With the banking sector evolving rapidly, the days of brick and mortar banks and bank branches are behind us. Online banking is primarily how most of us manage and spend our funds. It's fast, quick, and, most importantly, very cost-friendly.
Since online banks don't have to maintain costly buildings and hire an extensive staff, they don't have to charge exuberant fees and can revert the difference to you: The customer. Brokerages and investment funds are also witnessing a similar trend.
As of last-year, zero-commission trades have become the norm, and robo-advisors have replaced (to an extent) the need and utility of human portfolio managers for retail investors.
But the most radical change in the field of banking and investing has been the emergence of institutions that take care of both these needs. You can now open a no-fee checking account with minimum balance or monthly activity requirements and take advantage of the same company's investment platform.
SoFi and Unifimoney are both such companies.
SoFi and Unifimoney are more than just investment platforms. They offer a wide range of financial services (including a checking account), making them full-service neo-banks.
SoFi was founded in 2011 by four students from the Stanford Business School. The original purpose behind its creation was to easily connect the school’s alumni with recent grads for financial assistance via a lending model. Student financing (and loan refinancing) and mortgages (later in 2014) were the original products that SoFi offered. It launched its "bank" account, the "SoFi Money," and the investment platform "SoFi Invest" in 2019.
Unifimoney was founded more recently to make money management, saving, and investing more accessible for its clients. The company’s characteristic 3-in-1 integrated account is designed to take care of your day-to-day banking needs and act as your savings account. Unifimoney customers have 4 ways in which they auto-invest each month ensuring that they model best practices in personal financial management automatically and by default. Deposit interest, credit card cash back and credit card transaction rounding contributions are all paid into the customers custom Robo-portfolio. In addition a minimum monthly contribution of $25 is made into the Robo-portfolio although its recommended that this is at least $100-200 a month.
You can also trade using the same app and access, manage, and invest your money. As a neo-bank, Unifimoney offers a full range of services to its users, including a state-of-the-art robo-advisory service that starts with a fee significantly lower than the market average.
There are plenty of similarities between the two platforms, besides the cash account with a high APY and an investment platform that offers both self-directed investments and Robo-advisory.
Crypto Investing: Both companies allow you to invest your money in crypto and capitalize on its volatility and rapid growth although Unifimoney offers 26 currencies vs Sofo 5.
Student Loan Refinancing: You can have access to student loan refinancing through both platforms. Unifimoney is currently offering refinancing loans up-to $250,000, whereas there is no hard limit for SoFi's refinancing.
Home Loans/Mortgage: Both companies offer home loans. Unifimoney offers loans up to $2 million in value and will soon increase it to $3.5 million.
Both Sofi and Unifimoney offer a broad portfolio of services, features and functionality. Many of the differences between them stem from the legacy focus of SoFi on loans for students vs Unifimoney which has been created specifically to meet the needs of high earning young professionals. SoFi’s more generalist approach means that its products are not always going to be optimized for young professional’s vs Unifimoney.
SoFi and Unifimoney both charge for inactive accounts but in a different way. With SoFi if you have at least $500 deposited each month your deposits earn 0.25% otherwise you earn 0.01%. With Unifimoney all deposits earn 0.20% but if the account does not have at least $6k a month direct deposit or minimum $35K deposits in a month you are charged a $10 per month account fee.
There are also several differences in both companies' product lines and investment tools.
Precious Metal: Unifimoney allows you to invest in precious metals like gold and platinum, which can be powerful for hedging your portfolio in case of market down-turns.
Student Loans: Student loans are what Sofi was created for and still represents the largest portion of their business. Unifimoney provides Student Loan Refi specifically focused on high value loans such as medical and law with a unique variable cash bonus of up to $2,500 on loans up to $250,000.
Personal Loans: SoFi also issues personal loans of up to $100,000 with APRs as low as 5.99%. It has an autopay option to make sure you don’t miss repaying your debt.
Home loans and Mortgage Refi: Unifimoney provides home loans specifically for professionals in addition to mortgage refi with a 0.5% discount on total funded amount.
Home Improvement Loan: Unifimoney offers home improvement loans of up to $100,000 in value with up to a $1,000 bonus.
Vehicle Loans: Unifimoney also provides vehicle loans of up to $100,000, so you are not just limited to cars and might as well go for a plane, boat or motorbike and come with up to a $500 cash back.
Small Business Financing: SoFi can help small businesses get off the ground through their subsidiary "Lantern Credit."
Insurance: SoFi offers multiple insurance products, including homeowners, auto, and life insurance. However, Unifimoney is planning to launch a full range of insurance products via its partnership program.
Investment Platform: This is where the differences between the two companies value propositions diverge the most. Unifimoney's investment system is more sophisticated than its counterpart's. It includes a wide variety of cryptocurrencies and allows you to invest in stocks, funds, and precious metals so you can diversify your portfolio by investing in different asset classes. The company has partnered with Tenjin AI to provide sophisticated robo-advisory and offer three “tiers” of investments. Plus, you can direct zero-commission trades yourself.
SoFi, on the other hand, offers zero-fee robo-advisory, which doesn’t charge you a percentage of assets under management limited to a set of ETF’s. The portfolio is balanced quarterly
But the main difference between the two investment platforms has more to do with the power of the AI behind the robo-advisory services. SoFi’s robo-advisor is rudimentary and focuses on diversification for reducing risks.
Unifimoney’s platform is driven by Quantel’s next-gen AI that actually reads the market. Instead of focusing on diversification to keep the portfolio safe (which reduces returns significantly), Tenjin AI uses a proprietary market correction index. This allows it to liquidate part of your portfolio before market crashes (selling high), and once recovery is imminent, it buys back the ETFs (buying low). This helps it maximize returns without compromising the safety of your capital. It also means that Unifimoney's aggressive investment portfolio, especially if you consider the Pro-tier, which focuses on individual stocks instead of ETFs, can beat the market by a long shot.
In terms of Crypto Sofi only supports 5 currencies vs Unifimoney’s 26! Unifimoney will also support precious metals trading.
There is no clear answer to this question. While both platforms are amazing and their product lines and investment platforms are geared towards different target audiences, there is a lot of overlap between the two, making it challenging to choose the right one for your requirements.
However, SoFi might be the better choice for students and individuals who are just starting out in life. Its loan products and checking account doesn't require a lot of monthly activity. With its rudimentary investment platform, SoFi is ideal for students, small business owners, and investors with low to medium yearly incomes.
For well-established professionals earning a sizeable monthly income (you need $6k a month dropping in your account to keep it "alive" and not incur a monthly fee), Unifimoney is the better fit. Its cutting-edge investment platform and auto-invest features can be instrumental in turning a sizeable income into significant wealth.
In a nutshell, you can choose the right investment platform and neo-bank based on where you stand in life, your income and investment goals, and the products you need from your banking institution.
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