What is Upstart?
You’ve probably realized by now that getting a personal loan isn’t always the easiest of tasks. That’s the position that Upstart is coming from, and is attempting to fix. The company was founded by two ex-Google employees and a Yale data wizard, and has scored some big results to date.
The company claims to be one of the first lenders to have created a computer-based algorithm with fancy machine learning and artificial intelligence to approve people nearly instantaneously. Its algorithm runs off of all the traditional things — FICO score, income, etc. — but also things other lenders don’t take into account, such as your job history and your college major. In fact, the algorithm makes instantaneous lending decisions for over half of applicants and to date, almost a quarter of a million loans have been generated through the system.
That sounds all well and dandy, but what are Upstart’s policies, and how do they compare with other lenders? Stick with us through this review, and you’ll find out whether Upstart is right for you.
Upstart personal loan highlights
- Not available to those with poor credit: Upstart does not approve people with credit scores below 620 (or 580, in California) for personal loans.
- Low APRs: The exact APR you pay will depend on several things, including your credit score. However, Upstart does offer an APR as low as 7.54%.
- Can be used for a wide range of expenses: You can use the loan to pay for a wide range of items. Unlike most lenders, you can even use the loan to pay for educational expenses. Upstart is unique because it also partners with many coding bootcamps to provide loans to people who might not otherwise have access to credit for these educational expenses.
- Available in most states: The only states that Upstart isn’t available in are Iowa and West Virginia.
- Terms: 36 & 60 months
- Fees: Late payment fee: $15 or 5% of the past due amount, whichever is more. Returned payment fee: $15.
Upstart Personal Loan Details
Upstart product details
Upstart does allow you to opt in to a “Financial Fitness Dashboard.” This provides you with your VantageScore (with data provided from your Equifax credit report) and is updated once per month. This is a nice bonus add-on, but it’s not exclusive to Upstart — there are many places on the internet nowadays where you can get your VantageScore for free.
You can also opt to split your payments into two installments per month, instead of one monthly payment. If you get paid biweekly, this may make it easier to fit into your budget.
- Minimum credit score: 580 if you live in California, or 620 if you live in another state.
- Minimum credit history: Not specified, however you must at least have enough of a credit history to generate a credit score.
- Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified
In addition to the above requirements, you’ll also need to be a U.S. resident and at least 18 years old. If you live in Alabama or Nebraska, you’ll need to be at least 19 years old. You’ll also need an email address, a bank account, and have a regular source of income such as from a job (or at least a job offer starting within six months).
It’s also important to note that the minimum borrowing limits may vary by state. In general, you can borrow as little as $1,000; however, this limit is higher in the following states:
- Georgia: $3,100
- Massachusetts: $7,000
- New Mexico: $5,100
- Ohio: $6,000
Applying for a personal loan from Upstart
Unlike many lenders, Upstart does not send out marketing materials with loan offers on them. This means that the only way to apply for a loan is to visit the Upstart website directly. You’ll begin by entering in what your loan is for and checking your rate. This will result in a Soft Pull credit, which won’t affect your credit score.
If you decide to accept the rate and take out the loan, you’ll need to submit your work history, academic experience, and agree to Upstart’s documents and agreements. Upstart will also perform a hard credit check, which will affect your credit score.
If you’re approved for the loan, you could receive your money in your bank account as soon as the next business day if you complete the process before 5 p.m. EST during the week. Otherwise, the money will be sent to you within two business days.
Pros and cons of an Upstart personal loan
Who’s the best fit for an Upstart loan?
Upstart is a good lender for people who have high credit scores and who need the money fast.
You can get approved for a loan with credit scores as low as 620 (or 580 if you happen to live in California), however there’s a good chance you’ll be placed on the higher end of the APR spectrum if you fall in this area. And with APRs as high as 35.99% APR, that’s one loan you want to avoid unless it’s a last resort. If your score falls in this area, we’d recommend checking with other lenders first.
Upstart is also a good choice for people looking for a large loan. Weddings, home remodels, and consolidating debt all can take up large amounts of cash that many lenders aren’t willing to dole out. However, if approved for a loan, you may be able to take out up to $50,000 with Upstart. Keep in mind that the company only offers three and five-year terms, so make sure you’ll be able to make the high monthly payments that this would inevitably create.
Alternative personal loan options
As always, it’s a good idea to shop around before you take out a personal loan. We’ve provided information about some similar lenders below.
- APR range: 3.99% – 16.99%
- Credit requirements: Minimum 660 credit score
- Terms: 24 to 144 months
- Origination fee: No origination fee
LightStream provides loans from $5,000 all the way up to a whopping $100,000, and for lower APRs than Upstart. It even provides funds faster than Upstart — you could have the money in your account as soon as the same day you apply in some cases. The company also provides a “rate match guarantee” in which it’ll beat the rate of a competitor, provided it meets certain criteria.
- APR range: 5.98% – 29.99%
- Credit requirements: Minimum 640 credit score
- Terms: 36 or 60 months
- Origination fee: 1.00% - 6.00%
RocketLoans also offers lower APRs than Upstart; however, these loans may come with a fairly high origination fee. RocketLoans offers personal loans from $2,000 to $45,000. This is another relatively fast lender, with some loans receiving same-day funding in certain cases. To apply for a RocketLoan, you’ll need to fill out an online form with some basic information. RocketLoans will then present you with a range of options for loans, which you can choose to apply for if you wish.
- APR range: 5.99% – 24.99%
- Credit requirements: Minimum 640 credit score
- Terms: 24 to 60 months
- Origination fee: 0.00% - 5.00%
Payoff loans are designed to consolidate high-interest credit card debt, although it’s not clear if that’s the only use for these loans it will approve. Payoff provides credit card debt consolidation loans ranging from $5,000 to $35,000. Other benefits of Payoff loans include free monthly FICO score updates (not just VantageScore, as Upstart provides) and payment support if you lose your job. Although the company may charge an origination fee, there are no fees thereafter — not even for late payments, returned payments, or paying the loan off early.
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|