Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

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Topic Author
careerdata
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Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:12 pm

Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by careerdata »

We have been with Bank of America (B of A) ever since we moved to St. Louis in 2009 and we have our checking account connected to all credit cards, entertainment, utilities, and rent. We have had no particular problems with their service. We earn, however, no interest in our checking account and almost no interest in our savings account.

My wife started work as a full-time nurse last November and we have been putting all her paychecks into the B of A savings account and it is now up to $21k, with about $3,200 to $3,500 added to it each month. We currently have $23k in checking and that stays in the $20k to $30k range throughout the year.

We previously had a personal loan with SoFi and that really helped us get our credit card debt down to zero and now we keep it there. We added a SoFi credit card last year. When I paid last month's credit card balance I read the description on the SoFi Bank interest and if I am understanding the offer it sounds like the APR is now 1.8% and would pay on balances in both the checking and savings accounts if direct deposit is set up.

We hardly write checks anyone and I can only remember physically needing to go into the bank a couple of times since 2009.

We have a credit card with B of A that has a long history but I am assuming we can keep that if we decided to close our account and move checking and savings to SoFi.

Questions I have that I am hoping to get some assistance from the community in answering!

--Are there any unintended consequences of cutting the cord with B of A after being with them for so many years?

--Would it be better to keep the B of A accounts as is so we have options in the future and money spread out and just keep my paycheck going there in order to pay all our bills from the checking account just like we do today, but then open up a new checking and savings account with SoFi and have all of my wife's future direct deposit paychecks go there so we can take advantage of the 1.8% APR? If we do this then I could also move over excess funds not needed at B of A from my paycheck from time to time to get more money earning 1.8%.

--Since SoFI Bank seems relatively new, does anyone have any experience with them that you are willing to share?

--My wife travels periodically to the Philippines to visit her family. Do B of A or SoFi have a presence there? Or is this a non-factor in the decision-making process?

--My wife uses the ATM two or three times a month. Is the ATM network that SoFi uses good enough compared to B of A or is this a bigger problem in St. Louis, where we live?

Many thanks in advance for anything you are willing to share!

Regards,

Joe
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whodidntante
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by whodidntante »

I use SoFi, but it is one of many accounts I have. 1.8% is pretty good right now but if you are keeping a huge amount of cash then that would be a more useful problem to solve. At least consider buying T-bills with it.

I recommend keeping an account at a local bank or credit union. Physical banks are extremely useful sometimes, but I agree that is not often. It doesn't have to be BoA and you don't have to keep much money in it.

The main value of BoA in my opinion is the benefits that come with their Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors program and how that impacts credit card rewards, assuming you put most of your spending on a credit card. The best way to qualify is to transfer 100k in securities to Merrill Edge if you have that much. Make sure you sign up for a bonus if you do that. It's not a good deal to keep cash at BoA to qualify because BoA pays an insulting interest rate.
martyboyle
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by martyboyle »

I can't answer all your questions on leaving BOA but I just wanted to share my brief (and limited) experience with Sofi. Sofi has a lot to offer and I think they're only going to get better so I also wanted to move a lot of funds there - but ultimately decided against it for now.

1. Can't set up beneficiaries for checking and savings. I've reached out to request this and I'm sure it'll be there at some point, but don't feel comfortable parking cash without a beneficiary listed.

2. Website has been having bugs in my experience, especially when trying to open an Invest account. I must have tried a dozen times. Either I'd get to the end of the process and the account wouldn't show up or I'd get a note saying they can't open it at this time. I switched to Chrome and tried again and this time I got to the end and initiated a funds transfer from checking. Then the next morning the Invest account would disappear (funds stayed in checking).

3. Another note on the site, every time I explored refinancing student loans with Sofi over the years it would create an account. So I couldn't open a checking account until I closed ~7 or 8 accounts (wanted to start fresh).

4. Can't wire funds without their approval and they only allow it for 1 or 2 situations like a down payment on a mortgage.

Those are the main reasons I haven't been fully onboard with Sofi just yet, but I like the direction they're going in overall. Maybe your and others' experience could be different/more positive. I agree BOA isn't great (if I recall they charge $3 to initiate an ACH...why?)

For ATMs access, I don't pay attention to this anymore since I use Schwab and Fidelity with ATM fees reimbursed.
aristotelian
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by aristotelian »

My wife has an uncle who lives in the Philippines. I'm not sure why but I know he keeps an account there which he uses for depositing his social security checks. I highly doubt Sofi has branches there if that is important to you. That said, you can always reopen your BofA account if you find Sofi isn't working for you.
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ClevrChico
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by ClevrChico »

The last time I checked, Sofi didn't have an option for a beneficiary or TOD. (They suggest defining this in a will or trust.) This is something I find very annoying.
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dogagility
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by dogagility »

I agree with whodidntante that the value with BoA is their credit card cash back percentage if you're a Preferred Rewards member.

If your retirement or taxable funds are at Fidelity, you should consider opening a Cash Management Account. No fees. ATM transaction costs are reimbursed. Check writing capability. About the only thing this account doesn't let a person do is deposit physical cash.
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Morgan22
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by Morgan22 »

Why not just keep checking at BofA and move your savings to a HYSA. Or move your savings to your current brokerage and keep in a money market since rates are rising and catching up to the HYSA's? You should definitely be taking advantage of BofA's credit card rewards if you are able to. We moved some funds a while back to Merrill Edge and deposited to an ETF to take advantage of the Platinum Honors rewards.
Topic Author
careerdata
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by careerdata »

whodidntante wrote: Sat Jul 30, 2022 11:32 pm
The main value of BoA in my opinion is the benefits that come with their Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors program and how that impacts credit card rewards, assuming you put most of your spending on a credit card. The best way to qualify is to transfer 100k in securities to Merrill Edge if you have that much. Make sure you sign up for a bonus if you do that. It's not a good deal to keep cash at BoA to qualify because BoA pays an insulting interest rate.
Thank you for your reply! My wife and I have been so laser-focused on paying down a large amount of medical debt related to our autistic daughter that this is really the first year in our 18 years of marriage where my paycheck didn't have a large portion directed to paying down the debt. So while that heavy weight of debt is finally behind us we now have to prepare for college for our two kids, my wife's loans for nursing school, potential replacement of our two vehicles, perhaps a home purchase somewhere in the future, emergency savings, etc. So building up accessible savings that can be directed to all of those current and future needs is our top priority, even to the near-term expense of not maxing out our respective 401(k)s and just contributing to the maximum match level until the cash in our savings account is beefed up significantly. Our son will be a senior and our autistic daughter a junior when high school starts on 8/22 so having cash set aside for college is the nearest term item in front of us.

We don't have anything near the $100k you mention in securities that we can readily access but we do have approximately $950k combined with our pre-tax 401(k) and Roth IRAs and $14k in our brokerage account with Fidelity that was set aside for our 2022 Roth IRA contributions. I will do more reading about the Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors to see if that might be something we can set a goal to work towards. I appreciate your thoughts on why having a physical bank available can have its benefits and I shared those with my wife this morning when she came home from her overnight shift at the hospital. Neither of us is 100% sure how much balance we need to keep at BofA to avoid monthly fees but that is on our list to check next.

We pay all the monthly expenses we can with our credit cards with most going to Fidelity and SoFi to take advantage of the 2% unlimited cashback although I am not exactly sure yet how to redeem the SoFi part. The Fidelity process is very nice in that the approximate $2,500 and sometimes more that goes to Fidelity has the 2% cash back automatically deposited into our Fidelity Brokerage account. Our average monthly credit card charges over the last 12 months have been $4,000 and we pay the full statement balance every month from our BofA checking account, which is where my paycheck is currently deposited.

Regards,

Joe
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careerdata
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by careerdata »

martyboyle wrote: Sat Jul 30, 2022 11:48 pm
1. Can't set up beneficiaries for checking and savings. I've reached out to request this and I'm sure it'll be there at some point, but don't feel comfortable parking cash without a beneficiary listed.

