Upgrade Personal Loans Review

Personal loans for fair-credit borrowers, but rates can be relatively high

We recommend the best products through an independent review process, and advertisers do not influence our picks. We may receive compensation if you visit partners we recommend. Read our advertiser disclosure for more info.

Upgrade logo

 Upgrade logo

Investopedia’s Rating
4.1

Our Take

Offering a wide range of repayment terms, the option to pre-qualify, and other perks, Upgrade is worth considering if you’re interested in a personal loan. However, its minimum APR is higher than some competitors offer, so borrowers interested in the lowest possible rate may want to shop around.

  • Loan Terms
  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Loan Terms
  • APR Range 7.96%–35.97%
  • Loan Amounts $1,000–$50,000
  • Loan Terms 24–84 months
  • Recommended Minimum Credit Score 560
  • Origination Fee 1.85%–8.99%
  • Late Fee $10
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Low minimum required credit score

  • Can pay creditors directly

  • Low minimum loan amount

Cons
  • Has origination fee

  • Has late payment fee

  • High maximum APR

Key Takeaways
  • Upgrade is a fintech company offering unsecured and auto-secured personal loans.
  • Its repayment terms are as long as 84 months. 
  • Upgrade allows joint applications, meaning you can apply with a co-borrower. 
  • It offers an autopay discount, allowing borrowers to reduce their APR, though it doesn’t specify the total discount amount.
  • Upgrade can work with fair-credit borrowers, unlike some of its competitors that require good or excellent credit scores. 
Company Overview

Headquartered in San Francisco, Upgrade is a fintech company that was founded in 2017. It offers deposit accounts, credit card products, and personal loans. Upgrade’s personal loans are available in all 50 U.S. states, but not in Washington, D.C. Be aware that minimum loan amounts vary depending on your state.

Overall, Upgrade has a decent reputation with its customers. On Trustpilot, it receives an impressive 4.6- out of 5-star average rating across over 37,000 reviews.

Pros Explained

  • Low minimum required credit score: While some lenders require credit scores in the fair credit range or higher, Upgrade may accept borrowers with FICO credit scores as low as 560.
  • Can pay creditors directly: If you’re interested in using a personal loan to consolidate debt, Upgrade offers the convenient option to pay your creditors directly.
  • Low minimum loan amount: Upgrade offers loans as small as $1,000, while some lenders have higher minimum loan amounts of $2,500 or $5,000. This is useful if you don’t need to borrow a large sum.

Cons Explained

  • Has origination fee: While some lenders don’t charge origination fees at all, Upgrade has origination fees of 1.85% to 8.99%.
  • Has late payment fee: Certain companies have no late payment fees, but Upgrade has a $10 fee if you pay late. 
  • High maximum APR: Upgrade’s maximum APR of 35.97% is higher than most of its competitors; you’ll likely end up getting the higher end of the range if you have poor credit.

Many borrowers find loans through Upgrade, but it pays to shop around—especially if you have poor credit. Take a look at your options with our picks for the best personal loans for bad credit.

Types of Personal Loans Offered by Upgrade

Upgrade offers unsecured personal loans, meaning its loans don’t require any collateral like a home equity loan or an auto loan. Its loans can be used for multiple purposes, including:

  • Debt consolidation
  • Home improvements and repairs
  • Medical or dental bills
  • Weddings
  • Pools
  • Unexpected costs

As with most personal loans, there are some restrictions to be aware of with Upgrade personal loans. You can’t use your loan proceeds for college tuition, investing, or gambling.

You can also apply for an auto-secured loan through Upgrade if you choose.

Time to Receive Funds

Upgrade indicates that the online application process takes just minutes; if you pre-qualify for a loan, you can then review available rates and loan offers. If you find and select an option that meets your needs, Upgrade may disburse your loan funds in as little as one business day.  

Borrower Requirements

Borrowers with fair or lower credit can apply for a loan through Upgrade, which sets this company apart from competitors with higher minimum credit score requirements. Upgrade requires that borrowers have a credit score of just 560 and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 75%.

While Upgrade is willing to work with borrowers who have less-than-stellar credit, you’ll likely receive a higher APR for your loan if your credit isn’t great. In general, the higher your credit score, the lower your APR.

Upgrade Personal Loan Features

  • Direct payment: Upgrade can pay your creditors directly if you’re using your personal loan to consolidate debt. This is a convenient, time-saving feature because you won’t need to pay off your credit cards or other debts independently.
  • Change your due date: Instead of requiring that you pay on an arbitrary date each month, Upgrade lets you select a payment due date that makes sense for your situation.
  • Natural disaster support: Upgrade indicates that it offers support if its borrowers are impacted by a natural disaster. 
  • Discounts: You can benefit from an autopay discount, along with discounts for paying your creditors directly, having an eligible Upgrade checking account, or choosing an auto-secured loan (auto-secured loans will have different rates and terms).  
  • Mobile app: If you prefer to track and manage your payments from your phone, you can do so with the Upgrade mobile app, which is available on Google Play and the App Store.

