Upstart Personal Loans: 2019 Review

Woman using personal loan app on phone

If you’re looking to consolidate debt, make a large purchase, start a business or cover some personal expenses, an Upstart personal loan may be able to help you do it.

The direct-to-consumer lending platform offers loans of up to $50,000 to borrowers with fair credit or better, and doesn’t charge a fee if you pay off your debt early. Watch out for Upstart’s one-time origination fee, which can be as high as 8 percent of your loan amount and which will be deducted from your loan proceeds.

Get pre-qualified

Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. The process is quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

Is an Upstart personal loan right for you?

Before you apply for a loan with Upstart, it’s important to know whether it’s a good fit compared with other lenders. An Upstart personal loan may be right for you if:

  • You have a FICO or VantageScore credit score of at least 620, as well as no bankruptcies, public records or current delinquencies on your credit report.
  • You need money fast — the lender can fund your loan as soon as the day after you accept the terms.
  • You prefer getting a loan online instead of at a brick-and-mortar branch with a traditional lender.

Lending terms

Upstart offers fixed-rate personal loans, which generally range from $1,000 to $50,000, in 48 states, excluding Iowa and West Virginia. In certain states, however, the minimum can be higher, including:

  • Georgia: $3,100
  • Massachusetts: $7,000
  • New Mexico: $5,100
  • Ohio: $6,000

You can repay your loan over three or five years. Interest rates range from 7.46% to 35.99% APR and are based on your credit history, education, work experience and more. Unlike some other personal lenders, Upstart doesn’t offer an interest rate discount if you set up automatic payments.

The minimum qualifications for a loan with Upstart include a credit score of 620, although you may be able to get approved if your credit history is too limited for a credit score. You also need a U.S. bank account and a source of regular income. There is, however, no minimum income threshold.

Once you’re approved and you accept the terms of the loan, you can receive your funds as soon as the next day.

Here’s how Upstart compares with a similar lender, LendingClub:

Upstart LendingClub
Loan amounts $1,000 to $50,000 $1,000 to $40,000
APR range 7.46% to 35.99% APR 6.95% to 35.89% APR
Origination fee 0% to 8% 1% to 6%
Minimum credit score 620 600
Time to funding As soon as the next day A week or longer
Soft credit check with application? Yes Yes

Fees and penalties

Upstart charges an origination fee of 0 percent to 8 percent of the loan amount, which is a higher maximum than many online lenders. This fee will be deducted from your loan funds before you receive them, so it’s important to borrow enough to ensure you get the money you need.

The lender also charges a late fee of 5% of the past-due amount ($15 minimum) 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.

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

How to apply

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 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.

What to do if you’re turned down

If you apply for an Upstart personal loan and don’t get approved, consider calling the lender to get more information on the reasoning behind the denial.

If it’s based on your too-low credit score, you may be able to get approved with other lenders that have lower minimum requirements, including Avant, LendingClub and OneMain Financial. Also, check with your local credit union for more options.

Get pre-qualified

Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. The process is quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

A brief history of Upstart

Upstart was founded in 2012 by ex-Google employees and partners with other lenders and individual investors to fund its personal loans.

The lender is known for its fast approvals, automating 60% of its loan applications, including the verification process. This process allows Upstart to make a credit decision nearly instantly.

How Bankrate Rates Upstart

Overall Score 3.8
Availability 4.1
Affordability 3.5
Customer Experience 3.0

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by 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.