3. Another note on the site, every time I explored refinancing student loans with Sofi over the years it would create an account. So I couldn't open a checking account until I closed ~7 or 8 accounts (wanted to start fresh).

For ATMs access, I don't pay attention to this anymore since I use Schwab and Fidelity with ATM fees reimbursed.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with SoFi so far!

On the beneficiary issue, does SoFi allow you to set up a joint account as we have with BofA so either of us can access funds if something happens to the other? I am not sure we have beneficiaries set up for our BofA but we will look into this. Our son turns 18 this September so I am thinking he would no longer be considered a minor at that point.

My wife has approximately $29k in remaining student loans but her employer is kicking in $400 per month on top of the $325 we pay on the 10-year plan estimate so we have hesitated to look into refinancing as it was somewhat complicated to get the employer-sponsored $400 part up and running. If we open a savings and checking account with SoFi we will definitely do that BEFORE exploring student loan refinancing given your experience with the site!

Regarding the ATMs, approximately $550k of our $950k in 401(k), Roth IRA, and brokerage account total is with Fidelity. Is there some asset level where you can qualify for more services?

Regards,

Joe
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by JBTX »

If you have treasury direct accounts set up to pull from BOA it may be worthwhile to hold the account just for that reason, given the difficulties or changing banks linked to TD.
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whodidntante
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by whodidntante »

careerdata wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 12:16 pm
whodidntante wrote: Sat Jul 30, 2022 11:32 pm
The main value of BoA in my opinion is the benefits that come with their Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors program and how that impacts credit card rewards, assuming you put most of your spending on a credit card. The best way to qualify is to transfer 100k in securities to Merrill Edge if you have that much. Make sure you sign up for a bonus if you do that. It's not a good deal to keep cash at BoA to qualify because BoA pays an insulting interest rate.
Thank you for your reply! My wife and I have been so laser-focused on paying down a large amount of medical debt related to our autistic daughter that this is really the first year in our 18 years of marriage where my paycheck didn't have a large portion directed to paying down the debt. So while that heavy weight of debt is finally behind us we now have to prepare for college for our two kids, my wife's loans for nursing school, potential replacement of our two vehicles, perhaps a home purchase somewhere in the future, emergency savings, etc. So building up accessible savings that can be directed to all of those current and future needs is our top priority, even to the near-term expense of not maxing out our respective 401(k)s and just contributing to the maximum match level until the cash in our savings account is beefed up significantly. Our son will be a senior and our autistic daughter a junior when high school starts on 8/22 so having cash set aside for college is the nearest term item in front of us.

We don't have anything near the $100k you mention in securities that we can readily access but we do have approximately $950k combined with our pre-tax 401(k) and Roth IRAs and $14k in our brokerage account with Fidelity that was set aside for our 2022 Roth IRA contributions. I will do more reading about the Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors to see if that might be something we can set a goal to work towards. I appreciate your thoughts on why having a physical bank available can have its benefits and I shared those with my wife this morning when she came home from her overnight shift at the hospital. Neither of us is 100% sure how much balance we need to keep at BofA to avoid monthly fees but that is on our list to check next.

We pay all the monthly expenses we can with our credit cards with most going to Fidelity and SoFi to take advantage of the 2% unlimited cashback although I am not exactly sure yet how to redeem the SoFi part. The Fidelity process is very nice in that the approximate $2,500 and sometimes more that goes to Fidelity has the 2% cash back automatically deposited into our Fidelity Brokerage account. Our average monthly credit card charges over the last 12 months have been $4,000 and we pay the full statement balance every month from our BofA checking account, which is where my paycheck is currently deposited.

Regards,

Joe
It sounds like you have your priorities in order.

An IRA counts towards the Preferred Rewards qualification if you transfer it to Merrill Edge. The lowest tier is "gold" which requires 20k. That will give a smaller 25% credit card rewards boost. It's 75% at the platinum honors level. But gold will also waive account monthly fees for checking and savings. It's pretty easy to stay fee-free at BoA. Probably the most annoying thing is that BoA charges for ACH if you initiate it from them. You can work around that by transferring to Merrill Edge and then transferring out from there, or just push/pull from an outside account instead of starting the transfer from BoA.

SoFi rewards can only be redeemed using their app on a mobile device. You'll want to have a SoFi checking, savings, or investment account to get maximum benefits. The rewards are half if redeemed for a credit card statement credit. Fidelity is similar in that you only get 2% if you redeem to a Fidelity account.

BTW, SoFi has a $300 direct deposit bonus available right now. If you do decide to open an account there, you might as well take advantage of that.
Last edited by whodidntante on Sun Jul 31, 2022 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
careerdata
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by careerdata »

aristotelian wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 6:24 am My wife has an uncle who lives in the Philippines. I'm not sure why but I know he keeps an account there which he uses for depositing his social security checks. I highly doubt Sofi has branches there if that is important to you. That said, you can always reopen your BofA account if you find Sofi isn't working for you.
Thank you for your reply! My wife's last visit to the Philippines was almost five years ago now, right before starting her prerequisites for nursing school and pre-COVID. She would like to return again this January so we are trying to build a budget for that and complete her dual citizenship paperwork as she lost her citizenship temporarily when she became a naturalized U.S. citizen. This would allow her to set up a Philippine citizen bank account so that she can use that in the future when she is in-country.

Now that my wife is working full-time, and we have a little breathing room financially each month, she wants to be able to travel back to the Philippines at least every other year to rebuild her ties with her brother, friends, and extended family. She has had only two visits there in the last 10 years and has been especially missing it these last five years, so I feel very bad about that as her husband. We had to really tighten the belt on all our spending to clear out the final part of the medical debt and get her back to school. She is also very excited about all the seafood she will be able to enjoy once again that we just can't replicate here in St. Louis!

Regards,

Joe
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by abuss368 »

One alternative would be to keep the Bank of America checking account with all the history as your main checking account.

Move excess cash to a Vanguard money market account.

No change to credit card.

We too very rare cut checks or visit a branch. In fact almost all the checks written are for kids activities.

Best.
Tony
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frugalor
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by frugalor »

Why not keep BoA account open, but switch to Sofi as your primary bank?

BoA has a nice rewards program https://www.bankofamerica.com/preferred-rewards/

Once you get to the top level, you can get the best overall credit card rewards.

As to some of your questions, I would call or email Sofi to find out more.
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careerdata
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by careerdata »

Morgan22 wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 7:34 am Why not just keep checking at BofA and move your savings to a HYSA. Or move your savings to your current brokerage and keep in a money market since rates are rising and catching up to the HYSA's? You should definitely be taking advantage of BofA's credit card rewards if you are able to. We moved some funds a while back to Merrill Edge and deposited to an ETF to take advantage of the Platinum Honors rewards.
Thank you for your reply! Our current BofA credit card has no cash reward feature that I can see but we secured that card many years ago from I think an alumni association offer as the card still has the "University of Iowa" name and tiger hawk logo on it. Maybe some of the rewards are going to the U of I? We wouldn't want to lose the average age of this card for our FICO score, especially if we open a new card as part of all this.

We are getting 2% cash rewards on all our Fidelity and SoFi credit charges. Over the last several months the total monthly rewards have ranged between $50 to $75 (cash placed in our brokerage account for the Fidelity card and some form of reward from SoFi that we have not converted or used yet). Is the Platinum Honors reward potentially significantly higher than 2%, such that we might want to change our strategy of which credit cards we are using for ongoing monthly expenses?

For the Fidelity brokerage account, we have that account hooked up with our BofA checking account in order to fund our Roth IRAs and we hope to build that up over time so I will take a closer look at the current money market rates Fidelity is offering.

