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Reviews

PenFed Credit Union CD Rates, Checking, Savings, Money Market, and IRA Accounts

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Year Established1935
Total Assets$24.5B
LEARN MORE PenFed Credit Union’s secure websiteNCUA Insured
PenFed Credit Union—also known as Pentagon Federal Credit Union—got its start in 1935. Since then, it has grown to become one of the largest credit unions in the country, with over 1.6 million members and $24 billion in assets. While it does offer in-person branches, anyone can also access their accounts online.

Like most credit unions, PenFed Credit Union restricts their membership. Luckily, most can get in with the right credentials or by making a small one-time donation to a good cause.

If you’re a government employee (including members of the military), work on a military base or for a qualifying organization, or a relative of someone who does meet these qualifications, you’re immediately eligible for membership.

For the rest of us, we can join simply by becoming a member of the Voices for America’s Troops or National Military Family Association for a one-time fee of $17.

In this review we’ll look at the rates and terms offered for each of their financial products. This will help you make an informed decision about whether PenFed is the right credit union for your banking needs.
PenFed Credit Union’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

Compare Rates from Similar Accounts

0.05%

Savings

PenFed Credit Union Regular Savings

2.10%

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings Account

on American Express National Bank’s secure website

NCUA Insured

2.50%

CD Rates

PenFed Credit Union 12 Month Money Market Certificate

2.75%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 12 Month CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

NCUA Insured

2.80%

CD Rates

PenFed Credit Union 3 Year Money Market Certificate

3.10%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 5 Year CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

NCUA Insured

PenFed Money Market Certificates

High rates, great dividend payment, and renewal flexibility make this a great choice.

Term

APY

6 months

2.40%

12 months

2.50%

15 months

2.55%

18 months

2.60%

2 years

2.70%

3 years

2.80%

4 years

2.85%

5 years

3.05%

7 years

3.05%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For a six-month CD, you’ll forfeit any dividends earned (if you withdraw the amount before 90 days), or a full 90 days’ worth of dividends (if you withdraw it after 90 days, but before the CD matures)
    • For a longer-term CD, you’ll forfeit all dividends earned (if you withdraw the amount within the first year), or 30% of what you would have earned if you kept the CD to maturity (if you withdraw the amount after one year, but before the CD matures)

One of the nice things about PenFed’s CDs is that they are very flexible in terms of how your dividends are paid out and what happens to the CD upon maturity.You can choose to have dividends reinvested into your CD or paid out each month by direct deposit into another PenFed Credit Union account, or mailed to you as a check. Of course, it’s always best to leave the dividends to pile up in your CD. If you choose to have dividends paid out, your APY may be lower than the stated rate.When you set up your CD, you’ll choose what happens at maturity. You can choose from three options: Renew the CD for the same term, deposit the funds into another PenFed account, or have a check mailed to you. There is no grace period for you to choose what happens after it matures as with most banks; rather, you choose upfront. However, you can change your mind at any time.The only down side of this CD is that you cannot make a partial withdrawal. If you need to withdraw the cash early, you can only remove the full amount. If you do need to withdraw the money, you can also only do so after giving written notice.

How to get a PenFed Money Market Certificate

To get a PenFed Money Market Certificate, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. You may be eligible for membership based on your employer (such as the military) or by joining the Voices For America’s Troops or National Military Family Association for a one-time $17 fee.

As a part of the application process you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into a Share savings account. Once this is done, you can open up your CD with a minimum deposit of at least $1,000.

PenFed Credit Union will mail you a signature form to complete your account application, but you can still open new accounts online before completing this final check mark.

LEARN MORE Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How PenFed’s CDs compare

PenFed offers very competitive rates on their CDs. Each of their CDs carry a higher-than-average interest rate. These high rates, combined with flexibility on how you earn dividend payments and how the CD is renewed, make this a great choice for people looking for a well-rounded CD option from a credit union.

Still, if earning the top rates are your priority, there are currently higher CD rates out there with certain banks.

PenFed’s Coverdell Education Savings Certificates

Lower minimum deposit requirements make this account more accessible for parents.

