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Upstart Personal Loans Review

Upstart is a lending platform that is accessible to borrowers with poor credit. Unlike some other lenders, Upstart doesn’t charge a prepayment penalty. Upstart uses artificial intelligence to help customers access affordable credit, while reducing lending risks and costs for its bank partners.

Upstart Personal Loans Review
upstart review
4.1
Please Vote!
Min. Credit Score
Min. Credit Score 600+
Loan Amounts
Loan Amounts $1K-$50K
Est. APR
Loan Repayments 36-60 months
Jason Steele
Written by:Jason Steele
Personal Finance Journalist

Reviewed by: Carrie Pallardy, Freelance Writer and Editor

Upstart offers loans for credit card consolidation, auto refinance, and home improvement, among others. Upstart loan applicants must have a credit score of at least 300, though you may be able to get a loan with a lower credit score. It can be an accessible option for customers who would not otherwise be able to get a loan.

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.

Upstart gets a solid 4.0 for Loan Features. This reflects the loan aggregator’s average term length offering and the absence of any loan use limitations.

Upstart Pros
Accepts borrowers with fair credit
Loans can be funded in one busines day
Borrowers can choose and change payment date
Prequalification with a soft credit check
Ability to choose a custom payment date
Upstart Cons
May charge an orgination fee
Only two repayment term options
No mobile app to manage a loan
No secured or co-signer option

Types of Personal Loans Offered by Upstart

Upstart offers personal loans for a variety of reasons, ranging from debt consolidation to home improvement. There are very few prohibited uses for their personal loans, including some that vary by state.

Common loan uses

Prohibited uses

Credit card consolidation

Illegal activity

Debt consolidation

Purchasing weapons or firearms

Wedding loans

Illegal drugs

Moving loans 

Educational purposes for borrowers in California, Illinois, Washington, or Washington, D.C.

Medical loans


Home improvement 


Paying off (refinancing) student loans


Auto refinance


Upstart Loan Features

 Upstart offers fixed-rate personal loans between $1,000 and $50,000. However, there are state-specific minimums in Massachusetts ($7,000), Ohio ($6,000), New Mexico ($5,100), Georgia ($3,100), and Hawaii ($2,100).

Payment on an Upstart loan will begin 20 to 40 days after the loan origination date. You can pay the loan principal and any interest accrued back in 36, 60, or 84 monthly installments, depending on the terms of your loan. You can prepay without incurring any penalties.

Loan terms

3-5 years

Repayment period

Monthly

Loan amount

$1,000 -$50,000

Loan use limitations 

None 

Upstart Interest Rates and Fees

Upstart charges an origination fee of up to 10percent, which is a one-time fee that’s deducted from the loan proceeds before they are delivered to the borrower. Upstart doesn’t charge prepayment penalties, but they do charge late payment fees and a fee for insufficient funds. Borrowers can also incur a one-time $10 fee if they request physical copies of their records or withdraw eSign consent. Interest rates vary.

Borrowing/origination fees

0%-10% 

Prepayment fees

None 

Late payment fees

5% of the past due amount or $15, whichever is greater.

Other fees

$15 charge for failed  bank transfers (ACH) or checks


$10 fee for physical copies of records

Interest rates

5.40%-35.99%

Upstart Qualification Requirements

Borrowers  typically must have a minimum credit score of 300 to qualify for a personal loan from Upstart.Some applicants with lower credit scores may be accepted. In addition to credit scores, Upstart considers variables such as:

  • College education
  • Job history
  • Residence
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Bankruptcies
  • Number of credit report inquiries in the past six months

Membership requirement

N/A

Minimum credit score

300, but some applicants with lower scores may be accepted

Income requirements

$12,000

Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, not including rent or mortgage

50% or less; 45% or less in Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Vermont

Co-signer/joint application requirements

Not accepted

Note: Applicants with a lower credit score are often offered a higher interest rate because they are deemed a riskier borrower. Lenders also want to make sure that you have enough income to make loan payments. Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is how much debt you have compared to your gross monthly income. If you have an approximately 36% DTI ratio or less, you’re considered a good candidate for a personal loan by most lenders.

Upstart Application Process

Checking your rate on Upstart will not affect your credit score. When you check your rate, Upstart makes a "soft credit inquiry." Soft credit inquiries on your report do not lower your credit score, but you may see this type of inquiry when you view your credit report.

If you are offered a loan and proceed with the application, a "hard credit inquiry" will be completed to verify the accuracy of your application. This action will be recorded as an inquiry on your report, and it may impact your credit score.

All unsecured personal loans are originated by Upstart-powered bank partners. The bank partner will depend on the state.

To begin the application process for a personal loan, enter how much you would like to borrow, between $1,000 and $50,000.

Next, select the loan purpose.

Fill out your name.

Fill out your birthday.

Then, complete your address.

Upstart will ask you for your email address.

Upstart will also ask you for your phone number.

Next, select the highest level of education that you have completed.

Depending on your level of education, the next page will ask you further questions about your education.

Then, select your salary type and answer further information about your primary source of income.

Upstart also asks for information about your savings.

Upstart wants to know whether you have taken out any other loans in the past three months.

Next, create a password to access your account later.

Finally, you will need to agree to the terms and conditions in order to check your loan rate.