Regards,

Joe
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VictorStarr
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by VictorStarr »

careerdata wrote: Sat Jul 30, 2022 11:07 pm Questions I have that I am hoping to get some assistance from the community in answering!

--Are there any unintended consequences of cutting the cord with B of A after being with them for so many years?

--Would it be better to keep the B of A accounts as is so we have options in the future and money spread out and just keep my paycheck going there in order to pay all our bills from the checking account just like we do today, but then open up a new checking and savings account with SoFi and have all of my wife's future direct deposit paychecks go there so we can take advantage of the 1.8% APR? If we do this then I could also move over excess funds not needed at B of A from my paycheck from time to time to get more money earning 1.8%.

--Since SoFI Bank seems relatively new, does anyone have any experience with them that you are willing to share?

--My wife travels periodically to the Philippines to visit her family. Do B of A or SoFi have a presence there? Or is this a non-factor in the decision-making process?

--My wife uses the ATM two or three times a month. Is the ATM network that SoFi uses good enough compared to B of A or is this a bigger problem in St. Louis, where we live?
- There is no unintended consequences of cutting the cord with B of A
- I used SoFi, it is a relatively new fintech and bank, it does not have all the bells and whistles of a traditional bank or CU. Rates are great, customer support is lacking.
- SoFi does not have a presence in the Philippines.
- Sofi relays on Allpoint Network with locations in CVS, Walgreens, Target and Costco (55,000+ ATMS).

You mentioned that you have multiple accounts with Fidelity.

Instead of SoFi you can deposit your savings to your Fidelity brokerage account, core fund - SPAXX 7-days yield of 1.29%, or you can buy SPRXX - 1.52%.
Also you can open a Fidelity Cash Management account (brokerage accounts with banking services). Fidelity reimburse all ATM fees worldwide and you can use a CMA account as a checking account (direct deposit, BillPay, debit card, free checks, free ATM worldwide).
Fidelity also has a 2% cash back Visa credit card.

If you like Fidelity CMA, you can slowly migrate all your banking and investing to Fidelity.
See this thread "Fidelity as a one stop shop" for more information.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=266538
MBB_Boy
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by MBB_Boy »

I switched over to SoFi for most things, and I've been mostly satisfied. I actually think the customer support is really strong - I LOVE being able to reach out via chat, both in app and via the website. It's also been useful in the past to be able to book time with a CFP to talk a few things out.

It was a bit of a pain getting an invest account set up for the bonus - took me a few tries, which someone else experienced upthread.

I'm not a big fan of their billpay though - so at the end of each month, I do a transfer to my USAA account and do billpay there. Don't know why all these FIs have a UI that requires you to navigate through a bunch of screens to pay each bill individually at a time. USAA's website just shows you everything on one screen - I can just go type in the 10 or so things I want paid, hit next, hit confirm, and then I'm done.
Topic Author
careerdata
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by careerdata »

abuss368 wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 1:02 pm
Move excess cash to a Vanguard money market account.
Thanks for your reply! Our retirement assets as of today are split between Fidelity and Vanguard as follows:

Fidelity = $565k [my 401(k) from a former employer, our individual Roth IRA accounts, with $14k of the $565k in our joint brokerage account]
Vanguard = $414k [my 401(k) from a former employer and the active 401(k) for both our current employers]

We do not have a brokerage account with Vanguard currently. How does the money market they offer differ from what we have access to at Fidelity? Are they pretty much the same?

Regards,

Joe
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careerdata
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by careerdata »

VictorStarr wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 1:33 pm
- There is no unintended consequences of cutting the cord with B of A
- I used SoFi, it is a relatively new fintech and bank, it does not have all the bells and whistles of a traditional bank or CU. Rates are great, customer support is lacking.
- SoFi does not have a presence in the Philippines.
- Sofi relays on Allpoint Network with locations in CVS, Walgreens, Target and Costco (55,000+ ATMS).

You mentioned that you have multiple accounts with Fidelity.

Instead of SoFi you can deposit your savings to your Fidelity brokerage account, core fund - SPAXX 7-days yield of 1.29%, or you can buy SPRXX - 1.52%.
Also you can open a Fidelity Cash Management account (brokerage accounts with banking services). Fidelity reimburse all ATM fees worldwide and you can use a CMA account as a checking account (direct deposit, BillPay, debit card, free checks, free ATM worldwide).
Fidelity also has a 2% cash back Visa credit card.

If you like Fidelity CMA, you can slowly migrate all your banking and investing to Fidelity.
See this thread "Fidelity as a one stop shop" for more information.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=266538
Thank you so much for this! We both really love Fidelity so I will set aside some time to really dig into that mega thread link. I've added it to my bookmarks (or should I subscribe--not really sure of the difference between the two yet) so I can follow future updates.

We have $565k total with Fidelity between a former 401(k), both our Roth IRAs, an HSA account from a former employer, and $14.1k in the brokerage account.

In our joint brokerage account, we have $13.4k in SPAXX and $0.7k in FSKAX, so it looks like we might already be benefiting from those higher SPAXX yields that you referenced. In July our BoA savings account posted $0.11 of interest despite an average balance of $18k. My wife did not smile when I mentioned that to her and that motivated me to make this post to tap into the expertise and experience of the awesome BH community! :happy

Regarding Fidelity and the CMA, is there perhaps some total asset level we need to reach to make the Fidelity CMA make even more sense for us?

The free ATM fees worldwide feature of the Fidelity CMA caught my eye in terms of my wife hoping to make more frequent visits in the future to see her brother and extended family in the Philippines. On her bucket list is to see other sites in South Korea and Japan so having access to cash in a crunch if credit cards are not an option would be a nice safety feature to have.

I like some of the benefits of the SoFi offering that you and others have itemized and while it sounds like it has some "development opportunities" it may be worth testing it to see how it compares with BofA and perhaps the Fidelity CMA. I like the concept of a one-stop shop but my wife was born and raised in the Philippines and she has a strong aversion to having all of our eggs in one basket. She will need to be convinced over time that this is the best option for us in terms of making our life simpler and/or providing additional benefits that we may not have today.

Regards,

Joe
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VictorStarr
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by VictorStarr »

careerdata wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 3:33 pm
VictorStarr wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 1:33 pm
- There is no unintended consequences of cutting the cord with B of A
- I used SoFi, it is a relatively new fintech and bank, it does not have all the bells and whistles of a traditional bank or CU. Rates are great, customer support is lacking.
- SoFi does not have a presence in the Philippines.
- Sofi relays on Allpoint Network with locations in CVS, Walgreens, Target and Costco (55,000+ ATMS).

You mentioned that you have multiple accounts with Fidelity.

Instead of SoFi you can deposit your savings to your Fidelity brokerage account, core fund - SPAXX 7-days yield of 1.29%, or you can buy SPRXX - 1.52%.
Also you can open a Fidelity Cash Management account (brokerage accounts with banking services). Fidelity reimburse all ATM fees worldwide and you can use a CMA account as a checking account (direct deposit, BillPay, debit card, free checks, free ATM worldwide).
Fidelity also has a 2% cash back Visa credit card.

If you like Fidelity CMA, you can slowly migrate all your banking and investing to Fidelity.
See this thread "Fidelity as a one stop shop" for more information.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=266538
Thank you so much for this! We both really love Fidelity so I will set aside some time to really dig into that mega thread link. I've added it to my bookmarks (or should I subscribe--not really sure of the difference between the two yet) so I can follow future updates.

We have $565k total with Fidelity between a former 401(k), both our Roth IRAs, an HSA account from a former employer, and $14.1k in the brokerage account.

In our joint brokerage account, we have $13.4k in SPAXX and $0.7k in FSKAX, so it looks like we might already be benefiting from those higher SPAXX yields that you referenced. In July our BoA savings account posted $0.11 of interest despite an average balance of $18k. My wife did not smile when I mentioned that to her and that motivated me to make this post to tap into the expertise and experience of the awesome BH community! :happy

Regarding Fidelity and the CMA, is there perhaps some total asset level we need to reach to make the Fidelity CMA make even more sense for us?

