Getting approved for a personal loan with bad credit often means jumping through a few hoops. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Avant and Upstart are online lenders with more flexible credit requirements to help you access the funding you need. Avant is based in Chicago and offers credit cards and loan products. Upstart is an online lending platform that shops your information around to lenders in its network to find you the best deal on a personal loan.

Avant vs. Upstart at a glance

Avant is a direct lender, while Upstart lets you view multiple loan offers and find the best fit in one sitting. Below is an overview of the key features of each so you’ll know what to expect should you apply for funding.

Avant Upstart
Bankrate Score 4.7 4.8
Better for Borrowers with bad or fair credit Rate shopping
Loan amounts $2,000-$35,000 $1,000-$50,000
APRs 9.95%-35.99% 6.40%-35.99%
Loan term lengths 12-60 months 36-60 months
Fees Administration fee: up to 4.75% Origination fee: up to 12%
Minimum credit score 550 None
Time to funding As soon as the next business day As soon as the next business day

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


    • Caters to low and fair-credit borrowers.
    • Easy to manage your loan with its mobile app.
    • Fast funding.
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    • Not available in all 50 states.
    • Steep loan administration fee.
    • No co-borrowers permitted.

Upstart personal loans

Upstart personal loans

Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
  • Green circle with a checkmark inside


    • Accessible to borrowers with no credit.
    • Low starting APR.
    • Next-day funding.
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    • Loan origination fee.
    • No co-signers or co-borrowers.
    • Limited loan term options.

How to choose between Avant and Upstart

Avant and Upstart feature flexible eligibility guidelines for unsecured personal loans. You may qualify for funding with less-than-perfect credit, and the maximum APR is capped at 35.99 percent. And while that number is higher than good credit lenders, it’s significantly lower than you’d find with payday loans or other expensive options.

That said, the loan ranges vary between the lenders. There are also other borrowing costs to consider when evaluating the differences between the two to choose which is most ideal for your financial situation.

Avant is better for borrowers with bad or fair credit

Although Avant states on its website that most borrowers have a credit score between 600 and 700, 550 could be enough to get you approved for an unsecured personal loan. You could also save a bundle by choosing Avant over Upstart, as its maximum administration fee is less than half of what Upstart charges. However, its higher starting APR may be a problem if you apply on the lower end of its credit score requirement.

Upstart is better for rate shopping

A credit score of 550 or higher could work with either lender, but Upstart shops your information to its partner lenders that consider applicants from all credit backgrounds. This means you could get approved even with a minimum credit score of 300 or if you don’t have enough credit history to generate a score.

Upstart could also be the better option if you’re on the other end of the credit spectrum with an excellent score. The starting APR on personal loans is only 6.40 percent, a fraction of the industry average of 13.50 percent for borrowers with good or excellent credit.

Compare lenders before applying

Check your rates with Avant and Upstart before applying for a personal loan. Both lenders offer online prequalification tools so you can view potential offers and compare loan quotes to identify which is best. It’s also worth getting quotes from other lenders to ensure you’re getting the best deal on your loan.