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Upstart: 2023 Auto loan review

2023-01-01 00:00:00

At a glance

Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5

Bankrate Score

  • Availability
    Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5
  • Affordability
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
  • Customer Experience
    Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
  • Transparency
    Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
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About Upstart

  • Moneybag

    Loan amount

    $9,000 to $60,000

  • Credit Good

    Min. credit score


  • Rates

    APR from


  • Funds available in

    14 days following promissory note

Upstart features

Before you refinance with Upstart, consider the whole of what it has to offer.


  • Checkmark

    Smarter rate approach

  • Checkmark

    Fully online experience

  • Checkmark

    Cars eligible up to 120,000 miles


  • Close X

    Not available in every state

  • Close X

    No co-borrowers

  • Close X

    High minimum loan amount

Upstart is an online lender that was established in 2012. It has pioneered a new approach to lending by using AI technology to determine risk rather than more traditional underwriting criteria. Drivers looking to refinance their loans will be measured on factors such as income and education instead of just their credit score. This unique approach allows drivers with poor credit to still have a chance at good rates.

Through its website or app, drivers are able to see potential rates in minutes.

Do you qualify?

Upstart has a few requirements to keep in mind if you wish to refinance.

Your vehicle must:

  • Be less than 10 years old
  • Have under 120,000 miles
  • Be an insured, personal use car

Your current loan must have:

  • An outstanding balance of $9,000 to $60,000
  • Been initiated at least one month ago
  • Have at least 24 months remaining

What we like and what we don’t like

Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of Upstart auto loans.

What we like

  • Smarter rate approach. Upstart measures more than just your credit score, factoring in your work experience and education alongside your credit history. And if you don’t have a credit history, it will still consider you.
  • Fully online experience. Upstart has a seamless online application along with an app. You won’t need to visit a physical location to complete the loan process.
  • Cars eligible up to 120,000 miles. Unlike many lenders, Upstart allows you to refinance vehicles with high mileage. The usual cutoff is 100,000 miles, so Upstart is a good choice for cars that have made a few road trips.

What we don't like

  • Not available in every state. Upstart does not offer loans in Iowa, Maryland, Nevada or West Virginia.
  • No co-borrowers. Although you can have a co-owner and still receive refinancing, Upstart doesn’t allow for a co-borrower on its application.
  • High minimum loan amount. You will need to finance at least $9,000 to qualify. Other lenders have lower minimums — usually $5,000 to $7,500.

How to contact Upstart 

Although Upstart ranks fairly low with the Better Business Bureau, it does offer support seven days a week by phone or email. It also has an extensive, searchable online help center available for applicants. Upstart representatives can be contacted Monday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

Auto loan types offered

Upstart specializes in auto loan refinancing — which means you won’t be able to buy a new or used car with one of its loans. Upstart’s AI system will match you with a new rate and term to save money by lowering your current APR or give you breathing room in your budget by reducing your monthly payments.

How to apply for a loan with Upstart

Upstart boasts a simple online application process that can provide a few quotes based on the borrower’s goals. Although the process starts with a soft credit pull for prequalification, a hard credit inquiry will happen if you accept a quote and continue with the application.

How Bankrate rates Upstart

Overall score 4.1
Availability 4.3 Upstart offers a high maximum loan amount but has mileage and vehicle age restrictions and is not available in every state.
Affordability 3.4 Upstart doesn’t disclose its minimum APR for refinancing, but it has a very reasonable maximum APR and does not charge fees unless the vehicle is repossessed.
Customer experience 4.4 Upstart offers a range of customer service options, including person-to-person assistance seven days a week. It also has an app and an autopay option.
Transparency 4.5 Upstart both allows prequalification and hosts most of its rates and fees — or lack thereof — on its website.


To rate lenders that specialize in auto refinance loans, Bankrate considers 16 different factors. These factors range in consideration from the loan amount, disclosed APR and acceptance criteria. Each lender holds a score based on four categories. 

  • Availability: This accounts for loan amounts, vehicle restrictions and availability in each state.
  • Affordability: Primarily, this section covers expected APR, acceptance criteria, discounts for autopay and the number of fees. 
  • Customer experience: This category includes online access, support availability, funding timeline, option for automatic payment and app availability.
  • Transparency: Here prequalification and disclosure of rates and fees are accounted for.
Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.
Written by
Rebecca Betterton
Auto Loans Reporter

Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers in navigating the ins and outs of securely borrowing money to purchase a car.

Edited by Auto loans editor