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Upstart Personal Loans: 2023 Review

Updated on Jan. 1, 2023
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At a glance

4.7
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
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Availability
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0
Affordability
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2
Customer Experience
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
5.0

About Bankrate Score

Founded by ex-Googlers, Upstart is headquartered in San Mateo, California and has originated more than $16 billion in personal loans. If you’re looking to consolidate debt, make a large purchase or cover some personal expenses, an Upstart personal loan may be able to help you do it.
Moneybag
Loan amount $1,000 – $50,000
Rates
APR from 6.50% – 35.99%
Clock Wait
Term lengths 36 to 60 months
Credit Good
Min Credit Score 300
This lender is best for borrowers with bad credit. Unlike most lenders, Upstart doesn't have a credit score minimum and instead uses a more holistic financial approach. The lender will look at your education, work history and financial history for your rates and approval, rather than focusing solely on your credit. 

Upstart pros and cons

Here's a breakdown of some of the benefits and drawbacks of Upstart personal loans.

PROS

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    Options for borrowers with low credit scores

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    Low minimum APR

  • Checkmark

    Fast funding

CONS

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    Origination fee

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    High maximum APR

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    Certain states have higher borrowing minimums

Do you qualify?

To qualify for an Upstart personal loan, borrowers must: 
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a U.S. residential street address and currently reside there (excluding military personnel on active duty).
  • Have a valid email account.
  • Have a verifiable name, date of birth and social security number.
  • Have a regular source of income, or a full time job offer starting in 6 months.
  • Not be residing in West Virginia or Iowa
  • Have a personal banking account at a U.S. institution with a routing transit number 
It's also required that borrowers meet Upstart's minimum credit requirements, which include: 
  • A minimum credit score of 300 or insufficient history to generate a score.
  • No negative material change in your credit report from the time the loan offer was accepted to funding. 
  • Meeting the debt-to-income requirement of 50 percent (excluding rent or mortgage payments) and 45 percent for those who live in Connecticut, Maryland, New York or Vermont. 
  • No reported bankruptcies in the last 12 months. 
  • No public records of consumer reports within the last 12 months (excluding paid civil judgements or paid tax liens). 
  • No reported delinquent accounts. 
  • Fewer than 6 inquiries on your credit report in the last 6 months (not including those related to student loans, vehicle loans or mortgages). 

What Upstart doesn't allow loan funds to be used for

You can use an Upstart personal loan for almost every legal purchase, like debt consolidation, to make home improvements or to pay down medical debt. However, the use of the loan proceeds for education-related expenses are prohibited in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Washington or Washington D.C. 

Upstart versus Best Egg

Both Upstart and Best Egg have similar rates and terms; however, Upstart's minimum APR is lower, coming in at 6.5 percent while Best Egg's APR range starts at 8.99 percent. Borrowers with a more established credit history or good credit score should first consider Upstart to potentially score the most competitive rate. 
 

Upstart versus SoFi

SoFi and Upstart are polar opposites when it comes to terms and eligibility qualifications. While Upstart does offer a lower APR for the most creditworthy borrowers, SoFi has a higher borrowing maximum of $100,000 and offers best-in-class perks and benefits. However, it is harder to get approved for a SoFi loan, so  borrowers should keep that in mind prior to applying. 

Upstart: in the details

What we like and what we don’t like

There are plenty of reasons to borrow a personal loan from Upstart, especially if you have a thin credit history.  But like every company, there are both pros and cons to borrowing with Upstart; here are a few things we like and a few things we would change.
 

What we like 

  • Options for borrowers with low credit scores: Upstart doesn't base eligibility solely on credit score, giving those with a less-than-stellar score the opportunity to get approved. 
  • Low minimum APR: Especially for a lender who caters to those with a thin credit history, Upstart's APR range starts out at a competitive 6.50%.
  • Fast funding: The company touts that the loan funds can be available in as soon as one business day. 

What we don't like 

  • Origination fee: Upstart charges an origination fee up to 10% of the loan amount, which can detract from the overall value of the loan by adding significantly to the principal balance. 
  • High maximum APR: While borrowers with a thin credit history may have better luck getting approved, they also have the risk of getting offered a high maximum APR. 
  • Certain states have higher borrowing minimums: In Georgia, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Ohio, the minimum borrowing amount is higher than the $1,000 minimum. 

How to contact Upstart

You can contact Upstart by calling their general customer support line at (650) 204-1000 and toll-free at 1-855-438-8778 Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. ET to 9:00 p.m. ET and on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. ET to 7:00 p.m. ET. 
 
For questions concerning payments, borrowers can call customer support Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. ET to 9:00 p.m. ET and on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. 
 
The customer service line will be unavailable on New Years Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

How to apply for a personal loan with Upstart

Upstart’s application process is relatively simple. You’ll start by providing some basic details about yourself and register to get a rate quote. The lender does a soft credit check for this part of the process, which means that the inquiry won’t impact your credit score.

If you like what you see, you’ll review the information you shared, add your Social Security number and bank account information and finalize the application.

Once you submit the official application, Upstart will run a hard credit check, which can knock a few points off your credit score.

Before you apply, though, compare the rate quote you receive with other personal loan rates from top lenders.

Fees and penalties

One of the biggest fees Upstart charges is the origination fee — which can be up to 8 percent of the loan amount. The origination fee is deducted from your loan funds before you receive them, so it’s important to borrow enough to ensure that you get the amount of money you need.

Upstart charges a late fee of 5 percent of the past-due amount or $15, whichever is greater, if you’re more than 10 calendar days past your due date. There’s also an ACH return or check refund fee of $15 if a payment from your bank account or by check is returned due to insufficient funds. Finally, if you request to switch from getting records electronically to getting paper copies, there’s a $10 fee.

That said, Upstart doesn’t charge a prepayment penalty, so you don’t have to worry about incurring an extra fee for paying the loan off early.

Upstart frequently asked questions

How Bankrate rates Upstart

Overall Score 4.7 Explanation
Availability 5.0 Same-day approval and no credit score requirement.
Affordability 4.2 Competitive 6.50 percent minimum APR, but charges several fees.
Customer Experience 5.0 Online application and account access, and 7-day customer support.

Methodology

To select the top personal loan lenders, Bankrate considers 15 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 41 lenders and gave each a Bankrate rating, which consists of three categories:

  • 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.
  • Availability: What the minimum loan amounts are, its eligibility requirements and loan turnaround are considered in this category.
  • Customer experience: This category covers customer service hours, if online applications are available, online account access and mobile apps.

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.