Upstart Personal Loans Review

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Contributor, Benzinga
May 13, 2022

Upstart is a lending platform that’s centered around melding artificial intelligence and finance. The company focuses on more than just a credit score when considering an individual’s ability to repay a loan. A person’s financial history is also taken into account when deciding on final loan amounts. Upstart combines technology and financial expertise to effectively lower both the risks and costs associated with lending. Upstart maintains close relationships with partners such as banks to effectively offer different loans. Research loan options and lenders to have a better grasp on available options. Consider if a loan or alternative mode of funding such as a credit card can effectively address your financial needs. Benzinga reviewed Upstart’s personal loans and found that the company can help people with new credit and lower credit scores achieve faster funding while avoiding prepayment fees, but the company has room for improvement in terms of additional fees. 

Unsecured loans begin relatively low around $1,000 and reach as high as $50,000. APR rates range between 5% and 35.99%. One main benefit of Upstart is that it requires a low minimum credit score. Upstart offers term lengths that span between 3 and 5 years. In some cases, borrowers receive funds in less than 24 hours. Upstart also allows for new borrowers with limited credit experience.

Best For
  • Consolidating Debt
  • Borrowers with new credit
  • People interested in flexible payment dates
Pros
  • Up to $50,000 loans
  • No minimum credit score
  • No prepayment fees
  • Allows interested individuals to check possible loan rates using a soft inquiry
Cons
  • Charges origination fees
  • Only 2 repayment options
  • Co-signers not allowed

Upstart Personal Loans Ratings at a Glance

Upstart Fees and Rates
Upstart Customer Service
Upstart Terms and Loan Purpose
Upstart Approval Requirements
Upstart Overall

Upstart Fees and Rates

APRUp to 35.99%
Origination FeeBetween 0% and 8%
Late FeeThe larger of 5% of the amount due or $15
Prepayment FeeNone

Upstart requires fees such as origination fees and late fees that have the potential to make it difficult for a borrower to repay a loan. Origination fees only need to be paid once during the start of the loan, but the payments are non-refundable. The fee amount is taken from the loan funds. Borrowers should take origination fees into account when asking for their total needed loan amount. 

Upstart charges late fees, which can be expensive depending on the total amount of your loan and monthly fixed payments. Upstart personal loan payments are considered late the day after payments, but its 10-day grace period may help. Upstart makes no guarantee that missing a payment won’t negatively impact your credit score. Its automatic recurring payment feature can assist in preventing missed payments and ensuring that your loan payments are made promptly. 

The annual percentage rate (APR) is a common personal loan term. The APR indicates the annual interest that’s often charged on a loan. Higher APR rates tend to be more difficult to pay off. For example, Upstart charges APR rates up to 35.99%. However, the exact APR amount varies depending on personal information such as your credit score and financial history.

Upstart does not have prepayment fees. The lack of prepayment fees allows borrowers the freedom to make larger loan payments. An absence of prepayment fees also allows borrowers the possibility to pay off loans early without facing repercussions.

Upstart Customer Service

Upstart ranks high in customer service and company sentiment. The company provides accessible communication through a variety of methods such as an email address designed to assist with general support, a phone number and a mailing address. Customers have the option to reach out for assistance inside of their personal dashboard. The website provides a form section where individuals can directly send Upstart messages and questions. 

One benefit that also helps Upstart stand out from the competition is that it provides a section of its website that’s fully dedicated to borrower support. The website section allows both current and potential customers the option to troubleshoot different questions. This section of the website also proves especially helpful outside of Upstart’s typical business hours. In terms of accessibility, Upstart has general weekday hours between 6 a.m and 6 p.m. The company also provides customer assistance on Saturdays between 7 p.m. to 4 p.m. Keep in mind that the times are stated in Pacific Standard Time. The website notes that hours vary during holidays.

The company communicates and interacts with the public through social media. Upstart maintains multiple social media accounts on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. Overall, Upstart offers strong customer service and provides prompt responses.

Before deciding on a loan, examine websites that collect customer feedback to have a fuller understanding of how specific companies treat their customers. Customer reviews and experiences help to hint at what you might experience once you become a customer. In general, read the most recent reviews in combination with both highly ranked and lowly ranked scores. It’s important to read a variety of rankings to more accurately understand customer sentiment. 

BBB RatingA+ 
Trustpilot Score4.9 
Benzinga’s Score3.5
J.D. Power RatingN/A

Upstart Terms and Loan Purpose

Upstart term options range between three or five years. The company provides loans with lower total amounts, which makes it a convenient option for individuals that are interested in smaller increment loans.

