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Universal Credit Personal Loans: 2024 Review

Updated on October 24, 2023
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At a glance

4.6
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
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Availability
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0
Affordability
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
4.4
Customer Experience
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0
Transparency
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2

About Bankrate Score

Universal Credit is San Francisco-based fintech company. It is powered by Upgrade, Inc. — a technology company that has funded $24 billion in loans since 2017, servicing over 2.5 million customers nationwide. 

Moneybag
Loan amount $1,000-$50,000
Rates
APR from 11.69%-35.99%
Clock Wait
Term lengths 36-60 months
Credit Good
Min Credit Score 550

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Best for debt consolidation

With Universal Credit, borrowers can choose to have their payments sent directly to creditors, streamlining the debt consolidation process. The company also rewards borrowers who choose this option with an additional rate discount, which translates to bigger savings, making it a great option to consolidate debt, if you qualify for the lowest rates.

Universal Credit pros and cons

 

PROS

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    Low minimum credit score.

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    Quick application.

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    Direct payment to creditors.

CONS

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    High starting APR.

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    Hefty origination fee.

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    Limited repayment options.

Do you qualify?

To qualify for a personal loan with Universal Credit, you’ll need a minimum credit score of at least 550 or a co-borrower that meets this criteria. Besides that, you’ll need to satisfy the following:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or have a valid visa.
  • Be at least 18 years old — or 19 if you reside in Alabama.
  • Have a valid email address.
  • Have a verifiable bank account.

You’ll also have to meet Universal Credit’s payment history and credit usage requirements to get approved for a loan. 

What Universal Credit doesn’t allow the funds to be used for

Universal Credit doesn’t advertise any loan usage restrictions. However, most lenders don’t allow borrowers to use their personal loan proceeds to pay for tuition and fees, gambling and illegal activities.

How this lender compares

logo
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
4.6
Bankrate Score
APR from
11.69%-35.99%
Loan Amount
$1,000-$50,000
Term Length
36-60 months
Min Credit Score
550
logo
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
4.6
Bankrate Score
APR from
8.99% – 35.99%
Loan Amount
$2,000 – $50,000
Term Length
36 to 60 months
Min Credit Score
640
logo
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
4.8
Bankrate Score
APR from
8.99%–29.49%
Loan Amount
$5,000–$100,000
Term Length
24 to 84 months
Min Credit Score
680

Universal Credit vs. Upstart

Upstart doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement and will check other factors, including your education background and job history to approve you for the loan. This can make its loans easier to access than those of Universal Credit. Upstart’s loans may also be more affordable than Universal Credit’s, as the lender features a much lower starting rate. That said, Upstart doesn’t offer direct payment to creditors — something you can get with Universal Credit.

Read a full review about Upstart

Universal Credit vs. Best Egg

Best Egg and Universal Credit’s loans are nearly identical when it comes to loan amounts and repayment terms. That said, Best Egg does have a higher credit score requirement than Universal Credit, plus you may be assessed a late payment fee or an insufficient funds fee — something Universal Credit doesn’t charge. On the other hand, Best Egg’s origination fees and starting APR are lower, so its loans could be more cost-effective than Universal Credit’s.

Read a full review about Best Egg

Upstart: in the details

What we like and don’t like

What we like

  • Low minimum credit score: Universal Credit has a minimum credit score requirement of 550 for its personal loans. That means it serves a wide range of credit profiles.
  • Quick application: Universal Credit’s personal loan applications are completed entirely online, speeding up the loan origination process. The company will also send the funds as soon as the next day after approval, making it a great option if you’re in a time crunch.
  • Direct payment to creditors: Universal Credit allows borrowers to opt to have payments sent directly to their creditors when using a personal loan to consolidate debt. Additionally, you can get a lower rate by choosing this option, along with automatic payments.

What we don’t like

  • High starting APR: Universal Credit’s starting APR is 11.69 percent, which is slightly higher when compared to similar lenders. This higher rate could make your loans less affordable than other options.
  • Hefty origination fee: Universal Credit charges an origination fee of up to 9.99 percent, which is on the higher side. This fee is deducted from your loan disbursement, which means you’ll have to borrow more to get the exact amount you need.
  • Limited repayment options: Unlike other lenders, which offer repayment terms of 12 months to 84 months, Universal Credit only offers three repayment terms of 36 to 60 months.

 

How to contact Universal Credit

Borrowers can get in touch with Universal Credit through email at support-universal@upgrade.com. Additionally, borrowers can contact the company’s support team by calling 877-418-9765, from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, and from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT, Saturday through Sunday.

How to apply for a personal loan with Universal Credit

Universal Credit’s application process is done entirely online. To apply for a loan, follow these steps.

Features and additional perks

Unlike other lenders, which only allow individual applicants, Universal Credit allows borrowers to add a co-borrower to their loans, which could improve their approval odds. Borrowers also have the option to move their due dates once, and view their rates without damaging their credit.

The company offers a rate discount for enrolling in automatic payments and choosing direct payment to creditors. Borrowers also get access to free credit monitoring tools, to help them keep track of any changes to their scores.

Fees and penalties

Universal Credit does not charge an application fee or prepayment penalties. That said, it does have an unavoidable origination fee that is taken out of the proceeds of your loan. The fee can be between 5.25 percent and 9.99 percent of your requested loan amount.

If you fail to pay your loan on time, you may be charged a late fee. On its website, Universal Credit also lists "subsequent charges" my follow a late fee, though it doesn't specify what these might be or how hefty they are.

Universal Credit frequently asked questions

How Bankrate rates Universal Credit

Overall Score 4.6 Explanation
Availability 5.0 Universal Credit received a perfect score in this category due to its low minimum loan amounts, inclusive credit requirements and fast funding.
Affordability 4.4 Despite not charging any late fees or prepayment penalties, Universal Credit does charge a high origination fee and its starting APR is higher-than-average.
Customer Experience 5.0 Universal Credit offers customer support seven days a week, along with a convenient application process that can be completed entirely online.
Transparency 4.2 Universal Credit doesn’t advertise any of its credit requirements on its website. However, its reps do answer these questions over the phone.

Methodology

To select the top personal loan lenders, Bankrate considers 20 factors. These factors include credit requirements, APR ranges, fees, loan amounts and flexibility to account for a wide range of credit profiles and budgets. Bankrate reviewed over 30 lenders and gave each a Bankrate rating, which consists of four categories:

  • Availability: What the minimum loan amounts are, its eligibility requirements and loan turnaround are considered in this category.
  • Affordability: The interest rates, penalties and fees are measured in this section of the score. Lower rates and fees and fewer potential penalties result in a higher score.
  • Customer experience: This category covers customer service hours, if online applications are available, online account access and mobile apps.
  • Transparency: This category is measured by how accessible credit requirements, rates and fees are on the lender's page. We also took into account whether prequalification was available, as all these factors are key for consumers to make an informed decision.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.