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Upstart Personal Loans Review
Upstart loans rely on more than just your credit score to determine your eligibility. This online lender was founded in 2012 by former Google executives to make loans available to more people through AI. A thorough Upstart loan review reveals a lender willing to work with a variety of borrowers by considering more than just a credit scre. We used our proprietary SimpleScore to rate Upstart based on its APR, loan terms, loan amounts, customer satisfaction and fees.
What we like about Upstart personal loans
Accepts people without credit history
No credit history? No problem. While Upstart requires your credit score to be at least 600, it makes an exception for people who have no previous credit history. If you apply for a personal loan through Upstart, the lender will use alternative data like education and potential earning power to determine your approval, interest rate and loan amount.
[ Read: The Simple Guide to Building Credit ]
You’ll probably apply for a personal loan to pay for a specific expense. You don’t have time to wait for weeks to get your money and make the payment. Upstart understands that — which is why it prioritizes getting your money to you quickly.
Once you’re approved and accept a loan offer, Upstart will (in most cases) deposit your funds into your bank account on the next business day. Money being used for educational expenses is the exception, though — you’ll receive your funds after three additional business days.
High maximum loan amounts
You can borrow up to $50,000 through Upstart loans, giving you even more flexibility to cover expenses like home repairs, moving to a new area or consolidating your credit card debt. Just keep in mind that Upstart’s loan terms are either three years or five years, so only borrow as much as you can reasonably pay back within those terms.
Things to consider
High origination fees
Upstart charges you an origination fee when you take out a personal loan. This fee can be as low as 0% or as high as 8% of the total loan amount — which is pretty high compared to other personal loan options. The fee amount is taken out of your total before it makes it to your bank account, so it’s a good idea to borrow slightly more than you actually need to cover that fee.
High maximum APR
If you have either a low credit score or no credit history, you might be stuck with an interest rate as high as 35.99% from Upstart. While not as high as payday loans and other bad credit personal loans, it’s a rate that will significantly increase your monthly payment and the total interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.
[ Read: What is APR? ]
Upstart personal vs. the competition
Upgrade personal loans offer a similar experience to Upstart with interest rates between 7.99% and 35.97%. Both lenders charge origination fees up to 8% and offer either three or five-year repayment terms. However, Upstart comes out on top if you need to borrow a large amount. Upgrade offers loans up to $35,000, while Upstart allows you to borrow up to $50,000. Read our full Upgrade personal loans review to learn more about this lender.
Prosper is a peer-to-peer lender that compares well to Upstart for both loan terms and interest rates but takes the cake for lower origination fees — Prosper will never charge you more than 5%. You can borrow up to $40,000 through the platform, depending on your need and credit history. To learn more about its loan offerings, read our Prosper personal loans review.
Avant doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement — but it states that the average credit score for its customers is 600 to 700. However, it is one of the best personal loans for bad credit out there If you don’t meet Upstart’s eligibility. You’ll find similar terms and rates through Avant — just be prepared for an interest rate near the top of what the lender offers.
How much will an Upstart personal loan cost?
Upstart loans interest rates vary, depending on your financial history. The lender uses alternative data to approve more people and potentially lower your interest rate.
Upstart loan fees include a 0%–8% origination fee and a late payment fee of either $15 or 5% of the late payment, whichever is greater. You’ll also pay $15 for ACH returns and check refunds.
[ Related: How to Get a Loan With Bad Credit ]
Cheaper alternatives to Upstart personal loans
If you have excellent credit, you can find a personal loan with a lower interest rate from other lenders. LightStream tops our list of the best personal loans. A big benefit of LightStream is its no-fee policy. You can even borrow up to $100,000 if you need a larger loan than what Upstart can offer. Read our LightStream personal loans review to learn more about the lending arm of SunTrust/Truist.
Upstart in the news
- In June 2020, American Banker reported that Upstart is expanding into the auto loans market. While the lender had previously only issued unsecured personal loans, it will now apply its AI-driven underwriting process to help people secure more affordable car loans.
- BankingDive ran a story in February 2020 about a Senate letter alleging that Upstart’s underwriting gives worse rates and terms to members of underprivileged communities. The allegation came after the Student Borrower Protection Center published case studies showing that someone who attended Howard University (a historically black university) would receive a higher interest rate than someone who attended NYU, even though both borrowers have identical credit profiles.
- In January 2020, BankInnovation reported on Upstart’s system for paying off a borrower’s credit card debt directly. Upstart partners with Cross River Bank to fund the loans, giving its borrowers the option to either receive the money themselves or have Upstart pay their credit card company directly.
Last updated September 11, 2020 — Updated editorial review of the brand.
We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the personal loans we recommend. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions.