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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 factors like APR 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.
|• People with poor credit
• Small loan amounts
|• Borrowers with strong credit
• Large loan amounts
|7.80% to 35.99% Fixed APR
|8.99% to 29.99% Fixed APR
|Loan term lengths
|36 or 60 months
|• Origination fee: Up to 8%
• Late fee: The greater of $15 or 5%
• ACH return or check refund: $15
|Minimum credit score
|• Have a U.S. 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
|• U.S. citizen, permanent resident or nonpermanent 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
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 (DTI) 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.
- Fast loan approval time.
- Low credit cards can still qualify.
- Low interest rates for well-qualified borrowers.
- Low loan minimums.
- High origination fees.
- High interest rates for some borrowers.
- Few choices for loan terms.
- No co-signers 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 good 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.
- Cosigner permitted.
- High loan maximum.
- Qualify with a short credit history.
- Many options for loan terms.
- 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.
Choose Upstart for smaller loans
If you want to borrow a small amount, consider Upstart. It 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.
It is also a good choice if you have poor credit but have a strong educational or employment background. 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 likely wouldn’t.
Choose SoFi for larger, flexible loans
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.
It also lets you 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.
Compare more lenders before applying
Both SoFi and Upstart are strong lenders. While Upstart has higher rates and charges origination fees, it makes up for it by being willing to lend to people with poor credit. SoFi, on the other hand, allows you to choose whether you want additional fees to adjust your monthly payments 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.