Upstart Personal Loans Review

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Upstart Personal Loans

Overall Rating

8.8

Bottom Line

For anyone with a limited borrowing history but good academic or professional credentials, Upstart is a great lender to take out a personal loan from. Their favorable assessment process and their fully digital platform make Upstart well-suited for young people. If you’re used to doing everything online, this is a huge plus and makes for a smooth procedure.

Pros

  • User Friendly Application Process
  • Fair Assessment Method

Cons

  • Fees

Ease of Use

10.0

Fees

8.0

Customer Support

9.0

Interest Rates

8.0

We recommend avoiding debt when possible – it’s far better to save yourself the interest by saving and paying upfront. Unfortunately, there are times when taking a personal loan can seem unavoidable.

If you already have debt you’re struggling to escape from, taking out a loan to help you consolidate that debt can seem like one of the few options available.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already made the decision to take out a loan, and are considering Upstart.

First, make sure you know the facts and are choosing the best option available to you.

We’ll break down the features, pros, and cons of Upstart loans, along with some other alternatives to consider.

What is Upstart?

Upstart is an online lender that prides itself on technological innovation. Founded by former Google employees, Upstart was the first lending platform to integrate artificial intelligence into their selection.

They have now loaned more than $6 billion, the majority of which were fully automated, and successfully repaid more often than more conventional loans.

Upstart’s offering is primarily aimed at those who have a poor credit history, either due to past mistakes or their youth, and the lender prides themselves on taking a wider variety of factors into account with the use of AI. These additional considerations include job history, college degrees, and area of study instead of simply credit scores.

As an online lender, Upstart also has a fully digital process for their loan applications.

How Does Upstart Work?

Upstart gives out loans between $1,000 and $50,000 for terms of three or five years. Some states have higher minimum loan amounts.

Loan Options:

The most common use of the funds is debt consolidation. Of course, you can use a general personal loan for a different purpose, like college costs or a vacation; just state it on your application.

Upstart’s loans are all unsecured, so if you can’t meet your repayments, they’re not entitled to take any of your belongings as collateral, like a car or home.

Some borrowers may prefer secured loans as this can help to lower rates (lenders know they’ll at least be able to get something back if repayments are missed), but Upstart doesn’t offer these. You can also use a loan for educational purposes.

One of the most prominent of the platform is their speed at providing funding. It only takes a few minutes to make an application, and as long as you accept the loan before 5 pm, you should receive the money on the following day. 99% get their money in just one day.

There’s an option to turn on recurring payments to avoid forgetting and racking up fees, but you can turn this setting on and off as you please by entering your dashboard. You can also change the date, amount, or bank account for payment, but it takes two full days for the change to occur.

Upstart Interest Rates

The annual percentage rate (APR) of Upstart loans is currently between 7.99% to 35.97%. Depending on how risky Upstart’s AI deems you to be, you could end up on the lower or higher end of this scale.

Using the example given on Upstart’s website of a three-year loan at an APR of 21%, you would be paying $35 for every $1000 borrowed over a period of 36 months. So, if you loaned $5,000 that would be $175 a month. If you loaned $20,000, you’d be paying a somewhat steep $700 a month.

Upstart Rate Check

Before you agree to take out a loan, it’s important to be realistic about whether you’ll be able to pay it back. If you’re currently living paycheck to paycheck, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to fork out $700 a month on debt repayments unless you get a second job or win the lottery. Missing your payments could end in you needing to take out another debt and begin a vicious cycle.

If you do end up missing a payment, you’ll be hit with a late fee worth 5% of the payment or $15, whichever is greater. You’ll also be charged $15 if a payment is unsuccessful, and up to 8% in origination fees. Luckily, there are no prepayment fees, so if you find you’re able to pay your loan off early, you should definitely consider it to avoid extra interest charges. For credit card consolidation loans, you can also pay creditors directly

Despite charging late fees, Upstart does offer some support to borrowers who fall into unexpected financial difficulties. If you find yourself in a difficult economic situation, you can contact Upstart about their temporary hardship program, where you’re excused from making payments for a short period.

