Upstart Personal Loan Review

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Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.

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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 7.46%.
  • 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
Terms
Fees and Penalties
  • Term lengths: 36 & 60 months
  • APR range: 7.46% – 35.99%
  • Loan amounts: $1,000–$50,000, however the minimum loan amount may be different depending on which state you live in.
  • Time to funding: 1-2 days after you are approved for a loan.
  • Credit check: To check your rate, Upstart will do a Soft Pull credit check. If you proceed with the application, Upstart will do a hard credit check.
  • Origination fee: 0.00% - 8.00% of the loan amount
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late payment fee: $15 or 5% of the past due amount, whichever is more
  • Other fees: Returned payment fee: $15

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.

Eligibility requirements

  • 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
Pros
Cons
  • Low interest rates: You could qualify for an APR as low as a 7.46%.
  • Large funding amounts: You can take out loans up to $50,000.
  • Can use the loan for education: You are able to use the money to pay for educational expenses. Upstart even partners with some coding bootcamps to provide loans.
  • Quick approval: If you apply and are approved by 5 p.m. EST, you can have the money in your bank account as soon as the following business day.
  • Not available in some states: Upstart is not available to residents of Iowa or West Virginia.
  • No cosigner option: Upstart makes loans only to individuals, so if your credit is poor you won’t be able to qualify with a cosigner.
  • Not available to those with poor credit: You must have fair — or better — credit in order to be approved for a 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.

LightStream

  • 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.

RocketLoans

  • APR range: 7.16% – 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.

Payoff

  • 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?

Lendingtree allows you to compare rates from multiple lenders by filling out one easy form. Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

RATES (APR)loan amount
5.75% – 16.24%1 $5,000 to $100,000
7.46% – 35.99% $1,000 to $50,000
7.99% – 35.89%* $1,000 to $50,000
5.99% – 24.99%3 $5,000 to $35,000
5.99% – 29.99%4 $7,500 to $40,000
6.79% – 20.89% $5,000 to $50,000
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1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 16.240% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.75% APR to 14.60% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of March 18, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.75% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.50% plus 4.28% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.
    See Consumer Licenses.
  3. Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.
  4. SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of AK and WY is 9.99% APR, for residents of IL with loans over $40,000 is 8.99% APR, for residents of TX is 9.99% APR on terms greater than 5 years, for residents of CO, CT, HI, VA, SC is 11.99% APR, and for residents of ME is 12.24% APR. Personal loans not available to residents of MI who already have a student loan with SoFi. Personal Loans minimum loan amount is $5,000. Residents of AZ, MA, and NH have a minimum loan amount of $10,001. Residents of KY have a minimum loan amount of $15,001. Residents of PA have a minimum loan amount of $25,001. Variable rates not available to residents of AK, TX, VA, WY, or for residents of IL for loans greater than $40,000.
  5. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.
  6. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
3 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.

Payoff Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.
4 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.

FreedomPlus Disclosures

  1. All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details. The following limitations, in addition to others, shall apply: FreedomPlus does not arrange loans in: (i) Arizona under $10,500; (ii) Massachusetts under $6,500, (iii) Ohio under $5,500, and (iv) Georgia under $3,500. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. The range of APRs on loans made available through FreedomPlus is 5.99% to a maximum of 29.99%. APR. The APR calculation includes all applicable fees, including the loan origination fee. For Example, a four year $20,000 loan with an interest rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34% would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost payable of $7,948.13. To qualify for a 5.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan for an amount less than $12,000.00, and with a term equal to 24 months. Adding a co-borrower with sufficient income; using at least eighty-five percent (85%) of the loan proceeds to directly pay off qualifying existing debt; or showing proof of sufficient retirement savings, could help you also qualify for the lowest rate available.
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

* Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification and review process. You may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income and your identity. This rate includes an Autopay APR reduction of 0.5%. By enrolling in Autopay your payments will be automatically deducted from you bank account. Selecting Autopay is optional. Annual Percentage Rate is inclusive of a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC. Please refer to Upgrade’s Terms of Use and Borrower Agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.

** 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.

 Important Disclosures for Citizen.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.79% – 20.89% (6.79% – 20.89% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

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