Hot take

Best for: borrowers who have a limited credit history but stable employment/income

Pros:
Takes education and employment into consideration
May accept borrowers with limited or damaged credit history

Cons:
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 lengths36 or 60 months
Interest rate typeFixed interest rate
APR range6.18% - 35.99%
FeesOrigination 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 usesPretty 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 fundUpstart’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) optionNo
Minimum qualificationsMinimum 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
OtherIn 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.

Contact Information

Physical Address
Upstart Operations Dept.
P.O. Box 1503
San Carlos, CA 94070

Phone
(855) 438-8778

Email
support@upstart.com

Upstart on Facebook

Upstart on Twitter

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