Upstart Loan Approval and Eligibility

  • Minimum Credit Score: The minimum credit score needed to take out a loan with Upstart is just 620, but they also accept people who don’t yet have a credit history.
  • Minimum Annual Income: The minimum annual income is $12,000, which must come either a full-time job or a stable part-time job.
  • Other Requirements: You can’t have a recent bankruptcy, delinquent loans, or more than six inquiries on a credit report over the past six months (excluding mortgages, student loans, and auto loans).

Loans are available in all states except Iowa and West Virginia, and you can’t apply with a co-signer.

If you meet these criteria, you can check their website to find out whether Upstart is likely to accept you, and you can see what APR you’ll be offered for different loan types. This will result in a ‘soft pull’ on your credit, meaning the information won’t be reported to the 3 credit bureaus or affect your credit score. The process only takes five minutes, and you can choose the specific purpose you want the loan for.

Depending on the rates offered in the preapproval stage, you can decide whether you want to take the application further. It’s a good idea to compare the rates you’re offered with those of other personal loan lenders to make sure you can’t get a better deal elsewhere.

Application Process

If you do decide to take things further with Upstart, you can start your official application. Only do this if you’re sure Upstart is better than the competition because once you file an application, it will result in a ‘hard pull.’ This means it could potentially affect your credit score and result in rejection from other providers.

You’ll need to fill in an online application, which asks for your personal details, financial history, and academic credentials to give a fuller picture of you as a borrower. Upstart will need to verify your identity, including tax identification number and bank account, and you may have to upload additional documents too.

Make sure all the information is correct before submitting it as it can’t be changed.

Accepting The Loan

Once you submit your application, it doesn’t take long to find out if Upstart accepted your application, unless you need to send in extra supporting documents.

If you’re rejected, you can still reapply once your circumstances change, but you need to use a different email address.

On the other hand, if you’re accepted, Upstart is very quick to process their loans, and you should receive the money within a day unless you apply on a Friday or after 5 pm. However, if you need your loan for educational purposes, an additional 3 business days are needed.

Is Upstart Safe?

Nobody likes giving out their personal information online, especially information as sensitive as government ID or bank account information. While it’s hard to eliminate the possibility of hacking or fraud entirely, your information is very safe with Upstart.

As a company founded by ex-Google employees, Upstart is no stranger to the online world and security. They also comply with federal law to ensure they protect your information by implementing computer safeguards and secured files and buildings.

Customer Support

Since Upstart is an online-only lender, there are no physical branches and no chance to speak to their representatives in person. Nonetheless, there are various options for receiving support.

Their phone line is open between 6 am and 5 pm PST every day, and you can also drop them an email. Upstart is reasonably flexible and likes to support its customers, offering the chance to change your payment date and even apply for a hardship program. However, it’s not possible to change the due date of your loan, even in the case of an emergency.

90% of Upstart users surveyed said they would recommend Upstart to others, which is a testament to their service.

Pros and Cons of Upstart

Feeling overwhelmed or confused by all the information? Here’s a quick summary of the advantages and disadvantages of Upstart loans; if you feel like the pros don’t outweigh the cons for your situation, then it might be worth checking out our suggested alternatives.

Pros

  • Fair Assessment Method: One of the main advantages of Upstart is their pioneering and fair assessment method. They’re one of the few lenders who offer decent rates to borrowers who have no credit history or below-average credit score as long as they have good academic or work credentials. If you fall into this category, an Upstart loan is likely to be a good match for you.
  • Quick Application Process: Since Upstart is an online lender, they have a quick and easy application process. It only takes a few minutes to check your rates, and if you get approved straight away, you could receive your money the next day, all without having to leave your home or talk to a representative.

Cons

  • Fees: One of the major cons is the fees involved. Upstart charges fees for late-payments and origination, and the latter can be very high for some borrowers. If you have a good credit score, you could probably find a loan elsewhere that would work out cheaper.
  • No Face to Face: Although the digitally friendly nature of Upstart is an advantage for some, it could be a problem for others. It’s not possible to speak to a representative in person or go into a branch, which many people find helpful when they want to discuss and understand their options for a loan.

Alternatives to Upstart

If you no longer think Upstart is the right fit for you, don’t fear. There are lots of great alternatives in the lending market that just might offer you what you need.