Term

APY

1 year

2.40%

2 year

2.60%

3 year

2.70%

4 year

2.75%

5 year

2.95%

7 year

2.95%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • If you withdraw the CD before one year has passed, you’ll forfeit any dividends earned
    • If you withdraw the CD after one year has passed, you’ll pay a penalty equal to 30% of what you would have earned if you had kept the CD to maturity

PenFed’s Coverdell Education Savings Certificates are a great tool to save for college. These CDs have a lower (i.e., more accessible) minimum account opening requirement than their regular Money Market CDs—just $500. You can contribute up to the maximum yearly amount set by the IRS—currently $2,000 for 2018—to this Coverdell account.

When you set up your account you can choose what happens when the CD matures: either renew the CD for a similar term, or deposit it into a new Coverdell Education Share account. Unlike PenFed’s regular CDs, you do have the option to make a partial withdrawal during the term of the CD if needed, provided that it doesn’t drop the amount in your CD below $500 (if that happens, the entire CD will be closed and deposited into a Coverdell Education Share account). If you do make a partial withdrawal, that amount will also be subject to the early withdrawal penalties described above.

How to get PenFed’s Coverdell Education Savings Certificates

To get a PenFed Coverdell Education Savings Certificate, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. You may be eligible for membership based on your employer (such as the military) or by joining the Voices For America’s Troops or National Military Family Association for a one-time $17 fee.

As a part of the application process you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into a Share savings account. Once this is done, you can open up your Coverdell account with a minimum deposit of at least $500.

Once your application is complete, or if you’re already a member, you can open any new financial product directly in your online account. PenFed Credit Union will mail you a signature form. However, you can still open new accounts before completing this final check mark.

LEARN MORE Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

PenFed checking account

Great interest rates, but make sure you can meet the requirements to waive the monthly fee.

APY

Account Balance

0.20%

Up to $19,999.99

0.50%

$20,000 - $50,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10
  • How to avoid the account maintenance fee: Keep a daily balance or monthly direct deposit of $500 or more
  • ATM fee: None for using either a PenFed ATM or a non-PenFed ATM; however, if using a non-PenFed ATM, the ATM’s owner may charge you a surcharge fee
  • Overdraft fee: $30

Unfortunately, this checking account does charge a monthly fee, but if you have a job with a direct deposit paycheck or at least a little bit of cash, it’s not a hard fee to skirt around.

What we really like about this account is that it charges zero ATM fees, except for any surcharge fees an out-of-network ATM owner would charge (but that’s out of PenFed’s control). If you’re looking for a high-interest-earning checking account and use the ATM a lot to get cash, this would be a great checking account for you.

How to get PenFed’s checking account

To get a PenFed Checking Account, you’ll need to be a member. Simply complete the application, deposit a Share savings account with at least $5 and join either the Voices For America’s Troops or National Military Family Association for a one-time $17 fee (if you don’t qualify based on your employment).

Once your application is complete, or if you’re already a member, you can open any new financial product directly in your online account. They will mail you a signature form, however you can still open new accounts before completing this final check mark.

LEARN MORE Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How PenFed’s checking account compares

We really love PenFed’s checking account for several reasons. It has a great interest rate, especially considering that many banks still don’t pay anything at all. PenFed Credit Union also does not charge any ATM fees with this account (although again, the other bank’s owner may charge you a surcharge fee), making this a cheaper option for folks who frequently use cash.

While this is a great checking account, it is possible to find better online checking accounts out there that offer higher interest rates, no monthly fees and ATM surcharge fee reimbursements.

PenFed Money Market Savings Account

PenFed offers very low rates for this account, even with a high balance amount—you can do much better elsewhere.

APY

Account Balance

0.05%

Up to $9,999.99

0.10%

$10,000 - $99,999.99

0.15%

Over $100,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1.50 for a withdrawal and $1.00 for a balance inquiry (including at in-network PenFed ATMs)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30
  • Excessive transaction fee: $10 if you exceed 6 certain transactions per month

PenFed’s money market account is designed to earn higher rates than their regular savings account, and that’s exactly what this account does — but only if you bring at least $10,000 of cash to the table to earn the second-tier or third-tier interest rates.

