Online lending platforms make accessing funds from the comfort of your home easy. If you’d prefer this option over a loan from a brick-and-mortar bank or credit union, Avant and Upgrade are worth considering.

Founded in 2012, Avant is a direct lender specializing in making loan products accessible to middle-income consumers, while Upgrade offers affordable personal loans through lending partners, credit cards and other banking solutions.

You don’t need perfect credit to apply with either lender, and online prequalification is available to check your rates without negatively impacting your credit score.

Avant vs. Upgrade at a glance

Both feature unsecured, fixed-rate personal loans with comparable APRs and fast funding times.

Avant Upgrade
Bankrate Score 4.7 4.7
Better for Borrowers with bad credit Debt consolidation
Loan amounts $2,000-$35,000 $1,000-$50,000
APRs 9.95%-35.99% 8.49%-35.99%
Loan term lengths 12-60 months 24-84 months
Fees Administration fee up to 9.99% Origination fee up to 9.99%
Minimum credit score 550 600
Time to funding As soon as the next business day One to three business days

Avant personal loans

Avant personal loans

Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
Learn more in our Bankrate review
  • Green circle with a checkmark inside


    • Accessible to credit-challenged borrowers.
    • User-friendly mobile app.
    • Quick funding times.
    Red circle with an X inside


    • Limited availability.
    • Loan administration fee.
    • Co-borrowers not allowed.

Upgrade logo

Upgrade personal loans

Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
Learn more in our Bankrate review
  • Green circle with a checkmark inside


    • Low minimum loan amount.
    • Allow co-borrowers.
    • Offers direct payment to other creditors.
    Red circle with an X inside


    • High maximum APR.
    • Loan origination fee.
    • Slower funding times.

How to choose between Avant and Upgrade

Both options feature unsecured personal loans with origination fees. They also cater to borrowers with varying credit backgrounds, and the APR ranges are relatively similar. So it can be a bit challenging to determine which is best for your financial situation.

Evaluate the eligibility guidelines of each and consider how you’ll use the loan proceeds to make an informed decision.

Avant offers funding to borrowers with low credit scores

Avant’s minimum credit score requirement is slightly lower than what Upgrade requires. If you’re approved for funding and have bad credit, you could save on borrowing costs. Avant’s maximum administration fee is 9.99 percent, the same as Upgrade’s origination fee.

It’s also worth noting the maximum loan term isn’t as lengthy as Upgrade. The upside is you could opt for a repayment period as short as 12 months and save on interest. Or you could choose the maximum term of 60 months to lower your payments and pay the loan off early without incurring a prepayment penalty.

Upgrade is better for debt consolidation

Upgrade makes it simple to consolidate your debt and get a single, affordable monthly payment. If the Debt Payoff option appears when applying for a loan, you can add your creditors and how much you want to pay, and Upgrade will handle the rest. Plus, you can access $15,000 more with Upgrade, which could be ideal if you plan to consolidate a sizable amount of debt.

Unlike Avant, Upgrade’s partner lenders also allow co-borrowers. You can apply with another person to help strengthen your approval odds and possibly qualify for more competitive rates. Loans are also available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., making Upgrade a better choice if you live in a state not served by Avant.

Compare lenders before applying

Since both lenders offer prequalification, it’s in your best interest to submit an application to Avant and Upgrade. This way, you can see what terms you qualify for to make an informed decision.

Even if you’re leaning towards one over the other, explore other options before applying. Consider adding at least two more lenders to your list of options and comparing quotes to ensure you get the best deal on a personal loan.