Upstart Personal Loans Review

Fair Rates for Fair-Credit Borrowers and No Prepayment Penalties

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Upstart logo

Upstart Personal Loan Review

Investopedia’s Rating
2.5

Upstart offers fast funding for its personal loans, relatively low rates, and has positive customer service reviews. However, its personal loans come with certain fees, so it's important to compare options from different lenders before applying. Borrowers with excellent credit may find fewer fees elsewhere, but Upstart personal loans are a great option for those with fair credit or no credit history.

  • Pros and Cons
  • specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • No credit history needed

  • No prepayment penalties

  • Rate check available without hard credit inquiry

  • Funds available in one to two business days

  • Flexible payment options

Cons
  • Origination fee required for some borrowers 

  • Charges late fees

  • Doesn’t offer discounts

  • Doesn’t allow co-signers

  • Only two term options

specifications
APR Range
5.60% - 35.99%
Loan Amount
$1,000 - $50,000
Loan Terms
36 Months or 60 Months
Recommended Minimum Credit Score
300
Average Origination Fee
0.00% - 8.00%
Late Fee
N/A
Why Trust Us
38
Lenders reviewed
40
Loan features considered
1,520
Data points analyzed
112
Primary data sources used
Investopedia collected key data points from several lenders to identify the most important factors to borrowers. We used this data to review each lender for fees, accessibility, repayment terms, and other features to provide unbiased, comprehensive reviews to ensure our readers make the right borrowing decision for their needs.
Upstart logo

Upstart Personal Loan Review

Investopedia’s Rating
2.5

Pros Explained

  • No credit history needed: If there isn’t enough data to generate a FICO score for you, Upstart will still consider your application if you meet other requirements. If you do have a credit score, the minimum score for acceptance is 300. 
  • No prepayment penalties: Paying off your loan early won’t get you a refund on any fees or interest you’ve paid. But you won’t be charged any prepayment penalties, and you’ll save money on interest over the life of your loan.
  • Rate check available without hard credit inquiry: You can get an estimate of your rate with only a soft credit pull. Upstart won’t do a hard credit pull until you apply for a loan, which means your credit won’t get dinged for checking your rate.
  • Funds available in one to two business days: If you accept your loan offer before 5 p.m. ET on weekdays, you’ll likely have the money the next day. If you don’t get to it until the evening or weekend, it’ll just take two days. 
  • Flexible payment options: You can split your payment into two installments, make extra payments at any time, or change your due date if needed.

Cons Explained

  • Requires an origination fee for some borrowers: Origination fees range from 0% to 8% of the loan amount, depending on your creditworthiness. The money is deducted from the loan proceeds, so keep in mind you may need to apply for more than you need.
  • Charges late fees: Some lenders don’t charge late fees, but Upstart charges a late fee of $15 or 5% of the missed payment, whichever is greater. 
  • Doesn’t offer discounts: Some lenders offer special discounts for setting up autopay, signing up online, or having an existing relationship with the financial institution. Upstart doesn’t offer these perks. 
  • Doesn’t allow co-signers: If you can’t get approved on your own, you won’t be able to ask a friend or family member to co-sign on your application to increase your likelihood of being approved. 
  • Only two-term options: When you apply for a loan from Upstart, you can choose a three- or five-year term. Some other lenders offer more flexibility.

Introduction

Upstart was one of the first companies to use artificial intelligence to improve access to affordable credit. If you have a FICO score, you’ll need at least a 300 to be approved. But if you don’t have an established credit history, you could still be approved for a loan from Upstart, depending on your situation. You’ll also need a source of regular income, a bank account, and a valid email account. 

Upstart has a few other requirements as well. Your total monthly non-mortgage debts must not exceed 50% of your income (45% in Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Vermont). You also can’t have had any bankruptcies in the last year, or any accounts that are currently delinquent.

Upstart offers loans ranging in amounts from $1,000 to $50,000, with three- and five-year terms. APR ranges vary by state, but the average APR across all lenders on the Upstart platform issuing a five-year loan is 24.95%. 

Personal loans through Upstart can be used for almost any purpose, including but not limited to the following:

  • Paying off credit cards or student loans
  • Starting or expanding a business
  • Education-related costs
  • Paying off medical bills
  • Making a large purchase
  • Traveling or relocating
  • Making home improvements

Upstart is best for prospective borrowers with no credit or fair credit. 

Company Overview

Upstart is a lending platform co-founded in 2012 by former Google employees Anna Counselman, Dave Girouard, and Paul Gu. The company is headquartered in San Mateo, CA, is publicly held, and brought in more than $200 million in revenue in 2020. 

Upstart serves borrowers in all U.S. states except Iowa and West Virginia. Borrowers can get a loan from Upstart to cover various costs. However, loans for education expenses or student loan repayment are not available in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Washington, or Washington D.C. 

Types of Personal Loans Offered by Upstart

Upstart offers fixed-rate personal loans that can be used to cover various expenses. Borrowers need a 300 minimum credit score (or insufficient data to generate a score) and a regular source of income to apply. 

There are state limitations to where loans can be used for educational expenses and student loan repayment, but no other specific restrictions on what loan proceeds can be used for. Upstart loans can be used for the following purposes and more:

  • Debt consolidation 
  • Home improvement projects
  • Medical expenses
  • Wedding costs
  • Moving costs

Time to Receive Funds

It takes just one to two business days to receive the loan proceeds from Upstart unless you are using the funds for educational purposes. Due to federal law, you’ll need to wait three business days between accepting your loan offer and receiving your loan if you’re using it to cover education-related costs. 

Borrowers using the money for other purposes will likely get it the next business day as long as they accept loan terms before 5 p.m. ET on weekdays. If you accept a loan in the evening or on a weekend, it’ll likely take two business days to get your funds.

