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Upgrade Personal Loans Review

With Upgrade personal loans, you can get your money fast and choose your repayment terms. For borrowers with fair credit, Upgrade is one of the best low-rate options without prepayment penalties. But borrowers with higher credit scores will find fewer fees elsewhere.

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4.3
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Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score Not disclosed
Loan Amounts
Loan Amount $1K-$50K
Est. APR
Loan Repayment 24 to 84 months
Lindsay Frankel
Written by:Lindsay Frankel
Personal Finance Expert

Reviewed by: Carrie Pallardy, Freelance Writer and Editor

Upgrade offers personal loans for a variety of purposes, including credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and major purchases. If you get a debt payoff loan from Upgrade, you can opt forUpgrade to pay your creditors directly. Find out everything you need to know about the cost, features, and qualifications for Upgrade personal loans in our review. 

Summarized Rating

This parameter considers loan term lengths, loan minimums and maximums, and the extent of loan use limitations. Each of these features was evaluated using the five-point scoring system. Then, the various scores were aggregated and averaged to establish an overall loan features score.

Upgrade gets a solid 4.0 for Loan Features. This reflects the lender’s flexible term lengths and loan limits and the absence of any loan use limitations.

Upgrade Pros
Funding as soon as the next day
Flexible repayment terms from 24 to 84 months
Direct payment to creditors available
Can be approved with fair credit
No prepayment penalties
Variety of discounts on rates
Select your due date
Excellent customer service reviews
Mobile app management
Low minimum loan amount
Allows joint applicants
May offer secured loans
Upgrade Cons
1.85% to 8% origination fee
Late payment fee
High maximum APR
No deferment or unemployment protection program

Types of Personal Loans Offered by Upgrade

Upgrade personal loans can be used for many different purposes, but there are some prohibited uses. 

Common loan uses

Prohibited loan uses

  • Credit card refinancing

  • Debt consolidation

  • Home improvement

  • Large purchases

  • Building or growing a business

  • Post-secondary educational expenses

  • Investments

  • Gambling

  • Illegal activities

Upgrade Loan Features

You can borrow as little as $1,000 from Upgrade, which makes Upgrade lending ideal for small loans. Repayment terms range from two to seven years. Your first monthly payment becomes due a month after funding, but you have the flexibility to change your due date after your first payment. 

Loan terms

24 to 84 months

Repayment period

Begins after one month

Loan amount

$1,000 to $50,000

Loan use limitations 

Can’t be used for college

Upgrade Interest Rates and Fees

Upgrade charges fees for origination, late payments, and failed payments. While starting rates are low for borrowers with higher credit scores, the maximum APR may not be better than a credit card. For reference, the average interest rate across credit card accounts is 16.65%, according to the Federal Reserve. Just because you qualify for an Upgrade loan doesn’t necessarily mean it will save you money on interest.Be sure to do the math to ensure a personal loan with Upgrade will result in savings. 

Origination fees

1.85% to 8%

Prepayment fees

None

Late Payment fees

$10

Failed payment fees

$10 

Interest rates

6.95% to 35.97%

Upgrade Qualification Requirements

Upgrade doesn’t disclose minimum credit score or income requirements, but reportedly has looser credit requirements than other lenders. Borrowers with fair credit are welcome to apply and can include a joint applicant to increase their chances of being approved. 

Upgrade may also offer you the opportunity to secure your loan with your vehicle if it would help you get approved. Per Upgrade loan requirements, you must be the age of majority in your state and a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or visa-holder with a verifiable bank account and valid email address to apply. 

Membership requirement

None

Minimum credit score

Not disclosed

Income requirements

Not disclosed

Co-signer/joint application requirements

Joint applications allowed

Upgrade Application Process

The first step is to check your rate with Upgrade. You can prequalify for a personal loan without hurting your credit. Enter how much you’d like to borrow and how you’ll use the funds to get started.  

On the next page, provide the contact information and date of birth for you and your co-applicant (if applicable). Click to continue and then enter your annual income and any additional income. 

Before seeing estimated rate options, you’ll need to create an account with your email address and a password. You’ll then be asked to provide your social security number for a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score.

If you’re happy with your estimated rate, you can formally apply. Choose the loan amount and term that works best for you and accept the offer. At this point, you may need to upload additional documents such as proof of income.

Your formal application will require a hard credit check, which will temporarily cause a small dip in your credit score. 

Once you’re approved, sign your loan documents online. Upgrade will send the funds to your bank account within one business day, and you should have access to the funds within four days. Remember that your origination fee will be deducted from the loan amount. 

Upgrade Customer Support 

Upgrade offers customer support seven days a week. You can speak to an Upgrade representative on weekdays between 5 am and 7 pm PT or on weekends between 6am and 5pm PT. Some lenders offer extended hours, so make sure Upgrade’s hours are convenient for you before accepting a loan offer. You can contact Upgrade:

  • By mail at Upgrade Inc., Suite 2300, 275 Battery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111
  • By phone at 844-319-3909
  • By email at support@upgrade.com

A few customers on Trustpilot had complaints about long wait times when calling customer service or not being able to speak to a supervisor. Some people mentioned having to call multiple times to deal with the same issue because the support team doesn’t track cases. 

