SoFi Invest Rating:   Sofi Invest Rating

Review of SoFi stock trading account: Automated Option and Active Option fees and commissions, pros and cons, minimum requirements and promotion offer for opening a new online account or IRA with the discount stock broker.

SoFi Invest Overview

SoFi has grown into a large financial-services company with an impressive range of products that go well beyond brokerage accounts. This outfit is well worth checking out.

Investment Accounts and Tradable Products

SoFi Investments Rating

Brokerage (self-directed) and managed (investment-advisory) accounts can be opened at SoFi Invest. These, of course, are just the beginning of the financial experience with SoFi as the company offers much more than just investing.

Brokerage accounts, which SoFi calls active-investing accounts, can trade equities, options, exchange-traded funds, and closed-end funds. There are no other asset classes available at the moment, and short positions are not permitted.

Robo accounts are automatically invested in a small selection of ETFs, which are typically SoFi-branded funds. These automated accounts are able to get help from human investment advisors through chat or phone, so the program is really a hybrid investment-advisory system.

Whether an account is a brokerage or automated account, it must have a tax structure. SoFi Invest has joint, individual, and retirement accounts, although brokerage accounts cannot be opened as joint accounts.

A securities account will be protected by SIPC, the major insurer of securities accounts in the United States. The maximum coverage is $500,000 per account category.


Margin

SoFi Invest Margin Rating

Brokerage accounts, but not automated accounts, at SoFi Invest can use other customers’ money to buy more securities. Because this margin system is a type of loan, there is of course an interest rate to report on. Right now, SoFi Invest charges a flat 11% APY across all balance levels.

Margin requirements, both initial and maintenance, are posted on every security’s profile at SoFi Invest, a nice feature.

A cash account with SoFi Invest can upgrade to margin status on the broker’s website, although an account value of at least $2,000 must be established first.


SoFi Pricing for Investment Accounts

SoFi Invest Fees Rating

Brokerage and robo accounts at SoFi Invest have some of the lowest possible fees in the industry. There is no management fee for the automated service, which means the only cost is the expense ratios on the underlying ETFs, which typically are under 50 basis points. Trades carried out by the robo advisor cost nothing.

Self-directed accounts also pay no commissions on trades of securities. Options have no per-contract fees, although SoFi does have a $5 fee for exercises and assignments. Because there is no management service in brokerage accounts, there is no management fee. However, there is a $25 annual inactivity fee assessed against securities accounts. It can be avoided simply by logging in at least once every 12 months.


Banking Tools

SoFi Invest Banking Rating

As already promised, SoFi Invest comes through with a rather extensive cash-management department. A single login is all it takes to access both investment and bank services. Examples of the latter include:

  • Personal loans
  • Free credit score
  • Mortgage loans
  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Student loans with refinancing options
  • World Elite Mastercard credit card with unlimited 2% cash back
  • World Mastercard debit card


SoFi Investing Account Review


SoFi’s banking program comes with a combo checking-savings setup. It is not possible to open one or the other; both must be opened together. The savings account comes with a high yield (4.50% right now with a qualifying direct deposit), and the checking account has the debit card. Neither account has any recurring fees, and they come with a long list of add-ons, including:

  • FDIC-sweep program with up to $2 million in insurance
  • Round ups when using the debit card
  • Vaults to manage savings goals
  • Cash bonus for opening an account
  • Early payday
  • No ATM fees at Allpoint® Network machines


Website

SoFi Invest Website Rating

Although SoFi has a lot of financial services, it doesn’t have a spectacular website. The company emphasizes simplicity, and it really shows in its software, especially its trading tools. For example, the order ticket has just two trade types: market and limit. There are no time-in-force choices, so it’s really an elementary system. There is a discrete button for a recurring investment, which is really the only noteworthy feature here.


SoFi investing review


Charting on the SoFi site is an even sorrier experience. A graph cannot be expanded the full width of the monitor, there are only five years of price data, and there are no tools at all. A graph cannot be saved or exported, and there is only one plot style (line).