Upstart offers unsecured personal loans that are typically viewed as more beneficial for a borrower than secured loans. Unsecured loans do not require collateral. For a borrower, unsecured loans are typically viewed as favorable given the lower amount of risk. 

The loans are offered at fixed rates, which provides a certain level of certainty and stability for a borrower. Fixed rates typically do not change over the life of the loan, making it easier for individuals to make the necessary and expected payments. 

In terms of requirements, a potential borrower cannot have more than six credit report inquiries within six months. Individuals are not allowed to have filed for bankruptcy within the past year. Credit scores and financial information must remain relatively similar from the time of loan application to the time of funding. Large dips in credit scores could potentially cause a loan to be reevaluated. 

Defaulting on an Upstart personal loan has the potential to negatively impact your credit score. In addition, it will likely impact your ability to obtain other loans in the future. It’s possible to face further repercussions that are either legal or financial in nature.

Term Options3 or 5 years 
Loan Amounts AvailableBetween $1,000 and $50,000 

The total loan amounts typically span between $1,000 and $50,000. Personal loans can be used for a wide range of needs such as weddings and major purchases. The loans offer a heightened degree of freedom and allow borrowers to consolidate credit card debt or even pay for moving expenses. Upstart assists with a wide range of loan needs. 

Upstart Approval Requirements

Minimum Credit Score RequirementNot clearly stated, but recommended above 300

Upstart has no clearly stated minimum credit score, but it explains that it encourages individuals to have credit scores above 300 if a score is available. Upstart notes that exact credit scores have the potential to vary between different credit bureaus. Keep in mind that credit bureaus like TransUnion weigh criteria for credit scores differently than other agencies. If you feel that your information was miscalculated, then you are encouraged to reach out to the consumer credit reporting agency. 

An offer for prequalification for an Upstart personal loan can be received in the mail. The offer provides qualifying individuals with lower rates and improved terms. However, Upstart options tend to be time-sensitive, so inquire about current promotions and prequalified offers. The stated offer must be made out to the specific recipient to be valid. During the prequalification process, information such as your credit score and financial history will be included to better predict your ability to repay a loan.

Upstart allows interested individuals the ability to quickly and efficiently check offered loan rates online. It’s possible to check your personalized rate in only a few minutes. 

The timespan to receive a personal loan typically ranges within two business days, but loans related to education can take more time.

Upstart vs. Competitors

Upstart stands out from the competition by offering personal loans that cover a wide range of needs. The loans help assist with weddings or debt consolidation or even allowing borrowers to refinance a car. The company also varies from the competition by potentially offering loans to people with low to bad credit scores. Upstart changes personal loans by using and looking at a variety of different factors to indicate a person’s ability to repay a loan. 

  • Best For:
    Consolidating Debt
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  • Best For:
    Comparing lenders
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    See Terms*

    NMLS# DISCLOSURE

    Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS# 1681276

    Credible. Not available in all states. www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org.

    320 Blackwell Street Suite200 Durham, NC 27701

    Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS# 1681276, “Credible.” Not available in all states. 

    All bonus payments are by gift card. See terms

    Prequalified rates are based on the information you provide and a soft credit inquiry. Receiving prequalified rates does not guarantee that the Lender will extend you an offer of credit. You are not yet approved for a loan or a specific rate. All credit decisions, including loan approval, if any, are determined by Lenders, in their sole discretion. Rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Rates from Lenders may differ from prequalified rates due to factors which may include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in your personal credit circumstances; (ii) additional information in your hard credit pull and/or additional information you provide (or are unable to provide) to the Lender during the underwriting process; and/or (iii) changes in APRs (e.g., an increase in the rate index between the time of prequalification and the time of application or loan closing. (Or, if the loan option is a variable rate loan, then the interest rate index used to set the APR is subject to increases or decreases at any time). Lenders reserve the right to change or withdraw the prequalified rates at any time.

    Won’t impact your credit score DISCLOSURE: (May be in the footer, a tooltip, or a popup the user has to click on or scroll to see)

    Requesting prequalified rates on Credible is free and doesn’t affect your credit score. However, applying for or closing a loan will involve a hard credit pull that impacts your credit score and closing a loan will result in costs to you.

    “We accept advertising compensation from companies that appear on this site, which impacts the location and order in which brands (and/or their products) are presented, and also impacts the score that is assigned to it. Company lists on this page DO NOT imply endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market.

    We receive compensation from the companies below if you click on a link or purchase a product. Amount of compensation may impact the ranking or placement of a particular product. Not all available financial products and offers from all financial institutions have been reviewed by this website. This content is not provided by Credible or any of the Providers on the Credible website. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Credible.