Although this account doesn’t have a monthly account maintenance fee, there are other fees to watch out for. You don’t typically use ATMs with a money market account as with a checking account, but if you do need to use an ATM, you’ll pay a $1.50 fee to make a withdrawal, even at an in-network PenFed ATM.

A better way to get your cash out of this account is with an account transfer (just don’t make over six in one month to avoid the excessive transaction fee), or with the free checks that they offer with this account.

How to get PenFed’s Money Market Savings Account

To get a PenFed Money Market savings account, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. You may be eligible for membership based on your employer (such as the military) or by joining the Voices For America’s Troops or National Military Family Association for a one-time $17 fee.

As a part of the application process you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into a Share savings account. Once this is done, you can open up your Money Market savings account with a minimum deposit of at least $25.

They will mail you a signature form to complete your account application, however you can still open new accounts online before completing this final check mark.

LEARN MORE Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How PenFed’s money market account compares

As far as interest rates go, PenFed’s money market account is very low. In fact, you can earn even higher interest rates by keeping your money in PenFed’s checking account, which is strange.

Furthermore, we find it odd that they charge you to make an ATM withdrawal from this account — even from their own ATMs. At least they offer free checks, but that won’t help you much if you need cold, hard cash pronto.

If you’re looking for better rates and terms on a money market account, you can find better money market accounts elsewhere.

PenFed Savings Account

An overall lackluster savings account that offers a low rate and charges for ATM withdrawals.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.05%

$5

  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1.50 for a withdrawal and $1.00 for a balance inquiry (including at in-network PenFed ATMs)
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30
  • Excessive transaction fee: $10 if you exceed six certain transactions per month

This is the basic account that you need to become a PenFed member and open any other account. It’s designed as a free savings account and does pay a small amount of interest, but don’t expect much more from it than that.

Furthermore, if you ever need to take out cash from this account, you’ll pay a $1.50 per ATM withdrawal, even if you use a PenFed ATM. And unlike with their money market checking account, you don’t get free checks with this account. That means the only way you can make a free transaction into or out of this account is either online or by visiting a branch in-person.

How to Get PenFed’s Savings Account

To get a PenFed savings account, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. You may be eligible for membership based on your employer (such as the military) or by joining the Voices For America’s Troops or National Military Family Association for a one-time $17 fee.

As a part of the application process you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into a Share savings account. Once this is done, you can open up your savings account with a minimum deposit of at least $5.

The credit union will mail you a signature form to complete your account application, however you can still open new accounts online before completing this final check mark.

LEARN MORE Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How PenFed’s Savings Account compares

We’ll be honest here. The interest rate on PenFed’s savings account is awfully low compared with its competitors. You likely won’t earn much with this account, especially compared with other online high-interest savings accounts.

Furthermore, we don’t like the fact that you need to pay to use an ATM with this account, even for in-network PenFed ATMs. Most banks at least let you use their own in-network ATMs for free, so the fact that you need to pay to do so with this account seems silly.

However, even though all members are required to open this account when establishing their membership with PenFed, it doesn’t mean you have to use it. It’s perfectly fine to let it sit idle with the $5 minimum deposit since there are no monthly account maintenance fees. We instead view this account as a pesky requirement for working with the credit union if you’d like to use one of their other financial products.

PenFed IRA CD accounts

No fees on partial withdrawals for those ages 59 ½ and over make this a great account choice for mature consumers.

Term

APY

1 year

2.40%

2 years

2.60%

3 years

2.70%

4 years

2.75%

5 years

2.95%

7 years

2.95%

  • Minimum amount to open an account: $1,000
  • Minimum amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • If you withdraw the money in the first year, you’ll forfeit all dividends earned
    • If you withdraw the money after one year but before the CD matures, you’ll pay 30% of what you would have earned if you kept the CD to maturity

At first glance, PenFed’s IRA CDs look pretty run-of-the-mill. The minimum opening deposit is fairly high, especially if you’re a young saver just looking to start out. In fact, IRA CDs are fairly conservative investments anyway, and the people who can get the most benefits from them are mature folks nearing — or already at — retirement.

