SoFi, a San Francisco-based lending and investing platform, has announced plans to enter the private student loan business, offering mobile-first undergraduate loans with no fees, competitive rates and flexible repayment options.
According to a press release, the company plans to expand its student loan portfolio in the coming weeks with graduate school loans and loans that parents can apply for. Company officials said the launch of private student loans follows a broader effort that helped more than 250,000 applicants refinance their existing student loans.
“We thought it was time to expand our offering and bring the same trusted and easy experience to a broader audience,” a spokesperson for SoFi told Mobile Payments Today via email. “We are working with public and private universities’ financial aid offices to have them add SoFi to their list.”
The program allows borrowers to prequalify for student loans online in minutes without a negative impact to their credit score, she said. The borrower can also add a co-signer using a digital application.
SoFi said it uses a combination of FICO and Vantage scores to determine eligibility for loans, and also factors in a borrower’s ability to pay back the loan by measuring income, debt, expenses and the borrower’s credit history and stability of income.
The company offers competitive interest rates for variable- and fixed-rate loans and charges no hidden fees or prepayment penalties. Four repayment options are available, including deferred, interest only, partial and immediate.
SoFi provides customer service seven days a week and offers SoFi Learn, which includes a series of online articles, calculators, guides and other tools to help borrowers better understand how to manage student debt.
SoFi also provides career assessment, resume review and other services to its 500,000 members through a partnership with Korn Ferry, the spokesperson said. The KF Advance platform helps SoFi members navigate various career options to help them blaze a path forward, the release said.
The mobile app is available for iOS and Android.