|Cash Back Rating:||3.3 / 5|
In a Nutshell:
The SoFi Credit Card is a great choice for SoFi customers who want to save, invest, or pay down a loan on their SoFi accounts. But for other customers? Not so much.
3% cash back rewards for a year when you set up direct deposit with SoFi
2% unlimited cash back on eligible purchases when redeemed toward investing, saving, or paying down an eligible loan with SoFi
Up to $200 when you fund an Invest account as well as a Checking and Savings account after getting approved for the SoFi Credit Card (see terms)
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
13.74% to 25.74% Variable APR
Other Notable Features: Cell phone protection, $10 Lyft credit per month every month you take 5 rides, 5% cash rewards on Boxed orders to be used for future purchases, free ShopRunner membership, 24/7 concierge, ID theft protection, zero fraud liability
The SoFi Credit Card isn’t like most cash back credit cards out there. After all, SoFi’s mission is to help people pay down debt. Whether or not the SoFi card actually helps you accomplish this, it’s an innovative concept for credit cards and a great marketing angle to attract younger cardholders.
With no annual fee, the ability to lower your credit card APR over time, and the chance to earn rewards that will help you pay down SoFi loans, it’s a smart choice for Gen Zers and younger millennials who want to put their money to (good) work, while building good credit.
Earning cash back
While SoFi’s mission may be to help people pay down debt, the only way to earn rewards is to spend money. The card bills itself as offering 3% cash back rewards for a year when you set up direct deposit with SoFi and unlimited 2% cash back, but you technically earn cash back as rewards points: 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible personal, family, and household purchases.
In order to get the full 2% cash back value, your rewards must be used to pay down a SoFi personal or student loan, save in a SoFi Banking account, or invest within the SoFi investment portfolio.
Rewards also cannot be earned when using your card to pay fees or interest, transfer balances or get cash advances, traveler’s checks or other equivalents.
Redeeming cash back
This card’s redemption structure is a bit more complicated than other cash back credit cards, so read the terms carefully. Cash back rewards points can be redeemed for $0.005 each when used for a statement credit to your card account or for $.01 each when redeemed in the following ways:
- Toward promotional offers on the “Redeem Points” section of the SoFI website. Note that these offers are subject to their own terms & conditions and eligibility requirements, so be sure to read them carefully before redemption.
- Toward savings or investments within a SoFi account
- Toward paying down SoFi student or personal loans.
Cardholders should also know that rewards can’t be redeemed if you have a canceled card or late payment due or if SoFi determines you’ve done something to violate their terms of service.
New sign-up bonus
The SoFi card also comes with the opportunity to earn up to a $200 bonus after you’re approved for the credit card and if you open and fund a SoFi Checking and Savings account and SoFi Invest account. This is certainly better than the card’s previous bonus of $100, but given you still have to open and fund two accounts, it will only be beneficial to a limited number of cardholders.
While a sign-up bonus is likely not your top priority if you’re considering the SoFi Credit Card, it’s worth noting that some no-annual-fee cash back cards offer better sign-up bonuses, especially if you have a good credit score. Even if you don’t have much credit history, you can find more lucrative options: The Discover it® Secured Credit Card, for example, offers 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on your first $1,000 in combined spending per quarter, then 1%, and will match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.
Card rates and fees
One draw of this credit card, especially for those just starting out on their financial journeys, is that it doesn’t charge an annual fee. This card also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, so international travelers won’t get nickel and dimed for purchases made overseas. However, don’t get too excited: This card isn’t entirely fee-free. Cardholders will still have to pay balance transfer and cash advance fees, and fairly steep ones at that: You’ll pay up to $10 or 5% of each transaction, whichever is highest.
The SoFi card carries a wide range of potential APRs based on your credit profile, ranging from 13.74% to 25.74% (variable). While the low end is far below the average credit card interest rate and rivals the rate you’ll find on some of the top low-interest credit cards on the market, the high end is on par with the average rate offered to people with bad credit.
One of the card’s most notable features, however, is its unique APR structure: SoFi highlights responsible money management by letting cardholders lower their card APR by 1% after 12 months of on-time payments. This can be a great tool for those looking to build smart credit habits, with a lower APR as a nice little bonus.
While this isn’t the best cash back rewards card out there, it’s definitely not the worst either, due to its generous rewards rate, which, on a pure earnings basis, competes with top flat-rate cash back cards like the Citi® Double Cash Card and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.
