SoFi Money: Cell phone insurance, purchase protection added w/ switch to Mastercard

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SoFi Money has announced that they are switching debit card networks from Visa to Mastercard. This change will affect all users (both new and existing account holders). With the change, new benefits will be introduced that look pretty good for a debit card, including cell phone insurance and purchase protection.

Quick Details

Timeline
  • New account holders who open an account before February 20, 2020 will receive a Visa debit card now and then a replacement Mastercard after that date. Those who open their accounts from February 20th onward will receive a Mastercard debit card
  • Existing account holders will receive a new Mastercard-branded debit card in the next 30-60 days
  • Existing SoFi Money Visa debit cards will stop working on May 15, 2020 even if you haven’t yet activated your new Mastercard
New benefits
  • Cell phone protection: When you pay your cell phone bill with SoFi Mastercard, receive up to $200 per claim, $25 deductible, up to 2 claims per year. Unlimited lines associated with the cell phone bill.
  • Purchase assurance: ​Provides coverage for most new items purchased with your SoFi Money card that are damaged or stolen within 90 days of the date of purchase, up to $1,000 per claim.
  • Extended warranty: Doubles the original manufacturer’s (or store brand) warranty. Coverage is for eligible items purchased with your Mastercard.
  • Mastercard golf: ​I have no idea if this will be worth anything, but it’s worth a mention for the golfers out there. The terms indicate that it provides discounted access to golf courses, complimentary grounds passes for PGA Tournaments (this sounds too good to be true to me?), access to domestic and international golf travel packages, and more.
  • And more. See the question, “What are the benefits of the SoFi Money Mastercard” on the FAQ page here.

Quick Thoughts

SoFi Money continues to be impress. While the new account opening bonus on the SoFi money account decreased to $25 last year, the account has continued to offer excellent value: with no fees, no account minimums, nearly instant ATM fee reimbursements, and 1.6% APY, the account opening bonus has really been icing on the cake. Then they offered a targeted direct deposit bonus and added 20% cash back on Lyft rides (which I also understand posts almost right away) until February 19, 2020 (see this post for more). For a no-fee account that mimics a traditional checking account, it’s been pretty terrific.

This change to Mastercard is coming with some decent benefits for a debit card. While I imagine that many readers already have a credit card that offers higher cell phone insurance coverage and probably have a card that offers some type of purchase assurance, getting those on a free debit card account is nonetheless an impressive touch. In my mind, the SoFi Money debit card is a no-brainer for a young college student, especially one who does not carry an expensive phone and pays his/her own bill. Don’t get me wrong: in general, I cringe at the idea of using a debit card for ordinary purchases, especially those on which you could earn much better rewards via one of the best category bonuses. However, some people may not have access to a better option and SoFi fits a gap there. The traveler in me is keeping this card for its free ATM withdrawals without foreign transaction fees, but I like that they are adding some benefits we don’t typically see on a debit card account.

For those who are new to SoFi, see this post for everything you need to know about the SoFi Money and SoFi Investing accounts. Keep in mind that you can get the bonus for both SoFi Money and SoFi Investing. A couple playing in 2-player mode can easily get some cash and a couple hundred bucks in free stock pretty easily. Follow this type of pattern with fictional couple Morgan and Ryan:

  • Morgan opens a SoFi Money account through a referral and funds it with $100 and earns a welcome bonus ($25 cash bonus)
  • Morgan refers Ryan to open a SoFi Money account and earns a referral bonus when Ryan opens & funds it ($25 cash bonus)
  • Ryan opens a SoFi Money account and funds it with $100 and and earns a welcome bonus ($25 cash bonus)
  • Morgan opens a SoFi Investing account through a referral and deposits $1,000 (you don’t have to invest this) and earns a welcome bonus ($100 in free stock)
  • Morgan refers Ryan to open a SoFi Investing account and Ryan opens & funds it with the minimum ($100 in free stock)
  • Ryan opens a SoFi Investing account and deposits $1,000 (you don’t have to invest this) and earns a welcome bonus ($100 in free stock)

In total, that’s $300 in free stock and $75 in cash for a couple playing in 2-player mode. That’s a nice bonus for very low effort. As noted above, the money deposited on the Investing side doesn’t have to be invested. You obviously can invest it or you can leave it in the account. It takes a few business days for the funds to show up and then about 5 business days after that for the funds to “clear”. Once cleared, you could withdraw if that’s what you’d prefer to do. On the other hand, you could invest it. I make some comparison between SoFi and Robinhood and Webull for investing apps in this post if you’re interested in reading more about how they compare.

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