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. Upgrade is headquartered in San Francisco, California. It 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. Here’s an overview of each to understand how they differ:



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 4.75% Origination fee: 1.85% 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


  • Accessible to credit-challenged borrowers.
  • User-friendly mobile app.
  • Rapid funding times.


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

Avant offers unsecured personal loans to borrowers with varying credit backgrounds. With such a wide range of loan amounts to choose from, you can get the funds you need to cover a small expense, major project or big-ticket purchase. Borrowers also enjoy the streamlined application process and fast funding times. Even better, it’s easy to manage the loan directly from the mobile app.

The lender does charge an administration fee of up to 4.75 percent, which makes it an unattractive option for some borrowers. You should also know unsecured personal loans aren’t offered in Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Nevada, New York, Vermont and West Virginia.

Upgrade personal loans


  • Low minimum loan amount.
  • Allow co-borrowers.
  • Offers direct payment to other creditors.


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

Upgrade also features flexible unsecured personal loans from its lending partners. You can borrow up to $50,000 and get a loan term as lengthy as 84 months to make your monthly payments more affordable. Lenders charge an origination fee between 1.85 and 9.99 percent, but a strong credit score could mean your assessed fee is on the lower end.

It is also worth it to simplify the debt consolidation process. You may have the option to have direct payments made to creditors on your behalf.

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 4.75 percent, but Upgrade’s cap on origination fees is more than double at 9.99 percent.

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 a bundle in 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

As aforementioned, 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, borrowers can input creditors and how much they’d like to pay, and Upgrade will handle the rest. But you won’t have access to this benefit from Avant as payments for debt consolidation must be made manually. 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. So, you can apply jointly with your partner, a relative or a friend to help strengthen your approval odds and possibly qualify for a more competitive rate on a loan. Loans are also available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., making Upgrade a better choice if you reside in a state not served by Avant.

Compare lenders before applying

Even if you’re leaning towards one over the other, explore other options before applying. You may be prequalified with Avant and Upgrade. Still, there’s no way to know if more attractive loan offers are available from other lenders unless you shop around and check rates. 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.