Best for: borrowers who have a limited credit history but stable employment/income
Takes education and employment into consideration
May accept borrowers with limited or damaged credit history
Less transparent than other lenders on fees, especially origination fee
Late and returned payment fees
Higher minimum loan amount
In-depth Review of Upstart Personal Loans
Upstart boasts that it was founded by ex-Googlers and that it is a “smarter” personal loan. To that end, it incorporates information about borrowers that most other lenders don’t — specifically, their university, area of study, and work history. Upstart uses this in addition to traditional credit bureau data to underwrite borrowers and determine if they’re approved, their loan amount, and interest rate. This may make it a better option for borrowers with a limited credit history but strong employment and income prospects.
We do have to ding Upstart for being less transparent than most other lenders in how it explains costs to potential borrowers. While most all lenders with an origination fee make that clear to borrowers, Upstart does not. It discloses the APR (which includes the cost of any origination fee), but on its homepage and personal loans page does not make clear how much this fee is or how it impacts the actual loan proceeds a borrower would receive.
Should you apply for an Upstart loan?
Upstart is best suited to borrowers with a limited or damaged credit history but stable income. The additional data points of education and work history (rather than simply verifying someone is employed) should help Upstart better underwrite risk and be able to approve borrowers that other lenders may not.
Upstart Personal Loan Details
|Loan amount range||$5,000 - $30,000|
|Loan lengths||36 or 60 months|
|Interest rate type||Fixed interest rate|
|APR range||6.18% - 35.99%|
|Fees||Origination fee: 0-8%
Late fee: 5% of past due or $15, whichever is greater
Returned payment fee: $15 per occurrence
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. Upstart offers personal loans for educational expenses, which is relatively uncommon for personal loan companies.|
|Time to fund||Upstart’s site boasts that once an offer is accepted, 99% of borrowers receive their money within one business day. Note that loans used to fund education expenses are subject to a federally required three day waiting period before they can be released.|
|Joint application (co-borrower) option||No|
|Minimum qualifications||Minimum credit score: 580 (in most states)
Minimum income: $12,000 (average is significantly higher)
Employment: must have full-time job or offer to start within six months; regular part-time job; or other source of regular income
|Can send loan proceeds directly to creditors (for debt consolidation loans)||Yes, to pay off credit cards|
|Other||In addition to your credit history, Upstart takes into account your educational background (university and major) and work history. This may benefit borrowers who have little credit history, but strong employment and earning potential qualify for a loan amount or rate they otherwise would not.|
Representative Loan Example
Borrow $10,000 for 36 months
21% fixed APR (including origination fee)
Pay back $350 per month for 36 months
Total repaid $12,600
What People Are Saying
CFPB complaint data: 55 complaints in last 24 months
Trustpilot rating: Excellent (4.9/5) from 5,843 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.