However, most reviews of Upgrade’s customer service were positive. As one reviewer wrote, 

“Customer service was great. They helped me navigate the application process. Everyone I talked to was very professional and took the time to explain all the options available. It was great working with them.”

Upgrade Online Reviews

Upgrade received an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars from more than 33,000 customers on Trustpilot. On the Better Business Bureau website, Upgrade has an average rating of 4.59 out of 5 stars, based on reviews from nearly 3,000 customers. Upgrade as a similarly high rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars based on more than 431 Consumer Affairs ratings. Most positive reviews praised the quick and easy online application process. Some borrowers also mentioned the professional customer support team, and others praised the lender for giving fair credit borrowers a chance. 

For example, one customer said: “Upgrade’s use of technology made the process quick and easy. My credit isn’t very strong after some hardship, but I was happy when the pre-approval process prompted me to consider a co-borrower.”

Some customers who left negative reviews accused customer service representatives of being disrespectful, and others complained about a high APR and origination fee. Some people also mentioned customer service errors that caused delays in funding. 

Most customers who left one-star reviews for Upgrade were upset that they were denied a loan. Potential borrowers wondering if Upgrade loans are legitimate can rest assured they come from a reputable lender.

The positive reviews are related to

The negative reviews are related to 

Quick and easy loan approval process

High APR and origination fees

Professional customer service

Customer service errors or delays

Friendly to fair credit borrowers

Loan denials 

Upgrade Perks and Bonuses

Discounts

The lender offers a few discounts. Upgrade offers discounts for automatic payments and for direct payment to creditors. You can also get up to a 20% lower rate on Upgrade loans and cards if you are also a Rewards Checking customer with Upgrade. 

Flexibility

If you’re dealing with cash flow issues, you can always change your loan payment due date. Upgrade doesn’t have a formal hardship program, but the lender is willing to work with borrowers facing all sorts of issues, from unemployment to natural disasters. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, though, and at least one customer reviewer was unhappy with the outcome of requesting relief. 

Some other lenders will allow you to skip a payment, no questions asked, and others offer loans that include unemployment protection. Upgrade’s lack of offerings here is a drawback. 

Transparency

Upgrade walks you through the application process and clearly states when a hard credit check is required. The lender’s website is informative and clear when explaining the process of applying for a loan.There is also a comprehensive FAQ section. Some customers complain about being pre-approved for a loan and then later denied, but this can happen with any lender. 

Technology

You can manage your loan and set up automatic payments using your online account. The lender also has a well-reviewed Android app and iOS app that allow you to manage your payments, check your balance, and even monitor your credit score. 

Upgrade Compared to Other Lenders

Upgrade

Marcus

Avant

Best Egg

Loan terms

24 to 84 months

36 to 72 months

12to 60 months

36 to 60 months

Loan amount

$1,000 to $50,000

$3,500 to $40,000

$2,000 to $35,000

$2,000 to $50,000

Interest rates

6.95% to 35.97%

6.99% to 24.99%

9.95% to 35.95%

7.99% to 35.99%

Min. credit score

Not disclosed

730 

Not disclosed 

640

Co-applicant requirement

Co-applicants allowed 

No co-applicants allowed

No co-applicants allowed

No co-applicants allowed

Final Thoughts

Upgrade is one of the best options available to fair credit borrowers, particularly because of the lender’s joint applicant and secured loan options. 

Upgrade loans are budget-friendly.You get your choice of a wide range of repayment terms. You can also change your due date after your first payment. Upgrade personal loans are an especially good option for existing Upgrade Rewards Checking customers, who are eligible for a significant rate discount. 

However, borrowers who want flexibility with loan deferment might be better served by another lender, and customers with high credit scores can find personal loans with fewer fees elsewhere. 


 

About the Author

Lindsay Frankel

Written by: Lindsay Frankel

Personal Finance Expert

Personal finance expert with 3 years experience specializing in researching, writing, and editing insurance, loans, and credit cards content.

More about me
Somer G. Anderson

Fact checked by: Somer G. Anderson Ph.D., CPA

Accounting and Finance Professor

Somer G. Anderson has been working in the Accounting and Finance industries for over 20 years as a financial statement auditor, a finance manager in a large healthcare organization, and a Finance and Accounting professor at Maryville University.

More about me
Carrie Pallardy

Reviewed by: Carrie Pallardy

Freelance Writer and Editor

Carrie Pallardy has six years of experienceas as a dedicated freelance writer and editor. She covers a wide variety of topics, including personal finance, insurance, and cybersecurity. Carrie has written for Investopedia, Policygenius, and more.

More about me