Upgrade

Often confused due to its similar name, Upgrade is another online lender, but their focus is on fair credit borrowers, and they consider conventional metrics like credit score and cash flow more heavily.

Apart from this differing focus, Upgrade and Upstart offer fairly similar loan packages. Upgrade loans between $1,000 and $50,000 for terms of 36 or 60 months, at an APR between 6.98% and 35.89%.

Learn More: Upgrade Personal Loan Options

 

Earnest

For anyone who wants to prioritize low rates, Earnest is a great option. With an APR starting at just 5.99% and going up to a maximum of 17.24%, they have some of the lower rates out there for personal loans.

Even better, Earnest is well-suited to young people. They accept those who are new to credit if they can demonstrate financial responsibility, although you’ll need a credit score of 680.

You can get a loan between $5,000 and $75,000 for a term between three and five years. They don’t charge fees for origination or late payments or penalties for paying your loan off early.

Learn More: Earnest Personal Loan Options

 

Prosper

Prosper is slightly different from the other lenders listed here as it’s a peer-to-peer lender. This means that they connect borrowers and lenders together rather than directly providing loans. Another unique feature of Prosper loans is the opportunity to explain your financial situation and convince lenders you’re a good investor.

Prosper loans have an APR between 6.95% and 35.99%, and you can borrow $2,000 to $40,000. The minimum credit score is 640, so slightly higher than Upstart, and you also need a credit history of two years, so it’s not suitable for new borrowers.

Learn More: Prosper Personal Loan Options

 

SoFi

Similarly to Upstart, SoFi focuses on borrowers who may have limited credit histories but have other credentials that indicate they’d make good borrowers. The prime audience of SoFi is graduates and young people with good educational background and high earning potential.

Unlike Upstart, they ask for no late or missed payment fees but also ask for a higher credit score. The APR is between 5.99% and 21.16%, but you’ll need a credit score of at least 680 (if you have a credit history) and an annual income of $45,000 or more. As loans go, this is certainly on the higher end of the scale – SoFi is aimed at those with a limited credit history rather than a poor credit history.

Learn More: SoFi Personal Loan Options

 

FAQS

Will Upstart hurt my credit?

When you first check your rates for a loan on the Upstart website, they’ll carry out a ‘soft pull.’ This means you can see which loan features they’d be likely to offer you without it affecting your credit score in any form.

However, if you decide to complete a full application, this will result in a ‘hard pull,’ which will affect your credit score. If different lenders carry out hard inquiries on your credit in a relatively short space of time (six months or less), it could make it harder for you to get accepted for a credit card or loan in the future.

Therefore, it’s best to only apply for something once you’re relatively confident of your acceptance and know it’s the right loan for you.

Is an Upstart loan a good idea?

Taking out a loan is a serious financial commitment – even if you don’t get charged an extortionate interest rate, you’ll be paying back far more than you borrowed, and it could affect you for years to come.

Having said that, if you do need to take out a loan, Upstart is a great option. They offer reasonable fees and rates along with great customer service for people who may struggle to get accepted by traditional lenders.

What credit score do you need for Upstart?

Upstart states that you need a FICO or Vantage score of 640 to take out a loan with them, but they also accept applicants who don’t have a long enough credit history to produce a score.  They’ll also check how your debt compares to your income and whether you’ve had any recent bankruptcies or delinquencies.

How long does it take Upstart to review your application?

Upstart is normally very quick to review applications thanks to their use of machine learning and artificial intelligence technology. You should find out the outcome of your application within a few hours or even minutes – most people receive their money the next day.

However, the process could end up taking longer if you need to provide further information. Some customers have been asked to take part in a verification call or to upload additional documents, like proof of an address or bank account.

Is an Upstart Loan for You?

For anyone with a limited borrowing history but good academic or professional credentials, Upstart is a great lender to take out a loan with.

As well as their favorable assessment process, Upstart is also well-suited to young people due to their fully digital platform. If you’re used to doing everything online, this is a huge plus and makes for a smooth procedure.

On the other hand, Upstart may not be the best option available for those with a strong credit history. There are a few lenders out there who offer zero fees and lower rates, so they may well beat Upstart on this front.

Make sure you use a comparison site or check your rates with a few different loan providers before making your final decision.

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