system designed to allow fast and low-cost transactions, and a cryptocurrency in its own right. Ripple’s primary goal is to connect financial institutions, payment providers, and digital asset exchanges to provide faster and cheaper global payments.

Created in 2012 by Jed McCaleb and Chris Larsen, Ripple is perhaps better known for its open-source, peer-to-peer decentralized platform, RippleNet, which enables money to be transferred globally in any fiat or cryptocurrency denomination between financial institutions.

Ripple makes some improvements on common shortfalls associated with traditional banks. Transactions on the Ripple Network are settled in seconds even under the regular stress of millions of transactions. Compare this to banks’ wire transfers which typically can take days to weeks to complete and can cost anywhere from $15 to $30 or more if sending or receiving internationally. Fees on Ripple vary based on the transaction size but overall are minimal, with the minimum cost for a standard transaction at 0.00001 XRP.

Whereas top cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are designed to be used primarily by individuals, Ripple’s system is designed to be adopted by banks, funds, and institutions.

What Is XRP?

XRP is the currency issued and managed by Ripple (though users can also create their own currency on the platform). Ripple began selling XRP in 2012 to fund company operations, allowing its users to buy cryptocurrency, though it has taken a backseat to the company’s primary objective of developing RippleNet.

Throughout Ripple’s lifespan, leadership has reframed how XRP fits into the company’s business model, originally proclaiming it as the fuel on which its borderless payments technology runs, and later as a more efficient medium of exchange than Bitcoin.

XRP tokens represent the transfer of value across the Ripple network and can be traded on the open cryptocurrency market by anyone. Unlike Bitcoin’s popular store-of-value narrative use-case, XRP is primarily used for payments and borderless currency exchange. While Ripple’s centralized infrastructure concerns some in the cryptocurrency space, its fast transaction speeds, low transaction costs, and low energy usage provide superior performance as a medium of exchange compared to many blockchain-based cryptocurrencies.

(Need a crash course on crypto before you can read any further? Check out our guide to cryptocurrency.)

What is the XRP Price?

At the time of reporting, the XRP price is $0.474494. It’s all-time high was $3.8419 in January 2018. It went as low as $.0041 in November 2015.

How Does Ripple Work?

There are two main technologies to be aware of when it comes to Ripple and XRP. Specifically, the XRP ledger (XRPL) and the Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA). Here’s how they work.

XRP Ledger (XRPL)

RippleNet is built on top of its own blockchain-like distributed ledger database, XRP Ledger (XRPL), which stores accounting information of network participants and matches exchanges among multiple currency pairs. The transaction ledger is maintained by a committee of validators who act like miners and full-node operators to reach consensus in three to five seconds—versus Bitcoin’s 10 minutes. Because there are no miners competing to confirm transactions for block rewards, validators verify transactions for no monetary reward.

Anyone can become an XRP validator, but in order to gain trust and be used by others on the network, validators must make Ripple’s unique node list (UNL), deeming them a trusted Ripple validator. These centralized validators are critical to prevent double-spending and censorship of transactions. There are only 35 active XRP validators; six are run by Ripple.

Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA)

XRP’s design is predicated on speed and cost, as opposed to decentralization. Unlike different types of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are built on the blockchain and validated by miners through the Proof of Work consensus mechanism, Ripple confirms transactions through its own consensus mechanism, the Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA).

By avoiding Proof of Work’s energy-intensive mining, Ripple transactions require less energy than Bitcoin or Ethereum, are confirmed faster, and cost less. However, this speed is ultimately achieved because of XRP’s centralized infrastructure, which some argue makes the network less secure, censorship-resistant, and permissionless than open-source blockchain networks.

Ripple Cryptocurrency Token Supply

Unlike many other cryptocurrencies, XRP is not mined. The token’s entire supply was created when the network first launched in 2012 and Ripple executives intermittently tap into an escrow to release segments of the supply to sell on the open market.

In other words, unlike Bitcoin’s decentralized economy, XRP’s supply and issuance is centralized and governed by a few authorities. Because the total supply already exists, no more will be created into existence, thus making XRP fixed in quantity and not inflationary.

As of January 2021, only 45 billion XRP tokens are in circulation, out of the maximum total 100 billion. Due to the vast circulating supply, XRP has had one of the largest market caps of any cryptocurrency, even briefly eclipsing that of Ethereum’s second-largest cap late in the 2017-2018 bull market.

Ripple Crypto and Regulatory Trouble

In late 2020, Ripple became the target of an SEC investigation . The regulatory body determined that Ripple Labs Inc. and two of its executives, Co-Founder Chris Larsen and CEO Bradley Garlinghouse, had raised over $1.3 billion through an “unregistered, ongoing digital asset securities offering” to finance the company’s operations. Consistent with recent cryptocurrency rules set by the SEC, Ripple’s leaders were charged with unlawful issuance of securities in the form of sales of its XRP token, raising questions about compliance with cryptocurrency taxes.

The XRP price crashed amid the fallout, from over $0.60 to under $0.30, as prominent crypto exchanges began delisting the token and Ripple executives, including Founder Jed McCaleb, sold off personal XRP holdings worth millions.

Is Ripple a Good Investment?

Though XRP has been impacted by Ripple’s legal blow, XRP is an independent token that can and does function somewhat outside of Ripple’s business model. The crash in price and soured fundamental outlook may not paint a bright picture of XRP as an investment to some. Whether XRP recovers and continues to evolve with the rest of the crypto herd remains to be seen, but as investors look for value in undervalued assets, it doesn’t hurt to do further research and form an educated conclusion.

Pros and Cons of Ripple XRP

Because Ripple is different in some ways from other cryptocurrencies, it makes sense to review its perceived pros and cons before making any investing decisions.

Pros of Ripple XRP

•  Fast speeds
•  Low fees
•  Interest/tentative adoption by financial institutions

Cons of Ripple XRP

•  Centralized infrastructure, governance, issuance
•  Corruptible validators
•  Unsupported by many exchanges

How to Invest in XRP

To start investing in Ripple, you first need to join a crypto exchange. Signing up for an account could include different verification processes, depending on the exchange. Once you’re signed up, you’re ready to trade or buy Ripple XRP. You can trade any current crypto you own, or you can buy a major cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum and then use that to buy Ripple XRP.

The Takeaway

Ripple XRP is a global digital payments system that sacrifices decentralization for performance. The network and technology is owned and at least partly run by Ripple, the private company, which controls the underlying infrastructure, supply, and some of the limited network validators. While Ripple strays from the conventional decentralization model adopted by leading cryptos Bitcoin and Ethereum, it conforms to some degree through its own specially — designed infrastructure.

Although Ripple’s primary goal is providing a borderless payments and currency exchange gateway for financial institutions, its native cryptocurrency XRP has taken on a life of its own and is actively traded and analyzed by investors. With high-ranking metrics such as fast and inexpensive transactions, some investors argue XRP is a strong competitor to large cryptocurrency blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Conversely, Ripple XRP’s centralization has been a major philosophical and security concern for others — including US regulatory bodies.

Cryptocurrency is an exciting new technology that’s disrupting money as we know it. With SoFi Invest®, members can trade some of the most popular cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, Dogecoin, and Litecoin.

Find out how to invest in cryptocurrencies with SoFi Invest.


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