Upgrade Personal Loans Review
Upgrade is a direct lender that was founded in 2016 with the goal of reducing the cost of credit and helping consumers understand the importance of responsible credit decisions. Through their online platform, Upgrade offers personal loans and lines of credit that can help consumers borrow money at affordable rates. As a bonus, users get access to credit monitoring and ongoing education that can help them improve their credit scores and financial health over time.
While Upgrade has physical headquarters and support locations in San Francisco, Montreal, Chicago, and Phoenix, their personal loans are only offered online. Fortunately, Upgrade’s robust platform makes the online loan process as seamless as possible, which is a big help if you need a personal loan to consolidate high-interest debt, pay for a home improvement project, or make a major purchase you need time to pay off.
Upgrade personal loans at a glance
- Borrow up to $35,000 with a fixed interest rate between 7.99% and 35.97% APR.
- Repay your loan over 36 months or 60 months.
- Enjoy a fixed interest rate, fixed monthly payment, and fixed repayment timeline.
- Expect to pay an origination fee between 2.9% and 8.0% of your loan amount.
- No prepayment penalties or hidden fees.
- Get pre-approved online without a hard inquiry on your credit report. If you submit a full application and get approved, you may have your loan funded in as little as a few business days.
Upgrade personal loans: personal loans for fair credit
There are many reasons consumers choose personal loans over credit cards, but the most important one is cost. Where you may be able to get a personal loan with a fixed interest rate as low as 5.99%, the average credit card interest rate is well over 17%. This huge disparity can make your purchases cost a lot more if you use a credit card and carry the balance forward. Also note that personal loans come with fixed interest rates (instead of variable rates) and a fixed monthly payment that will never leave you feeling shocked and surprised.
Upgrade is a direct lender that specializes in unsecured personal loans for consumers who need to borrow money for any reason. Their online application process is easy to use and understand, and you can apply and have your loan funded in a matter of a few business days. Best of all, Upgrade lets you get “pre-approved” for a personal loan without a hard inquiry on your credit report. This benefit will allow you to find out if you might qualify — and the specific rates you may qualify for — without having to submit a full application or apply for a loan.
If your credit is just “okay,” you’ll want to check out loan rates from Upgrade. That’s because this lender allows a minimum credit score of 620, which is much lower than the average credit score nationwide. As we mentioned already, Upgrade also lets consumers borrow up to $35,000 and repay their loans over 36 to 60 months.
Here’s an example of how one of Upgrade’s personal loans might break down once you apply and get approved:
In addition to a credit score of at least 620, you’ll need to meet the following requirements for one of Upgrade’s personal loans:
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Be at least 18 years old in most states (or 19 in states with a higher minimum age requirement)
- Have a verifiable bank account and email address
In addition to excellent loan offerings, Upgrade offers some resources to help consumers build credit or improve their credit scores — which is extremely helpful if you have bad credit. It all starts with their credit monitoring tool, which helps users keep track of their VantageScore 3.0 credit score in real time for free without any impact to their credit score. As a Upgrade customer, you also get access to a credit score summary, credit health insights, customized recommendations, email updates, and trending charts that can help you track your progress.
Upgrade personal loans: what to watch out for
While Upgrade does offer personal loans with low fixed interest rates, its starting rate of 7.99% is higher than some of its competitors. The fact they charge an origination fee of up to 8.0% of your loan amount also makes them a more expensive option than direct lenders like Earnest or Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Neither one of these lenders charge an origination fee or any hidden fees.
Another potential downside of Upgrade is the fact that their advertised interest rates go up to 35.97% APR. Considering they also offer loans to consumers with credit scores as low as 620, this can be a dangerous combination. If your credit score is on the lower side of the equation, you can expect to pay an exorbitant interest rate closer to the higher end of Upgrade’s scale. This can make Upgrade personal loans especially costly, particularly if you plan to pay your loan off over 60 months.
Who Upgrade personal loans are best for
- Consumers with fair to good credit who can’t qualify for a personal loan without an origination fee.
- Borrowers who can qualify for the best rates this lender offers.
- Anyone who needs to borrow up to $35,000 and repay it in up to 60 months.
- Anyone who wants a personal loan with no prepayment penalties.
How to apply for a personal loan from Upgrade
As we mentioned already, Upgrade makes it possible to get “pre-qualified” for a personal loan without a hard inquiry on your credit report. To start this process, you can expect to provide the following information:
- Desired loan amount
- Loan purpose
- Full address
- Date of birth
- Annual income
Once you enter this very basic personal information, you’ll be presented with a list of loan offers you may be able to qualify for. From there, you can choose to move forward with the full application by providing your phone number, Social Security number, and employment information. If your loan is approved, you may have your loan funds electronically funded in as little as a few business days.