The free ATM fees worldwide feature of the Fidelity CMA caught my eye in terms of my wife hoping to make more frequent visits in the future to see her brother and extended family in the Philippines. On her bucket list is to see other sites in South Korea and Japan so having access to cash in a crunch if credit cards are not an option would be a nice safety feature to have.

I like some of the benefits of the SoFi offering that you and others have itemized and while it sounds like it has some "development opportunities" it may be worth testing it to see how it compares with BofA and perhaps the Fidelity CMA. I like the concept of a one-stop shop but my wife was born and raised in the Philippines and she has a strong aversion to having all of our eggs in one basket. She will need to be convinced over time that this is the best option for us in terms of making our life simpler and/or providing additional benefits that we may not have today.

Regards,

Joe
- buy SPRXX for higher yield in your joint brokerage account, in August yield will be around 2%
- Fidelity CMA benefits do not depend on asset level, you can keep $1 and still enjoy free ATM worldwide, free checks, no fees, free wire, no fees, etc.
- You could split your assets and banking between two companies - Fidelity and BoA/Merrill Edge or Fidelity and Sofi.
- to enjoy Platinum Honors status with BoA you could move $100K of your IRA or Roth to Merrill Edge and collect a transfer bonus (https://www.merrilledge.com/offers/me750) - $350 for $100K or $750 for $200K. Platinum Honors boosts credit card cash back by 75% to 2.625% - 5.25% for BoA Premium and BoA Customized Cash.
danaht
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by danaht »

B of A appears to have much better credit card rewards than Fidelity or Sofi (if your at the highest rewards tier) . So if it was me - I would just have enough assets in B of A to qualify for the highest credit card rewards. (You can do this by just keeping $200 in a B of A checking account - and transferring an IRA to a B of A IRA for the rest). Afterwards - you can just open another checking account with Sofi or Fidelity for your main banking needs.
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careerdata
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by careerdata »

JBTX wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 12:45 pm If you have treasury direct accounts set up to pull from BOA it may be worthwhile to hold the account just for that reason, given the difficulties or changing banks linked to TD.
Hello! Thank you for your reply and also thank for you sharing your thoughts regarding our autistic daughter way back when I first joined the BH community! Our daughter Samantha had her best year of school yet both emotionally and academically, with all A's and B's. She still had a couple of episodes with her classmates during some stressful periods during the year but the number and severity of these episodes were much lower than in prior years. It was her first full year with all of her time in the general educational environment so we were a bit nervous about how she would respond. She will be a junior this year with more challenging classes and maturity issues but she is a hard worker and has built up confidence in herself such that it is much harder for certain long-term classmates from elementary school days to push her emotional buttons.

We do not have treasury direct accounts at this time but as we start building up some savings these are the things my wife and I need to research more to see if makes sense for each of us to start building some out. I turned 57 in June and my wife turned 44 in March so one of the questions I had was whether or not it made more sense to focus on her $10k first if we have limited funds given that she has a longer work horizon than me. Some prior BH guidance encouraged us to just contribute to the max level of our 401(k) company matches for the next year at least in order to build up our likely cash needs for college, car replacement, potential home purchase, etc. As is the case in life, money is so hard to earn but easy to spend, and you never seem to have enough for all your needs let alone your wants. :(

I am gathering notes from all the great feedback from you and the rest of the community and then I will ask my wife to also read all the responses so that we can jointly determine what changes we would like to test, as we are definitely not optimizing our interest earnings in the current arrangement we have with BofA. So far it seems like we can potentially test out multiple options and see how they work with SoFi and maybe Fidelity CMA while keeping our checking with BoA while we test each option.

I think I may need more time to fully understand the BoA Merrill Edge options and advantages but it sounds like if we keep an average balance of $20k in our checking and savings account for the Gold level then the monthly maintenance fees will continue to be waived.

Regards,

Joe
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by abuss368 »

careerdata wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 2:41 pm
abuss368 wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 1:02 pm
Move excess cash to a Vanguard money market account.
Thanks for your reply! Our retirement assets as of today are split between Fidelity and Vanguard as follows:

Fidelity = $565k [my 401(k) from a former employer, our individual Roth IRA accounts, with $14k of the $565k in our joint brokerage account]
Vanguard = $414k [my 401(k) from a former employer and the active 401(k) for both our current employers]

We do not have a brokerage account with Vanguard currently. How does the money market they offer differ from what we have access to at Fidelity? Are they pretty much the same?

Regards,

Joe
I am not familiar with any money markets at Fidelity. I was thinking through what options would be available to avoid having to uproot banking completely.

You could move the excess cash to any money markets fund that works best.

Thanks.
Tony
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
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careerdata
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by careerdata »

VictorStarr wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 3:48 pm
- buy SPRXX for higher yield in your joint brokerage account, in August yield will be around 2%
- Fidelity CMA benefits do not depend on asset level, you can keep $1 and still enjoy free ATM worldwide, free checks, no fees, free wire, no fees, etc.
- You could split your assets and banking between two companies - Fidelity and BoA/Merrill Edge or Fidelity and Sofi.
- to enjoy Platinum Honors status with BoA you could move $100K of your IRA or Roth to Merrill Edge and collect a transfer bonus (https://www.merrilledge.com/offers/me750) - $350 for $100K or $750 for $200K. Platinum Honors boosts credit card cash back by 75% to 2.625% - 5.25% for BoA Premium and BoA Customized Cash.
Thank you!

--Is it easy to have Fidelity trade the $13.4k in SPAXX to SPRXX and then have SPRXX set as the new default? Apologies for that question but I rarely trade or move money around once it is invested so a relative newbie in that regard!

--That is great to know that the asset level for the CMA is not a factor to get access to those additional services!

--Am I understanding it correctly that if I moved, for example, my $148.3k Roth IRA to Merrill and we opened a new BofA Customized Cash credit card then we would get cash rewards of 5.25% on every dollar we charge each month? That sounds a little too good to be true compared to the 2% we get with Fidelity and SoFi today but if so then it would definitely make sense for us to consider that and make the Customized Cash credit card our primary credit card for ongoing and unexpected expenses. Any downside to losing the transaction history that Fidelity has on our IRAs if we moved both, as my wife's IRA has $68.3k right now?

Regards,

Joe
vaylie
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by vaylie »

careerdata wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 4:49 pm --Am I understanding it correctly that if I moved, for example, my $148.3k Roth IRA to Merrill and we opened a new BofA Customized Cash credit card then we would get cash rewards of 5.25% on every dollar we charge each month? That sounds a little too good to be true compared to the 2% we get with Fidelity and SoFi today but if so then it would definitely make sense for us to consider that and make the Customized Cash credit card our primary credit card for ongoing and unexpected expenses. Any downside to losing the transaction history that Fidelity has on our IRAs if we moved both, as my wife's IRA has $68.3k right now?
There is a $2.5k quarterly spending limit on the 5.25% rewards which only applies for one selected category, but a lot of people get by that by having different customized rewards cards for each category they spend a lot on or just by having multiple ones if they exceed that limit for one category - just do your research on how often you can apply for new cards because BoA does restrict that. If you buy outside your chosen category or exceed the limit, you only get 1.75% cashback.