Because SoFi Invest has added options trading to its menu, chains now appear on a security’s profile if the account has been approved for derivative trading. Unfortunately, there are no spreads, and it’s not possible to create custom multi-leg trades. The SoFi site does show Greek values for individual contracts, the one real highlight here.


SoFi options trading review


Despite the simplicity of the site, it does have one strength: the ability to pull in lots of services from other areas of the company. During our investigation, we found mortgage rates, quotes on life insurance, and educational materials.


Mobile App

SoFi Invest App Rating

SoFi has taken its website and replicated it to a great extent on its mobile app. At the bottom, there is a menu for the various departments. These include:

  • Home
  • Banking
  • Credit Card
  • Invest
  • Loans

The investing watchlist is actually on the Home screen. It syncs with the website, meaning it is the same watchlist. Tapping on an entry produces the asset’s profile, which has mostly the same features we saw on the website. The mobile app does have one feature we didn’t see on the website: investor activity. This page shows what other SoFi Invest customers are doing with a particular asset (buying or selling).


SoFi Invest App review


Option chains make an appearance on the app, although this time, Delta is the only Greek value displayed. The same rudimentary charting and order entry make appearances, too.


Other Software

SoFi Invest Software Rating

During our research, we did not find any other software programs, such as a desktop platform, to bring trading to an advanced level. Thus, the trading experience at SoFi Invest is a rather simple one.


Customer Service

SoFi Invest Customer Rating

On both the website and mobile app, we found a robo-chat widget. During our testing of the system, we did not always receive an accurate response. For example, when we requested the stock price of Boeing, we received information on the cost basis of securities. Thankfully, it is possible to bring a human rep on board during normal business hours. These are from 8:00 am, Eastern Standard Time, until 8:00 pm during the week. There are no weekend or overnight hours.

Outside of these hours, the website and mobile app do have some self-help features. It’s possible to download account documents (including tax forms), change an address, update financial information, pay bills, open a new account, scroll through promotions and offers, and so much more.

Because SoFi is a modern, online financial-services company, it has no branch locations. But there is phone service during normal business hours. The investment department’s number is (855) 525-SoFi.


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Additional Services

SoFi Invest Service Rating

Fully-Paid Stock Lending: SoFi Invest recently launched a program for its customers to earn additional income by loaning out their shares of securities. They earn 15% of the total net proceeds.

IPO Access: SoFi Invest offers access to Initial Public Offerings, and in fact, it has quite an extensive educational section on them. The brokerage firm has no account minimum to buy an IPO, although it does have a minimum hold period of 120 days.

Dividend Reinvestment Plan: SoFi Invest has a free DRIP service.

Extended Hours: SoFi Invest clients can trade before the opening bell and after the closing bell.

Fractional-share Trading: Whole-share and whole-dollar investing are both available in brokerage accounts.

Individual Retirement Accounts: There are three IRA choices at SoFi Invest: SEP, Roth, and Traditional. The investment firm does charge $20 to close an IRA.


Recommendations

Active Stock Trading: Due to the lack of advanced software, we can’t defend SoFi Invest here. Webull would be a good replacement.

Long-Term Investors & Retirement Savers: Because SoFi Invest has such a huge emphasis on holistic money management, it could be recommended here. Charles Schwab, however, is a much better choice.

Beginners: A robo account. Be sure to take advantage of the company’s financial advisors.

Small Accounts: An inactivity fee of $25 will be assessed to each SoFi Invest account that is inactive for the preceding 12 months. We recommend Robinhood instead.

Mutual Fund Trading: Until SoFi Invest brings mutual funds on board, Charles Schwab would be a good substitute.


SoFi Invest Review Summary

Although we do like SoFi’s large assortment of financial products and services, its investment program tends to underwhelm. The recent addition of options trading and fully-paid stock lending is hopefully a sign of ongoing improvement.


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