The student loan refinancing company SoFi is gearing up to enter the credit card market with a no-annual-fee cash-back card poised to give traditional banks a run for their money.
The credit card application and terms seem to have accidentally gone live in the SoFi mobile app over the weekend, giving some users a sneak peek at the offer. The leaked information has since been removed, but if the final product mirrors what was released, the card would rival the few cards out there offering 2% cash back on every dollar spent.
A SoFi spokesperson wouldn't discuss the card with The Balance, but explained that during testing, the application may have been visible to a small number of SoFi members. The final product will be launching later this year for existing members, the spokesperson said. Here’s what we know now.
- SoFi seems to have accidentally revealed the terms of its first credit card
- Leaked terms mention an impressive rewards rate equivalent to 2% cash back on all purchases
- Only a few other credit cards, including Citi Double Cash, offer 2% cash back
- Leaked terms say there won’t be an annual fee, and appear to show plans for additional rewards in purchase categories that reflect your personal spending habits
What Was Released
While the terms can no longer be seen on the SoFi app, they’re available on Imgur, a file hosting and sharing site. The new SoFi Credit Card would pay 2 SoFi Rewards Points per $1 spent on the card, and each point would be redeemed at a value of 1 cent, according to the leaked terms. Cardholders would be able to redeem the points into a SoFi Money Account, the company’s cash management account (similar to a bank account), or use them as a credit against their card balance.
The rewards program terms go on to say there may be additional ways to earn and use the points in the future, based on limited-time offers and how you use the card.
“The SoFi Rewards program (“Sofi Rewards”) is designed to reward customers based on your actual spending habits and experiences,” says a draft of some terms dated June 24.
“SoFi Rewards lets you pick the rewards categories that align most closely with the things you like to spend on instead of on categories we pick for you," it continues. "No more reward categories for gas purchases if you live in Manhattan or for steak restaurants if you’re a vegan.”
(We’d note, though, that the 2 points per $1 are strangely qualified as being earned only on “eligible purchases for personal, family or household use,” with no further explanation.)
SoFi first made its name in student loan refinancing and has since moved into other kinds of lending and financial services. Since it's a fintech company, not a bank, the card would be issued by The Bank of Missouri but offered through SoFi.
Media reports earlier this year indicated an upcoming SoFi card would charge a $99 annual fee, but the previewed terms show there is no annual fee. The card would carry a variable annual percentage rate in line with the average for a cash-back card: 12.99% to 24.99% on purchases, based on the applicant’s creditworthiness.
In addition, the card would have World Elite Mastercard benefits, which include $10 monthly credits for Lyft members who take a least five rides a month, Postmates food delivery discounts, Mastercard ID Theft Protection, and up to $1,000 of cellphone insurance coverage for every 12-month period (minus a $50 deductible) as long as you pay your phone bill in full with the card.
No details were given about the minimum recommended credit score for applicants.
While the application was viewable for a short time in the SoFi mobile app, people were unable to actually submit applications, according to comments on the online user forum Reddit.
How the SoFi Credit Card Would Stack Up
There aren’t many no-annual-fee cash-back cards that offer 2% back on all purchases.
The Citi Double Cash Card has long been the yardstick by which many cash-back rates are compared, offering 1% back when you make a purchase and another 1% back when you pay it off.
The only other major competitors offering 2% cash back are the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card and the PayPal Cashback Mastercard from Synchrony Bank, both of which require certain accounts to get that 2%. It’s much more common for cash-back cards with a uniform rate of rewards to offer 1% to 1.5% back on all purchases.
What’s more, at 12.99%, the low end of the APR range beats competitors. The terms also don't list a foreign transaction fee, something both the Citi Double Cash and Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature cards charge.
Indeed, the SoFi Credit Card will be a product to watch, especially since this is one of the first times a fintech company is making its way into the credit card market. We’ll see how others react, and whether big banks tweak their offers in response.