My personal setup is that I have one customized rewards card that I set to the online shopping category for the 5.25% reward on the majority of my purchases, while the other stuff that doesn't fall under that umbrella (like my insurance bills, cable utility, etc.) I put on the unlimited rewards card which pays 2.625% cashback.
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by anon_investor »

vaylie wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 4:57 pm
careerdata wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 4:49 pm --Am I understanding it correctly that if I moved, for example, my $148.3k Roth IRA to Merrill and we opened a new BofA Customized Cash credit card then we would get cash rewards of 5.25% on every dollar we charge each month? That sounds a little too good to be true compared to the 2% we get with Fidelity and SoFi today but if so then it would definitely make sense for us to consider that and make the Customized Cash credit card our primary credit card for ongoing and unexpected expenses. Any downside to losing the transaction history that Fidelity has on our IRAs if we moved both, as my wife's IRA has $68.3k right now?
There is a $2.5k quarterly spending limit on the 5.25% rewards which only applies for one selected category, but a lot of people get by that by having different customized rewards cards for each category they spend a lot on or just by having multiple ones if they exceed that limit for one category - just do your research on how often you can apply for new cards because BoA does restrict that. If you buy outside your chosen category or exceed the limit, you only get 1.75% cashback.

My personal setup is that I have one customized rewards card that I set to the online shopping category for the 5.25% reward on the majority of my purchases, while the other stuff that doesn't fall under that umbrella (like my insurance bills, cable utility, etc.) I put on the unlimited rewards card which pays 2.625% cashback.
The BoA Customized Cash Rewards also offers 3.5% cash back at wholesale clubs and grocery stories (also comes out of the same $2.5k/quarter spend cap for the 5.25% catagory).
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careerdata
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by careerdata »

MBB_Boy wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 2:37 pm I switched over to SoFi for most things, and I've been mostly satisfied. I actually think the customer support is really strong - I LOVE being able to reach out via chat, both in app and via the website. It's also been useful in the past to be able to book time with a CFP to talk a few things out.

It was a bit of a pain getting an invest account set up for the bonus - took me a few tries, which someone else experienced upthread.

I'm not a big fan of their billpay though - so at the end of each month, I do a transfer to my USAA account and do billpay there. Don't know why all these FIs have a UI that requires you to navigate through a bunch of screens to pay each bill individually at a time. USAA's website just shows you everything on one screen - I can just go type in the 10 or so things I want paid, hit next, hit confirm, and then I'm done.
Thank you for sharing your experiences with SoFi! I want to get my wife's thoughts on this once she has time to review this thread, but I am thinking based on all the great feedback so far that we should direct at least direct part of her biweekly paycheck to SoFi so that we can take advantage of the 1.8% APR and other services, and then maybe a portion, or all the rest, to Fidelity to take advantage of the approximate 2% yield on SPRXX.

Do you know if SoFi has a certain minimum dollar limit of how much has to come from a paycheck or just that they can see something being directly deposited to get the 1.8% APR as opposed to the 1.0% APR? Maybe my thinking will change on this once I fully understand the bank account interest crediting from BofA if we upgrade to the Platinum Honors level that is being described by several posters in this thread.

Based on your experience and several other posters I admit I am a little gun shy about opening up an investment account with SoFi but it sounds like that might be the only way to get the full value of that cash back on the credit card. Is that your understanding as well?

The only bill paying we currently do each month is rent, student loans, and then our credit cards. The rest of our monthly bills are directly debited from our BofA checking account and only because Verizon (phone), Progressive (auto insurance), and Ameren (electricity) didn't allow a credit card to be used or, if used, was going to charge us some type of transaction fee. If not for the fees, I would have those charged to our credit cards as well. This is how we have been maximizing our cash rewards with Fidelity and SoFi so far, but it sounds like there might be an even better approach with BoA and Merril Edge that we need to dig into and understand. Every penny counts! :happy

Regards,

Joe
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VictorStarr
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by VictorStarr »

careerdata wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 4:49 pm
VictorStarr wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 3:48 pm
- buy SPRXX for higher yield in your joint brokerage account, in August yield will be around 2%
- Fidelity CMA benefits do not depend on asset level, you can keep $1 and still enjoy free ATM worldwide, free checks, no fees, free wire, no fees, etc.
- You could split your assets and banking between two companies - Fidelity and BoA/Merrill Edge or Fidelity and Sofi.
- to enjoy Platinum Honors status with BoA you could move $100K of your IRA or Roth to Merrill Edge and collect a transfer bonus (https://www.merrilledge.com/offers/me750) - $350 for $100K or $750 for $200K. Platinum Honors boosts credit card cash back by 75% to 2.625% - 5.25% for BoA Premium and BoA Customized Cash.
Thank you!

--Is it easy to have Fidelity trade the $13.4k in SPAXX to SPRXX and then have SPRXX set as the new default? Apologies for that question but I rarely trade or move money around once it is invested so a relative newbie in that regard!

--That is great to know that the asset level for the CMA is not a factor to get access to those additional services!

--Am I understanding it correctly that if I moved, for example, my $148.3k Roth IRA to Merrill and we opened a new BofA Customized Cash credit card then we would get cash rewards of 5.25% on every dollar we charge each month? That sounds a little too good to be true compared to the 2% we get with Fidelity and SoFi today but if so then it would definitely make sense for us to consider that and make the Customized Cash credit card our primary credit card for ongoing and unexpected expenses. Any downside to losing the transaction history that Fidelity has on our IRAs if we moved both, as my wife's IRA has $68.3k right now?
- Yes, it is very easy. Go to Accounts & Trade/Trade/Choose: Trade -> Mutual Funds, Account, Symbol -> SPRXX, Action -> Buy
- No best of knowledge, you can not set SPRXX as your core fund. You have to buy SPRXX each time you add new funds.
- > Am I understanding it correctly that if I moved, for example, my $148.3k Roth IRA to Merrill and we opened a new BofA Customized Cash credit card then we would get cash rewards of 5.25% on every dollar we charge each month? That sounds a little too good to be true compared
I agree it is too good to be true. Cash rewards is 5.25% (3% * 1.75) only for a selected category with a quarterly cap of $2500.
See BoA site for details:
https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-ca ... d/#rewards

BoA Premium cash rewards are 3.5% for travel and dining and 2.625% for everything else without quarterly caps
If the majority of your spending is not travel/dining, the cash back benefit of switching to BoA Premium from 2% card is $300/year.
12 * $4000 * (2.625% - 2%) * 0.01 = $300.

In the first year, you will earn additional $1,250 - $750 (moving $200K assets to Merrill Edge) and $500 (bonus for opening BoA Premium card).

>Any downside to losing the transaction history that Fidelity has on our IRAs if we moved both, as my wife's IRA has $68.3k right now?
You can save transactional history if you want to. If you transfer a taxable account, you have to verify cost basis, with IRA and Roth it is not an issue.
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by JBTX »

careerdata wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 4:07 pm
JBTX wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 12:45 pm If you have treasury direct accounts set up to pull from BOA it may be worthwhile to hold the account just for that reason, given the difficulties or changing banks linked to TD.
Hello! Thank you for your reply and also thank for you sharing your thoughts regarding our autistic daughter way back when I first joined the BH community! Our daughter Samantha had her best year of school yet both emotionally and academically, with all A's and B's. She still had a couple of episodes with her classmates during some stressful periods during the year but the number and severity of these episodes were much lower than in prior years. It was her first full year with all of her time in the general educational environment so we were a bit nervous about how she would respond. She will be a junior this year with more challenging classes and maturity issues but she is a hard worker and has built up confidence in herself such that it is much harder for certain long-term classmates from elementary school days to push her emotional buttons.

We do not have treasury direct accounts at this time but as we start building up some savings these are the things my wife and I need to research more to see if makes sense for each of us to start building some out. I turned 57 in June and my wife turned 44 in March so one of the questions I had was whether or not it made more sense to focus on her $10k first if we have limited funds given that she has a longer work horizon than me. Some prior BH guidance encouraged us to just contribute to the max level of our 401(k) company matches for the next year at least in order to build up our likely cash needs for college, car replacement, potential home purchase, etc. As is the case in life, money is so hard to earn but easy to spend, and you never seem to have enough for all your needs let alone your wants. :(

I am gathering notes from all the great feedback from you and the rest of the community and then I will ask my wife to also read all the responses so that we can jointly determine what changes we would like to test, as we are definitely not optimizing our interest earnings in the current arrangement we have with BofA. So far it seems like we can potentially test out multiple options and see how they work with SoFi and maybe Fidelity CMA while keeping our checking with BoA while we test each option.

