Whether you have excellent credit or less-than-perfect credit, Achieve and Upgrade are two online lenders worth considering if you’re on the hunt for a personal loan.

Formerly known as FreedomPlus, Achieve offers home equity loans and personal loans, in addition to debt management plans. Founded in 2016, Upgrade offers a suite of financial products, including credit cards and checking accounts, in addition to personal loans.

Both lenders are good contenders when it comes to personal loans, however, their loan products are designed to fit different consumer needs.

Achieve vs. Upgrade at a glance

Achieve Upgrade
Bankrate Score 4.7 4.7
Better for Debt consolidation Emergency expenses
Loan amounts $5,000-$50,000 $1,000-$50,000
APRs 7.99%-35.99% 8.49%-35.99%
Loan term lengths 24-60 months 24-84 months
Fees 1.99%-5.99% origination fee 1.85%-9.99% origination fee; $10 failed payment fee; up to $10 late payment fee
Minimum credit score 620 600
Time to funding 24-72 hours after approval Next day after approval

Achieve personal loans

Achieve offers personal loans for those with fair credit or better, with a low starting APR and four repayment terms to choose from. Although the lender’s maximum APR is on the higher side, Achieve offers borrowers three rate discounts to choose from. These include one for adding a qualified co-borrower to your application, choosing to let the lender to pay directly to your creditors and showing proof of retirement assets.

This, coupled with its competitive starting APR and option to add a co-borrower can make Achieve loans affordable, even if you have less-than-perfect credit.


  • Same-day decisions.
  • Low minimum credit score required.
  • Multiple rate discounts.


  • Origination fee.
  • High minimum loan amount.
  • High APR cap.

Upgrade personal loans

Upgrade’s personal loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including debt consolidation, emergency repairs, home improvement projects or to finance a big purchase. The lender also has one of the lowest credit score requirements in the industry, making its loans ideal for multiple consumer profiles.

What’s more, while many lenders offer repayment terms of up to 60 months, Upgrade goes the extra mile offering a maximum repayment term of up to 84 months. Although you’ll pay more interest if you choose a longer term, your monthly payment could be much more affordable.


  • Quick funding.
  • Joint applications allowed.
  • Small loans available.


  • Many fees.
  • High maximum APR.
  • Origination fee.

How to choose between Achieve and Upgrade

Achieve and Upgrade offer loans with similar APR ranges, loan caps and credit score requirements. That said, they differ in other areas, such as fees, funding times, maximum repayment terms and discounts.

Both lenders offer prequalification, with a soft credit pull, in addition to joint applications. If you’re on the fence as to which one to choose, prequalify with both to see which can give you the best offer for your intended purpose.

Achieve offers loans specifically for debt consolidation

Achieve has a debt resolution program designed to help consumers get out of high-interest unsecured debt, such as medical bills, credit cards and store cards in under 48 months. The program costs between 15 percent and 25 percent of the total of debt enrolled. Achieve also offers a money back guarantee in which you’ll get a refund of up to 100 percent of the fees collected if the total cost of the program exceeds the amount of debt you enroll. 

Although Upgrade’s loans can be used for debt consolidation, the lender’s starting APR is higher than Achieve’s, plus it charges a higher origination fee.  This combination of factors could make Upgrade’s loans less attractive when it comes to consolidating high-interest debt, as the savings could be fewer than those offered by Achieve.

Upgrade allows borrowers to take out smaller loan amounts

If you need to borrow money to pay for an unexpected expense, such as an emergency car repair or a hospital bill, then Upgrade’s loans may be a better fit than Achieve’s.

Upgrade allows you to take out loans as small as $1,000, while Achieve’s minimum loan amount is $5,000. Additionally, Upgrade offers next-day funding, while Achieve’s loans could take up to 72 hours to hit your account. This alone makes Upgrade’s loans a better option when you’re in a pinch.

Compare more lenders before applying

Achieve and Upgrade offer similar loan products and aim at the same consumer credit profiles. But if you have better credit, Achieve may be a better choice due to its lower minimum APR and maximum origination fee. 

However, if you need a loan that’s under $5,000, then Upgrade is also an excellent option to consider. It may also be the better option if you want to take longer to pay off your loan, as terms go up to 84 months.

Regardless of what your loan purpose is, it’s always best to compare rates from multiple lenders to ensure you get the best loan for your budget and financial needs.