SoFi Personal Loans: 2022 Review for Startups & Businesses

SoFi doesn’t let borrowers use personal loans for business purposes―but we’ve found other ways SoFi loans can help your business.
Best for personal cash flow
Sofi-logo
SoFi
  • Icon Blank
    Starting at 1.74% APR
  • pro
    Competitive rates on personal loans
  • pro
    Business lending marketplace
  • con
    No SoFI loans for business
  • con
    Negative customer reviews

Data as of 4/12/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

We are committed to sharing unbiased reviews. Some of the links on our site are from our partners who compensate us. Read our editorial guidelines and advertising disclosure.

So you want to use a SoFi Personal loan to fund your business. The bad news? You can’t―at least not directly. The good news? You can still free up money for your business with a SoFi loan, or you can find a business loan through SoFi’s Lantern marketplace.

Look, we see why you’d want to use SoFi. This lender offers fast funding and competitive interest rates. But again, SoFi doesn’t let you use your personal loan on your business. Plus, it gets pretty bad customer reviews. So while SoFi does offer a business loan marketplace, we think most business owners will do better with another lender.

 We’ll explain all that and more in this SoFi personal loans business review.

Pros
pro Fast funding times
pro Competitive rates on personal loans
pro Business lending marketplace
Cons
con No SoFi loans for business
con Negative customer reviews

Table of contents

SoFi products and pricing

SoFi actually offers a wide variety of products―not just personal loans. You can get a SoFi credit card, start investing, trade cryptocurrency, open a personal bank account, track your spending, and more.

But mostly, our readers care about SoFi’s loans. It offers a few different loan options, like all-purpose personal (well, most-purpose) loans, student loan refinancing, private student loans, and even home loans.

Compare SoFi products and pricing

Product
Min./max. loan amount
Lowest listed rate
Repayment terms
Get a loan
Personal loan$5,000/$100,0005.74% APR2–7 yrs.
Refinance student loansUnlisted1.74% APR5–220 yrs.
Private student loansUnlistedUnlisted5–15 yrs.
Home loanUnlisted3.989% APR10–30 yrs.

Data as of 4/12/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

But like we told you up top, you absolutely cannot use SoFi personal loans (or student loans or home loans) to fund your small business.

Yes, you can find lenders that let you use personal loans for your small business. SoFi is not one of them. You will get in big trouble if you use a SoFi personal loan on your startup.

Don’t give up just yet, though. We’ve found two ways you can use SoFi to get business financing:

  1. Freeing up your personal cash flow
  2. Using SoFi’s Lantern lending marketplace

So first, you can get a loan from SoFi for something not business-related. That could free up room in your personal budget to self-finance your business. If, for example, you have money set aside for IVF, a wedding, travel, or even tuition, you can apply for a SoFi personal loan or student loan. If you get approved, then you can use your set-aside cash to fund your business instead.

Likewise, you can use SoFi to refinance credit card debt or student loan debt. By refinancing, you may end up with a lower interest rate and monthly payment―again freeing up some of your budget to pay for your startup.

(To be clear, we are not recommending you do these things. We’re just saying they’re theoretically possible.)

Alternatively, you can turn to SoFi’s Lantern loan marketplace. Lantern lets you compare loan offers from many lenders. You can get car loans, personal loans, student loan refinancing, and more. Most importantly (for us), you can get business loans like these:

  • Term loans
  • Lines of credit
  • SBA loans
  • Equipment loans
  • Invoice financing
  • Merchant cash advance
  • Personal loans

Understand that SoFi is not offering these business loans itself. Instead, it’s connecting you with other lenders (and lending marketplaces) that offer these types of loans. So you’ll ultimately apply for loans and get loan approval from a lender other than SoFi.

In fact, SoFi partners with some of our favorite business lenders:

  • BlueVine
  • Fundera
  • Funding Circle
  • Lendio
  • OnDeck
  • Seek Business Capital

Now, SoFi’s Lantern marketplace doesn’t offer much details on the business loans available. We think it has loans from $1,000 to $2 million (based on what its pre-approval application says), but that’s about it. Lantern doesn’t list interest rates, repayment terms, or minimum business loan requirements (like credit score, business age, and revenue).

With all that said, what do we like about SoFi?

SoFi features

As a personal lender, SoFi has plenty to like. If this were an ordinary SoFi personal loans review, we’d have lots of good things to say.

For example, SoFi has competitive interest rates. Are they the lowest we’ve seen? No. But they’re comparable to the prices we’ve seen from other personal lenders. That makes SoFi good for debt consolidation and new borrowing.

Plus, SoFi has fast funding times. You can preview your interest rate in just a couple minutes. If you like what you see and finalize your loan application, you can be funded the same day you get approved. (Of course, loan approval could take a day or two.) That’s great!

Of course, this is Business.org, and we’re reviewing SoFi’s uses for business, so SoFi’s drawbacks (like not being able to use its loans for business) keep us from praising it too much.

That said, SoFi does have its Lantern loan marketplace that lets you compare loan offers from other lenders. In theory, we like that a lot. After all, it’s all the cost-saving of shopping around without all the hard work. It’s just that Lantern doesn’t look quite as good as other lending marketplaces we review.

So with that, let’s compare SoFi (and Lantern) to the competition.

Improving your credit
Bullhorn

Is your credit score keeping you from getting a business loan? You can use a personal loan to build credit. So even if you can’t use your SoFi loan for your business, it could help you get a business loan in the future.

SoFi vs. the competition

To keep things fair, we want to compare SoFi to other personal lenders first. Then we’ll compare SoFi’s Lantern marketplace to other lending marketplaces.

