Pros and Cons of Upstart

Pros

  • Upstart doesn’t charge prepayment penalties

  • Can check your rate without a hard credit inquiry

  • Upstart can evaluate nontraditional data when reviewing your application, potentially giving you better approval odds

  • Borrowers without full-time or part-time jobs may qualify if they have another source of regular income

  • Borrowers may qualify either with no credit history or with a credit score of at least 600

  • Loans typically start as low as $1,000 (the minimum may be higher in some states)

  • Borrowers may get the loan funds within one to two business days

Cons Upstart may charge an origination fee equal to 0%–8% of the loan amount If your payment is 15 or more days past due, you may pay a late fee of 5% of the unpaid balance or $15, whichever is greater Doesn’t offer an autopay discount Doesn’t allow co-signers Not available to residents of West Virginia or Iowa

Upstart Borrower Requirements

These are Upstart’s loan requirements:

Column HeadingData

Time In Business

N/A

Personal Credit Score

Minimum 580

Business Revenue

N/A

Because its primary audience is consumers (not businesses), Upstart doesn’t require any time in business or a set amount of revenue.

To qualify for an Upstart loan, you must meet these requirements:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be at least 18 years old (19 in Alabama and Nebraska)
  • Have an email account
  • Have a name, date of birth, and social security number
  • Have a regular source of income
  • Have a bank account
  • Have a credit score of 580 or above (however, Upstart might accept applicants with insufficient credit history to produce a score)

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The Bottom Line

Upstart uses artificial intelligence to evaluate a borrower’s likelihood of default. The platform analyzes big data to determine creditworthiness without relying on FICO Scores. This may benefit any borrower who needs credit.Lantern by SoFi can help you compare loan rates. Just provide basic information about yourself and the loan you need, and Lantern can guide you in the process to apply for a personal loan with the lender of your choice.

Upstart Personal Loan Details

Loan Amounts & Terms

  • Loan amounts. 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) and Georgia ($3,100).
  • Loan terms. Borrowers have access to personal loan terms of three or five years—36 or 60 months.

Loan Costs

  • APR. Rates range from 3.09% to 35.99%. Upstart does not offer autopay discounts like other providers.
  • Origination fees. Upstart charges 0% to 8%. This is a one-time fee that’s deducted from the loan proceeds before they are delivered to the borrower.
  • Late fees. If a borrower fails to pay the full monthly payment amount within 10 calendar days of its due date, Upstart charges a late fee equal to 5% of the past due amount or $15, whichever is greater.
  • Prepayment penalty fees. Upstart does not charge prepayment penalties for borrowers who wish to pay off their loan early.
  • Unsuccessful payment fee. There is a $15 charge per occurrence when bank transfers (ACH) or checks are returned or fail due to insufficient funds—or for any other reason.
  • Paper copy fees. Upstart charges borrowers a one-time fee of $10 if they request physical copies of records and withdraw eSign consent.

Perks & Features

  • Hardship program. Borrowers can apply to temporarily suspend loan payments if they experience economic hardship, like job loss. Keep in mind, however, that interest continues to accrue during this period.

Perks

Nearly all personal loan funds are sent the next business day after you complete all required paperwork before 5 p.m. (Monday through Friday). Education-related expenses, however, have a three-day waiting period.

Loan applicants need a Vantage score of at least 600, but Upstart does accept applicants who don't have credit scores.

What Types of Loans Does Upstart Offer?

Upstart offers unsecured personal loans through an online lending platform. The originators of these loans are bank partners of Upstart Network Inc., a technology company founded in 2012 that services most of the loans. Borrowers can use the unsecured loans for almost any personal purpose, including debt consolidation and student loan refinancing.All personal loans through Upstart range from $1,000 to $50,000 and may feature a three-year repayment term or five-year repayment term. There is no prepayment penalty if you pay the loan off early. Upstart also offers auto loans secured by the borrower’s vehicle.Upstart uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to determine a borrower’s creditworthiness. The platform considers more than 1,500 variables, including an applicant’s credit experience, employment status, educational history, and bank account transactions.Consumers with bad credit or no credit may qualify for loans issued through Upstart if the platform finds them creditworthy. The bank partners of Upstart may consider an applicant’s debt-to-income ratio when deciding whether to approve a loan request. The platform’s algorithms help prevent unlawful bias to the credit decision.

Important to Keep in Mind

Applicants who reside in Connecticut, Maryland, New York or Vermont must have a debt-to-income ratio or DTI not exceeding 45% to qualify for a personal loan through Upstart. Residents of other eligible states must have a DTI not exceeding 50%.Your DTI helps lenders analyze whether you can afford new debt. Lenders typically like to see a DTI below 36%, but Upstart’s bank partners may offer personal loans to applicants with debt-to-income ratios as high as 50%.Applicants with limited credit, no credit, or bad credit may qualify for a loan through Upstart if they meet other eligibility requirements as detailed below.

Upstart FAQs

Is Upstart good for personal loans?

Upstart has flexible borrowing criteria, so people with fair credit or no credit history may have a better chance at qualifying compared to other lenders. But its interest rates are higher than some of its competitors, and borrowers will pay an origination fee up to 8% of the loan amount. If you’re approved for a $10,000 personal loan with an 8% fee, then you’ll receive only $9,200. But for those who qualify for a low interest rate and low origination fee, Upstart is a good lender to consider.

What credit score do you need for an Upstart loan?

You need a minimum credit score of 600 to qualify for an Upstart personal loan. You’ll also need a clean credit history with timely payments, no bankruptcies, and few or no hard inquiries. People with higher credit scores typically receive the best rates.

