The SoFi Credit Card offers 1% back on all purchases, which bumps up to 2% if you redeem it to pay down debt, save or invest with SoFi. This reward structure might be a good option for current customers, but it probably won’t gain the company too many new users.
SoFi recently launched its first credit card. The digital personal finance company started with student loans and has since expanded into banking, investing and other types of loans.
The SoFi Credit Card is currently available to select SoFi members who were notified via email; anyone else can apply for the waitlist on SoFi’s website. The company says more members are being approved every week and general availability is planned for early 2021.
The card offers a base rewards rate of 1% cash back, which doubles to 2% when cardholders redeem it to pay down eligible debt, save or invest with SoFi. There is not currently a welcome bonus or an annual fee. The APR for purchases and balance transfers ranges from 12.99% to 24.99%, depending on the applicant’s creditworthiness. SoFi lowers that rate by one percentage point after the cardholder makes 12 consecutive on-time payments as long as they pay on time after that.
Additional benefits include complimentary cell phone insurance (up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year with a $50 deductible), a free ShopRunner membership and discounts or credits from Lyft (up to $10 per month), Postmates ($5 off all orders over $25) and Boxed (5% cash back).
Is it a good deal?
Some other no annual fee cash back cards offer 2% cash back on all purchases without restricting how you use the funds, such as the PayPal Cash Back Mastercard and the Citi® Double Cash Card (that one technically gives 1% when you buy something and another 1% when you pay it off). And like SoFi, Fidelity has a credit card with 2% rewards when you use them to save or invest with the firm.SoFi is clearly making a bid for customer loyalty. If you already have a student loan, mortgage, personal loan, bank account or investment account with SoFi, applying for their credit card is a streamlined process and you’ll get higher rewards. Still, the benefits are more psychological than anything else, centering around loyalty and consolidating accounts. If you’re after 2% cash back, you can get that elsewhere with more flexibility. And the cell phone and retail perks are available on other cards with the World Elite Mastercard designation.
I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed with this card. I would have felt better about it if, for instance, it offered 2% cash back without restrictions or had a welcome bonus, or if the company’s bank account offered a higher yield. Back in February, the SoFi Money cash management account offered a competitive 1.60% APY.
Rates have fallen across the industry since then, but SoFi’s have dived more than most. It currently offers 0.01% APY unless you have monthly deposits of $500 or more, in which case you earn a still meager 0.25%. Our sister site Bankrate.com lists several federally insured online savings accounts with yields as high as 0.70%.
While you wouldn’t have gotten rich off a 1.60% return on your savings, everyone needs an emergency savings account. That loyalty play – a respectable savings yield plus 2% cash back on credit card rewards deposited into the account – would have been more enticing. SoFi has a reputation for innovation and excellent customer satisfaction. I just don’t think that’s enough to overcome their credit card’s aforementioned limitations.
Some dedicated SoFi members will find it worthwhile to sign up for this credit card and redeem rewards to pay off their affiliated debt or use SoFi’s investing platform. But overall this card doesn’t feel completely original. In other areas – like student lending and automated investing, including cryptocurrencies – SoFi has broken new ground. I don’t think this credit card by itself will do much to broaden its customer base.
Have a question about credit cards? E-mail me at email@example.com and I’d be happy to help.