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2022 Upstart Personal Loans Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Personal loan rating: 4.2/5
  • Accessibility: 4.6/5
  • Rates and terms: 3.4/5
  • Repayment experience: 4.8/5
Personal loan overview
  • APR range: 4.37% – 35.99%
  • Loan terms: 36 or 60 months
  • Loan amount: $1,000 – $50,000
  • Minimum credit score: 600

Read our full rating methodology here.

Our verdict: While Upstart’s quick funding timeline and low credit score requirement make it more accessible, it also charges more fees and has more limited loan terms than some other lenders.

While consumers with good to excellent credit may find better perks and terms elsewhere, Upstart may cover the basics for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit scores or thin credit histories. Here’s what you should know before applying:

  • Quick funding: Upstart offers personal loans within one business day of approval.
  • Low minimum credit score: Consumers only need a credit score of 600 to qualify for an Upstart personal loan.
  • Charges an origination fee: When taking out a loan with Upstart, keep in mind that an origination fee of 0.00% - 8.00% may come out of the total sum of your personal loan.
  • Limited loan terms: If you choose to use this lender to get a personal loan, your term options are limited to 36 or 60 months.
  • Best for fair credit borrowers: With a low minimum credit score, Upstart may be a good fit for borrowers with fair credit scores who need funds quickly.

Upstart pros and cons

Upstart offers several benefits to consumers, but this lender isn’t for everyone. Keep in mind these benefits and drawbacks when shopping around for a personal loan.

ProsCons

  Low minimum credit score

  May receive funds quickly 

  Can use personal loan for student debt

  No co-applicant or secured loan options

  Limited loan terms

  May charge origination fee (0% to 8%)

Unlike some lenders, such as Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, Upstart allows borrowers to use personal loans for the purpose of covering student debt. Aside from that, Upstart borrowers may receive their personal loan within one business day of approval and only need a credit score of at least 600.

Unfortunately, if you don’t meet the credit requirements, Upstart does not offer consumers the option to bring a co-applicant or take out a secured loan. Aside from that, borrowers may be charged an origination fee and will be limited to two loan terms: 36 or 60 months.

Upstart requirements

Aside from being at least 18 years old, Upstart has a list of requirements you’ll need to meet in order to be considered eligible for a personal loan. Here’s some of the factors they’ll consider:

Minimum credit score600
Minimum credit score600
Citizen requirementsMust be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident living in the U.S.
ResidenceYou must live in a state where Upstart operates. Upstart does not offer personal loans in Iowa or West Virginia.
Minimum income
  • Must have a full-time job or full-time job offer to start in six months
— OR — 
  • Must have a part-time job or another source of consistent income
Required documentsMust verify the following information:
  • Name
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Personal banking account

Upstart offers flexibility when it comes to how borrowers can use their personal loans. However, there are a few prohibited uses consumers will want to be aware of as well.

Upstart loans CAN be used for…Upstart loans CANNOT be used for…

  Debt consolidation

  Medical bills

  Home improvement projects

  Student debt

  Moving

  Weddings

  Vacations

  Education expenses (if you live in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Washington or Washington, D.C.

  Illegal activity

  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 can best suit your financial goals and can offer you the best-fitting rates, terms and amounts.

How to get a loan with Upstart

Because Upstart is an online lender, you won’t have to visit a branch in order to apply for a personal loan. Here’s the steps you’ll need to follow in order to get a loan with Upstart.

Check if you prequalify

Upstart allows borrowers to prequalify for a personal loan, meaning you can see what kind of APR you may be eligible for without impacting your credit score. This can allow you to shop around and compare rates without your credit score taking a hit.

To see if you prequalify, you’ll need to provide Upstart the following information:

  • Your loan purpose
  • Your full name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your address
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number
  • Details regarding your highest level of education
  • Details regarding your occupation and income
  • How much you have in savings and investments
  • Whether you’ve taken out a personal loan in the last three months

One you’ve filled out that information, you’ll create an Upstart account to move onto the next step in the process.

Select your rates

If you qualify, you’ll then be able to select some of the details of your personal loan that best fit your financial situation, including the amount of your monthly payment. After you’ve settled on a specific personal loan plan, you’ll need to confirm your information with Upstart in order to move forward.

Verify your information

Upstart will require you to confirm all the information you provided during the prequalification process, as well as input details about your bank account. This means you may have to upload documents such as pay stubs or W-2s to verify your income, as well as providing a government-issued identification — such as a driver’s license or passport — to confirm your identity.

At this stage, Upstart will run a hard-credit check, which may cause your credit score to drop a few points.

Sign for your loan

After you’ve verified your information with Upstart and passed the hard-credit inquiry, Upstart may officially offer you a personal loan. Once you sign the documents, Upstart may deposit your funds into your banking account within one business day.

If you’re having difficulty getting approved for a personal loan, you may need to work on a few details when it comes to your credit. Here are a few ways you can increase your chances of getting approved for a personal loan. (One of the best ways is to work on improving your credit score.)

How Upstart compares to other personal loan companies

Even if you believe Upstart matches 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.

UpstartUpgradeProsper
LendingTree’s rating4.2/54.6/54.3/5
Minimum credit score600620640
APRs4.37% - 35.99%6.95% - 35.97%7.95% - 35.99%
Loan amount$1,000 - $50,000$1,000 - $50,000$2,000 - $40,000
Repayment term36 or 60 months36 or 60 months36 or 60 months
Origination fee0.00% - 8.00%1.85% - 8.00%2.41% - 5.00%
Funding timelineOne business dayOne business dayOne business day
Bottom lineUpstart’s low credit score requirement makes personal loans with this lender much more practical than with some other lenders.Upgrade has similar features as Upstart, though it has a slightly higher credit score requirement and offers joint applications.Like Upstart and Upgrade, Prosper has a quick funding timelines, which may make it a good fit for borrowers who need money fast; however, it does come with an origination fee.

Upstart personal loans: FAQ

Does Upstart hurt your credit?

Because Upstart offers prequalification, consumers won’t see an impact on their credit score when they check their rates. However, if they proceed with the loan, they’ll have to agree to a hard-credit pull, which may negatively impact their credit score.

Does Upstart approve instantly?

Upstart claims that consumers can view their rates within five minutes of applying. During this process, you’ll have to go through a soft-credit inquiry, which won’t impact your credit. If you proceed with the loan, however, you’ll have to verify your information with Upstart, which may take more time.

Can I pay off an Upstart personal loan early?

Yes — personal loan lenders, including Upstart, typically allow you to pay off your debt early without having to pay a prepayment penalty. These types of fees are typically reserved for business loans, mortgages and auto loans.

Methodology

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 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.

 

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