But what makes these IRA CDs really stand out as better options for more mature savers is that you can make partial early withdrawals from your CD completely penalty-free, assuming that you’re 59 ½ and over. If you need to take out the cash in retirement early, rest assured it won’t cost you anything to withdraw, as long as you leave at least $1,000 in the CD for it to stay open.

How to get a PenFed IRA CD

To get a PenFed IRA CD, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. You may be eligible for membership based on your employer (such as the military) or by joining the Voices For America’s Troops or National Military Family Association for a one-time $17 fee.

As a part of the application process you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into a Share savings account. Once this is done, you can open up your IRA CD with a minimum deposit of at least $1,000.

They will mail you a signature form to complete your account application, however you can still open new accounts online before completing this final check mark.

LEARN MORE Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How PenFed’s IRA CDs compare

While PenFed doesn’t exactly offer the highest interest rates on their IRA CDs, they’re pretty darn close. If you’re looking to get as high in returns as possible it’s tough to go wrong with them, but you may be able to earn more with other IRA CDs.

The thing that stands out the most with PenFed’s IRA CDs is that people who are over age 59 ½ can make partial withdrawals from these CDs without paying any early withdrawal penalties (assuming they keep at least a $1,000 balance in the CD to keep it open). This is a really unique feature, and it’s why we would recommend PenFed’s IRA CDs to older adults looking to keep their options flexible.

PenFed IRA Savings account

Low interest rates make this an OK place to store your retirement funds, but not to grow them.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.05%

$25

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None

Remember how everyone is required to open up a PenFed savings account and fund it with at least $5 if they want to become a member? This account is the IRA version of that. Specifically, if you want to open up an IRA product — such as one of PenFed’s IRA CDs — you’ll need to open up one of these accounts as well.

This will be the default account that your IRA CD money is deposited into if you elect not to have the IRA CD auto-renew when it matures. It’s a great place to store your money in the short term until you withdraw it for retirement or move it to another IRA investment, however, it’s not a great place to grow your money due to the lackluster interest rate.

How to get PenFed’s IRA Savings account

To get a PenFed IRA savings account, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. You may be eligible for membership based on your employer (such as the military) or by joining the Voices For America’s Troops or National Military Family Association for a one-time $17 fee.

As a part of the application process you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into a Share savings account. Once this is done, you can open up your IRA savings account with a minimum deposit of at least $25.

They will mail you a signature form to complete your account application, however you can still open new accounts online before completing this final check mark.

LEARN MORE Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

PenFed IRA Premier Account

The exact same account as PenFed’s regular IRA Savings account, just with a higher minimum balance requirement.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.05%

$10,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None

If you have at least $10,000 to keep in your retirement savings account, you can choose to open PenFed’s Premier IRA Savings account. There is no real benefit of using this account over PenFed’s regular IRA Savings account, because the exact interest rates are currently being offered for both accounts.

Typically, the more money you bring to the table, the higher the interest rate you can earn (as with PenFed’s Money Market Savings account), however that is not the case with this account. That could change in the future, however, if the credit union does decide to increase their interest rates for this account. But right now, we can’t really see any reason why you’d specifically choose this account over their regular IRA Savings account.

How to get PenFed’s IRA Premier account

To get a PenFed IRA Premier account, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. You may be eligible for membership based on your employer (such as the military) or by joining the Voices For America’s Troops or National Military Family Association for a one-time $17 fee.

As a part of the application process you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into a Share savings account. Once this is done, you can open up your IRA Premier account with a minimum deposit of at least $10,000.

The credit union will mail you a signature form to complete your account application, however you can still open new accounts online before completing this final check mark.

LEARN MORE Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Overall review of PenFed’s banking products

When it comes to bank accounts, PenFed really shines in some areas and offers somewhat lackluster products in others. Specifically, we really like the high rates offered on their checking accounts and CD products, which are currently running near the top of the pack. The added advantage for people who are over age 59 ½ to withdraw money from the IRA CDs without paying a penalty as long as they keep at least $1,000 in the CD is also a great option.

