Upgrade and Fifth Third are both reputable financial institutions that offer affordable personal loans to people with good to excellent credit. While both companies provide competitive products and features, your personal needs will ultimately determine which loan is best for you.

But in general, Upgrade will be better for those with fair credit while Fifth Third will be better if you already have an account with the bank.

Upgrade vs. Fifth Third at a glance

Upgrade Fifth Third
Bankrate score 4.7 4.4
Better for Fast funding Flexible payments
Loan amounts $1,000-$50,000 $2,000-$50,000
APRs 8.49%-35.99% 8.99%-21.74%
Loan term lengths 24-84 months 12-60 months
  • Origination fee: 1.85% to 9.99%
  • Late fee: Up to $10
  • ACH or returned check fee: $10
Minimum credit score 600 Not specified
Time to funding As soon as the next business day As soon as the next business day

Upgrade personal loans

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  • Low credit minimums.
  • Direct payment to creditors for consolidation loans.
  • Joint applications available.
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  • High origination fee.
  • High maximum APR.
  • Late fee.

Upgrade’s personal loans can be used to consolidate debt, refinance credit card debt, pay for a large purchase or fund a home improvement project or renovation. It stands out thanks to its simple and streamlined online application.

Fifth Third only offers an online application to current account holders — and only if they want to borrow under $25,000. Upgrade doesn’t have these restrictions.

However, Upgrade charges multiple fees that Fifth Third lacks. You will need to pay an origination fee between 1.85 percent to 9.99 percent. That’s up to a tenth of your total loan. If you have poor credit, it’s worth it to apply with a co-borrower to potentially lower the APR and origination fee you receive.

Fifth Third personal loans

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  • Can apply online and in-person.
  • Flexible first payment date.
  • No origination fee.
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  • In-person application required for loans over $25,000.
  • Not available in every state.
  • Higher minimum APR.

Fifth Third is a national bank that offers its customers personal loans up to $50,000. Borrowers can apply both online and in-person, but those applying online are only eligible for $25,000.

You also need to be a Fifth Third customer to use its online application. If you aren’t, you will need to visit a branch no matter how much or how little you need to borrow. Anyone looking for a larger loan over $25,000 will need to visit a brick-and-mortar location and apply in-person.

Unlike other lenders, Fifth Third allows its customers to pick their first repayment date up to 45 days after disbursement. This may provide much-needed flexibility for some borrowers. And with no fees and a low maximum APR, Fifth Third is a good option — provided you are willing to jump through a few hoops during the application process.

How to choose between Upgrade and Fifth Third

Both lenders have competitive products and unique benefits. Upgrade offers a more flexible application experience, but Fifth Third may be a better choice if you are able to qualify for its lower cost loans.

Upgrade has low credit minimums

Upgrade has one of the most credit-inclusive models in the industry when it comes to funding. While most lenders require at least a good credit score to reap the benefits of fast funding, Upgrade allows borrowers with fair credit to take advantage of next-day funding. It also offers joint applications — something many other lenders, including Fifth Third, are not willing to offer.

Fifth Third has payment flexibility

Along with offering a first payment date flexibility, Fifth Third also has a grace period of 10 days before a payment is considered late, making it easier to avoid extra interest charges.

Keep in mind that with the payment flexibility, borrowers don’t need to choose a date until 24 days after disbursement. However, interest will continue to accrue, so you’ll still have to recoup the cost for the days you didn’t make your first payment within the first 30 days.

Compare lenders before applying

Before signing on the dotted line, compare similar lenders. In addition to Upgrade and Fifth Third, consider at least one other lender to ensure you’re getting the most competitive rate.