When it comes to the website, SoFi keeps all of its different financial service brands under the one roof of SoFi.com. Finding SoFi Invest is fairly straightforward and can be found in the dropdown menu from the “Products” tab.
Overall the SoFi Invest USA website is well laid out and extremely easy to navigate, with all of the tabs you could want from SoFi Invest appearing along the top including active investing, automated investing, ETFs and crypto among others.
In terms of design and aesthetics, the website looks modern and is certainly aimed at appealing to the young investor, which it actually does with a lot of success. The copy of the text flows nicely, the use of fonts is well done and combined excellently with images and icons to produce a seamless design that’s easy on the eye. The general look and feel of the site is modern and fun without being too cheesy or childish, which is the sort of refreshing look and feel we look for from modern online trading sites, as the more traditional ones tend to be dominated with boring white, black and grey themes.
Rather than having a SoFi Invest “Open Account” button, you can start the registration process via the “Invest Now” buttons that you’ll find on almost every page in the SoFi Invest section of the website.
One criticism we have in this section of our SoFi review is that there seems to be a lack of solid branding. The logo is a simple sky blue and white, yet the pages seem to jump drastically from following this color scheme one page, to being deep purple on some pages and awash with a sort of sunburst red on the next. The colors don’t make the SoFi Invest USA website appear gaudy or make it difficult to look at, but they don’t follow a simple but effective branded color scheme, such as that in our TradeStation review or TD AmeriTrade review. As a potential client shopping around multiple different brokerages, this makes it quite difficult to build up an image of SoFi Invest to commit to memory.
There is also the lack of a website for investors who are resident in other countries, however we mentioned that this is primarily a SoFi Invest USA review, so we won’t dwell upon that too much.
The SoFi Invest open account process is as easy as you could want it to be, is fully online and digitalized and takes between 1-3 days to complete. The downside for anyone living overseas is that US citizenship or a Green Card is required to register a SoFi Invest open account, and you have to be trading from within US borders. This pretty much rules out any traders who travel a lot.
To keep things simple, you have the choice of two different account types to choose from with the SoFi Invest open account offerings:
SoFi Invest Active Investing
This is like the typical basic account you’d get with any other similar discount brokerage where you can trade stocks, ETFs and crypto on your own. At the time of writing, SoFi Invest USA only allows personal accounts here, lacking things such as joint and business accounts that many of their competitors offer.
SoFi Invest Automated Investing
This is a robo-advisory based account where SoFi invests, creates your portfolio and handles your investments for you. No advisory fees or administrative fees are charged for opening a SoFi Invest automated investing account. This type of SoFi Invest USA account is ideal for a new, hands off investor who doesn’t have much time to track the market themselves.
In this section of our SoFi Invest review, we tested their active trading platforms, over their automated investing.
When it comes to active trading, SoFi Invest have a mobile platform and a web-based platform, however, they lack a downloadable heavy-duty desktop platform that some of the top end brokerages provide. As is sometimes the case with platforms geared towards newer and younger traders, the SoFi Invest mobile app is better than the larger scale web-based platform.
As was the case with the SoFi invest website, their web-based platform is user-friendly, simple to navigate and is well designed. Where it’s a little better than their main website is the design is a little more clear and appears to follow their sky blue and white brand a little better.
When it comes to signing into your SoFi Invest open account through the web-based platform, they provide a secure two-step login that you can choose to turn off under your profile name should you so please.
The search function is simple and does its job on a very basic level, but has its limitations which restrict search options. If you’re looking for something you know the name of, that’s fine if you can type it into the search bar, but it’s filtered search system leaves a lot to be desired.
When it comes to placing orders SoFi only has the market order type available, meaning that other basic order types, such as limit and stop-loss, are completely missing altogether – not ideal even for the intermediate trader. There’re also little to no customization options to your SoFi open account through the web platform, all you can really do is set a few pre alerts.
As we mentioned above, the SoFi Invest mobile trading app is the superior of their two trading platform options, so let’s take a look at it in a little more detail. The SoFi mobile app is available through iOS and Android and offers the same two-step login process to your SoFi open account as the web-based platform.
In terms of design, the SoFi Invest mobile app mirrors the clear and simple design of the web platform. The functionalities have all been transferred over to the small screen excellently, and everything works seamlessly and simply.