However, other products — such as their savings and money market accounts — fall a bit short. We find it odd that they charge ATM fees for some of their accounts, even if you use a bona fide PenFed network ATM. Furthermore, each of PenFed’s savings accounts offers such low rates that we can’t really recommend them as a place to grow your money.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Reviews

SoFi Money Cash Management Account Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

SoFi Money review
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SoFi, the financial institution known for low rates and low fees on student loans and mortgages, is making a foray into consumer cash management accounts. SoFi Money™ will offer a high-yield checking account with no account fees.

We looked at every aspect of SoFi’s new checking account offering to see how it stacks up to competitors.

What sets Money apart from the competition is that SoFi clearly wants this account to be a one-stop shop for both savings and checking. Basically, the SoFi Money account will offer an interest rate that’s much higher than the rate on most checking accounts. This means you can keep your savings in your checking account rather than a savings account. This sounds convenient, but it’s not always the best idea.

Some people may manage to save more money when they separate their money into a different account, even if the account doesn’t have a great interest rate. And you can certainly find savings accounts with higher yields than the 2.25% APY SoFi Money is offering.

We dug into the details that are available at this time to see who should consider replacing their current checking account with SoFi Money.

SoFi Money vs Ally and Simple

The SoFi Money account offers an excellent blend of low fees and high interest rates, but it won’t be perfect for everyone. We’re highlighting a few accounts that shine where the SoFi Money account is a bit weaker.

“The important thing about this account is that it’s not a checking or savings account,” said Ken Tumin, editor of DepositAccounts.com, another LendingTree-owned site. “This appears to have more risk than a checking or savings account.” Why is it riskier? Instead of providing FDIC insurance directly, SoFi sweeps your deposits into one or more partner banks for the FDIC coverage. Your money isn’t FDIC-insured until the funds arrive at a partner bank, nor is it SIPC-insured when held with SoFi.

Banking with competitor Ally provides immediate and direct FDIC insurance for your banking deposits. “Its checking account rates may be a little lower than SoFi’s account for most balances, but they also offer savings and money market accounts which offer much higher interest rates. Savings and money market rates have risen much more than checking account rates since the Fed began raising interest rates.”

Bank

APY (Checking)

APY (savings)

SoFi Money

2.25%

N/A

Pros:

  • No monthly fee
  • No overdraft fees
  • High APY on checking
  • No ATM fees and unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, worldwide (as long as the ATM accepts Visa)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons:

  • Honestly, we can't find any! Just be sure to read the fine print to thoroughly understand everything.
Checking Account + Protected Goals Account*

2.02%

N/A

Pros:

  • Connected Savings Goal
  • Zero fees, even for non-sufficient funds and overdrafts
  • Built-in budgeting tools
  • Free Allpoint® ATM use

Cons:

  • No ATM fee refunds
  • No check-writing abilities
Online Savings Account from Ally Bank

0.10% on account balances up to $14,999.99.



0.60% on account balances of $15,000 or more.

2.20%

Pros:

  • Up to $10 ATM reimbursement
  • Free use of Allpoint® ATMs
  • High-yield savings
  • Instant transfers between checking and savings (including free transfers to protect against overdrafts)

Cons:

  • $25 overdraft fee (one per item)
  • Up to 1% foreign transaction fees
  • ATM reimbursement only available in the United States

What’s exciting about the SoFi Money account

No account fees. This will be a huge benefit to people who tend to keep low balances or live paycheck to paycheck, as fee-free accounts are few and far between among traditional big banks these days. With SoFi Money, you won’t pay a monthly maintenance fee and you won’t have to worry about paying non-sufficient funds fee (NSF) or overdraft fees either. You’ll also get free checks, free automatic bill pay and free mobile funds transfers. SoFi won’t even charge you a foreign transaction fee whenever you use your debit card to make a purchase in a foreign currency. Very few banks offer this level of “fee free,” and those that do often offer paltry interest rates.

