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 guidelines 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.

Bankrate Score 4.7 4.7
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% 5.2%-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


  • Caters to low and fair-credit borrowers.
  • Easy to manage your loan with mobile app.
  • Fast funding.


  • Not available in all 50 states.
  • Steep loan administration fee.
  • No co-borrowers permitted.

Avant features unsecured personal loans with fast funding times. Its loans cater to borrowers with bad or fair credit, and you can use the proceeds to fund home renovations, consolidate debt, cover unplanned expenses or however else you see fit.

You’ll find that they share many similarities with Upstart’s personal loans. That said, the minimum loan amount is slightly higher, and you can opt for a shorter loan term to keep borrowing costs down. Upstart also lets you access a higher loan amount if you need to fund more costly expenses or consolidate higher debt balances.

Avant also charges an administration fee that’s a little on the higher end. A higher credit score means this may not be a cause for concern. Otherwise, it could eat into the loan amount disbursed to you since the administration fee is deducted from the amount you borrow.

Upstart personal loans


  • Accessible to borrowers with no credit.
  • Low starting APR.
  • Next-day funding.


  • Loan origination fee.
  • No co-signers or co-borrowers.
  • Limited loan term options.

Upstart is not a direct lender but an online lending marketplace that connects prospective borrowers to banks and credit unions in its extensive network. The platform partners with lenders that make loans available to borrowers with limited credit history. It’s also possible to access a loan with no credit score.

The accessibility comes at a cost in the form of a hefty loan origination fee. Upstart also falls short in the flexibility category. You could be eligible for a sizable loan amount, but there are only two loan terms to choose from. Still, the low starting APR could compensate for the drawbacks if you have good or excellent credit.

How to choose between Avant and Upstart

Avant and Upstart feature flexible eligibility guidelines for consumers seeking an unsecured loan. You may qualify for funding with less-than-perfect credit, and the maximum APR is capped at 35.99 percent. Hence, the attractiveness of these loans over payday loans and other expensive debt products.

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.

Upstart is better for rate shopping

A credit score of 550 or higher could work with either lender. However, you likely won’t have much luck with Avant if you have little or no credit history. However, 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 still 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 5.2 percent, a fraction of the industry average of 13.5 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 and comparing them to what Avant and Upstart offer. You may find that there’s a better deal elsewhere.