SOFI Review: How We Refinanced Our Student Loans

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My spouse and I both refinanced our student loans with SOFI around 8 months ago. We had several loans between the two of us that were unnecessarily high, and a few variable loans that looking back should have been fixed.

We spent several weeks doing research on various refinancing sites that specialized in student loan consolidation/refinancing, and had a few requirements in our research:

  • Needed to be able to get variable and/or fixed rate on student loans
  • Needed a rate under 5%
  • Needed to be able to consolidate private and federal loans
  • Needed to be well reviewed by trusted sites and have real user reviews on forums

After we settled on SOFI (due to meeting the above requirements), we went through the application process.


SOFI’s Approval Requirements

  • Minimum loan amount – $5,000 USD

SOFI’s Application Process

The student loan refinancing application process was very easy. We both submitted our loan details. Within the same pre-approval process we received our loan options (duration and fixed & variable options with their varying interest rates). We then selected which options we wanted.

After that SOFI requires documents about your loans including things like pay off quotes. In our case we had trouble getting some information from a few of our loan places, so SOFI actually helped us acquire the necessary information they needed. It took a few days for verification to go through, and then you receive your acceptance packets. Once you electronically sign they will send you a whole packet to a physical mailing address with the process, how it works, etc.

Around this point and after a little bit of time, once SOFI pays off your existing loans for consolidation you are able to login to your old accounts and see the balances at zero. It was pretty exciting to see that! At the same time you can setup auto-pay for your loans that comes directly out of your bank account.

Here’s their visual graphic of the process below (and we can confirm it’s just about this easy):

SOFI loan approval process

Are Payments Easy To Make? Variety Of Options?

We both found our payments extremely easy to make. SOFI partnered with Mohela.com, which is where we would actually make our payments. We both used auto-pay options and never had an issue. It was fantastic for us because we consolidated student loans from a few different places into one single loan with one single payment.

When it came time to pay above the minimums of the refinancing we simply went in and increased our auto pay amount. When it came time to pay the loans off in full, we simply generated a pay in full quote, selected our auto saved bank accounts, and paid. We were provided with confirmation numbers and all of the necessary details to reference.


What Happens When You Pay Off A SOFI Loan?

We were fortunate to have some successful investments that allowed us to pay off our SOFI student loans early. We simply set the payment to match our remaining balance and that was the end of it. We were not charged again by SOFI and never ran into any issues.

However, we do still occasionally get notices from SOFI about opportunities such as home lending, etc.


Would We Recommend?

Yes! We never had a hiccup dealing with two separate SOFI student loan accounts. We shaved off over 2% of interest on my spouses loans. That is a huge deal and part of the reason we were able to pay them off in full within under 1 year!

Ally Bank High Yield Savings Account Review

We made the switch to Ally Bank several years ago after reading about high interest savings accounts on /r/PersonalFinance. I was shocked that a bank could offer a 1.2% APR where Chase was offering 0.02% and hooking customers on it.

Needless to say, we nervously made the switch and wondered what it would be like to not have a physical bank for our savings, but after several years we have barely noticed.

Our strategy is to keep our checking account with the pay periods bills + a small liquid emergency fund balance in case we don’t have time to transfer from Ally or aren’t capable of using a credit card. We also keep an Ally Bank debit card with a checking account there should we need to access it.

We keep several accounts with Ally based around savings goals, our accounts are structured as follows:

  • Emergency fund
  • Taxes
  • Vacation

Things We Like About Ally Bank

  1. No monthly fee’s or minimum balance requirements
  2. You have access to over 43k ATM’s
  3. 1.45% APY (interest you earn) per year on savings accounts as of 04/2018
  4. We’ve always had great experiences with telephone support

Things We Wish We Could Do With Ally Bank

  1. Deposit actual dollar bills directly