High yield without complicated account requirements. Some high-yield checking accounts require account holders to maintain minimum balances, use their debit card a certain number of times or set up direct deposit. SoFi has no such requirements. The interest rate on the account is currently 2.25% APY, and it is a variable interest rate that is subject to change. In a rising rate environment, you could easily see that rate go up over time, as many other banks have been raising their rates in response to the rising federal funds rate.

Up to $1.5 million in FDIC insurance. One of the unique features of the SoFi Money account is in its design. Money kept in the SoFi Money account is actually “swept” into one of six program banks. All six banks give account holders up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance, so SoFi Money™ holders get up to $1.5 million in total FDIC insurance. While not many people will need that much insurance, it is a notable feature.

ATM fee reimbursement. SoFi doesn’t charge any ATM fees. Plus, SoFi will reimburse you for any ATM fees you pay worldwide when you use your Visa Debit card at any ATM with the Visa, Plus or NYCE logos. In contrast, other banks may reimburse for ATM fees up to a set dollar limit, like $10 at Ally.

Membership with SoFi. Opening a SoFi Money account makes you a member of SoFi. SoFi isn’t an exclusive club, but it provides its members with unique services like career coaching, local networking events and an entrepreneurship accelerator. If you’re looking to grow in your career, spruce up your resume, network with local career-minded individuals or just put a face with your bank, SoFi provides events that can help you out.

Digital first banking. Most people will interact with their SoFi Money account through the digital app. The app will include mobile banking features such as bill pay, photo check deposit, and mobile cash transfers. Although SoFi promises a digital-first experience, it remains to be seen if they can deliver. SoFi had a rocky update to its current app at the end of 2017, but has resolved the issues. Hopefully, the addition of SoFi Money to the SoFi app goes smoothly.

No account minimums. You do not need to maintain any particular balance to avoid fees or to earn interest.

Free checks. Plenty of SoFi Money account holders will forgo physical checks altogether, but those that need them can request checks for free.

There isn’t much not to like about SoFi Money™, to be honest. But there are a few areas where we think taking a closer look at the fine print is necessary. Although, considering that SoFi doesn’t charge any fees, plus the relatively high APY it offers, some of the items in the fine print might be okay to overlook, depending on how you use your account.

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What’s in the fine print?

  • Visa 1% foreign transaction fee. Although SoFi won’t charge you for making purchases in a foreign currency with your SoFi Money Visa® Debit Card, Visa will. You’ll pay a 1% fee to have the transaction converted to U.S. dollars.
  • Note that SoFi offers unlimited reimbursement on ATM fees, but only when you use your SoFi Money Visa® Debit Card at any ATM with the Visa®, Plus® or NYCE® logos. SoFi can also choose to limit or revoke ATM reimbursements at any time without notice.
  • To open up a SoFi Money account, you must be 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Accounts with better interest rates

Smaller banks that have “reward” checking accounts offer superior interest rates to the rates offered by SoFi. These banks limit their high interest rates to a subset of balances. They also require account holders to meet certain account usage requirements (such as debit card use minimums or direct deposits). Despite these requirements, these checking accounts may be superior savings vehicles.

For example, people with low checking account balances should consider an account at America’s Credit Union rather than SoFi. America’s Credit Union offers a 5.00% APY on balances up to $1,000. (After that, rates drop to 0.10% on balances between $1,000.01 and $15,000 and 0.25% on balances over $15,000.01). This account doesn’t have any monthly service fee, but it doesn’t offer any ATM refunds. Plus, earning the high interest rate requires you to meet several standards including 10 monthly uses of the debit card, at least $15,000 in loans or deposits with ACU, and at least $500 in direct deposits monthly.

Still, with a massive 5.00% APY on the first $1,000, many people can earn more interest by checking with America’s Credit Union. You can learn more about the details, requirements and limitations of America’s Credit Union here.

People with larger account balances (up to $20,000) may prefer holding their account at Consumers Credit Union. This account has no monthly service fees, unlimited ATM reimbursement and high-yield accounts. You’ll earn 3.09% APY on balances up to $10,000, 4.09% APY on balances up to $15,000 and 5.09% APY on balances up to $20,000.

