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Upstart vs. Sofi: Which personal loan is right for you?

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Upstart and SoFi are two popular online lenders that offer personal loans. Founded in 2011, SoFi began as a lender focused on students and has since grown to offer a variety of loans and other financial services. Upstart was founded in 2012 and uses AI to match potential borrowers to lenders using more factors than the typical credit score, including education and employment history.

If you are trying to choose between these lenders, consider loan details such as APRs and eligibility requirements to determine the best option for you.

Upstart vs. SoFi at a glance

Both Upstart and SoFi offer strong personal loan options. However, there are significant differences between the lenders that make them a good choice for different types of borrowers.

Upstart SoFi
Bankrate Score 4.7 4.6
Better for People with poor credit

Small loan amounts

Borrowers with strong credit

Large loan amounts

Loan amounts $1,000 – $50,000 $5,000 – $100,000
APRs 3.09% – 35.99% 7.99% – 23.43%
Loan term lengths 3 or 5 years 2 to 7 years
Fees Origination fee: Up to 8%

Late fee: The greater of $15 or 5%

ACH return or check refund: $15

None
Minimum credit score None 680
Requirements Have a US residential street address

Have a full-time job or offer for a job starting within six months, a regular part-time job, or a verifiable source of regular income

Made timely payments for the last six months on any outstanding Upstart loans

Have no more than one other Upstart loan

US citizen, permanent resident, or non-permanent resident alien

Employed and with sufficient income, or written offer for employment to start within 90 days

Time to funding As soon as one business day Within a few days
Cosigners permitted No Yes

Upstart personal loans

Upstart is a unique lender because it looks at more factors than other lenders.

Typically, when you apply for a loan, personal lenders will check your credit, your debt-to-income ratio, your income, and a few other pieces of your financial life. If you have bad credit or limited income, you won’t have a chance of getting a loan. Upstart looks at other factors, including where you were educated and what you studied as well as your employment history and future opportunities. This lets it approve more borrowers, making it a strong choice for people with less than perfect credit.

Pros 

  • Fast loan approval time
  • Low credit cards can still qualify
  • Low interest rates for well-qualified borrowers
  • Low loan minimums

Cons

  • High origination fees
  • High interest rates for some borrowers
  • Few choices for loan terms
  • No cosigners permitted

SoFi personal loans

SoFi started as a company focused on students but has since expanded to have a much wider set of offerings, including banking services, investing services and even mortgages.

Borrowers who already work with SoFi for their banking or other lending services might appreciate keeping more of their financial business in one place. SoFi is also a strong choice for people who have strong credit, or short credit histories but a solid track record. You can avoid some of the fees Upstart might charge and still get a good interest rate.

Pros

  • Cosigner permitted
  • High loan maximum
  • Qualify with a short credit history
  • Many options for loan terms

Cons

  • Higher minimum loan rate
  • Higher minimum loan amount
  • Good credit score required
  • Funding can take a few days

How to choose between Upstart and SoFi

UpStart and SoFi are both good lenders, but they excel in different situations.

If you want to borrow a small amount, consider Upstart. Upstart offers loans starting at just $1,000 in most states, making it the better of the two if you’re looking to borrow a limited amount.

If you have a large project, consider SoFi. By contrast, SoFi lets you borrow twice as much as Upstart, up to $100,000, which makes it the lender of choice if you have a big expense you want to cover or you’re looking to consolidate a few large debts.

If you have poor credit but have a strong educational or employment background, consider Upstart. Upstart looks at things like what you studied and where you went to school to help make lending decisions. If your credit score leaves you struggling to get loans but you have an in-demand degree from a good college, Upstart might approve you for a loan where SoFi wouldn’t.

If you want more flexibility in the term of your loan, consider SoFi. With SoFi, you can choose loan terms ranging from two years to seven years, giving you lots of options when it comes to the length of your loan. You can use that to prioritize saving on interest with quick repayment or a longer-term loan with smaller monthly payments.

Bottom line

Both SoFi and Upstart are strong lenders. While Upstart has higher origination fees than SoFi, it makes up for it by offering potentially lower rates and being willing to lend to people with poor credit. SoFi, on the other hand, keeps its loans fee-free and offers much larger loans, but only to people who have a good credit score.

If you’re in need of a loan, it’s worth checking your rate with both lenders to see which gives you the best loan offer.

Written by
TJ Porter
Contributing writer
TJ Porter is a contributing writer for Bankrate. TJ writes about a range of subjects, from budgeting tips to bank account reviews.
Edited by
Loans Editor, Former Insurance Editor