Updated June 22, 2021 10:31 AM PT

SoFi Invest Review

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Do you want the commission-free trades but need a little more guidance? Then SoFi Invest might be just what you need.

SoFi Invest
Active Investing with SoFi

Overall Score

4.2

Minimum Deposit

5.0

Price

4.5

Customer Service

3.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Commission-free trades
  • $0 account minimum
  • No management fees
  • No tax loss harvesting
  • Limited customer service
  • No options trading, mutual funds, or bonds

Bottom Line

Commission-free stock trading app for beginners new to investing

SoFi Invest offers both active and automated investing perfect for beginners.

But how does it stack up to Robinhood, Stash, and Betterment?

And is it trustworthy?

Before signing up for a SoFi Invest account, find out the pros and cons in this review. Plus, see what fees they charge and which investing features they do (and don't) offer.

What is SoFi Invest?

SoFi Invest is SoFi's own brokerage service. It's similar to platforms like Robinhood and Ameritrade that offer commission-free trading on ETFs and stocks on the major exchanges. They also offer crypto trading.

But there are a few features that really set SoFi apart from the rest. Like early access to IPOs, free financial counseling from professionals, and the choice between active and automated investing.

SoFi Invest is ideal for the new investor who wants to take control of their investments but also wants free, professional guidance along the way to steer them away from common mistakes.

It's ideal for active and passive stock, ETF, and crypto traders alike, but if mutual funds or OTC stocks are important to you, we advise looking for a platform that supports these.

Is SoFi Invest legit?
SoFi Invest is a legitimate investing platform that is a member of SIPC and is gaining popularity with younger investors. SoFi itself also has an A+ rating from the BBB.

How Does SoFi Invest Work?

SoFi Invest is one of the most affordable and investor-friendly platforms out there.

They don't charge commissions on stock trades. There are no account minimums or maintenance fees. Even their automated investing and financial counseling services are completely free of charge.

Some investors will also like that they can trade cryptocurrencies on the app (there is a 1.25% fee for crypto trades) and buy fractional shares of stocks.

SoFi Invest offers two different investing paths: Active Investing and Automated Investing.

  • Active investing is better for those who already have some ideas of companies or ETFs they want to invest in. This is basically the "do it yourself" approach where you do your own research and hand-pick everything in your portfolio.

  • Automated investing is where you tell SoFi your investing criteria (goals, risk level, etc.) and their algorithm builds you a diversified portfolio to help you get there (and rebalances it along the way).

SoFi Active Investing

If you want to pick and choose which stocks and ETFs to add to your portfolio, then SoFi's Active Investing was built for you.

Investment Offerings
You can invest in any company or ETF that is listed on any of the major U.S. exchanges (NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, etc.), but OTC stocks, mutual funds, and bonds are not offered.

The app shows basic info on each company and stock, such as volume, price range, dividend yield, and recent news, but you will likely need to use another platform for in-depth research.

As an active investor, you might also like that SoFi lets you buy fractional shares, which they appropriately call "Stock Bits."

This is really helpful if you have a smaller portfolio or want to add a small exposure to a stock with a high share price, such as AMZN, to your portfolio. One share of AMZN is currently trading north of $3,000, but Stock Bits means you can invest just $50 (or any amount) in the stock.

Social Features
The SoFi app lets you share your portfolio with friends, family, and really anyone on the app. You can follow others and see what the most popular SoFi investors are buying for their portfolio.

This is a unique aspect of SoFi that really makes it feel like an investment community and not just another broker.

Is SoFi Invest FDIC-insured?
FDIC insurance protects money you have deposited at a bank (checking, savings, CDs, etc.) while SIPC insurance protects the cash and securities you hold with a broker. SoFi Invest is a broker and not a bank, so they are SIPC-insured but are not FDIC-insured. However, their savings product, SoFi Money, is FDIC-insured because they offer this through partnering banks.

SoFi Automated Investing

If the prospect of choosing investments on your own scares you, or if you simply would like some professional guidance, you should consider using SoFi's Automated Investing.

Tailored Portfolios
When you choose Automated Investing, you'll be asked a few questions, like what your investing goals and risk level are. Then, SoFi's algorithm will recommend a custom, diversified portfolio of stocks and ETFs for you.

And as your portfolio grows (or you deposit/withdraw money), the algorithm will automatically rebalance your portfolio to make sure you stay on track to reach your financial and investment goals.

And SoFi offers automated investing at no cost to you.

Investing Support
If you still have questions about the portfolio that was built for you, SoFi's got you covered.

You get free access to their team of financial advisors, who are professionals trained to provide investment and long-term financial advice tailored to your specific needs and situation.

Does SoFi Invest Charge a Fee?

While SoFi Invest offers commission-free stock and ETF trades and doesn't charge any account maintenance fees.

There are a couple small charges that could potentially apply to you:

  • Crypto: SoFi charges a 1.25% fee per trade by marking up the bid/ask they quote you.

  • Wire transfers and paper statements: These come with a $25 fee, but can be easily avoided by opting for ACH transfers and signing up for e-statements.

There are also small regulatory charges from FINRA and the SEC that apply to some trades, but these are small (pennies per trade) and are passed onto investors by every broker.

You should also note that any ETFs included in your portfolio likely have an expense ratio, which is paid out of their NAV.