Consumers Credit Union requires account holders to meet four requirements to earn interest. The requirements include making 12 point-of-sale debit purchases (without using a PIN number), having a direct deposit or bill pay, signing onto the online banking system once per month and signing up for eStatements. The requirements may be annoying, but the interest is shockingly high. Learn more about the account here.

Comparable accounts that reimburse all ATM fees worldwide

One of the huge perks to the SoFi Money account is the unlimited ATM fee reimbursements per month. If you’re a heavy ATM user (especially while abroad), this should be a huge advantage for you.

The Charles Schwab High Yield Checking account is probably the best example of a comparable account with this feature. Not only will you receive unlimited ATM reimbursements, you’ll also avoid paying any foreign transaction fees. However, a huge downside is that this account has an APY of 0.40% compared with SoFi’s 2.25% APY.

Similarly, the Save & Spend Account at Aspiration Bank has unlimited reimbursement on ATMs worldwide. This account also offers a 2.00% APY on all balances. Aspiration also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees or overdraft fees. However, SoFi’s rate is still higher.

Comparable accounts with no foreign transaction fees

The SoFi Money account doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee, which some major banks have but often waive if you meet certain requirements. Once again, the Charles Schwab High Yield Checking account waives all foreign transaction fees. It also offers unlimited reimbursements on ATM fees worldwide. This is likely the premier account for international travelers, but it offers a paltry 0.40% APY, while SoFi Money stands out with a 2.25%.

Capital One also waives all foreign transaction fees on its checking accounts. However, these accounts carry a number of other fees and a lower interest rate than the SoFi Money account. Plus, Capital One won’t reimburse ATM fees charged by other banks.

Final take on SoFi Money

SoFi Money is a cash management account that will make a lot of sense for a lot of people. It’s one of the simplest accounts, and it offers unique benefits. The blend of no fees and higher interest rates should appeal to plenty of people. It’s an account that beats out most checking accounts from large banks, and it beats out accounts from most smaller banks, too (especially on the low-fee front).

If SoFi manages to implement the account without messing up its app, this account will quickly become a favorite account among people seeking accounts that don’t charge unnecessary fees.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Hannah Rounds
Hannah Rounds |

Hannah Rounds is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Hannah here

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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Advertiser Disclosure

Reviews

Barclays Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. Based on your creditworthiness you may be matched with up to five different lenders.

Barclays
APR

5.74%
To
18.99%

Credit Req.

700

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 60

months

Origination Fee

None

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Barclays is a global bank with customers in 40 countries. ... Read More

Barclays Personal Loan Details
TermsFees and Penalties
  • Term lengths: 36 to 60 months
  • APR range: 5.74% to 18.99%
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $35,000
  • Time to funding: A few business days
  • Credit check: Soft Pull
  • Origination fee: None
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late payment fee: None

Barclays product details

One of the most unique features of the Barclays personal loan is the complete lack of late fees — your balance will still accrue interest if your payment is late, which could increase your total loan payment, but you won’t incur a penalty.

When you check your personal loan rate, Barclays performs a soft pull that won’t affect your credit score. This allows you to comparison shop, without lowering your score. Do note, the bank will check your credit score to determine your creditworthiness after you submit an application.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: 700
  • Minimum credit history: Not specified
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified

Specific eligibility requirements for personal loans are not available on the Barclays website.

Applying for a personal loan from Barclays

The Barclays personal loan application is entirely online. To begin the process, click “Check your rate,” follow the prompts and choose the options that best meet your needs. You do not need an invitation code to apply, but if you have one, click “Use my invitation code” at the top of the page to receive your customized rate.

During the application process, you’ll be asked to provide your name, address, contact information, Social Security number, employment details, and personal financial information. Barclays will send you a message through its secure application center to request written documents needed to evaluate your application. These items can be uploaded through the bank’s secure application center.

Before you sign your loan application, you’re free to cancel it at any time. If you choose to accept your loan, Barclays will issue the money within a few business days. You’re able to have the funds deposited in a U.S. checking or savings account or direct the bank to pay off up to five of your credit card balances without touching the funds yourself.