I think I may need more time to fully understand the BoA Merrill Edge options and advantages but it sounds like if we keep an average balance of $20k in our checking and savings account for the Gold level then the monthly maintenance fees will continue to be waived.

Regards,

Joe
Glad to hear your daughter is doing so well. That’s great to hear. Our autistic son just graduated high school and is participating in a summer job program with a job coach. Overall doing fairly well. We will have to see what is next.

Trying to decide between investing priorities and choices is never easy. Best you can do is try to be informed and have a plan and try to stick to it.

We have had BOA for probably 25 years. We probably keep around $20-$25k in it so we have avoided fees. Obviously there is some modest deadweight loss there in terms of no interest. The good thing is I occasionally may open a business bank account for a bonus or do some of the credit cards for bonuses. I have yet to try Merrill edge. Given way our portfolio is structured I don’t have a good clean chunk we could easily move over without changing investments.
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by Boatguy »

I recently opened SoFi checking and savings accounts, applied for their Mastercard, and opened an investment account. I’ve received multiple bonuses for opening the cc and investing account as well as starting direct deposit. The biggest perk I received was 12 months of 3% cash back (rather than the usual 2%) on all credit card purchases. Not sure why I got it, but no complaints at all.

One other comment: The few times I’ve transferred money from SoFi to my brick and mortar bank, the money has arrived within 24 hours. I’m very pleased so far.
H-Town
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by H-Town »

careerdata wrote: Sat Jul 30, 2022 11:07 pm Questions I have that I am hoping to get some assistance from the community in answering!

--Are there any unintended consequences of cutting the cord with B of A after being with them for so many years?

--Would it be better to keep the B of A accounts as is so we have options in the future and money spread out and just keep my paycheck going there in order to pay all our bills from the checking account just like we do today, but then open up a new checking and savings account with SoFi and have all of my wife's future direct deposit paychecks go there so we can take advantage of the 1.8% APR? If we do this then I could also move over excess funds not needed at B of A from my paycheck from time to time to get more money earning 1.8%.

--Since SoFI Bank seems relatively new, does anyone have any experience with them that you are willing to share?

--My wife travels periodically to the Philippines to visit her family. Do B of A or SoFi have a presence there? Or is this a non-factor in the decision-making process?

--My wife uses the ATM two or three times a month. Is the ATM network that SoFi uses good enough compared to B of A or is this a bigger problem in St. Louis, where we live?

Many thanks in advance for anything you are willing to share!

Regards,

Joe
Joe,

I opened SoFi bank account this year for bonus ($300 through SoFi + $175 through swagbucks) and high yield (1.8% currently). Your paycheck will also show up 2 days early. I also got $200 for credit card and 3% flat rate cash back for the first year (2% thereafter). The credit card has no foreign transaction fee, so that's a plus when your wife travels to PHI. SoFi also has $200 new account bonus. But maybe most of the bonus programs are expired now.

I still keep my Chase checking account for almost everything else. SoFi is new and their capabilities is fairly limited. I just keep the money in their saving for high yield and use SoFi credit card for 3% flat rate (when I would otherwise only got 2% flat rate). The good thing is that it's very fast to transfer the money from SoFi to other banks. I typically receive a push transfer in the same day or the next day.

To sum up, I think SoFi accounts are just good for new account bonus. I netted $875 without much hassle. But I would not rely on SoFi as the only checking account.
Time is the ultimate currency.
MBB_Boy
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by MBB_Boy »

careerdata wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 5:14 pm
MBB_Boy wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 2:37 pm I switched over to SoFi for most things, and I've been mostly satisfied. I actually think the customer support is really strong - I LOVE being able to reach out via chat, both in app and via the website. It's also been useful in the past to be able to book time with a CFP to talk a few things out.

It was a bit of a pain getting an invest account set up for the bonus - took me a few tries, which someone else experienced upthread.

I'm not a big fan of their billpay though - so at the end of each month, I do a transfer to my USAA account and do billpay there. Don't know why all these FIs have a UI that requires you to navigate through a bunch of screens to pay each bill individually at a time. USAA's website just shows you everything on one screen - I can just go type in the 10 or so things I want paid, hit next, hit confirm, and then I'm done.
Thank you for sharing your experiences with SoFi! I want to get my wife's thoughts on this once she has time to review this thread, but I am thinking based on all the great feedback so far that we should direct at least direct part of her biweekly paycheck to SoFi so that we can take advantage of the 1.8% APR and other services, and then maybe a portion, or all the rest, to Fidelity to take advantage of the approximate 2% yield on SPRXX.

Do you know if SoFi has a certain minimum dollar limit of how much has to come from a paycheck or just that they can see something being directly deposited to get the 1.8% APR as opposed to the 1.0% APR? Maybe my thinking will change on this once I fully understand the bank account interest crediting from BofA if we upgrade to the Platinum Honors level that is being described by several posters in this thread.

Based on your experience and several other posters I admit I am a little gun shy about opening up an investment account with SoFi but it sounds like that might be the only way to get the full value of that cash back on the credit card. Is that your understanding as well?

The only bill paying we currently do each month is rent, student loans, and then our credit cards. The rest of our monthly bills are directly debited from our BofA checking account and only because Verizon (phone), Progressive (auto insurance), and Ameren (electricity) didn't allow a credit card to be used or, if used, was going to charge us some type of transaction fee. If not for the fees, I would have those charged to our credit cards as well. This is how we have been maximizing our cash rewards with Fidelity and SoFi so far, but it sounds like there might be an even better approach with BoA and Merril Edge that we need to dig into and understand. Every penny counts! :happy

Regards,

Joe
You don't need an invest account to get 2% from the credit card. Just apply the points to checking / savings. I don't know what the minimum DD is offhand, but it should be obvious on their website.

One note though - I understand the "every penny counts" mentality, but simplicity matters too. Honestly, I wouldn't bother doing Sofi + Fidelity SPRXX. I don't think it's worth the extra work for the incredibly small $ return. I'm also not an expert on SPRXX, but I just checked and the only yield I saw on the site was a 7 day yield, which was 1.68%. I personally prefer a "static", advertised interest rate rather than however one would describe money market funds (floating?)
Damoetas
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by Damoetas »

I agree SoFi offers some great promos, but watch out for glitches and errors!

When I applied for the credit card on June 8, somehow my application was duplicated and I received two cards in the mail. Neither card showed up in the app or website - it just kept giving me an error and saying "contact customer service." On my first pass through customer service, they told me to update my browser and app. Obviously that didn't work. On my second pass, I had to go through five different people, and the sixth one finally cancelled one of the cards and told me, "This was the problem. But I can't fix the app, you'll have to wait for Engineering." Third pass, I asked to speak to a manager, they put me through to an Account Manager who was nice but couldn't do anything except update the Engineering ticket.

Long story short, nearly two months after applying, I still can't view or manage my purchases through the app or website. I have to wait for the paper statement by snail mail, and then pay it over the phone! I asked to speak to someone in senior leadership, but the Account Manager says, "There is no one higher than my team who is customer-facing." I haven't received any reward points yet - supposedly they can't credit them until after the Engineering problem is fixed. I asked them to just cash out my full 3% bonus and let me cancel the card, but they can't do that. I asked them to email me weekly card statements so I can monitor the charges - they can't do that. Apparently Engineering is "working diligently to solve the problem" - all I can do is sit here and wait for them, while my bonus is held hostage.

Hilariously, on top of all this, they sent me an email on June 29 saying that they had failed to apply the 3% promo points at all for some customers, so they were restarting the date for it. Then on June 30 I got another email saying that the latest Banking rate increase (from 1.25% to 1.50%) had been announced prematurely, it didn't take effect until a few days later.