Can I get an Upstart personal loan with bad credit?

Upstart requires a minimum credit score of 600, which is in the “fair” range as defined by Experian. If you have a “poor” credit score (300–579) credit score or one that’s under 600, you may be better off with one of the lenders on our personal loans for bad credit list.

Does an Upstart loan hurt your credit? Checking your rate won’t hurt your credit, but your credit score may temporarily dip by a few points when you apply for the loan. That’s because the application creates a hard inquiry on your credit reports. Once you’ve taken out the personal loan, any missed or late payments will hurt your credit score, so make sure you always pay on time and in full.

Unique Underwriting May Improve Your Loan Offer

Another reason that Upstart may be an especially good option for those with fair to good credit is that it uses a unique underwriting process to review applicants.

In 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) gave the company a “no-action letter,” allowing Upstart to test using alternative data to evaluate applicants. Its use of alternative data, artificial intelligence and machine learning means you could have a better chance of getting approved and receiving a lower interest rate with Upstart over other lenders.

Similar to other lenders, Upstart will still consider your credit report and scores, income, outstanding debt, how you plan to use the money and other personal financial information. However, Upstart also considers alternative data, such as which college or graduate school you attend, your major, grade point average, whether you recently graduated, your standardized test scores and your employment history.

In August 2019, the CFPB released the results of a study that compared Upstart’s underwriting with a traditional underwriting model. It found that Upstart’s use of alternative data and machine learning led to the following:

  • Overall, 27% more applicants were approved for a loan.
  • Borrowers received an average of 16% lower APRs on their loans.
  • Those with FICO® Scores in the 620 to 660 range were about twice as likely to be approved.
  • Young applicants (under 25 years old) were almost 32% more likely to get a loan.
  • Applicants who make less than $50,000 a year were 13% more likely to get a loan.

The use of alternative data is also one reason that Upstart may be able to offer loans to people who don’t have enough credit history to qualify for a credit score but are still able to meet the other minimum requirements.

Loan amount

Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $50,000, but not all applicates will qualify for the full amount. How much you qualify for will be determined based on your credit, income and other information on your loan application.

Exceptions for the minimum loan amount are state-dependent: Massachusetts starts at $7,000, Ohio at $6,000, New Mexico at $5,100 and Georgia at $3,100.

Does Upstart Charge Any Fees?

Before you accept a loan from Upstart, review the terms carefully to see if you’ll have to pay an origination fee. The fee can range from 0% to 8% depending on your creditworthiness and will be deducted from your loan disbursement. It’s important to account for these fees when borrowing because if, for example, you borrow $10,000 with an 8% fee, the amount you’ll actually receive is cut down to $9,200.

The origination fee is the only potential mandatory fee, but Upstart does charge a late payment fee if your payment is more than 10 days late. There’s also an ACH or check return fee if you don’t have enough money in your account to cover your payment and a fee for requested paper copies of your records.

Upstart does not charge a prepayment fee, and you can save money by paying off your loan early. However, you won’t receive any of your origination fee back.

How Upstart Personal Loans Stack Up

The best personal loans offer competitive rates, flexible loan amounts and a wide range of terms. Here’s how Upgrade personal loans stack up against other popular lenders:

UpstartUpgradeAvantWells Fargo
Loan amounts$1,000 and $50,000 $1,000 to $35,000 $2,000 to $35,000*$3,000 to $100,000
Best forCredit scores of at least 600 Credit scores as low as 580 A range of repayment options Banking with a traditional bank
Minimum credit scores600 580 580 No requirement
Term lengthThree or five years Two to seven years Two to five years One to seven years

*Example: A $5,900 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,619.75, repayable in 36 monthly installments, with an APR of 29.95% would have monthly payments of $250.30. If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.

Upstart Vs. Upgrade

Upstart and Upgrade are designed to be able to lend to borrowers with less than good credit. While Upstart’s minimum recommended credit score requirement is 600, Upgrade’s is 580. If you qualify for Upstart, you may be able to receive larger loan limits—up to $50,000. However, Upstart only offers two terms—three and five years—whereas Upgrade offers terms between two and seven years. The best provider for you depends on how much money you need to borrow and how quickly you want to repay it.

Related: Upgrade Personal Loans Review

Upstart Vs. Avant

Similar to Upgrade, Avant’s recommended minimum credit score is 580, 20 points less than Upstart. Again, this makes it a solid option for borrowers who don’t have excellent credit but still need access to financing. What’s more, Avant offers more repayment options compared to Upstart. If you are approved for a loan with Avant, you’ll have access to terms between two and five years, depending on your credit score and other factors.

Related: Avant Personal Loans Review

Upstart Vs. Wells Fargo

Unlike Upstart, which is an online lender, Wells Fargo is a traditional bank. Applying for a personal loan through a bank like Wells Fargo is typically a good idea if you have an existing relationship with it. Wells Fargo offers personal loans between $3,000 and $100,000 with terms of one to seven years. Wells Fargo doesn’t have a minimum credit score recommendation, it may put more weight on other factors like your existing relationship with the bank, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio and monthly income.

Related: Wells Fargo Personal Loans Review

Sources

  1. Upstart (Accessed 05/27/2021) — Upstart
  2. Upstart Reviews | Read Customer Service Reviews of www.upstart.com (Accessed 05/27/2021) — Trustpilot
  3. Upstart Personal Loans Personal Loans Reviews | Credit Karma (Accessed 05/27/2021) — Credit Karma
  4. Upstart | Better Business Bureau Profile (Accessed 05/27/2021) — Better Business Bureau

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