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Universal Credit Personal Loans: 2024 Review

Universal Credit offers quickly funded personal loans with borrowing limits up to $50,000.

Author
By Lindsay Frankel
Lindsay Frankel

Written by

Lindsay Frankel

Writer

Lindsay Frankel has been covering personal finance for six years, with particular expertise in loans, insurance, and real estate. She’s written hundreds of articles across a range of well-known outlets, including LendingTree, Investopedia, SFGate, and more. Outside of writing, she enjoys playing music and exploring nature with her rescue dog, Lucy.

Edited by Hannah Smith

Written by

Hannah Smith

Editor

Hannah Smith is a financial services editor specializing in personal loans. With a keen eye for detail, Hannah has honed her skills in editing financial content to ensure accuracy, compliance, and reader engagement. Since 2019, she’s helped steer content creation in the areas of student and auto loans, and credit cards for major finance verticals, including Credible, and Bankrate.

Updated June 18, 2024

Editorial disclosure: Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to here as “Credible.”

Featured

Universal Credit offers personal loans up to $50,000 with no prepayment penalties. You can use the funds for a variety of purposes, including debt consolidation. The online lender can transfer the funds to your bank as soon as the next business day, or pay your creditors directly within two weeks. Universal Credit has higher rates and fees than some other lenders, so excellent-credit borrowers (a FICO score of 800 or higher) should look elsewhere. But if your credit needs work, Universal Credit could be a good option. We'll cover the pros and cons and walk you through how to apply.

Best debt consolidation loans for bad credit

You can use a personal loan from Universal Credit to pay off your credit cards or other high-interest debts. Known as debt consolidation, this strategy can help you potentially save money in interest over time or achieve a lower monthly payment.

Universal Credit makes the debt consolidation process easy. You can tell the lender which debts you'd like to consolidate, and they'll set up the payments with your creditors directly. You'll be left with just one monthly payment to Universal Credit instead of a pile of bills, which can make your debt easier to manage. What's more, Universal Credit doesn't have a minimum credit score requirement if you apply directly on its website, so you could be approved with fair or bad credit (FICO scores between 300 and 669). If you apply through Credible, you must have at least a 560 credit score. Just remember that you'll only save money if Universal Credit offers you a lower annual percentage rate (APR) than you're currently paying on your other debts.

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Good to know

Your APR is the total cost of borrowing money over the course of a year, expressed as a percentage. It includes interest rates and any upfront fees.

Best low-income loans

Universal Credit doesn't publish a minimum income requirement for applicants. The lender also doesn't mention income as one of the primary factors it uses when considering a borrower's loan application, but you may need to provide proof of income during the application process. If you have a low-income job or rely on government benefits, you may still be eligible for a personal loan from Universal Credit, especially if you have a strong history of on-time payments.

Best debt consolidation loans for bad credit

Universal Credit

4.3

Credible Rating

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

Est. APR

11.69 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1000 to $50000

Min. Credit Score

560

Pros and cons

More details

Universal Credit pros and cons

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Pros

  • May consider fair- and poor-credit borrowers
  • Can pay you directly or distribute the funds to your creditors
  • No minimum income requirement
  • Daily customer support hours
  • Excellent reviews on Trustpilot
  • Issues the funds to borrowers directly within 1 business day
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Cons

  • Relatively high rates starting at 11.69% APR
  • 5.25% to 9.99% origination fee deducted from the loan funds
  • No mobile app

What to consider before applying

  • Can you afford the minimum payments? You should never apply for a loan if the monthly payments won't fit your budget, because late or missed payments will negatively impact your credit score. If you're overwhelmed with debt, you may want to consider an alternative strategy. For example, a debt management plan can help you get back on track. If you're not sure how to manage your debt, start by contacting a nonprofit credit counseling agency.
  • Does Universal Credit offer the amount you need? Universal Credit offers loan amounts between $1,000 and $50,000. If you just need a few hundred dollars, consider a payday alternative loan, which allows you to repay your loan over 1 to 6 months with a capped interest rate of 28%.
  • Can you qualify for a lower rate elsewhere? Some lenders offer personal loans with low rates, no fees, and great perks to borrowers with good or excellent credit (a FICO score of 670 or higher). If that's you, check out lenders like SoFi, LightStream, or Discover before applying for a loan from Universal Credit.

