2023 Upstart Personal Loan Review
Upstart connects consumers with lenders on its online platform using artificial intelligence (AI). Borrowers can expect quick loans, competitive annual percentage rates (APRs) and flexible amounts.
- Considers more than credit score: Upstart uses a nontraditional approach to lending that allows consumers with less-than-perfect credit scores or thin credit histories to qualify. Upstart uses AI to evaluate loan applications and considers factors like education and employment.
- Fast funding timeline: Upstart may be able to fund your personal loan within one business day.
- Limited loan terms: While many lenders offer multiple repayment term options for customers to choose from, Upstart only offers 36 and 60 months.
- Charges an origination fee: At 0.00% - 12.00%, Upstart charges one of the highest potential origination fees in the personal loan market. Origination fees are one-time administrative fees that are taken out of your loan funds.
- Offers prequalification: If you want to see your potential interest rates without impacting your credit score, Upstart allows you to prequalify for a loan.
- Best for borrowers who are new to credit: Due to its unique lending model, Upstart may be a good fit for consumers who don’t have much experience with credit or those with bad credit.
Upstart pros and cons
Even though Upstart’s lending model may make it easier for those with bad credit or little experience with credit to qualify for a loan, this lender may not be the right fit for everyone.
Funding possible within one business day
Bad-credit or inexperienced borrowers may qualify
Option to change your due date
No option for joint loans or cosigners
Charges an origination fee
Limited loan term options
No mobile app
Upstart’s use of AI and emphasis on factors like education and employment may make it easier for some consumers to get a personal loan — particularly inexperienced and bad-credit borrowers. Once you close on your loan, you may receive funding within one business day. Upstart also gives borrowers the option to change their payment due date, though you’ll have to meet unspecified eligibility requirements.
Unfortunately, if you need a co-borrower or cosigner to qualify for a loan or receive lower rates, Upstart doesn’t offer this option. You may also be stuck with a high origination fee and limited repayment terms of just 36 or 60 months. Plus, Upstart doesn’t offer a mobile app.
Other than being at least 18 years old, you’ll also need to meet the following requirements:
|Minimum credit score||300|
|Residency requirements|| |
|Employment requirements|| |
|Required documents|| |
If you meet the basic requirements listed above, you may need to disclose how you plan to use your personal loan. While Upstart does allow borrowers to use its funding for a variety of purposes, there are certain expenses you cannot put the money toward.
|Upstart loans CAN be used for…||Upstart loans CANNOT be used for…|
Refinance credit cards
Start or expand a business
Cover medical expenses
Make a large purchase
Home improvement projects
Education expenses (if you live in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Washington or Washington, D.C.)
Firearms or other weapons
If Upstart’s loan options won’t work for your borrowing needs, be sure to shop around for a lender that helps you meet your financial goals and can offer you the best-fitting rates, terms and amounts for your situation.
How to get a loan with Upstart
Upstart doesn’t originate personal loans — instead, consumers can match with multiple lenders on Upstart’s lending network. Here’s what you need to know about applying for an Upstart personal loan.
Check your credit
Before you fill out an Upstart loan application, be sure to check your credit score and budget for how much you’ll need to borrow. You can use a personal loan calculator to estimate your monthly payments.
Prequalify for a loan
Upstart allows you to prequalify for personal loans offered by lenders on its network. After answering a few questions, Upstart will run a soft credit inquiry to take a preliminary look at your credit history. This won’t impact your credit score and will allow you to see your potential rates, terms and loan amounts.
If you prequalify for a loan, you’ll need to choose which potential offer best matches your borrowing needs. You’ll then have to fill out a formal application and submit to a hard credit pull (this can cause your credit score to drop by a few points). You’ll also have to provide documentation to confirm your identity, income and employment.
Close on your loan
If Upstart approves your loan request, you’ll need to officially accept your offer by signing your loan agreement. Once you’ve signed and closed on your loan, it can take Upstart as little as one business day to fund your personal loan.
If Upstart denies your personal loan application, it may be time to seek ways to improve your chances of getting approved for a loan. This can involve checking your credit report for errors, cutting down on any current debt you have and boosting your credit score.
How Upstart compares to other personal loan companies
Even if you believe Upstart aligns with what you’re looking for in a personal loan, it never hurts to shop around and compare other lenders. Here’s how Upstart stacks up against similar personal loan lenders.
|Minimum credit score||300||580||680|
|APRs||5.20% to 35.99%||8.99% to 35.99%||8.99% to 25.81%*with autopay|
|Loan amount||$1,000 - $50,000||$2,000 - $50,000||$5,000 - $100,000|
|Repayment term||36 and 60 months||36 to 60 months||24 to 84 months|
|Origination fee||0.00% - 12.00%||0.99% - 8.99%||No origination fee required|
|Funding timeline||Receive funds as soon as one business day||Receive funds as soon as one business day||Receive funds as soon as the same day you apply|
|Bottom line||Of the three, Upstart offers the most competitive rates and lowest credit requirements. However, it charges a higher origination fee and has less flexible terms.||Best Egg has similar features to Upstart, like a high origination fee, quick funding and flexible loan amounts. However, it does offer access to more repayment term options.||Unlike Best Egg and Upstart, SoFi offers same-day funding and loan amounts up to $100,000. It also provides more options for loan repayment terms and an optional origination fee.|
How we rated Upstart
To come up with our star rating for personal loan companies, LendingTree considered 22 data points across three categories:
- Accessibility: We paid attention to whether lenders offered loans to nontraditional borrowers, as well as those without excellent credit scores. We also checked if lenders offered soft credit pulls, and whether they were transparent about eligibility criteria other than credit scores.
- Rates and terms: We wanted to know if lender rates, terms, amounts and fees were not only transparent, but also competitive.
- Repayment experience: We based this category on lenders’ reputations, customer support availability and unique benefits.
The data points reflect every step of the process to shop and apply for, borrow and repay personal loans. A five-star lender, for instance, has flexible eligibility requirements, offers you the chance to prequalify without commitment and supports you in zeroing your balance.
The 22 data points, culled from the lenders themselves, determine the overall rating. We score lenders consistently, sometimes awarding partial points, so that you can make apples-to-apples comparisons when shopping around.
LendingTree isn’t paid for conducting these reviews, and lenders don’t have control over their content. With our reviews and ratings, we aim to give our users the objective and exhaustive information they need to make the best possible decisions.