Note: Unsecured personal loans in Maryland and Nevada are originated by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC. Car refinance loans are not available in Iowa, Maryland, Nevada, or West Virginia. Car refinance loans in Illinois and Missouri are originated by Cross River Bank or Midwest BankCentre. Car refinance loans in Colorado, Kansas, and Texas are originated by Cross River Bank or Rising Bank, Member FDIC. Car refinance loans in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama are originated by Cross River Bank or Drummond Bank, Member FDIC. All other car refinance loans are originated by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC.

Upstart Customer Support

Upstart offers a variety of ways to contact customer support, including:

Phone

  • 650-204-1000 (local)
  • 1-855-438-8778 (toll-free)
  • Monday to Sunday 9 am to 8 pm EST

Mail

  • Upstart Operations Dept., P.O. Box 1503, San Carlos, CA 94070

Email

  • support@upstart.com

Online ticketing form

In general, people seem satisfied with the customer support from Upstart. Here is what a few customers said about their experience.

“This is the 2nd time I’ve used Upstart. It’s easy, safe, and their customer service is top notch. Upstart will always be my first preference when applying for a personal loan.”

“Loan application was quick and easy! Had to call support once during the application process to make sure documents I uploaded were received. The phone was answered right away by a representative and they confirmed it within a couple of minutes.”

“It’s nice to work with a lender that understands customer service. Upstart made the loan process simple and quick. I’ve actually enjoyed the application and approval process. I feel like I’ve found a partner in Upstart.”

However, there were a few customers who had a mixed experience with customer service.

“Customer service is nonexistent! I've had perfect payment history and on automatic payments. One payment (unknown to me) didn't go thru then I seen experian say I missed a payment. I immediately called and tried to make it right and told them I wasn't aware payment didn't go through and if I paid would they remove it from my credit and they said no. Not only that but monthly payments and interest is high. You're better off going through your bank. Read reviews from other review places and you will see I'm not the only person this has happened too. Even tried to show a bank statement showing my payment.”

“I had issues accessing the site. So I contacted customer service and they sent me more links to access their site. I sent them screenshots of what it looks like when accessing their account. They went ahead and sent me a link to their website again to read some qna or something. They clearly didn't read my message with the fact that I can't access the site. They just give cut copy answers to clients. They couldn't even be bothered to type out an original email. Either that or they are missing some firing actions upstairs. If you're looking for customer service, go somewhere else.”

Upstart Online Reviews

Overall, reviews of Upstart are mostly positive. Upstart received 97% “excellent” ratings on truspilot.com. People frequently comment on the quick and easy loan approval process. Many were happy with the experience and had no complaints. The negative reviews are mostly related to entering their information and having a hard pull on their credit, only to have been denied for a loan after. Others were offered a loan but were not happy with the terms and rates offered.

The positive reviews are related to

The negative reviews are related to 

Quick and easy loan approval process

Hard credit inquiry only to get denied for a loan

Good customer service 

Some not happy with the rates and terms offered

Upstart Perks and Bonuses

Flexibility:

Upstart doesn’t offer much in terms of flexibility. The lender does not offer discounts. Borrowers cannot modify their loan terms. But Upstart may allow borrowers to access an alternative payment plan to avoid fees during times of hardship.

Transparency:

Upstart maintains a professional website that is informative, intuitive, and free of misleading advertising and sales gimmicks.

A February 2020 report from lending watchdog and advocate Student Borrower Protection Center suggests that some recent grads who attended minority-serving colleges may be assigned higher APRs than college graduates from non-minority-serving schools with similar applications. Upstart has denied this, noting that it regularly tests its model for bias and that its model generates higher approval rates at lower APRs for graduates of historically Black colleges and universities.

Technology

Upstart borrowers can make payments online. You have the option of signing up for automatic payments, but autopay does not come with any discounts. Upstart does not have a mobile app or loan management tools.

Upstart Compared to Other Lenders

There are a few other lender websites that you can compare to Upstart. Loan terms, loan amount, interest rates, minimum credit score, and co-signer requirement differ by lender.


Upstart

SoFi

Avant

Upgrade

Loan Terms

3 or 5 years

2 to 7 years

2 to 5 years

2 to 7 years

Loan amount

$1,000 to $50,000

$5,000 to $100,000

$2,000 to $35,000

$1,000 to $50,000

Interest Rates

5.40% to 35.99%

7.99% to 22.73%

9.95% to 35.99%

6.95% to 35.97%

Min Credit Score

300

680

580

560

Co-signer Requirement

Not accepted

Co-applicants and co-signers allowed

Not accepted

Co-applicants allowed but co-signers not allowed

Final Thoughts

Upstart is an accessible lending platform for  borrowers with poor credit. Upstart offers loans for credit card consolidation, auto refinance, and home improvement, among others. To start the loan pre-approval application process for a personal loan, you must have a credit score of at least 300, though you may be able to get a loan with a lower credit score. Unlike some other lenders, Upstart doesn’t charge a prepayment penalty, though they may charge an origination fee. Upstart can be an accessible and quick option for customers looking for a loan.

 

Jason Steele

Written by: Jason Steele

Personal Finance Journalist

Jason Steele is one of the nation’s leading personal finance journalists, specializing in credit cards, consumer credit and travel rewards. Since 2008, his work has appeared in over 100 outlets including The Points Guy, Money.com, CreditCards.com, SlickDeals and Business Insider.

More about me
Carrie Pallardy Freelance Writer and Editor

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
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