The SoFi Invest USA app is overall modern and is superior to the mobile apps offered by some larger and more established online brokerages. Naturally, the mobile app has the same restrictions and pitfalls as the web-based platform (limited order types, lack of customization options etc.), however, the fact they’ve been able to replicate the web version almost exactly and make it work just as well, if not better, is why we’ve rated the mobile trading app so highly in this section of our SoFi Invest review.
True to their word as being a zero fee discount broker, SoFi Invest USA charges no deposit or withdrawal fees and has no required account minimum. There’re also no fees if your SoFi Invest open account sits unused or inactive, which is why it’s such a good option for new or casual investors who are not sure if they’ll continue using their account in the long term.
You can make deposits into your SoFi Invest account via wire transfer, check and Automated Clearing House (ACH). Unfortunately credit/debit cards and eWallets are not an available payment option with SoFi invest. This isn’t too much of a surprise as it’s common with most similar zero fee brokerages, such as Robinhood.
As per the SoFi Invest website, all deposit types should take 1-2 business days to clear, except bank transfers which can take a little longer. When testing the payment options for our SoFi Invest review, we found this to stand fairly true. If you don’t want to have to wait for each one off deposit, you can set up a recurring deposit.
When it comes to withdrawals you can use exactly the same methods as you can with deposits and, as is the case with most other brokerages, it’s easier and highly recommended that you use the same withdrawal method as you used to make your deposit. The fastest withdrawal method we found was ACH, which takes 1-2 business days.
Overall we were pleased with the results when testing the customer service for this SoFi Invest review. SoFi Invest’s FAQs are a bit limited compared with some other brokerages, however, their customer service more than makes up for it. You can contact SoFi Invests team via live chat, phone, email or Twitter.
For any form of modern online customer-oriented company, an efficient live chat where you can speak with a real human customer care advisor is a huge plus for us, as it’s usually the fastest and most efficient way to get answers to your questions, no matter how big or small. The SoFi Invest live chat works well and they respond quickly with clear and relevant answers. The only downside is that it isn’t available 24/7.
The phone lines were quick to connect and the advisors are extremely helpful and personable. The downside is that they aren’t available on weekends however they have Monday-Friday phone line hours available in both PT and EST time zones.
With email support you have 2 options as you can email the customer support team or the dedicated SoFi Invest team. As email service goes, SoFi’s customer care team tends to respond the same day or next morning depending on what time you send your email. This is as quick and efficient as you can realistically hope for with email support, but is still a bit slow.
SoFi USAhave a dedicated customer support Twitter account you can tweet @SoFiSupport. They are quick to respond and have extremely helpful answers. The Twitter account is also a great place to go for questions related to a specific event or time period as chances are someone’s already asked a similar question you were going to.
In this part of our SoFi Invest review, we’ll be taking a look at the safety and legitimacy of the brokerage and check to see whether or not your money is protected – and to what extent.
SoFi Invest ticks two big boxes here as it’s regulated by both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). What this means is that all SoFi customers are protected by Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which protects investors’ funds upto the value of $500,000 (or $250,000 cash) should the brokerage go bust or enter severe financial difficulties. However not all investments are covered by SIPC, crypto for example, is regulated separately and is therefore not covered.
Additionally, SoFi is regulated by top tier regulatory bodies in several US states. For example in California, SoFi is licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law.
SoFi USA isn’t listed on any stock exchange and has a relatively short track record, having only been founded in 2009. That said, in their short history they have built up a relatively solid and trustworthy reputation as a low volume beginner broker.
We mentioned earlier in our SoFi Invest review that they offer automated investing through a robo-advisory service, so let’s take a look at it in a little bit more detail.
What is automated investing?
Automated investing is a hands off investment type where the brokerage builds and manages the portfolio for you, either with a human advisor or through a robo service system. Automated investing is a good option for beginners, hands-off investors and low volume or low budget investors.
Automated investing with SoFi Invest
The big selling point of automated investing with SoFi Invest is that they charge no management fees, which is in keeping with their image as a no fees brokerage. Rather than providing a hands-on human manager, SoFi Invests automated service is done through a robo-advisory program. Despite being fairly new to the robo-advisory game, SoFi’s platform is equal to, and perhaps even surparses, some of its more established competitors.
How it works with SoFI Invest USA is that you fill out a quick online form outlining your goals and investment needs. From there, SoFi will build a diverse investment portfolio with your goals in mind. SoFi also readjust your stock and investments on a quarterly basis to help ensure your capital is invested the way you’d like it to be.