Upstart Personal Loan Features

Prequalification With a Soft Credit Inquiry

Like many other lending platforms, Upstart allows you to check your rate with a soft credit pull, which means your credit won’t take a hit. Once you decide to formally apply for a loan through Upstart, the lender will perform a hard inquiry. This may cause a small and temporary dip in your credit score.

Before formally applying, be sure to check your rate with other lenders for comparison.

Online Application

It’s simple to apply for a personal loan online through Upstart, which is great for people who like to do things digitally. However, other borrowers may prefer to apply by phone or in-person, and Upstart doesn’t offer those options.

Second Loan

Eligible borrowers may be able to get a second loan through Upstart. For instance, if you took out a loan for a home improvement project, but then surprise medical bills come up, you could potentially qualify for a second loan. To be eligible, you need to have:

  • Made your payments on time for the last six months
  • No payments currently past due
  • No more than one outstanding loan from Upstart
  • No more than $50,000 in outstanding principal

Apply for an Upstart Personal Loan

You can apply for a personal loan through Upstart in just a few simple steps:

  1. Check your rate. You’ll need to provide your personal information, the amount you’re looking for, your educational background, and your income and savings information. 
  2. Accept your rate. You’ll receive an estimated APR in just a few minutes. If it looks good to you, you can accept it and move on to the application. 
  3. Formally apply. Upstart will request documents such as bank statements, proof of employment, and educational credentials. You’ll also undergo a hard credit inquiry at this point. 
  4. Review your approval. If approved, review the terms and conditions and sign your loan documents electronically. 
  5. Receive the money. Once you accept, you’ll receive the loan proceeds (minus the origination fee) in your bank account within one to three business days.

Pre-qualifying can give you an estimate of what you’ll pay, but your actual rate after formally applying may vary slightly from your initial quote.

Can You Refinance a Personal Loan With Upstart?

While Upstart doesn’t offer personal loan refinancing, it allows you to use loan proceeds to consolidate high-interest debt. You could choose to use your loan proceeds to pay off credit cards, payday loans, and title loans, since these types of credit generally come with higher APRs.

Don’t use an Upstart personal loan to refinance another personal loan unless the total cost of borrowing (including the origination fee) is lower at Upstart. 

Customer Service

Upstart doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support like some lending platforms, but the hours are long enough to accommodate most schedules. You can get general support between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET each day. If you need help with payments, you’ll need to call between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET on weekdays or 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET on Saturday. The toll-free phone number is 855-438-8778.

You can also email customer support at support@upstart.com at any time.

Customer Satisfaction

Most customers cite the fast and convenient application process and the professional service as reasons for their positive reviews. Those who were unhappy with Upstart often cite not getting approved after pre-qualifying as the reason for their negative review.

Account Management

Upstart has a robust online dashboard that allows you to view your payment obligations, schedule and manage your payments, and even change your payment due date. However, there’s no mobile app for making payments or reviewing your payment history on-the-go. Some borrowers may prefer to do everything from their phone. 

How Upstart Compares to Other Personal Loan Companies

Compared to other lending platforms, Upstart is innovative in its use of AI and alternative data. The company is also focused on providing access to credit for people who might be traditionally denied, including those with no credit history. Some other lending platforms and lenders, on the other hand, focus on serving creditworthy borrowers.

Upstart vs. LendingPoint Personal Loans Review

Both Upstart and LendingPoint offer fixed-rate personal loans for virtually every purpose. Both offer fast funding as soon as one business day, and neither allows co-signers. These lending platforms are similar in that they’re focused on serving borrowers with fair credit, but there are some key differences between them:

  • LendingPoint may approve borrowers with credit scores as low as 580. Upstart only requires a minimum credit score of 300. 
  • LendingPoint offers repayment terms from 24 to 60 months, while Upstart offers three and five-year terms only. 
  • LendingPoint offers loans ranging from $2,000 to $36,500, while Upstart offers loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. 

Upstart wins here due to its lower minimum credit score requirements and its broader range of loan amounts. But if you can’t qualify for a personal loan through Upstart, LendingPoint could be another option to consider. It’s also possible that your individual rate could be lower at LendingPoint.

Read our full LendingPoint review for more details.

Final Verdict

If you have fair credit or no credit history, rates will likely be higher for personal loans than for those with excellent credit. Therefore, you may want to consider exploring alternatives before taking out a loan. But if you need to borrow and are looking for fast funding, Upstart could be a good option. The alternative data used to assess your creditworthiness may result in a lower rate than you’d find with other lenders. 

Furthermore, existing Upstart customers have positive things to say about its customer service. Just make sure you compare personal loan rates and terms across a few companies to find the best option for your needs. And if features like a mobile app or employment protection are important to you, it would be wise to look elsewhere for a personal loan.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of personal loan lenders. To rate providers, we collected over 25 data points across more than 50 lenders, including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms to ensure that our reviews help users make informed decisions for their borrowing needs.  

Our full personal loans methodology, including our data collection process and weighted data points, is available for review.

Note

Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100.

If you accept your loan by 5 p.m. ET (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education-related expenses are subject to a three-business-day waiting period between loan acceptance and funding, in accordance with federal law.

The full range of available rates varies by state. The average three-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 18.04% and 36 monthly payments of $37 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on three-year rates offered in the last 1 month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.

When you check your rate, Upstart checks your credit report. This initial (soft) inquiry will not affect your credit score. If you accept your rate and proceed with your application, Upstart will do another (hard) credit inquiry that will impact your credit score. If you take out a loan, repayment information will be reported to the credit bureaus.

Article Sources
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  2. Upstart. "Making Loan Payments."

  3. Upstart. "What Fees Am I Charged."

  4. Upstart. "Personal Loans."

  5. LendingPoint. "LendingPoint."