Best for: borrowers looking for smaller loan amounts
Lower minimum loan amount ($1,000)
Also offers line of credit option
Origination fee up to 8%
Charges late fees
Only 3- or 5-year loan terms
In-depth Review of Upgrade Personal Loans
Upgrade, started by the founder/ex-CEO of Lending Club, offers straightforward personal loans, with a couple interesting twists. Loan amounts start as low as $1,000, which caters to borrowers who need to borrow smaller amounts. Upgrade also offers the “Upgrade Card”, which is kind of like a personal loan on a debit card (note this is a separate product from the personal loan). Like other lenders and free services, Upgrade offers borrowers free access to information on their credit report and tools to understand how different factors impact their score. Upgrade does charge an origination fee of up to 8% and a nominal late fee of $10 for payments made more than 15 days after they are due.
What is the difference between Upgrade’s personal loan and Upgrade Card?
Upgrade’s main offering is a personal loan product — where a set amount is transferred to your bank account, which you repay in equal installments over a fixed amount of time.
The Upgrade Card product looks to combine the best flexibility of a credit card and the fixed interest rate and equal monthly payments of a personal loan. You’re approved for a line of credit from $500-$20,000, which you access using a Visa-branded card. Rather than being allowed to make a minimum payment, you pay down your balance with equal monthly payments (assuming you haven’t made a new draw) – paying off the balance substantially faster and with less interest than making smaller payments on a credit card.
Upgrade Personal Loan Details
|Loan amount range||$1,000 - $35,000|
|Loan lengths||36 or 60 months|
|Interest rate type||Fixed interest rate|
|APR range||7.99% - 35.97%|
|Fees||Origination fee: 2.9%-8%
Late fee: $10, if payment not received within 15 calendar days of due date
Prepayment fee: None
|Can check rate with no impact to score?||Yes|
|Loan uses||Pretty much any reason: refinance credit cards; consolidate debt; major purchase; home improvement; vacation; moving/relocation; medical expenses; etc.|
|Time to fund||Upgrade’s site states that, upon accepting a loan offer, it will disburse funds within a business day of clearing necessary verifications. This means that, while the time from application to funding will vary a bit, if you have any requested documents (typically, income verification like a W-2 or paystub, or identity verification like a driver’s license), you should receive your money within a couple business days of accepting a loan offer.|
|Joint application (co-borrower) option||Yes|
|Minimum qualifications||Minimum credit score: 600|
|Can send loan proceeds directly to creditors (for debt consolidation loans)||Yes|
|Other||Line of credit: Upgrade also offers a personal line of credit from $500-$20,000, which is accessed through a Visa card, which is a unique offering among personal lenders.
Credit health tools: Upgrade offers consumers information about their credit report and tools to understand how changes to their report may impact their credit score. While these tools are widely available for free with other services, it’s a nice to have bonus.
Hardship: Borrowers experiencing a hardship, like a job loss or unexpected reduction in income, may qualify for a temporary reduction in monthly payments or a permanent loan modification.
Representative Loan Example
Borrow $10,000 for 36 months
Receive $9,500 (less origination fee)
17.98% fixed APR
Pay back $343.33 per month for 36 months
Total repaid $12,359.97
Cost of financing $2,859.97
What People Are Saying
CFPB complaint data: 51 complaints in last 24 months
Trustpilot rating: Excellent (4.8/5) from 5,889 reviews
Better Business Bureau: Accredited, A+ Rating
A note on reviews
When looking at reviews or complaints, we urge you to think about them in context and take them with a grain of salt. For instance, companies that have more customers are likely to generate more complaints to the CFPB — so the raw number of complaints on its own doesn’t paint the full picture.
Similarly, it’s possible for companies to attempt to game ratings on services like TrustPilot, by timing when they ask borrowers for a review to encourage positive comments and by challenging negative reviews on the platform.
Most of all, borrowers should be cautious in how they interpret a firm being Better Business Bureau (BBB) “Accredited” or having an A+ rating. BBB “Accreditation” means merely that a business makes a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve customer complaints and follow the BBB’s Code of Business Practices. It’s not clear how closely adherence to these practices is followed or how non-compliance is enforced.
Also note customer reviews are not included in the BBB rating, and it’s possible to have an “A+” rating despite having a poor customer rating.