Co-Signers and Co-Applicants

Upgrade allows you to apply for a loan with a co-applicant, though it doesn’t specify if it allows co-signers. Most personal loan lenders don’t allow co-signers, although there are a fair few that do.

While lenders will review the credit of both a co-applicant and a co-signer, these individuals’ responsibilities differ. Co-applicants are joint borrowers who share equal responsibility for loan payments, while co-signers are generally only responsible for repaying a loan if the primary borrower defaults. 

Working with a co-applicant could increase your chances of loan approval, especially if you have limited credit or poor credit. Your co-applicant’s credit history and score will be considered in addition to yours. Check out our favorite personal loans for co-signers to learn more.

Can You Refinance a Personal Loan With Upgrade?

You cannot refinance an existing Upgrade personal loan with a new one. If you’re interested in refinancing an existing Upgrade loan, you’ll need to apply for a new loan with a different lender. 

Customer Service

Upgrade has a comprehensive help center that answers many common questions about its personal loans, and it also offers multiple options to connect with customer service. Customer service hours are Monday to Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pacific Time.

  • Online chat: Current borrowers can log in to the online dashboard or Upgrade mobile app to chat with a customer service representative.
  • Phone: (844) 899-9931
  • Email: servicing@upgrade.com

Customer Satisfaction

Upgrade customers have positive things to say overall. The company's Trustpilot rating is 4.6 out of 5 stars across over 37,000 reviews, which is considered excellent. It’s rare for a fintech to be rated so highly on Trustpilot.

Reviewers praise Upgrade’s customer service, communication, and straightforward loan process. However, some express dissatisfaction with the loan approval timeline, indicating it was longer than expected.

Applying for an Upgrade Personal Loan 

Borrowers can start the process of applying for an Upgrade personal loan by getting pre-qualified and viewing their loan options. Doing so won’t harm your credit score, as Upgrade won’t do a hard pull until you select a loan and apply. 

As part of the application process, you’ll need to provide some personal information like your name, address, and Social Security number. You may also need to provide documents that verify your income and identity, such as a copy of your driver’s license or recent pay stubs. 

Once you’ve selected a loan option and received approval, your loan funds may be disbursed in as quickly as one business day. 

Alternative Personal Loan Lenders

  Upgrade Upstart  LendingPoint
APR Range 7.96%–35.97% 6.5%–35.99% 7.99%–35.99%
Loan Amount  $1,000–$50,000  $1,000–$50,000  $2,000–$36,500 
Loan Terms  24–84 months  3 or 5 years  24–72 months 
Recommended Minimum Credit Score  560  No credit history needed  Not disclosed 
Origination Fee  1.85%–8.99%  0%–10%  0%–8% 
Time to Receive Loan Same day 1 business day 1 business day 

Final Verdict

Upgrade offers a decent personal loan option and is willing to work with borrowers with credit scores as low as 560. This sets it apart from some competitors that require higher credit scores. 

Despite its flexible credit score requirements, Upgrade’s APRs are higher than some competitor offerings, and it charges origination fees of up to 8.99% for its personal loans. However, the company has great feedback overall, so it may still be worth considering if you have fair credit and you’re seeking a reputable company. 

Not quite ready to apply? Take a look at some other great personal loans for fair credit, or browse our picks for the overall best personal loans.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of personal loan lenders. To rate providers, we collected hundreds of data points across more than 40 lenders, including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms, to ensure that our reviews help users make informed decisions for their borrowing needs.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Upgrade. "Personal Loans." 

  2. Upgrade. "Are There Any Fees?

  3. Upgrade. "Installment Loans." 

  4. Upgrade. "How Do I Apply for an Auto Secured Loan?

  5. Upgrade. "Which Cards or Loans Can I Pay Off Directly With My New Loan?"

  6. Upgrade. "What Are the Benefits of a Personal Loan From Upgrade?

  7. Upgrade. "How Do Joint Applications Work?

  8. Trustpilot. "Upgrade." 

  9. Upgrade. "What Is the Typical Loan Process Through Upgrade?

  10. Upstart. "Personal Loans." 

  11. LendingPoint. "Loans From LendingPoint."

  12. Upstart. "What Fees Am I Charged?

  13. LendingPoint. "Terms of Use."