As such, the SoFi card still requires a good to excellent credit score to get approved. If you’re not already a SoFi customer and you’re trying to build or repair credit, you might have better luck opening a different flat-rate cash back rewards card.
See related: Best starter credit cards
Though rewards redemption is a bit inflexible with the SoFi card, it offers a few useful perks and key pluses that help make up for this limitation:
- Competitive purchase rewards — Earning 2 points for every dollar spent on everyday purchases is a great value, especially if this is your first rewards card.
- No purchase category limitations — Earning rewards is easy since you won’t have to activate or track rewards or purchase categories. However, remember that rewards rates will vary when it comes to redeeming for promo offers, something to keep in mind when mapping out your spending strategy.
- Cellphone protection — World Elite Mastercard cardholders are eligible for cellphone insurance coverage of up to $1,000 per 12-month period ($800 per claim) against theft or damage when they pay their cellphone bill with the card (up to two claims per 12-month period, subject to a $50 deductible).
- Easy account management — For SoFi customers with multiple accounts, the ability to manage your credit card and your SoFi savings and/or investment accounts all in one place can save time and hassles.
- Other Mastercard Benefits — Enjoy discounts and extra rewards for Lyft ride-shares, online shopping through ShopRunner and Boxed and more. You’ll also get 24/7 access to Mastercard’s World Elite Concierge, built-in ID theft protection and zero fraud liability.
How does the SoFi Credit Card compare to other cash back rewards cards?
While the SoFi Credit Card is technically a cash back rewards card, its redemption scheme is very limiting. A number of other no-annual-fee cards with a similar rewards rate are worth considering. Here are a few of our favorites:
Citi® Double Cash Card
Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Earn 2% cash back on every purchase: 1% when you make it and 1% when you pay it off.
Earn unlimited 2% cash back into a Fidelity savings or investment account
Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
Citi Double Cash Card
One of our favorite flat-rate cash back cards by far, the Citi Double Cash offers up to 2% back on every purchase: 1% when you buy and another 1% when you actually pay off the purchase. A key advantage this card offers over the SoFi card is its flexibility: You can redeem cash back in a number of different ways, including as a statement credit, direct deposit into a Citi checking or savings account or a check, as well as for gift cards or travel.
Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card
Another option for investment-minded cardholders, the Fidelity Rewards Visa charges no annual fee and offers a flat 2% cash back on all purchases for Fidelity members. As with the SoFi card, you’ll only get maximum value from your rewards if you redeem with Fidelity. As long as you already invest with Fidelity, this card can offer an easy set-it-and-forget-it way to fund your account.
Chase Freedom Unlimited*
The Chase Freedom Unlimited should be a great fit if you’re looking for variety in how you earn and redeem your rewards. You’ll enjoy an elevated ongoing rewards rate on travel booked through Chase and on dining and drugstore purchases. Though you’ll only earn a flat 1.5% back on general purchases, you’ll get much more flexibility in how you redeem. Indeed, if you get a higher-tier Chase travel card down the line, you can boost the value of your points by as much as 50%.
Who should get the SoFi Credit Card
- Existing SoFi customers who want to pay down debt on SoFi loans.
- People who wish to save or invest with SoFi.
- First-time rewards cardholders who don’t mind having rewards locked into the SoFi ecosystem.
How to use the SoFi Credit Card:
- Redeem your points as cash back into SoFi accounts, such as SoFi Invest, SoFi Banking, and toward SoFi student and personal loans to get the highest value.
- Pay your card on time fors 12 months to get your APR lowered by 1%.
- Take 5 Lyft rides per month to earn the monthly $10 Lyft credit included as one of the card’s Mastercard perks.
- Take advantage of the free ShopRunner membership for fast, free shipping from major retailers.
- Use your card when overseas to take advantage of no foreign transaction fees.
Is the SoFi Credit Card worth it?
As far as cash back rewards credit cards go, the SoFi Credit Card will range from great to pretty average, depending on whether you’re already a SoFi Customer or have plans to become one. The rewards rate on this card is solid, but the redemption options might make it difficult for the average cardholder to take full advantage of this card’s potential value since you can only earn the highest rate when points are redeemed in a limited number of ways.
While this card is a good choice for people who want to focus on paying down their debt, it only really helps if your loans are with SoFi.
If you want to build or repair credit with a no-fee, low-hassle cash back credit card, and you’re not already a SoFi customer, you’re better off opening a different card with a similar rewards rate, better introductory offer and more flexible redemption options.
*All information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
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