How to qualify for a loan with Universal Credit

Universal Credit considers several eligibility factors when approving a loan and determining the APR for a loan offer. Though the lender doesn't publish minimum income or credit score requirements, it will review the information on your credit report, including your credit usage and payment history. At a bare minimum, you must also:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or resident visa holder
  • Be at least 18 years old (19 in Alabama)
  • Have a valid email address and a verifiable bank account

How to apply for a loan with Universal Credit

  1. Check your rate: Universal Credit lets you prequalify before you apply. This lets you estimate your APR, which includes interest charges and other fees expressed as an annual percentage of the loan amount. Universal Credit uses a soft credit check, so checking your rate won't impact your credit score, and it only takes a few minutes. During this step, you should also check your rate with a few other lenders to ensure you're getting the best deal. Prequalification is not a direct offer of credit and your rates may change once you formally apply.
  2. Select your term: Universal Credit may offer you a choice between its loan terms (3 to 5 years). The options may have different APRs, as well. Choose the offer that best fits your needs. You'll pay less interest with a shorter term, but it's also important to make sure you can afford the monthly payments.
  3. Formally apply: To continue with the application process, you'll need to authorize a hard credit check, which will cause a slight dip in your credit score. Universal Credit may also ask you to upload documents to verify your identity and income, which can include your Social Security number and pay stubs.
  4. Sign your loan documents: Review your final loan offer and sign the forms to accept your loan.
  5. Receive the funds: In most cases, the loan funds will reach your bank account within 1 business day. If you opt for Universal Credit to send the funds to your creditors, it could take up to 2 weeks.

How to contact Universal Credit

You can reach a customer service representative by calling 877-418-9765. Help is available Monday through Friday between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. PT. Weekend hours are 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. To get assistance via email, contact [email protected] at any time.

How Universal Credit compares

Universal Credit is a good option for some borrowers, particularly low-income folks who have credit score issues and need help getting rid of credit card debt. But the lender isn't the right choice for everyone. Here's how Universal Credit compares to other top personal loan lenders.

Credible rating

APR from11.69 - 35.99%
Loan Amount$1000 to $50000
Term Length3, 5, or 7
Min. Credit Score560

Credible rating

APR from9.95 - 35.99%
Loan Amount$2000 to $35000
Term Length2 - 5
Min. Credit Score550
Read Our Review

Credible rating

APR from18.00 - 35.99%
Loan Amount$1500 to $20000
Term Length2 - 5
Min. Credit Score540
Read Our Review

Methodology

Credible evaluated 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, in-house resources, and via email support. Each data point was verified to make sure it was accurate at the time of publication.

Learn more about how Credible rates lenders by exploring our Personal Loans Lender Rating Methodology.

FAQ

Is Universal Credit a legitimate lender?

Yes. Upgrade, Inc., which owns and operates Universal Credit, is a licensed lender that offers loans in partnership with banks and other financial institutions. Universal Credit also has excellent customer reviews on Trustpilot.

Is it difficult to get a Universal Credit personal loan?

You may find it easier to get a personal loan from Universal Credit than other lenders since you won't need to meet any specific income or credit score requirements. However, a poor credit score or insufficient income could still prompt Universal Credit to deny your application.

What credit score do you need for a Universal Credit loan?

While Universal Credit doesn't disclose a minimum credit score required to qualify for a personal loan, the lender will check your credit report.

How fast can I get a personal loan from Universal Credit?

Universal Credit typically transfers the loan funds within one business day of clearing the necessary verifications. However, depending on your financial institution, it could take longer than that for the funds to become available in your account.

Meet the expert:
Lindsay Frankel
Lindsay Frankel

Lindsay Frankel has been covering personal finance for six years, with particular expertise in loans, insurance, and real estate. She’s written hundreds of articles across a range of well-known outlets, including LendingTree, Investopedia, SFGate, and more. Outside of writing, she enjoys playing music and exploring nature with her rescue dog, Lucy.