For a "fintech," SoFi's technology really does not seem ready for prime time. Other than that, it's a great service! So I'd echo the recommendation to keep another bank account open - and check all your statements carefully (if you're lucky enough to get statements!)
radiowave
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by radiowave »

careerdata

I've had a BoA account since it was North Carolina National Bank back in the 80s. The longevity does help improve my FICO score.

As for a bank, yeah it has it's quirks (like the $3 fee to move cash out to another bank - the workaround it to pull the money from the receiving bank), but it is helpful to have a local branch you can go down and talk to someone. I wouldn't use BoA as a savings account. As others have mentioned, there are better options. Since you already have a Fidelity account they have a really good cash management account with a much better return that you could add. Also, you can purchase US Treasury bills and notes in Fidelity as another option for holding short/intermediate cash. Treasury returns are above 2% right now.

BoA has a pretty good online bill pay and rewards credit card (see the link above about the tiers). If you open a Merrill Edge account, funds there count towards the minimums for each tier.

As for an actionable recommendation, I recommend opening a cash management account at Fidelity and keeping the BoA account as your cash flow and bill pay vehicle and Fidelity for better returns on your money compared to the BoA savings account.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page
Lastrun
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by Lastrun »

radiowave wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 9:44 am
......
As for an actionable recommendation, I recommend opening a cash management account at Fidelity and keeping the BoA account as your cash flow and bill pay vehicle and Fidelity for better returns on your money compared to the BoA savings account.
Just an FYI, you can now purchase TSTXX at Merrill Edge, currently 1.76% SEC. So the BofA/Merrill Edge options for cash are better than they historically were.

[url]https://olui2.fs.ml.com/publish/content ... et.pdf/url]
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anon_investor
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by anon_investor »

Lastrun wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 1:57 pm
radiowave wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 9:44 am
......
As for an actionable recommendation, I recommend opening a cash management account at Fidelity and keeping the BoA account as your cash flow and bill pay vehicle and Fidelity for better returns on your money compared to the BoA savings account.
Just an FYI, you can now purchase TSTXX at Merrill Edge, currently 1.76% SEC. So the BofA/Merrill Edge options for cash are better than they historically were.

[url]https://olui2.fs.ml.com/publish/content ... et.pdf/url]
Am I reading that right? Only a $1k minimum to purchase at Merrill Edge? If there is no fee to purchase this at Merrill Edge, this is a pretty good option.
vaylie
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by vaylie »

anon_investor wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:30 pm Am I reading that right? Only a $1k minimum to purchase at Merrill Edge? If there is no fee to purchase this at Merrill Edge, this is a pretty good option.
Yep, I purchased TMCXX at Merrill Edge last month, no fees and only $1k minimum.
Zagnificent
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by Zagnificent »

careerdata wrote: Sat Jul 30, 2022 11:07 pm We have been with Bank of America (B of A) ever since we moved to St. Louis in 2009 and we have our checking account connected to all credit cards, entertainment, utilities, and rent. We have had no particular problems with their service. We earn, however, no interest in our checking account and almost no interest in our savings account.

My wife started work as a full-time nurse last November and we have been putting all her paychecks into the B of A savings account and it is now up to $21k, with about $3,200 to $3,500 added to it each month. We currently have $23k in checking and that stays in the $20k to $30k range throughout the year.

We previously had a personal loan with SoFi and that really helped us get our credit card debt down to zero and now we keep it there. We added a SoFi credit card last year. When I paid last month's credit card balance I read the description on the SoFi Bank interest and if I am understanding the offer it sounds like the APR is now 1.8% and would pay on balances in both the checking and savings accounts if direct deposit is set up.

We hardly write checks anyone and I can only remember physically needing to go into the bank a couple of times since 2009.

We have a credit card with B of A that has a long history but I am assuming we can keep that if we decided to close our account and move checking and savings to SoFi.

Questions I have that I am hoping to get some assistance from the community in answering!

--Are there any unintended consequences of cutting the cord with B of A after being with them for so many years?

--Would it be better to keep the B of A accounts as is so we have options in the future and money spread out and just keep my paycheck going there in order to pay all our bills from the checking account just like we do today, but then open up a new checking and savings account with SoFi and have all of my wife's future direct deposit paychecks go there so we can take advantage of the 1.8% APR? If we do this then I could also move over excess funds not needed at B of A from my paycheck from time to time to get more money earning 1.8%.

--Since SoFI Bank seems relatively new, does anyone have any experience with them that you are willing to share?

--My wife travels periodically to the Philippines to visit her family. Do B of A or SoFi have a presence there? Or is this a non-factor in the decision-making process?

--My wife uses the ATM two or three times a month. Is the ATM network that SoFi uses good enough compared to B of A or is this a bigger problem in St. Louis, where we live?

Many thanks in advance for anything you are willing to share!

Regards,

Joe
Good questions. I moved from brick and mortar banks to SoFi exclusively 4 years ago and I’ve loved it. I started with a student loan consolidation in 2014, added Money (note banking) in 2018, and Invest after that. Everything has worked really well. With the ATM card, which I don’t use much, ATM fees are credited back almost instantly. I believe they do that like 5x/month. I’ve taken cash out in Mexico and fees were refined quickly—but I had trouble doing so in Croatia recently. I have checks from SoFi too. They’re free and you can easily request them online. I also have several different buckets for organized savings in SoFi and I have scheduled monthly purchases of vanguard ETFs within the SoFi Invest platform that come from my SoFi checking account.

I’ve never had a problem with the interface. It’s a great one-stop shop for me. I’m also getting ready to buy a home and I have close to $700,000k in cash, so 1.8% interest on my accounts is a very meaningful improvement from most banks that pay .01%. Credit score is also easy to see and track. The Relay feature is the only one that I don’t like—it is far inferior to Mint.
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anon_investor
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by anon_investor »

vaylie wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:40 pm
anon_investor wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:30 pm Am I reading that right? Only a $1k minimum to purchase at Merrill Edge? If there is no fee to purchase this at Merrill Edge, this is a pretty good option.
Yep, I purchased TMCXX at Merrill Edge last month, no fees and only $1k minimum.
This make ME much more useful. I assume since it is a mutual fund the settlement time is still just T+1, so the money could end up in your BoA checking the next day if sold before 4pm?
radiowave
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by radiowave »

Joe, one other minor advantage for BoA is that they are one of a very few banks that still offer ATM only cards. If you are concerned about carrying and/or using debit cards, an ATM only card is a good security measure.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page
Lastrun
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by Lastrun »

anon_investor wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:56 pm
vaylie wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:40 pm
anon_investor wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:30 pm Am I reading that right? Only a $1k minimum to purchase at Merrill Edge? If there is no fee to purchase this at Merrill Edge, this is a pretty good option.
Yep, I purchased TMCXX at Merrill Edge last month, no fees and only $1k minimum.
This make ME much more useful. I assume since it is a mutual fund the settlement time is still just T+1, so the money could end up in your BoA checking the next day if sold before 4pm?
I think a good analogy of the Blackrock MM's now open are:

TSTXX is similar to the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund VMFXX
TTTXX is similar to the Vanguard Treasury Money Market Fund VUSXX
and TMCXX is similar to the OLD Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund.
I think TMCXX can impose a gate where the other ones cannot.
Looks like they run about 10bps below the VG funds.