  • securely through Figure Personal Loan's website
    securely through Figure Personal Loan's website
    Best For:
    Quick funding
    Rating:
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  • Best For:
    $0 Origination Fee
    Rating:
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    *AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Excellent credit required for lowest rate. Rates vary by loan purpose.

  • securely through SoFi Personal Loans's website
    securely through SoFi Personal Loans's website
    Best For:
    No origination fees
    Rating:
    Read Review

    Fixed rates from 8.99% APR to 29.99% APR reflect the 0.25% autopay interest rate discount and a 0.25% direct deposit interest rate discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 02/06/2024 and are subject to change without notice. The average of SoFi Personal Loans funded in 2022 was around $30K. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, and a variety of other factors. Loan amounts range from $5,000– $100,000. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0%-7%, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive.

    Autopay: 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. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.

    Direct Deposit Discount: To be eligible to potentially receive an additional (0.25%) interest rate reduction for setting up direct deposit with a SoFi Checking and Savings account offered by SoFi Bank, N.A. or eligible cash management account offered by SoFi Securities, LLC (“Direct Deposit Account”), you must have an open Direct Deposit Account within 30 days of the funding of your Loan. Once eligible, you will receive this discount during periods in which you have enabled payroll direct deposits of at least $1,000/month to a Direct Deposit Account in accordance with SoFi’s reasonable procedures and requirements to be determined at SoFi’s sole discretion. This discount will be lost during periods in which SoFi determines you have turned off direct deposits to your Direct Deposit Account. You are not required to enroll in direct deposits to receive a Loan.

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Upstart Overall

Upstart ranks four out of five stars. The company offers a strong personal loan that’s expertly complemented by knowledgeable customer service. The company representatives are available to communicate both through email and phone, which allows customers to communicate and interact in a way that best fits their needs. Customers report positive experiences with customer support and overall positive sentiment in regards to the company. The strong customer service melds with a generous amount of information that’s available on the company website to better inform and educate current and future borrowers. 

However, Upstart has room for improvement in terms of additional fees such as late fees and origination fees. The origination fees reach 8% and have the potential to hinder an interested individual’s ability to fund their loan requirements if the origination fees are not properly taken into account. The company also does not allow co-signers.

Overall, Upstart maintains a personal loan that can be used in a variety of situations by borrowers with low-to-little credit history, but the company has room for growth in terms of higher APR rates and additional fees. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Upstart offers personal loans that can address a wide range of potential borrowers’ needs. Before applying for a loan, speak with a financial professional to better understand your specific position. Boosting your credit score before applying for a loan has the possibility to improve the terms and rates offered to you. Research and compare the different lenders to have a clearer perspective about the frequently offered loan amounts and common fees. Inquire about the fees before entering a loan because these mandatory payments have the ability to make a loan difficult to pay. Taking out a loan exposes a borrower to a certain level of risk and should not be entered into lightly. 

Is Upstart a bank?

No, Upstart is not a bank. Upstart is a lending platform that helps interested customers obtain loan funds through the company’s partners. For example, Upstart partners with banks such as Customers Bank to more effectively accommodate borrower needs. 

Customers Bank was created in 2009 and designed with the community in mind. The bank provides a wide range of services for small businesses, commercial enterprises and individuals. Customers Bank offers tools such as loan and banking services to select states. For example, the funds are generally available in Massachusetts and Texas. It’s important to note that Customers Bank also has its own specific personal loans that can allow interested individuals to pay off debt or purchase larger items such as a house. The bank remains accessible to the public and maintains a visible presence on social media apps such as Instagram. 

Does Upstart need proof of income?

Upstart will likely require proof of income when verifying information during the application process. The company will probably ask for proof of your current or recent income. Upstart will typically verify the information using tools such as an image of a digitally deposited check or a business invoice. The company will also ask for additional documents when verifying information related to the application process such as your W2s or your utility bill. Upstart may require additional information to be able to more effectively lend amounts to more viable loan candidates. Upstart inspects applications and can ask for more information to better clarify your financial position. The company aims to lessen its risk exposure by reviewing information about potential loan candidates to understand where applicants stand in terms of being able to repay a loan. 

Is it possible to have multiple personal loans?

Yes, Upstart makes it possible for people with current personal loans to obtain more than one loan. However, lenders such as Upstart examine your credit score and personal financial history to determine if you are a good loan applicant. Even if you recently obtained a personal loan, lenders will likely conduct their investigation into your financial situation. It’s important to note that lenders will consider your current loan when deciding if you are eligible for another personal loan. Your current loan will likely impact your debt-to-income ratio, which might deter lenders from offering you additional funds.

Sources

  1. Upstart. “FAQ.” Accessed May 3, 2022.
  2. Customers Bank. “About Us.” Accessed May 3, 2022. 

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