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Betterment, SoFi Expand Services

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What You Need to Know

  • Betterment's retail platform has launched a no-fee joint checking product for couples, roommates and other groups.
  • Betterment 401(k) announced a partnership with the employee benefits startup Bennie.
  • SoFi has launched an auto loan refinancing service.

Over the past week, the digital advisory firms Betterment and SoFi have expanded their offerings in their continuing efforts to attract more clients and capture more market share.

Betterment has launched a no-fee, FDIC-insured joint checking product for couples, roommates and other groups looking to share recurring expenses, about a year after it introduced its first checking account. The new joint checking account includes a universal debit card that all account holders can use and covers ATM costs. Users do not have to have a Betterment investment account to open a Betterment banking account, according to Mike Reust, Betterment president.

“We’re looking to deepen relationships with customers to better serve them … [and to] keep expanding into the most potent areas customers are clamoring for,” Reust said. He added that banking products help the independent robo-advisory firm “better automate, provide better financial advice and ultimately help customers achieve their long-term financial objectives all on one platform.”

Betterment offers savings and checking accounts, and investment services for retail clients, but it doesn’t offer credit cards. “The reward credit card space is tough to compete in,” Reust said.

The company’s 401(k) platform, Betterment 401(k), announced a partnership with the employee benefits startup Bennie, which helps midsize companies create a healthier workplace. Bennie’s customers can now access Betterment’s low-cost 401(k) plan and other financial benefits. Last month Betterment 401(k) entered into a similar partnership with Zenefits, an HR, payroll and benefits platform for small businesses. Betterment now has more than 700 plans on its 401(k) platform.

SoFi Expands Into Auto Refinancing

SoFi, the digital advisory firm that began life as a refinancing firm for student loans 10 years ago, has just added auto loan refinancing to its mix of services, which it has been continuously expanding. SoFi has partnered with MotoRefi to launch the auto loan refinancing service through Lantern, its financial services product comparison site.

“Our decision to expand into auto loan refinancing is rooted in a belief that everyone deserves visibility into the steps they can take to improve their financial stature throughout each milestone in their financial lives,” SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said in a statement. U.S. auto debt grew to a record $1.37 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to Experian. The average new loan amount was just over $35,000, up $2,000 from the previous year, and the average monthly payment was $563.

“We know lowering monthly payments on a loan that was used to finance an expensive yet often depreciating asset is a smart decision that can make a very real, positive impact, not only on a monthly basis but also in the long term,” Noto said.

(Image: Thinkstock)


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