But to keep this on topic, if I was not going to try to obtain one of the BofA reward tiers and was already at Fidelity, I would just go with the Fidelity/SOFI option.
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anon_investor
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by anon_investor »

Lastrun wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 5:25 pm
anon_investor wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:56 pm
vaylie wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:40 pm
anon_investor wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:30 pm Am I reading that right? Only a $1k minimum to purchase at Merrill Edge? If there is no fee to purchase this at Merrill Edge, this is a pretty good option.
Yep, I purchased TMCXX at Merrill Edge last month, no fees and only $1k minimum.
This make ME much more useful. I assume since it is a mutual fund the settlement time is still just T+1, so the money could end up in your BoA checking the next day if sold before 4pm?
I think a good analogy of the Blackrock MM's now open are:

TSTXX is similar to the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund VMFXX
TTTXX is similar to the Vanguard Treasury Money Market Fund VUSXX
and TMCXX is similar to the OLD Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund.
I think TMCXX can impose a gate where the other ones cannot.
Looks like they run about 10bps below the VG funds.

But to keep this on topic, if I was not going to try to obtain one of the BofA reward tiers and was already at Fidelity, I would just go with the Fidelity/SOFI option.
The OP should keep around at least one brick and mortar bank. You sometimes need physical services.
calwatch
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by calwatch »

I use SoFi as my primary bank, where my paycheck goes. It works fine, provided you are OK with not having beneficiaries. Having the pay come in two days early is a plus, and transfers in and out seem noticeably faster than other banks I use. I still hold my IRA with Bank of America to get the credit card boost and a taxable account with Chase to get the free safe deposit box (although that benefit was removed) and reimbursed ATM fees via Sapphire Checking. Being in SoFi's home market of the Los Angeles area, they also provide benefits for those who attend games at their sponsored stadium.

The one issue that you may have with the fintechs is depositing physical cash. Having a local bank account, or a credit union with access to the Co-Op network of deposit taking ATMs, would be important if that need occurs. You can deposit cash via Green Dot but that will incur a fee, and the safest way would be via postal money order but there are fees there as well as waiting at a post office.
vaylie
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by vaylie »

anon_investor wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:56 pm
vaylie wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:40 pm
anon_investor wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:30 pm Am I reading that right? Only a $1k minimum to purchase at Merrill Edge? If there is no fee to purchase this at Merrill Edge, this is a pretty good option.
Yep, I purchased TMCXX at Merrill Edge last month, no fees and only $1k minimum.
This make ME much more useful. I assume since it is a mutual fund the settlement time is still just T+1, so the money could end up in your BoA checking the next day if sold before 4pm?
Yes, I can't remember the exact timeline, but I know it became available sometime after midnight and before the next morning when I sold mine. (And today I received the dividends/interest from the time I held the funds.)
02nz
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by 02nz »

I'm with those who say keep BoA open, esp. if you don't already have a relationship with another major nationwide bank. I only opened my BoA account to get to Platinum Honors via Merrill Edge, and I'm one who does all my banking online when possible, but here and there I've found it useful to go in (e.g., for notarial service, cashier's check). BoA has always provided that for free for me, and the checking account has no monthly fee (but watch out, they close it if balance drops to zero).
placeholder
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by placeholder »

I would not use a credit card that didn't have rewards and so I'd look at a minimum to getting one like the boa cash rewards card with a $200 bonus and a minimum of 1% cash back with more on some categories.
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careerdata
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by careerdata »

MBB_Boy wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 8:53 am
One note though - I understand the "every penny counts" mentality, but simplicity matters too. Honestly, I wouldn't bother doing Sofi + Fidelity SPRXX. I don't think it's worth the extra work for the incredibly small $ return. I'm also not an expert on SPRXX, but I just checked and the only yield I saw on the site was a 7 day yield, which was 1.68%. I personally prefer a "static", advertised interest rate rather than however one would describe money market funds (floating?)
Thank you for sharing your insights on the very issue I often struggle with: simplicity versus an "every penny counts" approach. My wife has been reading all the replies over the week and we have discussed this specific issue. She is leaning towards us sending all her paycheck to SoFi going forward in order to get the 1.8% APR and then also moving over the now $24k we have in our savings account with BoA to the new SoFi account. For now, I will keep my paycheck going to our BofA checking account to pay our monthly bills.

Over time, we may split her paycheck between SoFi and our Fidelity brokerage account, but getting a better interest rate on our savings is the most immediate priority on our list and the initial simplicity of it all going to one place is attractive to her.

Regards,

Joe
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anon_investor
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by anon_investor »

careerdata wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:01 pm
MBB_Boy wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 8:53 am
One note though - I understand the "every penny counts" mentality, but simplicity matters too. Honestly, I wouldn't bother doing Sofi + Fidelity SPRXX. I don't think it's worth the extra work for the incredibly small $ return. I'm also not an expert on SPRXX, but I just checked and the only yield I saw on the site was a 7 day yield, which was 1.68%. I personally prefer a "static", advertised interest rate rather than however one would describe money market funds (floating?)
Thank you for sharing your insights on the very issue I often struggle with: simplicity versus an "every penny counts" approach. My wife has been reading all the replies over the week and we have discussed this specific issue. She is leaning towards us sending all her paycheck to SoFi going forward in order to get the 1.8% APR and then also moving over the now $24k we have in our savings account with BoA to the new SoFi account. For now, I will keep my paycheck going to our BofA checking account to pay our monthly bills.

Over time, we may split her paycheck between SoFi and our Fidelity brokerage account, but getting a better interest rate on our savings is the most immediate priority on our list and the initial simplicity of it all going to one place is attractive to her.

Regards,

Joe
I have SPRXX in my Fidely account. The current 7 day SEC yield is 1.99%. Now sure why opening a new SoFi account to get 1.8% is better than using an existing Fidelity account that can pay better.
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careerdata
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by careerdata »

[quote=Zagnificent post_id=6803087 time=1659386909 user_id=179384


I’ve never had a problem with the interface. It’s a great one-stop shop for me. I’m also getting ready to buy a home and I have close to $700,000k in cash, so 1.8% interest on my accounts is a very meaningful improvement from most banks that pay .01%. Credit score is also easy to see and track. The Relay feature is the only one that I don’t like—it is far inferior to Mint.
[/quote]

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Thank you for sharing your insights and congratulations on building up such a large cash reserve for your home purchase! We hope to own a home one day but we are going to need at least several years, if not more, to build up enough savings to the point where we would be comfortable investing in a home. I am 57 and my wife is 44 so the math on home ownership is even less clear to me versus trying to build up our brokerage account and savings accounts for all the upcoming cash outlays (car replacement, college for the two kids, a potential a third car to get to-and-from college, and repaying my wife's student loan). Our rent is $1,400 so that amount is manageable for us in our current budget.

I have not looked at the Relay feature with SoFi yet but see it there when I am paying our credit card each month. I don't think we will be a true one-stop-shop like you are but I think we will keep BoA as our brick-and-mortar and for monthly bills, Fidelity for all our investments, and SoFi to start for our savings account.

Regards,

Joe
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careerdata
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Re: Leave Bank of America for SoFi Bank?

Post by careerdata »

anon_investor wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:08 pm
I have SPRXX in my Fidely account. The current 7 day SEC yield is 1.99%. Now sure why opening a new SoFi account to get 1.8% is better than using an existing Fidelity account that can pay better.
Thank you for your reply. That does sound better, but we were both concerned about having to make any transactions after deposit in order to get to a better yield. Looking at our Fidelity brokerage account right now, the cash portion is all in SPAXX, which appears to have a 7-day SEC yield of 1.69%. Perhaps we misunderstood another post that implied we could not make SPRXX our default for new money coming in. Is SPRXX your default?

My wife's biweekly income varies a bit. On a normal check, if she does not pick up an extra shift, her net is about $1,600. If there is a seasonal incentive and she picks up one extra shift, then her net is around $2,500. She has been picking up about one extra shift per month for the last two months due to the seasonal incentive offered by the hospital she works for, but we don't know if that incentive will continue after August.

If we can keep things simpler by just sending all her paycheck to Fidelity into our existing brokerage account and getting the extra interest that you are referencing above 1.8%, then maybe we should try that first before testing out SoFi. Can you share more about how we can get SPRXX as our default?

Regards,

Joe
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