What is Upgrade?
Upgrade is an online lender that offers affordable personal loans and lines of credit along with credit health monitoring tools. The company, founded in 2016, has its headquarters in San Francisco, with offices in Phoenix, Chicago and Montreal.
Upgrade co-founders Renaud Laplanche and Jeff Bogan previously helped build LendingClub, the peer-lending marketplace that links borrowers with investors willing to fund their loans.
Upgrade’s mission is to make credit more affordable while educating borrowers on how to manage credit responsibly. What makes the company unique is its credit health monitoring platform, which helps users track their scores, visualize trends and stay on top of updates and changes.
Upgrade personal loan highlights
- Origination fee: Upgrade charges an origination fee on all personal loans ranging from 1.50% - 6.00%. This fee is subtracted from your total loan amount before it is deposited to your account.
- Quick turnaround: You can expect your funds to appear in your account within one to four business days, which is a nice perk if you need money fast.
- Credit management tools: Upgrade offers free credit monitoring, as well as educational articles and personal finance resources.
- No prepayment penalties: Upgrade doesn’t charge fees for paying off your loan early. This means you can save on interest if you close out your balance before the end of your loan term.
- APR range: 7.99% to 35.89%
- Minimum credit requirement: 620
- Terms: 36 or 60 months
- Fees: Late payment fee of $10, failed payment fee of $10
Upgrade Personal Loan Details
Upgrade product details
One perk of working with Upgrade is access to free credit monitoring, even if you don’t end up applying for or receiving a loan. You can use this tool to track your VantageScore 3.0, which gets updated each week.
There’s also a credit simulator for how certain scenarios (such as opening a new account) will impact your score, as well as educational articles to help you better manage your finances. Finally, Upgrade will send you email alerts if there is a major change to your score or suspected fraud.
Borrowers may take out an Upgrade personal loan for a variety of reasons, from home improvement to vacation to debt consolidation. But keep in mind that you cannot use your loan to pay for postsecondary education and expenses or on investments, gambling or illegal activities.
- Minimum credit score: 620
- Minimum credit history: Not specified
- Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified
To be eligible for an Upgrade personal loan, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or hold a valid visa
- Be at least 18 years old (or 19 in several states)
- Have a verifiable bank account
- Have a valid email address
Upgrade does not provide loans to residents of Connecticut, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Vermont or West Virginia.
When you apply for a personal loan, Upgrade may request information about your employment status, including your employer’s name and contact information, as well as your hire date. You’ll have to provide your salary information during the application process, and you may have to submit documentation to verify your income.
If you’re self-employed, you can still apply. You’ll just need to provide your tax returns from the previous two years as well as additional tax forms and bank statements depending on your business type.
Applying for a personal loan from Upgrade
The first step to apply for a personal loan from Upgrade is to check your rate on its website. This is free and won’t impact your credit score, but you will have to provide some personal information, including your name, address, email and annual income.
Upgrade will perform a Soft Pull on your credit and come back with the loan offers, including interest rates, for which you qualify. Once you choose to accept an offer and enter your bank account information, Upgrade will begin its loan review process. This is when you’ll submit documents that verify your income and employment status. The company will also do a hard pull on your credit.
You can check your application status in your online account, which you’ll create when you check your rate. This is also where you’ll find your “To-Do List” — required action items to finalize your application.
Once Upgrade completes its review and approves your loan, you can expect to see your funds in your bank account within four business days. Keep in mind: Upgrade deducts an origination fee from your total loan amount before transferring the money to your bank.
Pros and Cons of an Upgrade Personal Loan
Who’s the best fit for an Upgrade personal loan?
Upgrade is a good option for borrowers who need money quickly — you’ll receive your funds within four business days — and those who have credit scores down to the low 600s. Even if you qualify with a lower score, however, you may receive better rates if you work to improve it.
That’s where Upgrade’s free credit monitoring tools come in. Track your score, see how certain financial scenarios will impact your credit and learn how you can improve over time. This service is available even if you don’t receive an Upgrade personal loan.
Upgrade may also work well for borrowers who need a larger loans (up to $50,000) and those who may be able to pay off their loans early since there are no prepayment penalties.
Alternative personal loan options
If you’re ready to search for offers, here are some other options.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
- APR: 5.99%–28.99%*
- Credit requirements: Varies
- Terms: 36 to 72 months
- Origination fee: No origination fee
Marcus by Goldman Sachs® offers no-fee personal loans — all you’ll pay is your loan principal and interest. This makes it an attractive alternative to Upgrade and other lenders that charge origination and late fees or prepayment penalties. That said, Marcus by Goldman Sachs® generally has stricter credit requirements. While Goldman Sachs Bank USA doesn’t explicitly state a minimum credit score, you’re more likely to qualify with a score in the high 600s.
*For New York residents, rates range from 5.99% to 24.99% APR.
- APR: 6.95%–35.89%
- Credit requirements: 600
- Terms: 36 or 60 months
- Origination fee: 1.00% - 6.00%
LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace. Borrowers request loans, and investors offer to fund them. If you have a lower credit score that won’t qualify you for a loan from Upgrade or a similar lender, you may be able to get funding from LendingClub. But keep in mind that LendingClub personal loans can take about a week to receive.
- APR: 7.54%–35.99%
- Credit requirements: 620 (580 for California residents)
- Terms: 36 & 60 months
- Origination fee: 0.00% - 8.00%
Upstart has similar rates, terms, requirements and fees to Upgrade. Both are online lenders that allow you to check your rates with a Soft Pull on your credit. What makes Upstart unique is that it doesn’t rely solely on your credit history to approve your application. It also considers your education and area of study. That said, it has strict policies about bankruptcies, delinquencies and inquiries — you may not qualify if you have one or more of these in your history.
Interested in a personal loan?Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2019!
|Lender||APR Range||Loan Amount|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.
3 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.
4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.
6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.
All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%*. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: LendingClub, 71 Stevenson Street, Suite 1000, San Francisco, CA 94105.
†Per reviews collected and authenticated by Bazaarvoice in compliance with the Bazaarvoice Authentication Requirements, supported by anti-fraud technology and human analysis. All reviews can be reviewed at reviews.lendingclub.com
**Based on approximately 60% of borrowers who received offers through LendingClub’s marketing partners between January 1, 2018 to July 20,2018. The time it will take to fund your loan may vary.
7 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
8 Important Disclosures for Avant.
* The actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. Funds are generally deposited via ACH for delivery next business day if approved by 4:30pm CT Monday-Friday. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.
** Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.
Upgrade Bank Disclosures
** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.
|5.74% – 16.99%1||$5,000 - $100,000|
|7.54% – 35.99%||$1,000 - $50,000|
|7.99% – 35.89%*||$1,000 - $50,000|
|5.99% – 24.99%2||$5,000 - $35,000|
|5.99% – 29.99%3||$7,500 - $40,000|
|6.79% – 20.89%4||$5,000 - $50,000|
|9.99% – 35.99%5||$2,000 - $25,000|
|6.95% – 35.89%6||$1,000 - $40,000|
|6.99% – 18.24%7||$5,000 - $75,000|
|9.95% – 35.99%8||$2,000 - $35,000|