Editorial Review

SoFi Active Investing Review 2020: Pros, Cons and How It Compares

SoFi Active Investing is geared toward young investors getting their start in trading, with commission-free trades of stocks, ETFs and fractional shares. SoFi also offers cryptocurrency trading.

Kevin VoigtJanuary 2, 2020

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Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: SoFi Active Investing's $0 trading commission and $0 account minimum is attractive to new investors, but a lack of investment choices such as mutual funds and bonds is a drawback for those saving for retirement.

SoFi Active Investing

on SoFi Invest's website

on SoFi Invest's website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades.

  • Cryptocurrency trading.

  • Fractional shares available.

  • No account minimum.

  • Free financial counseling.

Cons

  • Small selection of tradable securities.

  • Limited track record.

Compare to Similar Brokers

SoFi Active Investing
Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite
Fees

$0

per trade

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

Promotion

None

No promotion available at this time

Full Review

SoFi Active Investing, a new offering from SoFi Invest, is squarely aimed at young investors with free trades of stocks and exchange-traded funds, the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and fractional shares of blue-chip companies like Amazon and Netflix.

The self-directed brokerage is part of the San Francisco company's growing line of financial products — which includes robo-advisor SoFi Automated Investing and online cash management account SoFi Money — and gives members benefits such as free educational seminars and meetings with financial advisors.

SoFi Active Investing is best for:

  • Active traders.

  • ETF investors.

  • Fractional shares.

  • Cryptocurrency.

SoFi Active Investing at a glance

Account minimum

$0

Stock trading costs

$0

Options trades

Not available.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

None.

Commission-free ETFs

All ETFs are commission-free.

No-transaction-fee mutual funds

No mutual funds.

Tradable securities

  • Stocks.

  • ETFs.

  • Fractional shares.

  • Cryptocurrency.

Trading platform

Limited features and tools.

Mobile app

Access to core account functions including tracking, quotes and trading. Available on iOS and Android.

Research and data

Free online resources and tools, including historical data and stock performance.

Customer support options (includes website transparency)

Phone support Monday - Thursday 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. Eastern; Friday - Sunday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern. Email and chat support.

Promotion

Free career coaching, events and discounts on SoFi loans for recurring deposits of $20 or more.

Where SoFi Active Investing shines

Commission-free trades: SoFi Active Investing came out of the gate as a competitor to Robinhood, offering free stock and ETF trades (unlike many other brokers, SoFi doesn’t offer options trading). However, toward the end of 2019, free trades became the industry standard at online brokers, causing the offerings from SoFi and Robinhood to lose their edge.

No account fees: While other brokerages may charge an array of fees for closing an account, transferring securities or not maintaining minimum trade activity, SoFi is one of the few brokerages without fees of any kind.

You may ask, how does it make its money? SoFi earns interest from uninvested cash held in brokerage accounts as well as other backend revenue sources — an increasingly important way brokerages stay profitable as commissions and fees drop.

No account minimum: While, of course, you’ll need cash to trade, SoFi has no account minimum to open your account and begin buying and selling stocks and ETFs.

Fractional shares: SoFi Active Investing was among the first brokerages to offer fractional shares — buying a piece of a share rather than shelling out the full share price. That’s an increasingly attractive option as the bull market has led to sky-high stock prices, and it offers new investors a cost-effective way to build a diversified portfolio.

Called SoFi Bits, the offering allows investors to buy commission-free fractional shares of nearly 40 brand name public companies — including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Starbucks and Alphabet, the parent company of Google — as well as fractional shares of ETFs.

SoFi Bits may have been an early leader here, but competitors are fast on SoFi's trail: Robinhood and Interactive Brokers launched fractional shares in late 2019, and Schwab has an offering coming soon.

Cryptocurrency: The brokerage launched SoFi Crypto in September 2019, which allows users to buy and trade three cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. But there aren't any free trades here: SoFi adds a 1.25% charge based on the amount of each cryptocurrency trade. Competitor Robinhood offers commission-free crypto trades.

Free financial counseling: All SoFi clients have unlimited access to the company's financial advisors at no extra charge to help with long-term financial strategy. Advisors are certified financial planners with the Series 65 designation (or similar), which requires them to operate in your best interest. An important note: While SoFi Automated Investing customers are given direct investment advice, the advisors won't give SoFi Invest brokerage customers specific suggestions on stock trades.

SoFi also offers free career counseling, access to educational events and discounts on loans for members who sign up for recurring monthly deposits of $20 or more.

Where SoFi Active Investing falls short

Tradable securities: SoFi Active Investing may be leading the way with fractional shares and cryptocurrency offerings, but the brokerage is behind the curve on other investment options. Want to buy mutual funds, index funds and bonds — bedrock investments in most retirement accounts — or more advanced strategies like options, forex and futures? Look elsewhere.

Limited track record: While SoFi, which made its name with student loans, has been around since 2011, SoFi Active Investing is a relative newcomer with its February 2019 launch. Some investors may prefer a more seasoned brokerage.

Is SoFi Active Investing right for you?

SoFi Active Investing has attractive features for new investors: commission-free stock and ETF trades, no account minimum, free financial counseling and cutting-edge offerings like fractional shares and cryptocurrency. However, the lack of investment options — such as mutual funds and index funds — will be a turnoff for long-term investors, and advanced investors will need to go elsewhere for options, forex and futures trading.