Pros and Cons of a Barclays Personal Loan
ProsCons
  • No fees: Barclays personal loans come with zero fees. This includes origination fees, prepayment penalties and late fees, which can result in significant savings.
  • Soft pulls: Checking your rate will not impact your credit score, because Barclays uses a soft credit inquiry that is not reported to creditors or credit reporting agencies.
  • Flexible terms: Choose a repayment period that fits your budget, as Barclays offers terms of 36, 48 and 60 months.
  • Competitive baseline APR: Barclays offers a baseline APR of 5.74%, which is lower than most lenders. However, rates are based on creditworthiness and length of term requested, so depending on your unique situation, you could end up with the maximum 18.99% APR.
  • Loan amounts: Barclays only offers loans between $5,000 to $35,000. This can be problematic if you’re looking for a smaller amount.
  • Time to funding: After you’re approved for a Barclays loan, it takes at least few business days to get you the money. The bank notes that delays are possible based on the policies and procedures of your financial institution.

Who’s the best fit for a Barclays personal loan?

A Barclays personal loan might be a great fit if you’re opposed to paying fees of any kind. The lack of origination fees, prepayment penalties and even late fees can result in serious savings.

Considering loan amounts range from $5,000 to $35,000, this product will only work if you need to borrow a substantial amount of cash. Due to the seriously competitive baseline 5.74% APR, it’s also a better choice if you have a low credit score. Rates are based on creditworthiness and length of term requested, so if your credit isn’t the best, you could end up with the highest rate, which tops out at 18.99% APR.

Since Barclays’s personal loans offer a fully digital experience, this is also a better choice for the tech savvy crowd. While a customer service team is always a phone call away, you might become frustrated with the self-service features and the lack of face-to-face interaction if you prefer more a more personalized banking experience.

Before deciding on a personal loan, it’s smart to read Barclays reviews and comparison shop to see what other lenders have to offer. LendingTree has a personal loan tool that can be used to quickly and efficiently explore your options. Barclays loans have no origination fees, and below are a few alternatives that also offer this benefit.

Alternative personal loan options

LightStream

APR

3.99%
To
16.99%

Credit Req.

660

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 144

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

LightStream is the online lending division of SunTrust Bank.... Read More


Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.

LightStream, a division of SunTrust Bank, offers personal loans from $5,000 to $100,000. Rates are extremely competitive — the bank is willing to beat any qualifying lower rate offered by another lender by 0.10% — and vary by loan purpose. There are no fees attached to the loan, including prepayment penalties. This can be a good choice if you’re looking for a fee-free loan, but need a higher amount than Barclays offers.

SoFi

SoFi
APR

5.99%
To
16.99%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

SoFi offers some of the best rates and terms on the market. ... Read More


Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 16.990% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.74% APR to 14.70% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of March 18, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.72% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.49% plus 4.28% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

See Consumer Licenses.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Minimum loan requirements might be higher than $5,000 in specific states due to legal requirements. Fixed and variable-rate caps may be lower in some states due to legal requirements and may impact your eligibility to qualify for a SoFi loan.

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

SoFi grants personal loans from $5,000 to $50,000. There are zero fees attached to the loans and SoFi’s unemployment protection benefit allows you to temporarily pause payments, while helping you find work if you lose your job. If you’re looking to borrow more than the maximum Barclays personal loan limit or want to spread your payments out across a longer term, a SoFi personal loan can be solid option.

Earnest

Earnest
APR

6.99%
To
18.24%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 60

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Instead of offering credit-based loans, Earnest has taken a very nontraditional approach using a merit-based system.... Read More

Earnest offers personal loans that range from $5,000 to $75,000 and you’re able to choose your desired monthly payment. You might also score a more competitive rate with Earnest, as the lender analyzes your entire financial profile to calculate your APR, instead of relying solely on your credit score. Earnest could be a good choice if you need more money than the maximum Barclays limit or you feel like your credit score doesn’t properly represent your financial standing.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Laura Woods
Laura Woods |

Laura Woods is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Laura here

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