Compare SoFi vs. other personal loan companies

Lender
Min./max. loan amount
Lowest listed rate
Use for business?
Get a loan
SoFi
$2,500/$250,0001.74% APR
Icon No  DarkNo
$2,000/$35,0009.95% APR
Icon Yes  DarkYes
$5,000/$100,0003.49% APR
Icon Yes  DarkYes
$2,000/$45,0005.97% APR
Icon Yes  DarkYes
$1,000/$50,0005.22% APR
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data as of 4/12/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The biggest difference between SoFi and other personal lenders? You can’t use a SoFi loan for your business. Some other personal lenders, like the ones listed above, don’t have a problem with business uses.

SoFi does have lower rates than some other lenders (but keep in mind we’re including student loan and mortgage rates), but those other lenders have way more to offer your business. (You can learn more about them in our rankings of the best personal loans for business.)

So what about Lantern by SoFi―the marketplace that lets you look for business loans?

Compare Lantern by SoFi to other lending marketplaces

Marketplace
Min./max. loan amount
Lowest listed rate
Min. credit score
Get a loan
Lantern by SoFi
UnlistedUnlistedUnlisted
Up to $5 million4% interest550
$5,000/$500,0006% interest660
$500/$5 million4.25% interest
$5,000/$10 million5.99% APRUnlisted

Data as of 4/12/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Well, it’s hard to say much, because Lantern doesn’t publish almost any details about its loans.

We do know that Lantern partners with other marketplaces, including Fundera, Funding Circle, and Lendio. But this is one of those cases where we suggest applying with one of them (Lendio is our favorite) directly. Because at least marketplaces like Lendio give you a rough idea of whether or not you’ll qualify―and how much you’ll pay. Lantern by SoFi doesn’t.

SoFi drawbacks

Okay, so we’ve said quite a few negative things about SoFi and Lantern by SoFi throughout this review.

To recap, we don’t like these things:

  • You cannot use a personal loan or other loan from SoFi for your business.
  • Lantern by SoFi lets you find business loans, but it doesn’t publish any details about borrower requirements or pricing.

We don’t have much more to say about those things. But we do have another downside to bring up: negative customer reviews.

SoFi gets pretty cruddy customer reviews. It earns a 2.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.1 That’s lower than some of the personal lenders we mentioned above.

To be fair, those bad reviews aren’t just about SoFi personal loans. They also include negative reviews for SoFi Invest, the SoFi credit card, and other SoFi finance products. They seemed pretty relevant, though.

Most of the bad reviews talk about customer service. Customers complain it’s hard to get in touch with customer service and that customer service isn’t helpful. Some reviewers say SoFi sent them promotions and then didn’t honor them. Others complain the “fast” loan approval process stalled out.

Unfortunately, we can’t find any reviews of Lantern specifically. But since it’s owned by SoFi, we expect to see similar issues.

The takeaway

SoFi personal loans look appealing, with competitive interest rates and fast funding times. But since you can’t use SoFi loans on your startup, we can’t widely recommend SoFi to business owners.

That said, you can always use a SoFi loan to free up cash for your business. Just know that SoFi gets pretty bad customer reviews.

You can also use SoFi’s lending marketplace, Lantern by SoFi, to find business loans. But Lantern lists almost no loan details, so we suggest going with a different marketplace instead.

Put simply, we don’t love SoFi for business.

Try getting a business-specific loan for your startup instead of a SoFi loan. Find the best options on our list of the best small-business loans for startups.

Related reading

SoFi personal loan FAQ

Is SoFi a legitimate lending company?

SoFi is indeed a legitimate lending company. It’s been around for about a decade and has funded billions of dollars in loans.2

What credit score do you need for a SoFi personal loan?

SoFi doesn’t list a minimum credit score to qualify for a SoFi personal loan, but we’ve seen reports that it requires at least a 680 score.

How hard is it to get a SoFi personal loan?

It’s difficult to say how hard it is to get a SoFi personal loan, as it doesn’t publish typical borrower requirements (like credit history or income requirements).

Fortunately, SoFi lets you get pre-approved with a short, one-minute application. So you can easily see if you’re likely to get a SoFi personal loan without committing any time (or having a hard credit check).

How fast does SoFi approve a personal loan?

SoFi can approve a personal loan in one or two business days.

Note, though, that loan approval can take longer in some circumstances, like if you’re self-employed or have a co-applicant.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources

  1. Trustpilot, “SoFi.” Accessed April 11, 2022.
  2. SoFi, “About Us.” Accessed April 13, 2022.
Chloe Goodshore
Written by
Chloe Goodshore
Chloe covers business financing and loans for Business.org. She has worked with many small businesses over the past 10 years, from video game stores to law firms. Those years watching frustrated business owners try to sift through their many options gave her a passion for breaking down complex business topics. She wants to help business owners spend less time agonizing over their businesses so they can spend more time running them.
Recent Articles
Businesswomen getting SBA business loan
SBA Loan Rates Explained
SBA loan rates are among the lowest on the market, but why? Business.org breaks down...
Young woman using laptop
What Is the SBA Loan Process?
What is the SBA loan process? And is an SBA loan right for your business?...
The 7 Best Small Business Loans for Minorities
The 7 Best Small Business Loans for Minorities in 2022
Minority-owned businesses get denied funding at three times the rate of non-minority businesses.1 These loans...
man shakes loan officer's hand
A Guide to SBA 504 Loans
Looking for a real estate or equipment loan for your business? The SBA 504 loan...