Best for: Borrowers with poor or limited credit history
Upstart is a great option if you have poor credit or haven’t yet built a credit history. The company’s minimum credit score is just 300 in most states, which is the lowest score possible.
Additionally, Upstart looks at more than 1,000 data points to determine whether you qualify for a loan, meaning a poor credit score — or even no credit history at all — won’t necessarily hold you back from qualifying.
In this review:
- Upstart pros and cons
- Upstart loan details
- Upstart standout features
- What to consider before applying for an Upstart loan
- How to qualify for a personal loan from Upstart
- How to take out a personal loan with Upstart
- How to contact Upstart
- How Upstart compares to other lenders
- How Upstart can improve
- Upstart FAQs
Upstart pros and cons
Upstart has plenty of benefits, including the fact that it offers personal loans to borrowers with poor credit or a limited credit history. Additionally, you can prequalify for a loan with only a soft credit check. If you apply and are approved, you may receive your loan funds within one business day.
Upstart has a competitive minimum interest rate, which is great news for borrowers who qualify for it. However, it also has a maximum interest rate on the higher side compared to some lenders. And if you’re applying with poor or limited credit, you may only qualify for a rate on the higher end of the range.
Other downsides of an Upstart personal loan include limited repayment options, the origination fee you must pay when you accept the loan, and the fact that Upstart doesn’t allow cosigners.
Upstart loan details
|APR range||4.6% - 35.99% APR4|
|Loan amounts||$1,000 to $50,0005|
|Minimum credit score||620 (in most states)|
|Repayment terms||3 or 5 years4|
|Time fund||As soon as 1 - 3 business days6|
Upstart standout features
Upstart has several features that make it a great option if you’re looking for a personal loan:
- Minimal borrower requirements: Perhaps the best feature of Upstart is its flexible borrower requirements. You can qualify for a loan even with poor or limited credit history and an income as low as $12,000.
- Fast funding: Upstart is a great option if you need money quickly. According to the lender’s website, 99% of its loans are funded within just 1 business day after the loan agreement is signed.
- Excellent reputation: Upstart has a positive reputation in the personal loans space. As of May 2023, the company has more than 41,000 reviews on Trustpilot, with an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.
- No prepayment penalties: Upstart doesn’t charge prepayment penalties on personal loans, meaning you won’t be penalized if you repay your loan ahead of schedule.
What to consider before applying for an Upstart personal loan
Upstart personal loans have some clear advantages, but the lender isn’t right for everyone.
First, Upstart personal loans aren’t available everywhere. If you live in West Virginia or Iowa, you won’t be able to get a personal loan through Upstart.
It’s also worth noting that Upstart may not be the most affordable loan option for everyone. Upstart has a high maximum interest rate compared to some other lenders. And unfortunately, borrowers with poor or limited credit history are likely to pay the highest rates.
If you can qualify for a low rate, you may still be able to find a more affordable loan elsewhere. Upstart charges an origination fee on its personal loans, and these can be as high as 12% of the loan amount. So, if you borrow the maximum amount of $50,000, your origination fee could be as high as $6,000.
There are a handful of personal loan lenders that don’t charge origination fees. This can potentially save you a lot of money, and you could qualify for a lower interest rate, depending on your credit score.
How to qualify for a personal loan from Upstart
Here are the eligibility requirements you’ll need to meet in order to qualify for a personal loan from Upstart:
- Have a U.S. residential address (unless you’re active-duty military)
- Live in any state except West Virginia or Iowa
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a valid email account
- Provide a verifiable name, date of birth, and Social Security number
- Have a full-time job, an offer for a full-time job starting in six months (unless you’re accepted to a partner bootcamp and seeking employment after graduation), a regular part-time job, or another source of recurring income
- Have an annual income of at least $12,000
- Have a U.S. bank account with a routing transit number
- Have a credit score of at least 300, if you have a credit score
Keep in mind that meeting these requirements doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll qualify for a loan. Even if you meet Upstart’s credit score requirements, certain elements on your credit report might disqualify you.
