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You might be eyeing the SoFi Checking & Savings as your next banking account as you can earn a competitive interest rate on deposits. There are also up to $2 million in FDIC insurance benefits and no account fees. With all these benefits, you might wonder if SoFi Checking is a real bank and a legit place to keep your money.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Credit: Johnny Jet

Is SoFi a Real Bank?

Let’s first determine if SoFi is a real bank. Yes, Sofi is FDIC-insured, and they received their national bank charter in January 2022. Its FDIC Cert # is 26881, and registered under the name Sofi Bank, National Association.

This credential doesn’t make SoFi a risk-free place to keep your deposits but allows the institution to offer more products with competitive rates and give customers more peace of mind. In its bank charter announcement, SoFi stated they can offer lower rates on loans and more banking products that can help maximize your savings and spending potential.

Previously, the service was a financial technology (fintech) company when it launched its original banking product, SoFi Money, in 2019.

Becoming an actual bank is a rigorous process that’s lengthy, expensive, and heavily regulated. Instead, many fintech banking apps decide to partner with chartered banks for FDIC insurance pass-through benefits and instead use their capital to offer more banking rewards with little or no service fees.

Is SoFi Checking and Savings Safe?

Your SoFi Checking & Savings account is eligible for up to $2 million in FDIC insurance benefits. The first $250,000 is backstopped directly by SoFi Bank (up to $500,000 for joint accounts).

The remaining amount is passthrough coverage with 12 partner banks in the SoFi Insured Deposit Program. For high-net-worth individuals, it’s worth noting that any balance you have at a partner bank counts against your total $2 million coverage limit.

Additionally, the bank uses industry-standard security practices to protect your account from unauthorized logins and data breaches. For example, you can enable two-factor authentication (2FA). Further, you can link to external accounts using Plaid, a third-party app most personal finance apps use to coordinate transactions without accessing your sensitive account details.

No financial institution is risk-free, so you may keep a backup checking account open to hedge against potential bank closures. A second account can also hedge against temporary technology outages that may prevent you from logging into your account dashboard when you need to pay a bill or withdraw cash, which is why it’s a good idea to have multiple credit cards in your wallet.

Is SoFi Checking Good?

A SoFi Checking & Savings account is a legitimate option and an excellent online checking option for free banking and earning a competitive interest rate.

You will enjoy the most benefits by receiving qualifying direct deposits, as you can earn one of the nation’s highest interest rates on savings deposits. You can also earn a competitive rate on your checking account balance which rivals many interest-bearing accounts.

Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all checking and savings deposits. This is an excellent rate for checking deposits but leaves room for improvement with savings accounts, as you can earn more from a high-yield savings account from CIT Bank or Quontic Bank, for instance.

Additionally, you can access over 55,000 fee-free ATMs around the United States. You can also pay bills and send money quickly through the mobile app, web platform, or debit card.

Summary of Is Sofi a Real Bank?

You can have peace of mind with SoFi Checking & Savings as you’re transacting with a real bank and have up to $2 million in FDIC Insurance benefits. This coverage amount is higher than the industry standard of $250,000. You can also enjoy exciting complimentary benefits that many national brick-and-mortar banks don’t.

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