How does SoFi Invest make money?
SoFi Invest makes money in a few different ways to avoid charging you any fees. They earn interest on your cash balance, they sometimes lend out your shares to short investors for a fee, and they also sell their order flow to market makers. These are all fairly common of most brokers.

Pros and Cons

Before signing up for SoFi Invest, review the below pros and cons to see if it's the right brokerage service for you.

Pros

  • Commission-free trading
  • $0 account minimum
  • Only $1 to start investing
  • No management fees
  • Early access to popular IPOs
  • Free robo-advisory platform
  • Free access to professional financial advisors
  • Discounts on other SoFi products

Most brokers offer free trading these days, but you'd have a hard time finding a broker that includes all of the free perks SoFi offers.

Cons

  • Doesn't support mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, or OTC stocks
  • No tax-loss harvesting (it's a more advanced feature, but helpful nonetheless; you can sell holdings at a loss to get a tax benefit)
  • Only available to U.S. investors
  • Customer service is lacking

Is SoFi safe to use?
Yes, SoFi is a legitimate and trusted financial services company. Investing with them is safe because even if the company failed, your investments are insured through their SIPC membership. Similarly, cash balances you have with SoFi are also protected through their partners' FDIC membership.

SoFi Invest App

The SoFi Invest app is easy to use and serves its purpose as a bare-bones and simple trading app.

Placing a trade is very intuitive and quick, but because it's so simple, SoFi has left out some helpful features that are common with most investing apps.

For example, you can only place market and limit orders that are good for a single day on SoFi, so any orders that don't execute the same day are automatically canceled once the market closes.

Something else we noticed when using the app is that it can seem somewhat crowded because SoFi has a single app that covers all its offerings - investing, loans, banking, etc.

You might like this if you use multiple SoFi products, but serious investors would probably prefer a SoFi app that is specifically and only for investing.

Even with this room for improvement, most users agree the SoFi app is overall a solid platform for placing a few trades and taking care of other financial business. It has an impressive 74,000 (mostly positive) reviews, with many of them commending SoFi on their customer support.

Download: Apple Store, Google Play Store

How do you contact SoFi Invest?
A lot of investors have noted SoFi Invest's great customer service. Their app has one of the most robust FAQ sections we've ever seen, and if you don't find your answer there, you can either do live chat or call them Monday - Thursday from 5am to 7pm PT and Friday - Sunday from 5am to 5pm PT.

Compare Alternatives

If you made it this far, you can probably see that we think pretty highly of SoFi Invest, but they have a number of competitors offering a similar service. A strong review wouldn't be complete without squaring SoFi up against its closest competitors.

SoFi Invest vs. Robinhood
While SoFi Invest caters to long-term investors with its free automated portfolio construction tool and free access to financial advisors, Robinhood has naturally found more appeal with short-term investors and traders.

This is because Robinhood offers commission-free trading (like SoFi) and also offers options and futures trading, which are instruments commonly found in the trader's toolbox.

On the flip side, Robinhood's customer support leaves much to be desired, and they don't offer much in the way of advising or resources to help you build the right portfolio for your goals.

Read more: Robinhood Review

Is SoFi better than Robinhood?
Overall, SoFi offers a better brokerage service. The only reason we could see an investor choosing Robinhood instead is if being able to trade options or futures was really important to them.

SoFi Invest vs. Betterment
Betterment is one of the original robo-advisors, and they have a solid platform for long-term investors.

Like SoFi, they'll ask questions to better understand your risk appetite and investment goals and then build a customized portfolio of ETFs to help you reach them.

One thing we like about Betterment is that they mostly use Vanguard ETFs, which have a strong reputation, whereas SoFi uses their own in-house ETFs.

Like SoFi, Betterment also offers access to professional financial advice, and they even let you conveniently text their financial advisors through the app.

Betterment is more expensive, though, as they charge you a 0.25% annual management fee to use their investing platform (0.40% for Premium users) compared to SoFi charging nothing at all.

Betterment comes out slightly ahead of SoFi based on its more tenured history and its use of highly regarded Vanguard ETFs, but if you want a similar service at no cost, SoFi is the obvious choice.

Read more: Betterment Review

SoFi Invest vs. Stash
Stash is another player in the robo-investing space that, just like SoFi Invest, has a team of robots putting in late nights to build you a tailored portfolio of ETFs and U.S. stocks.

But they also offer a unique selling point - they recognize that one of the biggest obstacles to investing for many Americans is simply finding the extra cash in their paycheck each week.

Stash solves this by letting you round up all your Visa purchases to the nearest dollar and automatically invests the change for you.

Stash also sets itself apart from the crowd by offering a stock-back rewards program where, like getting cash back for shopping at certain retailers, you can get fractional shares in their stock equal to a certain percentage of your purchase amount.

These are some interesting differentiators, but after accounting for Stash's monthly fee, which starts at $1 and goes up to $9, their platform looks less attractive to us when compared to SoFi.

Read more: Stash Review

Bottom line: Is SoFi Invest Worth it?

We found SoFi Invest to be an overall great platform at a price point that literally can't be beat (how can anyone beat no fees?).

It caters to more experienced investors through its Active Investing feature, and just as effectively welcomes and guides brand-new investors with its Automated Investing service.

And their complimentary access to professional financial advisors is a benefit to experienced investors and beginners alike. If you like what you read, you should give SoFi Invest a try.

Write to Andrew Fitzgerald at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

CreditDonkey is a paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.

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