Additionally, your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, is an important eligibility factor. If you want to borrow an amount that’s too high relative to your income and existing debts, your loan may not be approved.
How to take out a personal loan with Upstart
Applying for a personal loan with Upstart is a quick and simple process. Here’s how to get started:
- Check your rate. You need to provide some preliminary details, including personal information and your desired loan amount, to find out what rate you may qualify for.
- Choose your loan. If you qualify for a loan, choose a loan amount and repayment term (3 or 5 years).
- Get your money. If your loan is officially approved, sign your loan agreement. You can expect to get your money in as little as 1 business day.
How to contact Upstart
There are several different ways to get in touch with Upstart. If you’re an existing borrower, you can get support directly through your borrower dashboard. Here are some other ways you can contact Upstart:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call: 650-204-1000 (local) or 1-855-438-8778 (toll-free)
- Online: Borrower Help Center
- Mail: Upstart Operations Dept., P.O. Box 1503, San Carlos, CA 94070
You can get general support between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT seven days a week. You can get support on payment questions between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. PT from Monday to Friday, and between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. PT on Saturday. Upstart support is unavailable on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
How Upstart compares to other lenders
Upstart is one lender that offers personal loans to borrowers with below-average credit, but it’s not the only one. Here’s how Upstart compares to a couple similar lenders:
|APR||4.6% - 35.99% APR4||8.49% - 35.99% APR11||9.95% - 35.99% APR|
|Minimum credit score||620 (in most states)||600||550|
|Loan amounts||$1,000 to $50,0005||$2,000 to $35,000||$2,000 to $35,000|
|Repayment terms||As soon as 1 - 3 business days6||1 to 5 years||As soon as the next business day (if approved by 4:30 p.m. CT on a weekday)|
|Fees||Origination fee: 0% to 12%|
Late fee: The greater of 5% of past-due amount or $15
ACH return or check refund fee: $15
Paper copies fee:$10
|Administration fee:Up to 4.75%|
Late fee: $25
Dishonored payment fee: $15
|Origination fee: 1.85% to 9.99%
Late fee: $10
Failed electronic or check payment attempts: $10
|Discounts||None||None||Autopay and direct pay|
How Upstart can improve
Upstart is a great option for a personal loan, but there are a few things the company could do better:
- Eliminate origination fees: There are now plenty of personal loan lenders who don’t charge origination fees, but Upstart isn’t one of them. That change could save borrowers hundreds or thousands of dollars on their loans.
- Allow cosigners: Upstart does offer loans to borrowers with bad credit, but could make it even easier for people to qualify — and to qualify for lower rates — by allowing them to apply with a cosigner.
- Offer more flexible repayment terms: Upstart offers repayment plans of either 3 or 5 years. However, some borrowers may want to pay their loans off on a different timeline, including either shorter or longer terms.
What types of personal loans does Upstart offer?
Upstart offers mostly unsecured personal loans (no collateral required). Its loans have fixed rates, with repayment terms of either three or five years.
How does an Upstart personal loan affect my credit?
Getting prequalified for an Upstart loan won’t affect your credit, since Upstart only uses a soft credit check. However, if you apply for the loan, Upstart will perform a hard credit check. A hard credit check typically lowers your credit score by five points or fewer, and it may only affect your credit score for a few months to a year.
Can I repay a personal loan from Upstart early?
Yes. Even though Upstart offers repayment terms of three or five years, you can repay your personal loan at any time. The company doesn’t charge a prepayment fee, meaning you won’t be penalized for paying off your loan early.
Credible evaluated the best personal loan lenders based on factors such as customer experience, minimum fixed rate, maximum loan amount, funding time, loan terms, and fees. Credible’s team of experts gathered information from each lender’s website, customer service department, and via email support. Each data point was verified to make sure it was up to date.
Daria Ulhig has contributed to the reporting of this article.