SoFi vs. Discover: Which Personal Loan Is Right for You?

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Edited byMargarita Barresi

Updated: July 25, 2023

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SoFi and Discover are both financial services companies suitable for emergency loans. If you have good credit and need up to $100,000, SoFi is your best bet. Discover, on the other hand, offers loans of up to $35,000 and only to those with good credit.

For this comparison, MoneyGeek gathered current information on SoFi and Discover personal loans to help borrowers choose between the two. We delved into their interest rates, credit score requirements, fees and other relevant aspects.

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SoFi or Discover: Overview

In the following sections, MoneyGeek digs into these two personal loan providers and discusses how they differ in terms of loan amounts, APR ranges, credit score requirements, fund disbursal times and loan repayment terms.

Each lender has specific upper and lower loan limits and acceptance requirements. Both disburse funds quickly, although SoFi offers more flexible payback terms than Discover.

SoFi

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Discover

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APR Range

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Both lenders set APRs based on creditworthiness. Discover offers loans with a low APR of 5.99% and a maximum APR of 24.99%. Those who choose SoFi can expect to pay anywhere from 5.74% to 20.28%. Although the disparities are only significant for people with the best credit, SoFi has a slight edge over Discover in this comparison.

APR, or annual percentage rate, is the annual interest rate added to a personal loan's monthly payments. In addition to the loan amount, loan term and other factors, your credit score and risk profile substantially influence the APR lenders will offer you. APR levels might also vary significantly among lenders.

You’ll want to secure a low APR, but don’t make this your only consideration. Also, consider the lender’s repayment terms, fund disbursement time and other factors.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

The APR rate comparison favors SoFi. The lender has a slight advantage over Discover due to its lower minimum APR, although it’s only available to those with excellent credit.

The APR affects the total cost of your loan. For example, over the life of the loan, you will pay less for interest and fees on a loan with a lower APR. Since the APR directly affects how much you pay back for your loan, it makes sense to look for a low rate. Do your research and shop around before signing up with a lender.

Minimum Credit Score

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Both lenders require good credit scores, but applicants will find it easier to qualify with SoFi, giving it an edge over Discover. While Discover requires a credit score of 720 or above, SoFi accepts a minimum credit requirement of 680.

The major credit bureaus track your financial history and assign a numerical value to your creditworthiness. Lenders use this score to determine your loan APR, terms and, ultimately, whether or not to extend credit to you.

Credit scores range from 300 to 850. Applicants with credit scores of 670 or higher are typically considered low-risk by lenders, which makes them ideal candidates for personal loans and other financial products.

Factors that might affect your credit score include your credit and payment history, outstanding balances, types of credit accounts (credit cards, mortgages and loans) and new applications for credit accounts.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

SoFi has a considerably lower credit score requirement, so it comes out on top in this comparison. Keep in mind that loans with low credit score criteria may have higher APR payments, raising the loan's overall cost.

MoneyGeek warns against underestimating the importance of improving your credit score in order to be accepted by a variety of lenders. We also stress that borrowers consider other factors when deciding which lender is ideal.

Loan Amount Range

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SoFi loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000, whereas Discover has a lower limit of between $2,500 and $35,000. If you want to borrow more than $35,000, consider SoFi. Conversely, if you need less than $5,000, Discover is the best option.

The loan amount range indicates a lender’s upper and lower loan limits. The amount you borrow should be based on your needs and the amount of money the lender offers.

Many lenders require you to borrow at least $5,000, making them unsuitable for those who need to borrow less. In addition to the lender's maximum, several factors will determine your loan amount, including your creditworthiness, loan repayment term, intended use and other criteria.

That said, finding a lender who offers flexible loan terms and APR ranges is always beneficial.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

SoFi again earns first place in this category because the company offers more flexibility in terms of loan size as long as you need a minimum of $5,000. But, again, the amount you can borrow is subject to the specifics of your case.

Larger loans are appropriate for larger expenses, such as debt consolidation or home improvements. Smaller loans come in handy for paying emergency expenses. Never borrow more than you need. Always determine the amount you need to borrow before selecting a lender.

Repayment Terms

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SoFi’s personal loan payback terms begin at 12 months, whereas Discover's start at 36 months. SoFi offers repayment terms of up to five years; Discover extends up to seven years.

The loan repayment term is the length of time you have to pay off a personal loan. Short-term loans generally carry terms of one or two years, while long-term loans can last up to seven years. Generally, you’ll have lower monthly payments with longer payment terms, although the costs will add up over time.

Your credit score will affect your loan's payback period, along with your capacity to make payments based on your monthly income and debt-to-income ratio. Your best bet is to secure a loan that offers affordable payments with the shortest repayment period. However, your particular situation will determine your ideal terms.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

According to MoneyGeek, SoFi is the undisputed winner in this area due to its flexible loan payback terms of one to five years.

Shorter-term loans often have lower interest rates but come with larger monthly payments that can be a burden. Loans with longer terms have smaller monthly payments but cost more in the long run. Again, borrowers can select the repayment terms that best suit their needs. However, before choosing a lender, consider the big picture, which includes APR ranges and fund disbursement time.

Time to Receive Funds

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Both lenders disburse loan funds quickly. SoFi sends funds to the borrower's account after two business days following loan approval. Discover makes funds available the day after approval.

If you need funds quickly, applying online is preferable to applying in person. Most loan providers allow you to prequalify before you apply, which protects your credit score.

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MONEYGEEK’S VERDICT

SoFi and Discover both offer quick loan disbursement, which benefits borrowers with immediate needs.

However, don’t compare lenders solely on this factor, especially if you don’t need the funds urgently. It's important to evaluate the loan and the lender after considering a wide range of criteria.

Final Thoughts

Although both SoFi and Discover provide fast funding for personal loans, SoFi emerged as the winner in almost every category we considered. SoFi offers larger loans, more lenient credit score requirements and flexible repayment terms.

Although SoFi is the winner, some borrowers, especially those with smaller loan requirements, may prefer Discover.

The degree to which you prioritize one factor over the others will determine which lender is best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Loan Lenders

Questions about personal loans are common, so we've provided answers to help you find the right lender for your needs.

You’ll need to complete an application form and provide identification, your address, proof of income and a list of outstanding debts.

You can access your free credit report and credit score by visiting the Annual Credit Report website. You can also call the office or submit an online request form.

Most lenders, including SoFi and Discover, conduct a soft credit inquiry for pre-approval purposes and a hard credit inquiry to decide on your application. However, the hard credit inquiry will have a short-term negative impact on your credit score by reducing it.

No. Interest rates for personal loans vary significantly among lenders, and they use different criteria to set your APR. Shop around for APR rates before applying for a loan.

It depends. The most common fees associated with personal loans are application, origination, late payment and prepayment. However, not all lenders impose these.

The best way to apply for a personal loan is online if you have all the required paperwork on hand. You will save time and receive funds more quickly.

Yes, you can pay off your loans early. Some lenders, however, charge a prepayment penalty.

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sources
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The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the rates mentioned may have changed. We recommend visiting the lender's website for the most up-to-date information available.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, lender or other entity. Learn more about our editorial policies and expert editorial team.